If Bomba Estéreo’s “Soy Yo” single didn’t captivate you with its message of self-love, the 11-year-old star of their recently released music video for the hit song probably grabbed your attention.
Sarai Gonzalez became a viral sensation after her free-spirited performance in the Colombian group’s new video, which has amassed over 2 million views since its release on Sept. 7. Fans lauded the young star’s confidence and moves as the ultimate expression of brown girl pride.
But behind Gonzalez’s bubbly performance lies a personal connection to the song’s theme of embracing who you are both inside and out. The young star told NBC News on Monday why “Soy Yo” spoke to her on a personal level.
“The message of this video is just to be yourself and not care what anyone else thinks no matter what,” Gonzalez told NBC. “I’m proud to be a part of this video because I’ve overcome bullying.”
And Juan Carlos Gonzalez, Sarai’s father, says his daughter’s experience with bullying is what prepared her for the role.
“It helped her with the video because it’s something she lived through,” he told NBC.
My heart was filled with nostalgic joy and magical brown girl pride because I immediately saw my former awkward self in her. Only at her age, I wasn’t as confident but had this music video existed in my day, perhaps I would have owned my wavy bangs, bushy light eyebrows, and, er, unique sense of style. Um, I wore too many vests. Everyone should have real life characters we can relate to, it’s how we come to understand ourselves. Imagine if you grew up seeing more brown girls like yourself on television that you could relate to?
Check out Sarai in Bomba Estéreo’s “Soy Yo,” in the video below.