Entertainment

Here Are Some Of The Afro-Latinos celebrities Who Continue To Impact The Music Industry

These stellar musicians and artists are showing the beats, language and fashion of their Afro-Latino roots through a variety of music styles. Celebrate Black History Month by getting to know these eight influential Afro-Latino musicians.

1. Oscar D’Leon

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When you’re dancing salsa classics such as “Llorarás” or  “Qué bueno baila usted” with your familia at your prima’s wedding, thank salsa grand maestro Oscar D’Leon. The Venezuelan salsa singer has been singing his way to the top of the salsa charts for decades, and his mega-watt smile is also a welcomed asset to Operation Smile, of which he is an ambassador for.

2. Ozuna

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One of the most popular reggaetoneros who is having a major ???? moment right now is Puerto Rican reggaeton and Latin trip artist, Juan Carlos Ozuna Rosado, aka Ozuna. He recently made history for the Billboard Latin Music Awards by being nominated for 23 awards, the most of any Latin artist thus far. Catch him on nominated tracks including “Taki Taki” and “Te Boté.”

3. Chocquibtown

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Colombian hip-hop group Chocquibtown might be under the radar to some music enthusiasts, but the group is internationally-acclaimed and award-winning, so they’re moving like the silent g in lasagna.

The group’s name pays homage to the Colombian department of Chocó, which has many inhabitants of African descent.

4. Vakeró

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Manuel Varet Marte, known by his stage name, Vakeró, is an urban Latin artist from the Dominican Republic. He has told Billboard he is proud to be associated with the African part of his Afro-Latino roots, saying in Spanish to call him “negro”, not “moreno.” Don’t get it twisted.

5. Ibeyi2

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This French, Afro-Cuban and Venezuelan duo mixes electronic beats with hip-hop, piano, a little bit of French and a side of Yoruba (a language brought to Cuba from West African slaves.) Equally stunning and talented Ibeyi2 is probably best known for being in Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ special on HBO. Now that is what you call #BlackGirlMagic.

6. Princess Nokia

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This Afro-Puerto Rican rapper is giving rap music the royal treatment. Her brand of feminism is both on display through her lyrics AND her activism. This go-getter is both a founder of Smart Girls Club AND recently announced she would be starting her own YouTube channel to promote self care, wellness and beauty. YES, QUEEN. YYESSSS!!

7. Amara la Negra

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Afro-Dominican singer Amara la Negra has been a fixture in Latino households since she was a child. First she appeared on TV on the classic show, Sábado Gigante, and now she is scoring millions of views through YouTube and was a recognizable face on Love & Hip Hop: Miami. She is using the insults people have thrown at her for not being Latina enough, or not being black enough, and showing that Afro-Latinos ARE enough. She told Rolling Stone in a recent interview, Somewhere along the way, I started to feel this energy in my body – this need to empower other women, this need to liberate people. This need to talk.” And now people are definitely listening through her music.

8. Celia Cruz

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The absolute, unquestionable QUEEN of salsa is and always will be the beloved Celia Cruz. Perhaps the first Afro-Latin artist to break through the class ceiling of identity and showcase to the world what it means to be black and talented, Celia Cruz put her country of Cuba and her style of salsa on the map. Her legacy continues on to this day, with musicians still revering her as one of the greatest Latina singers OF ALL TIME.

Did we miss any of your favorite Afro-Latino musicians? Let us know in the comments!!

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Johnny Pacheco, the ‘Godfather of Salsa’, Has Passed Away at the Age of 85

Entertainment

Johnny Pacheco, the ‘Godfather of Salsa’, Has Passed Away at the Age of 85

Photo via Getty Images

Johnny Pacheco–the trailblazing musician, record executive and bandleader–passed away on Monday. He was 85.

In his life, Johnny Pacheco was known as the “Godfather of Salsa” due both popularizing the term as well as co-founding Fania Records, which came to be known as the Motown of Salsa music.

Yes, he was known for being a brilliant artist in his own right (Pacheco played the flute and the saxophone along with countless other instruments), but he was most famous for his role as star-maker.

Fania Records was famous for it supergroup, the Fania Allstars, that had a revolving lineup of talented musicians like Tito Puente, Héctor Lavoe, and of course, Celia Cruz.

Pacheco’s continuous collaborations with Celia Cruz is one of his greatest legacies. He first teamed up with Cruz in 1974, for their successful album Celia & Johnny–which certified Gold. Together, Pacheco and Cruz released over 10 albums.

You could say that music ran in Johnny Pacheco’s blood. Born in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic in 1935, the Pachecos were a musical family. Johnny’s father, Rafael Azarías Pacheco, was a successful clarinetist and big band leader.

When Johnny was 11, his family left the Dominican Republic and fled to the U.S. to escape the dictatorial regime of Rafael Trujillo. The Pachecos relocated to the Bronx, where Johnny’s love for Afro-Cuban music like charanga and pachanga truly blossomed.

After studying percussion at Julliard, Pacheco began to focus all of his attention on a new exciting genre that was sweeping New York City: salsa. Salsa was named such because it reminded listeners of sauce–it was spicy.

Pacheco co-founded Fania Records with his business partner, a laywer named Jerry Masucci. It was through Fania that Pacheco discovered numerous Latin artists and helped solidify salsa as a genre that was here to stay–forever.

Later in his life, Pacheco received innumerable awards and honors for his cultural contributions. Not only was he a 9-time Grammy nominee with 10 gold records, but he was awarded the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.

On Monday, Fania records released a statement that recognized Pacheco as “more than a musician, bandleader, writer, arranger and producer” but as “a visionary”. “His music will live on eternally,” they wrote. “And we are forever grateful to have been a part of his wonderful journey.”

He is survived by his wife, Maria “Cuqui” Elena Pacheco, and his four children, Norma, Joanne, Elis and Phillip

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Cardi B’s Role in the Upcoming ‘Fast & Furious’ Installment Has Finally Been Revealed

Entertainment

Cardi B’s Role in the Upcoming ‘Fast & Furious’ Installment Has Finally Been Revealed

Screenshot via vindiesel/Instagram

The fast and the furious series may be on its ninth installment, but it has no intention of slowing down. Last week, the dependable franchise dropped a new trailer. And although Cardi wasn’t in the trailer, fans were later given a hint as to who Cardi B will be playing in the upcoming movie.

Apparently, Cardi will be playing Leysa in Fast & Furious 9, “a woman with a connection to Dom’s (Vin Diesel) past”.

And that’s the extent of the information we were given about that! Talk about a tease.

The official synopsis for F9 is as follows: “Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) is leading a quiet life off the grid with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and his son, little Brian, but they know that danger always lurks just over their peaceful horizon. This time, that threat will force Dom to confront the sins of his past if he’s going to save those he loves most.

“His crew joins together to stop a world-shattering plot led by the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they’ve ever encountered: a man who also happens to be Dom’s forsaken brother, Jakob (John Cena).”

Cardi’s addition to the cast was announced back in 2019, when Vin Diesel posted a surprise video with Cardi by his side on the set of the latest installment.

“Day 86 here on the set of ‘Fast 9,’” Diesel told the camera. “I know I’m exhausted. We all gave every single thing we could for this movie, put it all on the table, put it all out there.”

“I’m tired, but I can’t wait,” Cardi added, looking notably exhausted. “I ain’t gonna front, I think this is going to be the best one.”

Cardi B wasn’t the only Latino star to become a new member of the Fast family. Back in 2019, the news dropped that the king of reggaetón himself, Ozuna, would be appearing in the upcoming movie as well as contributing to the soundtrack.

Last year, Vin Diesel revealed to Jimmy Kimmel how Cardi happened to become a part of the Fast & Furious family.

“My daughter wanted a piece of casting to happen, so Cardi B is in it,” he told the late-night host. To which Kimmel responded: “Your daughter said to you ‘Dad, will you put Cardi B in the movie?’ And you said ‘Oh that’s a good idea?’”

“I said, ‘It’s a great idea!’ As she’s listening to ‘I Like It Like That’,” Diesel admitted. Sounds like the kid’s got good taste.

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