“Pay Attention to Your Intentions.” Words of Wisdom From the Multifaceted Artist, Lah Tere.

There aren’t nearly enough adjectives in the dictionary to describe Lah Tere. She’s a multicultural, humanitarian, activist, emcee, singer and last but not least; a down to earth woman just trying to make the world a better place.

On Feb. 21, Teresita Ayala better known to the world as Lah Tere, spoke at Rowan University’s Student Ballroom in her event titled, “This is For My Barrio: An Afro-Latina Hip-Hop Story”. Touching on a multitude of issues with an eloquent knowledge of the street and the world around her, Tere gave a lecture that her audience would soon not forget.

“When I’m talking about legacy work, and I’m talking about the importance of  ‘Culture is pride and pride is success’, It has everything to do with our ancestors, that were the people who helped pave the way… and this is my duty, this is my responsibility to share and be an oral tradition.”- Lah Tere

Discussing her roots in music, education, activism, and social change, Lah Tere divulged into the various aspects of her life that helped shape who she is today. A native of Chicago’s famous Humboldt Park, Tere was born a 1st generation Afro-Puerto Rican to a family with an immense educational background.

Through family struggles and a toxic environment where success is everything but promised, Tere strived to make it out of the ghetto. She said, “It was either be or beat the statistic “, as she spoke to the audience with such ease about extremely personal issues. She even noted the loss of 14 friends in of 4 years, as a result of violence in her neighborhood.

Regardless of the adversity she faced, even the doubt of her own school counselor, Tere was able to make it to the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, with a Major in Spanish and Sociology. Although family trouble would require her to leave during her last semester, Tere would soon move to New York City in 2006 and would go on to join the Group, Rebel Diaz.

Consisting of Chilean brothers, “Rodstarz” and”G1″, and Lah Tere; they formed a Hip-Hop Group with a political, yet positive message of change and social awareness. During their time together, they managed to travel through many different parts of the world and released a great deal of music together.

Libertad – Rebel Diaz

Crush – Lah Tere

After 6 years with Rebel Diaz, Lah Tere left the group to pursue other endeavors. One of which was the co-founding of “Mama’s Hip-Hop Kitchen” which is best described by their About Us page as a, “multifaceted hip hop event designed to showcase women artists, especially women of color.” Coincidentally The 6th volume of the series will take place this Saturday in the Bronx, NY.

She also shared with the crowd her life changing experiences through her times living abroad in Palestine and Guatemala. Tearfully presenting a video of the young Guatemalan children she stayed with, singing and dancing to a song they choreographed. The Lives of those innocent children were clearly her motivation to continue to strive further in life.

Tere, ended her presentation on a positive note, taking questions from the curious audience.  “I think it was pretty cool like how she got out of that crazy situation she was in Chicago…It’s very inspirational that she became a famous person and then still wants to give back”, said Roque Valderrama, an 18-year-old Sociology major from Dover, NJ. Also stating that he became more motivated to study abroad because of the impact other countries had on Lah Tere’s life.

I thought it was amazing, her experiences are very unique.” said senior Akinlolu Olla, a 22-year-old Psychology major from Bloomfield, NJ. “I live in north Jersey so you have such a mix of  African Immigrants, a lot of people from the Caribbean, a lot of people from Puerto Rico so all that culture is refreshing to me “, said Olla, sharing his feelings of cultural reinvigorated.

We need more people like Lah Tere in the world. People with a positive message, who want to change the world through innovative methods of communication and positivity. For more info, check out:

Twitter: @LahTere

Facebook: Lah Tere

ReverbNation: Lah Tere

*This event was Sponsored by several student organizations here at Rowan including: the Progressive Student Alliance, the United Latino Association, Lucy/Vox*, the Sociology Club, Lyrical Alliance the Office of Multicultural Affairs.*

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