Black History Month is a time when the many African influences throughout Latin America should be acknowledged and celebrated. The Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA) in Long Beach, California did just that on Sunday, Feb. 24. The second ever Afro-Latinx Festival featured dance, musical performances, vendors and a collection of traditional Latin American food to eat. Check out some of the highlights and what attendees said about what makes them proud to identify as Afro-Latino.
Music and dances of traditional Afro-Latino culture were well displayed.
The Lidereibugu Garifuna Ensemble, a Los Angeles-based traditional dance and drumming group, performed among a standing room only audience. The group consists of dancers from historically Afro-Latino areas like Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize.
There was various food trucks selling dishes from countries like Brazil and Peru.
What would a festival be without good food? The event didn’t disappoint on that part. Traditional Afro-Latino meals were available thanks to food trucks like The Tropic Truck, Mikhuna Peruvian Truck and Tender Grill Gourmet Brazilian. There was even a huge selection of agua frescas for sale that included flavors like watermelon, hibiscus and kiwi.
There was a huge selection of merchants selling traditional Afro-Latino goods and products.
Toni Shaw, owner of House of Mosaic, was one of many vendors at the Afro-Latino festival. She is an entrepreneur that sells candles as an homage to her cultural upbringing. Shaw says events like this are important beyond just a one-day celebration.
“Not only am I meeting new business owners like myself but I’m getting a sense of what identifying as Afro-Latino means to others,” Shaw said. “We need more days like this that’s a for sure.”
Jolin Miranda was another business owner who talked about what identifying as Afro-Latino means.
Miranda is the owner of an artwork and accessory collection called “Boricubi.” The collection is a nod to her roots and an expression of her passion in art. Miranda says the art has not only helped her connect with other Afro-Latinas like herself but give her a voice.
“My art is a reflection of how I see myself and the vibrant roots of my culture,” Miranda said. “It’s powerful and we should never forget to express ourselves with others.”
Veronica Lennon, a jewelry maker, says having an Afro-Latino festival goes a long way when it comes to representation.
“This event is important for some if us who have a mixture of cultures in our backgrounds and rarely get talked about,” Lennon says.
She sells items that are a combination of traditional Latino and African merchandise that Lennon says represent what being Afro-Latino is all about. “We need to be proud of our background and take pride in events like this,”
Isabel Walker, who hails from Panama, voiced what festivals like this mean to her culturally.
“It makes me happy to see people come out and enjoy this day where sometimes people forget our small communities.” Walker said. “I’m from Panama and all this dancing and art just brings me home.”
One of the biggest highlights of the event was a performance by the ABADA Capoeira team.
Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art form that was developed by slaves. It allowed slaves to disguise that they were practicing fight moves that they would later utilize by making them look like they were dancing. The martial art is used in various Afro-Latino communities.
Performers allowed children to get in on the capoeira as well.
The art of capoeria combines self-defense, acrobatics, dance, music and song together. Children took to the stage to show off some of their skills and put it to test against performers.
The festival is a perfect example of the importance of celebrating the Afro-Latino background and culture.
Officials say attendance sizes reached well over 600 people throughout the day. MoLAA officials hope to host a similar event in the forthcoming year with an even bigger lineup of artists and vendors. We are already looking forward to it.
The chisme that has been swirling about a Selena Quintanilla Tribute Cruise is looking more credible. Chris Perez has confirmed that he’d be the headlining entertainment. The cruise is promoting itself as “Como La Flor Cruise Dreaming of You 25 Years” to honor the Tejana sensation.
While the organizer of the cruise has declined to share their name or the host agency for the trip, Chris Perez’s name adds much-needed street cred to the event. It kind of seems too good to be true, but here’s what we know.
The three-day cruise is tailored to Selena fans.
The event is boasting all sorts of Selena themed events from trivia to “Selenaoke.” You can let your freak-for-Selena flag fly freely here. These are your people.
All signs are pointing toward the host agency being Carnival Cruise Lines.
The images of the boat on the event’s website show a Carnival cruise ship. Officials from Carnival told Caller-Times that the cruise is scheduled through their company.
After a “fun day at sea,” you’ll arrive in Enseñada, México.
The organizer copied and pasted Carnival’s description of Enseñada’s port of call:
“Thanks to its stunning coastline, Ensenada will give you plenty of postcard-worthy moments…, and it couldn’t be easier to get there. Escape to Mexico’s original seaside getaway with Carnival cruises to Ensenada. Once a favorite hideaway for high-rolling Hollywood stars, Ensenada is now one of Mexico’s most popular ports of call. You can sightsee, shop or kayak at Punta Banda… but the true pleasures of this festive city are culinary. That’s why a cruise to Ensenada, Mexico should top every foodie’s wish list. Have your fill of fresh oysters and sip a rich Baja merlot. Soak up the richness of the local culture as you enjoy the journey.”
Selena’s father’s company, Q-Productions, said the cruise “has nothing to do with us.”
Given the ongoing lawsuit between Abraham Quintanilla Jr. and Chris Perez, it’s hard to know what’s going on behind the scenes. Q Productions has consistently sued any independent event featuring Selena’s name.
As far as we know, the event is real and can’t happen soon enough for Chris Perez.
Perez is still in a legal battle with Selena’s father to create a television series of his memoir, “Dear Selena, With Love.” He’s going for it, though!
There are a dozen other bands set to perform live over the weekend.
According to its website, SelenaTributeCruise.com, this is the lineup:
The Chris Perez Project
The Como La Flor Band: A Tribute to Selena
Raymond Ray Ray Garcia
Monica Tribute to Selena
Yvonne y Fuego
Ernestine Romero y Techno Cumbia
The site also promises the most amount of cumbia and dancing you can muster.
The site also boasts Latin dance lessons “from the Latin All-Star Dance Instructors. You will be getting your CUMBIA on in no time!”
There will be a huge Selena party off-ship at Papas & Beer.
According to the website, Selena Tribute bands will be playing from all over the world at Papas & Beer’s main stage. The event will be from 12 p.m.-4 p.m. and is “FREE for all of our Cruisers.”
Plus, you’ll get to enjoy all the perks of a Carnival ship.
Like all these slides with ocean views. 🙂 There will be pool parties, a full-service casino, and a celebrity DJ playing cumbia every single night.
Rates begin at $950 per person and only require $100 as a down payment.
It includes all meals, shows and onboard event produced by Selena Tribute Cruise. You can spend as little as $950 to secure an interior room, or ball out at $3000 per person for suite ocean views.
The ship leaves Long Beach on September 25th, but you have until May 2020 to reserve a spot.
Whose going? Save us a seat!
READ: 20 Pics Of Selena Quintanilla Inspired Graduation Caps
Latinos have smashed almost every glass ceiling in professional sports in the United States. It is common to see Dominicans (did anyone say Alex Rodriguez?), Puerto Ricans, Venezuelans and Mexicans, among others, hit the ball out of the park or pitch the perfect game in professional Major League Baseball.
World boxing is dominated by Mexicans and Mexican-Americans (Saúl Canelo Álvarez just signed the richest contract for any athlete in history with streaming service DAZN, $350 million for eleven fights over six years). However, there are two sporting arenas that remain elusive for nuestra gente: the NFL and the NBA. Latinos who have become stars in basketball or football are few and far in between, which makes the improbable journey of Dominican NBA player Felipe López all the more extraordinary.
López’s life and career is the subject matter of the new film Dominican Dream, which launched at the Tribeca Film Festival this May 2019. Here are some facts for this true legend and one of the many faces of Latino pride in the United States professional sports landscape.
Here’s all you need to know about the film that honors Felipe López.
Joining great documentaries on basketball, such as the unmissable Hoop Dreams, this feature directed by Jonathan Hock tells the rags-to-riches story of our beloved López, who in 1994, at the mere age of 17, was the hottest prospect in basketball. His journey all the way to the NBA was a given. Los sueños sí pueden cumplirse. This film is part of ESPN’s series 30 for 30. The director had previously helmed Through the Fire, the story of another young basketball star, Sebastian Telfair. You can watch the trailer here.
He was once known as “the Dominican Michael Jordan.”
Felipe’s smart moves, athleticism, and quick reactions earned him the moniker of “the Dominican Michael Jordan”. To be compared to the greatest basketball player of all time is quite something, and that in itself turned Felipe into a bastion of Dominican pride. In fact, Felipe wanted the film to be more about immigration than the courts. He told CBS: “Jonathan Hock introduced it to me not as a basketball story, but more as an immigration story. I loved it because to me, it’s a topic that we are living. There are so many migrating families going through adversity coming into the country.”
His journey in the NBA was bittersweet.
Felipe was touted as the next big thing in professional sports after being an absolute star in St John’s High School. He played only for four seasons in the NBA, which makes his journey a bit of an anticlimactic and tragic one for some. After the NBA, where he played for the Vancouver Grizzlies, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Washington Wizards. He never got to hold the prized championship trophy.
López moved to the United States with his family when he was only 14 years old.
Luis Felipe (his full, telenovela name!) was born on December 19, 1974, in Santiago. With his family, he then settled in the New York area when he was a teenager. Just three years after arriving in los estates, he was gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine, perhaps the most important sports publication in the world.
His dad was also a sportsman: de tal palo tal astilla.
Like many in the isla bonita, Felipe’s dad had a fondness for baseball. He participated in the amateur baseball league of the Dominican Republic.
He played for Rice High School in New York City. Guess who else came out of New York high schools.
No other than NBA stars Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then known as Lew Alcindor) and Dean Meminger, who at the time was also considered top prospects.
He played college basketball for St. John’s Red Storm.
This team is proudly New Yorker and hails from St. John’s University in Queens. The team plays in the Big East Conference and has one of the biggest followings in the NCAA. What a way to start!
López made quite a mark in his college team.
He is one of the top four scorers (he recently went from third to fourth place) in the team’s history. Not bad for a recent migrant trying to achieve his dreams, eh!
He was first picked by the San Antonio Spurs in the 1998 NBA Draft.
He never got to play with stars like David Robinson, as he was quickly exchanged for Antonio Daniels and went to play for the Canadian team Vancouver Grizzlies. The fact that the NBA was just testing the ground in the Canadian market might have contributed to the bumpy road that Felipe had during his first steps in the league. One can only imagine what he could have accomplished with the San Antonio Spurs.
He played 112 games for the Grizzlies.
As happens with a lot of professional athletes that are traded like objects (there are serious ethical issues with this), Felipe was then sent to play with the Washington Wizards in 2000. He then became a free agent and played with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the team with which he last saw action in the NBA. He signed with the Dallas Mavericks and trained with Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Clippers, but never played a game with these teams. We can see that his career was full of ups and downs, through which he kept his cool and a positive and generous attitude.
His game in the NBA never quite reached the level of his high school and college days.
In the NBA he averaged 5.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and one assist per game. To be honest, these are OK numbers, but nothing too impressive by superstar standards.
He was a pioneer, though: he was the first high-school athlete to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, sí señor.
Can you imagine being a Latino kid in the 1990s and see this cover? The Statue of Liberty on the background and a playful yet imposing Afro-Latino dynamo being the face of basketball? There perhaps too many expectations around Felipe’s career, which he acknowledged in an interview for SI, saying he wasn’t able to“make it all come together … and make it be the story that everyone wanted it to be.”
He is generous by nature and he established The Felipe Lopez Foundation
As a teenager, Lopez saw a way out of trouble (he was too busy shooting hoops!), but he knows that not all kids have the same opportunities. Out of his church in the South Bronx, he offers a space for kids from 5 to 17 years-old to be better students and better peers. Way to go, hermano! By the way, he also works with USA Basketball to develop clinics all around the country. We think that Felipe’s Dominican-American Dream is alive and well, thank you very much.