Born Teca Miguel Garcia in Luanda, Angola, singer and dancer Titica is one of the leading voices of the vibrant Angolan dance music kuduro. When she dropped her debut song, “Chão,” six years ago, it became one of the most played tracks in Angola, earning her regular spots in the media, a performance at the Mangaung African Cultural Festival (MACUFE) Divas Concert and a feature in the Angola episode of Stocktown Swedish collective’s TV series Afripedia.
Her rising popularity as a trans artist in a country with widely heteronormative views steeped in Catholicism, is a testament to her talent.
As it should be, fans are focused on the music, not her gender or sexuality. Still, Titica was not without her share of adversity, especially as someone who did not hide her identity. “I’ve been stoned, I’ve been beaten, and there is a lot of prejudice against me, a lot of people show that. There is a lot of taboo,” she told the BBC.
Titica is constantly working to shatter false perceptions of the LGBTQ community and usher in a message of acceptance. In 2013, UNAIDS; a global organization dedicated to ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, named Titica a National Goodwill Ambassador. Through UNAIDS Titica brought much needed attention to issues like HIV awareness and treatment, and gender stereotypes. “I have suffered so much humiliation but I am ready to lead by example and help overcome stigma and discrimination in my country and beyond,” she expressed in a statement for the UN initiative. She also uses her music to spread her message. Songs like “Baixa” and “Olha o Boneco” explore themes of battling homophobia and supporting same sex marriage. In a BBC short by video journalist Horaci Garcia, she says “I will continue to work hard to show the world and our society that being transgender is not a bad thing.”