Earning money through sex work is the underlying theme of local singer and songwriter Valley Latini’s recent single “Pay My Rent.” Her job as a stripper informed the song.
Originally from Columbia, Latini was recently naturalized as a U.S. citizen, making her more at ease with expressing herself.
“I was able to release the song ‘Ask Me Why’ without any fear,” said Latini of the new single that she wrote with Ben Cina. The song is candid about the “ugliness of being in love,” and also learning to love yourself in the midst of heartbreak. “I just feel more free to be outspoken about what I really believe,” she said.
But even before becoming a U.S. citizen, Latini embraced her job as a stripper. Last year, when Jacq the Stripper, comedian, artist, author, and, yep, stripper, asked Latini to write a song for her web series, “Sluts in Slippers Getting Snacks,” and Latini agreed right away. In the episode (watch below), “Pay My Rent” plays as Latini and Jacq the Stripper get chips from a bodega.
“It was mainly inspired by all the beautiful sex workers and strippers out there,” said Latini of the song. “I just wanted to give credit to the girls. I want them to get paid.” Latini also thinks people who aren’t sex workers, but need to get paid, can also identify with the song.
Jacq the Stripper and Latini collaborated on a capsule collection of merch based on the song. Under the words “No one will let you forget that you were a stripper, but why would you want to” on Jacq the Stripper’s online store, Strippers Forever, you can shop the limited edition collection. It consists of the title of the song in all capital letters featured on apparel, a visor, and a hat.
Latini believes that being outspoken about her job as a stripper, which she describes as performance art, can help break stigma associated with sex work. She says that by “owning it,” she shows that she’s not embarrassed or ashamed of it. In fact, she’s empowered by working as a stripper. It pays her bills, makes her more confident, and helps fund her career as a singer and songwriter.
When people listen to “Pay My Rent,” Latini hopes they’re inspired to be themselves in an unapologetic way.
Cover image of Valley Latini, courtesy of Joe Ferrucci.
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