Today would have been the 45th birthday of the late Gloria Casarez, a lesbian Latinx activist and the city’s first director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs. Remembered for her diverse advocacy for LGBTQ Philadelphians, Casarez died from breast cancer at age 42 on October 19, 2014.
In memory of her legacy, independent trans hip-hop artist Christian Lovehall, a.k.a. “WORDZ The Poet Emcee,” dropped a new single today titled “See Ya Later …” in memory of Casarez, whom he describes as his mentor and friend. “Gloria was more than this city’s LGBTQ liaison to me — she was my mentor, friend and family,” Lovehall told G Philly. “One of her quotes is tatted on my arm so I’ll never forget the wisdom and love she shared with me throughout the years.”
Lovehall’s relationship with Casarez developed as he helped to found the Philly Trans March in 2014. Casarez was pivotal in securing city support for the first-ever event during her tenure under the Nutter administration. “I think we talked even more as her health declined,” Lovehall said. “We were actually in the middle of a Facebook conversation right before she transitioned to being an ancestor. This song is a musical continuation of that dialogue, the words I never got the chance to say.”
Produced by Edoby Beats, “See Ya Later …” is also the theme music for The Gloria! Project, an upcoming film produced by local photographer and filmmaker Kelly Burkhardt. “Through my research Christian’s name kept popping up,” Burkhardt said on choosing Lovehall to contribute to the film. “I used to watch him perform throughout the years, I know how talented he is. We started talking back in the spring of this year about his connection with Gloria and it was a no-brainer to ask him to write a song for the film. I wanted something that transports you into a positive space because so many people are still hurting from Gloria’s passing. Christian nailed it. It’s so good can’t stop singing the lyrics.”
Here’s a sneak peek of the song in this exclusive preview of The Gloria! Project that is currently in production:
“See Ya Later …” is now available on iTunes.