By: Zachary Klein
Rider, in partnership with Tapestry — an on-campus club whose mission is to represent underserved populations through media and communications — welcomed legendary New York radio host Angie Martinez to campus on Nov. 9.
Martinez has been involved with the radio industry since she was 18 years old when she interned at New York radio’s Hot 97. She worked at that station for almost 20 years, solidifying herself as a radio mainstay and earning the nickname “The Voice of New York.”
Martinez left Hot 97 in 2014 for the station’s main competitor, Power 105.1. Her legacy traveled with her to this new outlet, and she is now also syndicated in Miami.
The interview was conducted by senior communications studies major Rikiyah Mixson, where Rider students were allowed to attend. She focused on how hip-hop has formed and has become a major part of Martinez’s life as discussed in her memoir.
“I kind of fell in love with the culture, [of hip-hop],” Mixson said.
“I liked having people to listen to that looked like the people on my block. The people who were making this music were at the corner store and other places in my neighborhood.”
Martinez was as much the interviewee as she was the interviewer. She was often in back-and-forth conversation with Mixson about her personal life, just as if she was interviewing someone on the radio.
Martinez wanted to know from Mixson and also from audience members what their passion was and what they strived to do.
“My passion is public health,” Mixson told Martinez in conversation. “I’m especially focused on Black women in underserved populations.” Martinez immediately connected, using her personality and radio interviewing skills to tell a story about her own life.
Connecting with Rider students is an easy task for Martinez, who has done interviews with Beyoncé, Jay-Z and former President Barack Obama, as well as some of the biggest names in hip-hop today.
Martinez previously was a rapper and was featured on singles by Lil’ Kim and Mary J. Blige.
She was also nominated for a Grammy for her appearance on “Not Tonight” by Lil’ Kim. Mixson asked Martinez about current female rappers, and their place in hip-hop today.
“I think it’s in a great place today. … There’s so much room for different types of women because I think if you only have one style of female rapping, it’s boring,” Martinez answered.
More recently, Martinez has etched her name into the greatest awards in the radio industry. In 2018, she won a Marconi Award for major media market personality of the year. She was also inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2020, which is the biggest honor one can receive in the industry.
After the interview, the audience of Rider students, parents, alumni and staff were able to ask questions. Topics asked ranged from Martinez’s opinions on music producers to advice for young artists to the impact she’s had on the Latina community.
“I grew up in these … melting pots, and when I came to represent, I didn’t feel the impact right away,” she said. “But then I went to go see people at the Puerto Rican Day parade and I saw these girls that looked like me and they said ‘Angie! Angie!’ That’s how I knew I was having an impact.”
That impact will continue for as long as she’s on-air, and with her show now broadcasted at both major Latino ‘melting pots’ on the East Coast, she will inspire many more individuals as she shares the latest news in hip-hop with her listeners daily.