Molina Speaks is a visionary, artist, musician, living word architect, and human bridge. He has created a cultural legacy of work. His art is rooted in meta-realism, radical imagination, poetry, experimentation, and collaboration. He is guided by pan-Indigenous, Chicano/XicanX and mestizo philosophies.
Molina was named a Mastermind in 2017 by Westword—Denver’s independent source for local news and culture. He was voted Best Solo Rap Artist by Westword readers in 2018. He is an honoree of the Lalo Delgado Poetry Festival. He has earned an Imagine 2020 Award from the city of Denver, and a Career Advancement Award from Colorado Creative Industries. Molina is the Producer, Director and Editor of ROOT the film. He earned the Premio Ometeotl Award for New Media at Su Teatro’s XicanIndie Film Fest in 2018.
Molina Speaks is prolific. His work is rooted in Do It Yourself politics, beginning with his first album Up Before the Sunrise, produced by CHiTT Productions and Mannequin Rituals between 2006-2008. Molina has expanded into a decade of collaborations, most notably with legendary producers DJ Icewater (L.A./Oakland) and Diles (Albuquerque). Molina has co-produced and released over a dozen independent albums, along with printed and digital volumes of his poetry. He was the co-host of Brown Genius Podcast from 2016-2018. He performs live and records studio albums with Chicano Afrobeat orchestra Pink Hawks and punk/rap band Roots Rice and Beans.
Molina Speaks has shared the stage with the likes of De La Soul, Lupe Fiasco, Saul Williams, Immortal Technique, Abiodun Oyewole of the Last Poets, Les Nubians, Dead Prez, J-Live and the Flobots. He has appeared on records with Speech of Arrested Development, Tajai of Hieroglyphics, DJ Cavem Moetavation, Hakim Bellamy, Felix “Fast4Ward” Ayodele, Akir, Ill Se7en, Bianka Mikahn, The Soul Pros, Mike Wird, Panama Soweto and 2MX2.
Molina’s futurist work is documented by UCLA professor Dr. Marissa Lopez in an expansive 2019 paper titled “The Xicano Future is Now: Poetry, Performance and Prolepsis.” Dr. Lopez focuses on Molina’s book-on-tape Build 2020 Manifesto (2010), video chapbook Bronze Future: Letters for 2045 (2012), and his broader futurist vision.
As a Social Entrepreneur, Molina has put a lifetime of work into advocating for human rights, civic health, public wealth, and creative spaces for youth. As Creative Director (2012-2016) and Lead Partner Artist, Molina played a foundational role in the establishment of Youth on Record. The non-profit organization operates a youth media studio on Denver’s westside, serving thousands of youth each year through music education programs. Through Youth on Record, Molina taught Emcee School, Social Solutions, and Hip-Hop and Chess courses for five years in Denver Public Schools. Speaks says of his fellow partner artists at Youth On Record, “this is our platinum record.” He is the founder and coordinator of the Youth on Record Fellowship. This career development program for 18-23 year old artists earned an Arts in Society award in 2018 for addressing racial and social inequities in the creative sector.
Molina Speaks is a TedX Fellow and has been an Artist-In-Residence with the National Hispanic Heritage Center, Think 360 Arts, Lighthouse Writers, Warm Cookies of the Revolution, and La Napoule Arts Foundation. He has collaborated with Cafe Cultura, Cafe Nuba, Denver Art Museum, MCA Denver, Museo de las Americas, Denver Public Library, Denver Spirituals Project, and other cultural centers that focus on youth community development.
Molina’s work has been critically acclaimed by Colorado Public Radio, 9 News, the Denver Post, and Westword. He has been a feature artist of the Biennial of the Americas, Jaipur International Literary Festival, Latino Community Foundation, Colorado Thespians, Bioneers, Boston Arts Academy, Colorado Mountain College’s Common Reader Program, Denver Talks, and the Clifford Still Museum. Molina is the Music Director of the documentary film Papers (2009)—a film about undocumented youth and their struggle for education. He has been invited to speak and read poetry at dozens of leading research universities and community colleges.
Molina has compiled an anthology of his rap: Lyrical Meditations of Molina Speaks, 2007-2019. This book is an independent, limited release—a gem for a few hundred collectors of rare cultural works.
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