If you told me The Cheetah Girls would be the reason I desired to learn about different cultures around the world, Spanish and foreign music, I would have said you were insane.
Beep beep beep, click, beep beep beep click, I raced to be the number one caller of the day into Radio Disney because I knew the top song of that night.
“Hey it’s Ernie D from Radio Disney and you’re the number one caller of the day! Do you know what the top song of the day was?”
"'So What' by P!NK."
“Congratulations, you’ve won three tickets to see The Cheetah Girls live at the Greensboro Coliseum.”
Standing in a crowd of screaming girls, all I remember from the concert — besides everyone but Adrienne Bailon lip-syncing — was her performance of "A La Nanita Nana."
The song is in Spanish and I had no clue what she was saying at that age, but the way she sang was breathtaking, so I knew I had to learn the lyrics.
The next year, my school offered a Spanish class and I jumped at the opportunity. From Argentina to Venezuela, I gained an appreciation for the different cultures and what they had to offer related to fashion, food and music.
When I was applying to college, I sought after schools that offered not only a good education, but also a diverse pool of students from different backgrounds and walks of life.
Although UNC is not the most diverse school, I have been able to meet people from all around the world. By meeting new people, I have also gained new perspectives on life and exposure to fashion styles and music I would have never discovered otherwise.
The first floor of Davis Library, around the bean-shaped tables, is home to a hub of students who have roots in India, Pakistan and so many more locations. Desi students have enlightened me, sharing their culture with me and introducing me to songs including "Balam Pichkari" and "Lamberghini." Although I may never remember the lyrics to "Ajab Si" in the movie "Om Shanti Om," I can appreciate the quality and effort that goes into making a major Bollywood film.
For most of the foreign songs that I like, I find myself later looking up the lyrics to see if my assumptions about what I think the songs are about are right or not.
In Stetsasonic’s "A.F.R.I.C.A.," the song speaks in depth about the history and then challenges in South Africa, but notes that there is constantly something to stay informed on in the motherland.
Before going to the first Dreamville Festival last year, I discovered the unique Nigerian style by DaVido. He was born in Atlanta and later moved to Nigeria to focus on music full time. His music radiates an energy that makes you want to bounce, which is exactly what my friends and I were doing at the festival.
Blending dance-pop and hip-hop, BTS has climbed the charts as being one of the most successful and popular global bands. The K-pop group raps, sings and has collaborated with various American artists.
I don't always know what some of the foreign songs are saying, but I like them. And I want to share them with you. So, take a trip around the world with me in only two hours.
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