A Love Letter to the Women of Mala Luna’s 2019 Lineup

todayOctober 31, 2019 26 1

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By Jessie Bonner
Music Journalist

This year, San Antonio’s Mala Luna Music Festival featured some outstanding artists; most notably, the women! Female artists in the music industry are considerably less appreciated than their male counterparts. In general, we as women are constantly judged on many things, from our appearance to our opinions to our education, and women that are constantly in the public spotlight face even more scrutiny. That’s exactly why I want to take a moment to give a whole lot of love to some of the remarkable women that performed at Mala Luna this weekend.

First, I want to talk about Texas’ own Megan Thee Stallion. The “Houston Hottie” put on quite the show, unsurprisingly. She brought six people on stage, not one, not two but three times! Can you imagine sharing the stage with such an incredible artist? Megan told them “Don’t be shy up here” and danced right alongside them, shaking what their mommas gave them and having a grand old time while doing it. The confidence that Megan Thee Stallion promotes and exudes made all of us in the crowd feel like we were the hottest people alive.

There are many people in front of the stage. The background says “Megan The Stallion” in bold white letters and there is a green stripe going across the screen behind the letters. Megan is in the middle with a dancer at each side of her. They are all dancing with their legs apart and slightly bend and a hand to their mouth with their tongue sticking out.
Houston native Megan Thee Stallion performing on the American Apparel Stage at Mala Luna. Image by Jessie Bonner.

Another notable performer this weekend was UMI, an R&B singer from Seattle. Her lo-fi beats and smooth, alluring melodies are so pleasing to the ears, and they’re made even more enjoyable by UMI’s incredible personality. While onstage, she was constantly telling the crowd how happy she was that we were there and how much she loved all of us. She even did breathing exercises with us every few songs, just to make sure we were all calm and happy. I thought this was so unique and a great experience; I can’t thank her enough for her super sweet words during her performance.

In the foreground are people’s hands raised, singing along to Umi’s singing. Umi is singing and pointing toward the crowd.
UMI performing on the Beat Stage at Mala Luna. Image by Jessie Bonner.

Next up – Melii, a bilingual singer and rapper. She first gained popularity when she released a bilingual (English and Spanish) remix of Cardi B’s Bodak Yellow. Her presence onstage was nothing less than energetic and had the whole crowd dancing right along with her. From her slower, more sensual songs to the faster-paced, spirited songs, Melii did not disappoint and gave us all the time of our lives.

Singer Melii dances on the right side of the stage. She is wearing a tight, leopard print bodysuit and has blonde curls.
Melii performing on the Beat Stage at Mala Luna. Image by Jessie Bonner.

Ari Lennox was a huge crowd-pleaser as well. She, like UMI, interacted with the crowd before almost every song, telling us about what each song was about. One song, called “Facetime,” is about being in a long-distance relationship, and, before she performed it, she asked who all in the crowd had experienced this feeling. Being in a long-distance relationship myself, I found myself relating to this song especially, which led me to enjoy the rest of her set even more. One of my favorite things at a concert is when the performer and the crowd can sort of talk to each other, and Ari certainly let us do that. 

On the left side of the stage, the keyboardist and guitarist are standing and playing their instruments. Ari Lennox, wearing a long black Balenciaga robe, holds the microphone to her mouth with one hand and points to the side with the other. The background is black and says “Ari Lennox” in cursive lettering.
Singer Ari Lennox performing at the Beat Stage at Mala Luna. Image by Jessie Bonner.

Lali, an Argentinian singer, was my personal favorite of the weekend. When she came on the stage she was already dancing in a way that made me wish I was good at dancing hip-hop. She talked to the crowd and would point at people and recognize the ones who were singing all of her Spanish lyrics.

Her intensity on stage was impressive to watch, and even though I couldn’t understand most of what she was singing, I could feel how much passion she felt while singing it. She and her dancers had unbelievable chemistry and worked so well together on stage. Lali, if you see this, can I go on your next tour with you? I’ll learn how to dance!

Lali in between her two backup dancers. They are all wearing neon green fishnet suits. The two dancers are leaning in towards Lali as she poses with her hand touching her hair.
Lali and her dancers performing at Mala Luna. Image by Jessie Bonner.

Last, but certainly not least: Alaina Castillo. At only 18 years old, she has already built a large following, partially because she was a YouTube personality before seriously pursuing music. Her soft yet powerful vocals and lyrics (relatable to most people her age) make it easy to see why she has gained so much popularity.

Her single, “I Don’t Think I Love You Anymore”, was one of the first she performed; she explained that it’s about when you love someone but they don’t give anything back, so you begin to pull back. She performed this (along with all her other songs) with intensity, and I think it’s extremely impressive that she is so naturally talented and can express her emotions so well. This was also her first festival ever! I, along with anybody else in her crowd that day, can attest to the fact that she set the bar for her future performances very high this weekend. 

Alaina Castillo is dancing in the middle, leaning to her right side with one hand on her hip and one pointing upward. There is a dancer on either side of her; they are both smiling, leaning away from her with both legs apart and bent, with their hands pointing downward. The background is a screen with red and pink colors growing outward from the center of the screen.
Singer Alaina Castillo performing on the Beat Stage at Mala Luna. Image by Jessie Bonner.

Like I said before, the women on this year’s Mala Luna lineup were incredible and I know that as their careers progress, they will only grow more and more as artists. We need to support our ladies as much as possible, especially the newer artists such as Alaina Castillo and UMI. So, next time you go to a music festival, instead of showing up at 5 p.m. for the headliners, come when the gates open and watch all of the openers! Find some new music and support growing artists, especially the talented women.

Featured image by Jessie Bonner.

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  1. zaqesana on February 29, 2020

    Oh what a treat and good experience women of Mala encountered? It shows the true fulfillment they really achieve in their practicable life time.

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