Xenia Rubinos’s “Mexican Chef” Video Examines Economic Inequality

The Brooklyn artist shares visuals just in time for her U.S. tour.

July 12, 2016

Last week, in the midst of police murders and anti-police brutality protests, social media buzzed with expressions of support, frustration, and suggestions for how we can all do better. One crucial way to do that is to examine the systems around us, and think about how they enable inequality. Take the economy, for example: it's important to recognize that America was built on the labor of immigrants and black and brown people, yet the system so often undervalues them.

This labor is at the crux of Brooklyn artist Xenia Rubinos’s song, “Mexican Chef,” whose noisy beat is delightfully paired with lyrics about the undesirable, often disregarded work of Latinx people behind much of New York City’s cuisine. We build these ghettos/ We tear them down, she sings. Today, Rubinos releases a lyric video to the song, taken from her album Black Terry Cat, and she explained her inspiration for it in an email to the The FADER.

"In making the lyric video for 'Mexican Chef,' I took inspiration from two of my all time favorite performers: Judy Garland and La Lupe," she said. "The 'queen of Latin soul' as she’s called, La Lupe has a performing style which also carries a lot of that same exuberance and tragedy but she’s not as choreographed or measured as Judy. Some of my dance moves in this video are inspired by La Lupe who, while performing, would often pretend to wash her clothes, throw off her shoes and jewelry, pull at her shirt collar. Those movements in my video are a nod to her soul power."

Check out the video above, and catch Xenia Rubinos on tour (dates here).

Xenia Rubinos’s “Mexican Chef” Video Examines Economic Inequality Photo by Shervin Lainez
Xenia Rubinos’s “Mexican Chef” Video Examines Economic Inequality