Before taking the stage at the Olympic opening ceremony in Rio in August, tween rapper MC Soffia understood the gravity of what would become her breakout moment in front of millions tuned in at home and abroad.
“I’ll be representing all the black kids from the outskirts who can’t be heard,” she told fellow MC Karol Conka before their set. “I’ll give them [a] voice.”
According to the UNICEF, black teenagers in Brazil are three times more likely to get killed than their white counterparts. For the rising sensation, the persisting racism in her native country, home to the world’s largest black population outside of Africa, is impossible to ignore.
“I don’t want children born today to suffer in the way I have suffered,” she told News Deeply. “I was a victim of racist bullying. I didn’t do anything about it [at the time] but now my school has an anti-bullying group, where we discuss this kind of thing.”
At 12-years old, MC Soffia has tapped into the power behind the mic with her socially-conscious rhymes throughout six years of perfecting her craft. Her song “Menina Pretinha (Little Black Girl)” is just one example of her decision to celebrate Afro-Brazilian youth through hip-hop. “The first thing you need to do is to accept yourself, to love yourself,” she continued.
As she breaks through racial discrimination, Soffia is also carving her lane within a male-dominated industry. “When a woman suffers, we all suffer together and the rap scene is very prejudiced,” she added. “When I began singing, no one helped me. Only Criolo [a Brazilian rapper], he gave me a microphone as a gift. But now [that I’m well-known] I think I have earned their respect.”
With no signs of slowing down, MC Soffia is preparing to release a new single and video, which will keep the conversation on black youth empowerment alive.