On The Radar: Interview with Victoria Hernandez of HipHopDX
The following piece is a part of our On The Radar series including individuals who have been placed on our radar, and we encourage you to have them on yours.
Wade-O Radio: Who is Victoria? Where are you from?
Victoria: I am a college student who has a lot of different passions and interests, but is ultimately just trying to glorify God. I was born in Anaheim, California, but my parents moved to Colorado when I was six months old so I call Colorado home. I grew up in a Christian home, but really made my faith my own after coming to college.
Wade-O Radio: If I’m correct, you’re a student at Miami? What are you studying? Are you involved with any extra-curricular activities?
Victoria: Yes, I’m a senior at the University of Miami. I have a double major in journalism and sport administration. I’ve been involved with Cru throughout college. I got involved freshman year and it has been so helpful to keep me grounded and focused on God and His plan for my life. I’m also involved with Athletes in Action, which is an extension of Cru. I did Urban Project Los Angeles with AIA a few summers ago and that was so awesome. Really redefined how I see myself and how I see God working in my life and the world. Also at school, I’m part of a performing arts club called Rhythm Nation. I mostly dance with them, which is a fun creative outlet for me. I’ve danced since I was about three years old, mostly ballet and then jazz, tap and lyrical. Then, in high school, I tried hip hop and I loved that.
Wade-O Radio: How did you get connected with HipHopDX?
Victoria: I knew that the summer before my senior year would be really influential on my future. I have mostly done sports reporting, so I really wanted to stick with that. I applied for a bunch of opportunities ranging from ESPN to local newspapers. But I didn’t get anything and I was starting to freak out. It was a test of patience, but it was totally worth it. There was a point where I was discouraged and just thought I’d settle for working at Lifeway, a Christian bookstore, like I’d done the past few summers. But I had a few people in my life who really encouraged me to not settle and challenge myself to see God’s best in my life. I’m so grateful. I ended up applying for about 18 different things. I started just applying for anything that interested me from a public relations firm in New York to a merchandise visual internship at Vans. I love Hip Hop music and just the culture, so I started looking at different websites and publications and I applied for this internship at HipHopDX. I actually got an opportunity in promotions with a group of radio stations in Colorado at first, but it didn’t feel right, so I waited and I got the internship with DX and I was so stoked.
Wade-O Radio: What was your starting role at HipHopDX, and if different, what is your current role?
Victoria: I was an intern for the summer. It was a nine-week internship where we spent three weeks with each of the sections: news, features and media. Now I am on the freelance team.
Wade-O Radio: We’ve noticed that Christian Hip Hop artists are covered in a number of your pieces – was that a personal decision, or was that something the site was interested in covering?
Victoria: It was mostly a personal decision. On the second day of the internship, Lecrae announced the Anomaly album and I’m a Twitter addict, so I saw the tweet and I told my editor and he told me to do a quick writeup. So I think we were one of the first main media outlets to report the announcement of Anomaly. That was pretty cool. Then, I definitely just tried to speak up about my favorite artists whenever we were doing lists and things. My interview with Mali Music was actually the editor of the features section’s idea. He saw Mali’s album was high up on the SoundScan charts so he wanted to have somebody interview him. I knew Mali from Gravity, so I offered to interview him. It was really cool because Mali and I had a lot in common in that we are followers of Jesus working in a mainstream industry so we had a great conversation. I am excited to hopefully be able to relate to a lot more artists like that.
Wade-O Radio: What was your first introduction to Christian Hip Hop, and who’s your favorite artist today?
Victoria: I started listening to Hip Hop in high school because I was a manager for our football team. I honestly really didn’t like Hip Hop before then because it has such a bad reputation. But the team played it as pump up music and I absolutely loved it. I started with the songs the team would play, so it was a lot of Kanye, Lil Wayne and one of my favorite songs to this day is Tupac’s “Hail Mary.” I’m not sure how I came across Lecrae, but he was definitely my first introduction to Christian Hip Hop. I think I had even seen the music video for “Prayin For You” on Gospel Music Channel or something, but didn’t really know about him until high school and I found his Rebel album and was so excited. I got into all the Reach artists and I like Humble Beast. I tried to learn as much as I could. I know it’s going to sound typical, but Lecrae is still my favorite Christian Hip Hop artist probably for sentimental reasons. But also, I just really like what he is doing for Hip Hop as a culture. He is refusing to be limited by labels. I absolutely love Anomaly, I think it is his best album. Rebel will always have a special place in my heart, but Anomaly is just a pure, real Hip Hop album. I personally love J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar, too and I think this album is right in line with some of their best work just in regards to honesty and relatability. Another artist I really like is King Mez. He is up-and-coming and isn’t really labeled as Christian Hip Hop, but he’s a brother in Christ who just tells truth in his music, his joys and fears and he’s awesome.
Wade-O Radio: Are you hoping to write about hip-hop after college? If not, what do you planning on doing?
Victoria: Yes, hopefully. When I first got to college, my dream job was to write for ESPN. I still would love to do that and stick with sports in some way, but I definitely enjoy writing about music. I’ve had a lot of insecurities about liking Hip Hop and balancing that with my walk as a Christian, but after my internship with DX, my love for Hip Hop was confirmed. So hopefully I can balance both music and sports news.
Wade-O Radio: Where can we follow you to keep up with your work?
Victoria: I guess the best way would be to follow me on Twitter @vrhernandez116.