2016-11-16 / Features

Local Express

Melanie “Goldie” Huerta

Queens native Melanie Huerta, also known as Goldie, is a singer/songwriter/producer, talent manager, event coordinator, philanthropist, and founding member of The Goldmine in Brooklyn. Find out more about her musical events and outreach by following The Goldmine on Facebook.

QG: What causes are most important to you?

MH: Right now, my main focus is on the homeless population of New York and the redistribution of wealth. I’ve been raising funds to provide 1,000 homeless women in NYC with reusable menstrual cups so their periods don’t have to be such a frustrating and potentially dangerous recurrence.

QG: What initially tilted you towards activism?

MH: I don’t think I ever made a conscious decision to get into activism, actually. I am naturally a pretty passionate person and when I see things I don’t like, I can’t help but to step in and do something.

QG: How do you use your events and music toward greater aims?

MH: Having been an event curator since age 19, I’ve met a lot of people, and I’ve seen a bunch of unjust things happen. Since I have a knack for gathering people, I figured I might as well use it for something productive and for something that will do good in the world, whether I’m around to see it or not. It’s pretty rewarding work when you see other people find inspiration to go and help people they may have never thought about prior to that. We can only do as much as we know, and entertainment has always been a great way of educating the masses – whether for good or for bad. I’m actually throwing an event on Black Friday that will simultaneously promote local businesses and be a food drive for homeless locals. I’m working with another Queens native, Tyson Ho, who’s the owner and Executive Chef of Arrogant Swine in Brooklyn.

QG: What about Queens do you miss most? How has living in Brooklyn affected you?

MH: I love Queens. I go back to Queens all the time, since my family still lives there, but there are definitely plenty of things I miss. I miss the melting pot feeling, where you see food and clothing stores from all cultures and it really feels like you can take a trip to another world just by stepping into one restaurant, or the one next door. I find that so incredible. You often find, in Manhattan, that neighborhoods can be pretty segregated based on race, ethnicity, or class, but all that seems to go by the wayside in parts of Queens. Our borough is full of immigrant families beginning or continuing their journey to a better life for their families and, maybe I’m biased, but I just don’t feel that as much anywhere else. Living in Brooklyn has had its challenges, for sure. Aside from the fact that Brooklyn and Queens aren’t very accessible to each other on public transit, there’s also this dividing effect gentrification has had. I find myself feeling guilty for moving into a renovated building that likely once belonged to a family that had spent years on the same block. You can see other people view you as the enemy, and it’s hard because I know how feels to see your neighborhood be taken away piece by piece and handed to someone who doesn’t appreciate its history or its cultural significance. All I can do is give my understanding and do community outreach to make sure those who are still there don’t get the short end of the stick. This is why my main focus is always to stimulate the Queens and Brooklyn economy.

QG: Who are some of your musical and philanthropic heroes?

MH: The answer to this question is always changing. I’m more inspired by movements and actions than by individual people. Right now, Chance the Rapper is a good influence on those looking to use entertainment as a means of education. I’m also deeply moved by what Akon has done in Africa, bringing electricity to an entire village, and in terms of music, I’m a big fan of Kanye West and Bright Eyes. They push me to work harder. They definitely bring fierce competition to the table, and that can be a pretty motivating and educating factor.

QG: What are some of your favorite places in Queens?

MH: I love all of Queens. From Hollis to Hunters Point, I feel comfortable and at home and connected to the people everywhere. One thing I can say is that, when I’m feeling down, I love to head out to the Rockaways, sit on the sand and watch the ocean. It helps to put life in perspective. Sometimes, we forget that the world is bigger than what’s bothering us at the moment and I feel blessed that my city is surrounded by moving waters that have seen times and places I don’t even know about. It’s humbling and comforting. Some people have to travel far and wide for a similar experience. All I have to do is hop on a bus in any direction and I’m bound to hit water.

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