Brooklyn rapper Young M.A, real name Katorah Kasanova Marrero, is known by many for her 2016 smash hit single “OOOUUU”. At 27 she’s known for being an independent rap superstar touring the world and selling out shows without a sponsor. She’s made plenty of moves outside of music, such as making history being the first mainstream artist to direct an award-winning adult film, The Gift.

Last year she also became the first independent female hip-hop artist to have two songs on two major sports video game franchises in the same year with “Praktice” being on the soundtrack to “NBA 2K19” and “Car Confessions” being on the soundtrack to “Madden NFL 19”. Young M.A’s presence in the rap game has been a gift for many reasons.

Shattering Homophobia

Young M.A holding microphone overhead on stage
Young M.A. Photo courtesy of Instagram @youngma

Hip-Hop has been reckoning with its history of homophobia for the longest time. Since the birth of hip-hop, many male rappers have used homosexuality as an insult to their competition and their rivals. Young M.A uses her sexuality as a shield that absorbs hate and exudes confidence and courage. Her lyrics uplift and inspire many inside and outside the LGBTQ community. The reason that she blessed us in the rap game was to show us that it doesn’t matter what your gender or sexual preference is, the only thing that should matter is whether you’re dope or wack.

A Voice for LGBTQ Women of Color

Young M.A singing into microphone
Young M.A. Photo courtesy of GoRadioMN

The music industry definitely needs drastic improvements to become more inclusive, particularly to LGBTQ women of color. The lack of openly gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgendered record executives, DJ’s, and music producers is alarming. The lack of diversity within these positions of power is what creates the playing field for bigotry and hate within an art form that was created to bring everyone together. Ask yourself one question: how many openly gay artists have been a centerfold on XXL, The Source, or Vibe magazine? The answer is none and that probably won’t change anytime soon, unfortunately.

RELATED: Meet New York’s Rising Star

From the moment I heard Young M.A’s “Sleep Walkin” mixtape I knew hip-hop would never be the same again. She’s shaking the industry up by just being herself and not allowing anyone to put her in a box by labeling her as a “gay rapper” or “female rapper”. Also, the fact that she accomplished everything listed above without a record deal is an indication that one doesn’t need a machine behind them to make waves in the rap game. Young M.A is the Jackie Robinson of hip-hop as she is breaking barriers that have been created by those with privilege and who use their power to oppress others that have been historically marginalized.

What do you think about how Young M.A is shaking up the hip-hop industry? Let us know down in the comments.