Born in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Anitta has risen to stardom and made a name for herself as the Queen of Brazilian Pop.
Her 2022 hit, “Envolver,” became the first Latin solo song to top the global Spotify chart and earned her two Latin Grammy nominations, including one for Record of the Year.
But the “Girl From Rio” isn’t only known for her catchy tunes and viral dance moves. Anitta is also a fierce activist, using her platform to advocate for women’s empowerment, LGBTQ+ rights, and environmental justice.
On Sept. 23, 2023, Anitta will bring her energy to the Global Citizen Festival stage at Central Park in New York City. She will perform on the iconic Great Lawn alongside Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Jung Kook, Conan Gray, D-Nice, and Sofia Carson. Stray Kids had been set to perform but due to an unforeseen accident, we will be joined by 3RACHA, which features three members of Stray Kids, Changbin, Bang Chan, and Han.
The festival will unite Global Citizens, artists, activists, and world leaders with one collective mission: to end extreme poverty through calling for urgent action for equity, for the planet, for food, and for jobs. The festival is timed to coincide with the United Nations General Assembly to leverage the opportunity to get policy and financial commitments for immediate action on the world’s biggest problems.
This year will be Anitta’s first time making an appearance on the Global Citizen Festival stage, but it is by no means her first time speaking up to inspire change. Here are five ways the global popstar used her platform to raise awareness.
1. She empowers women to embrace their identities and support each other.
Anitta’s songs often promote themes of women empowerment and sex positivity, encouraging her fans to feel comfortable and confident in their bodies.
Her decision to use “Anitta” as her stage name also reflects her desire to be true to herself rather than conform to a stereotype. In an interview with Hola, Anitta, born Larissa de Macedo Machado, explains that her stage name was inspired by a Brazilian telenovela.
“I chose the name because I loved the character of Anitta so much, that she didn’t like being just one type of woman,” Anitta said. “I thought that this is how I wanted to be, a different woman every day. Today crazy, tomorrow romantic, sexy, the other day intellectual. I love the idea of being many women in one.”
Anitta has also been open about more personal experiences. In Anitta: Made in Honório, a Netflix docuseries about her life, she shares that she was sexually assaulted by an abusive boyfriend when she was a teenager. She mentions that hearing other women speak about their own experiences with abuse made her feel less alone, so she wants to return the favor.
2. She is a proud member of and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.
As a bisexual woman herself, Anitta has been vocal about the importance of LGBTQ+ rights.
“We are born and surrounded by so many people [who] want to tell us what is right and what is wrong,” she told Gay Times. “So many prejudiced people are always pointing and giving us an attitude about who we are. Because of this prejudice, some people don’t have the courage to be open about who they are. They are afraid of judgment, they are afraid of what people are going to say.”
She continued: “When we see other people showing up and saying ‘Yes, that’s who I am’, it helps these people who still need a bit of courage.”
“It’s good — they feel like they’re being represented and they have more people with them. I think it’s very important,” she added.
3. She inspires her fans to learn about the environmental impact of animal agriculture.
Anitta urged her tens of millions of Instagram followers to watch the documentary Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret.
Directed by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, the documentary looks at how animal agriculture can harm the environment by contributing to climate change, deforestation, and resource depletion.
Anitta shared with her fans that she had watched the film after a friend recommended it, and it “opened [her] eyes to several things.”
“To challenge myself in 2019, I will be trying to change some of the environmentally-harmful habits I have,” Anitta said. “I suggest you also watch it — while not everyone has to agree with me, it’s always good to receive all kinds of information and seek your own truth.”
Continuing her advocacy around food and the environment, Anitta partnered with Future Farm in 2022, a Brazilian food tech startup that creates plant-based meat. She is using her influence, as well as her management and marketing experience, to help popularize sustainably-made plant-based meat in her home country.
4. She encourages her young fans to use their political power and vote.
After the 2018 presidential race in Brazil, which resulted in the election of right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro, Anitta decided to educate herself on political issues and provide a starting point for her fans to do so as well.
In 2020, along with her friend Gabriela Prioli, a Brazilian TV presenter and criminal lawyer, Anitta began hosting a Instagram Live series on her country’s political system to help educate her fans. She also urged teenagers in Brazil, where the voting age is 16, to register to vote.
“I don’t just fight for women or LGBT representation,” Anitta said in a LA Times article. “I fight for us all to have a sane environment. We at least deserve that.”
5. She uses her influence to bring attention to environmental injustice.
Anitta spoke out against former president Bolonsaro’s decisions to roll back protections for the Amazon rainforest and its Indigenous communities. Now, with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in charge, Brazil is back on track to prevent illegal logging, recording a 34% drop in Amazon deforestation in the first six months under President Lula.
Anitta also starred in the YouTube event Dear Earth, which aimed to inspire viewers from all around the world to make the Earth a better, healthier, and more sustainable home.
You can join Anitta in raising your voice and calling for action from world leaders for equity, for food security, and for the climate by taking action as part of this year’s Global Citizen Festival campaign (and beyond!). Head here to find actions you can take right now to get started.