Entertainment

Here Are Some Of The Afro-Latinos 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!!

Reggaeton Super Star Ozuna Doesn’t Care About Being ‘The King Of Reggaeton:’ ‘I Do It For My People’

Entertainment

Reggaeton Super Star Ozuna Doesn’t Care About Being ‘The King Of Reggaeton:’ ‘I Do It For My People’

ozuna / Instagram

The reggaeton superstar, Juan Carlos Ozuna has become a chart-topping artist with lots of accolades. The singer is best known for singing positive and uplifting songs and making a point of avoiding profanity out of respect for his daughter. His unique voice and the upbeat nature of his music have made him a global sensation. Except, this week, Ozuna told The New York Post that he doesn’t care to be called “The King of Reggaeton.”

Ozuna grew up in Puerto Rico, and has been writing songs since he was 12 years old. 

Credit: ozuna / Instagram

He dropped his first hit in 2015 with “Si Tu Marido No Te Quiere,” and in 2016 with “La Ocasion.” He released a remix to supertstar Daddy Yankee’s song “No Quiere Enamorarse” and racked up millions of views and streams. 

Ozuna’s first full-length album ‘Odisea’ topped the charts and he became a sensation.

Credit: yosoy_pito / Instagram

His first full-length album dropped in 2017. ‘Odisea’ featured guest appearances by Reggaeton icons like De la Ghetto, Anuel AA, J Balvin, and others. His debut album peaked at number one on the Top Latin Albums chart. And though he’s been hailed as “the new king of reggaeton,” Ozuna is reluctant to wear the crown. 

He doesn’t do music for titles or awards, “I work for my people.”

Credit: ozuna / Instagram

“I’m not doing music for everybody to call me ‘the king,’ ” says the 27-year-old Puerto Rican artist, who’s dropping his third album, “Nibiru,” on Friday. “I’m doing music for my people; I work for my people. I’m doing this because I love it.”

Ozuna loves his people, and they love him back. His albums have earned him multiple awards and lots of success.

Credit: ozuna / Instagram

When the love is genuine, it’s tangible, and reciprocated. In 2018, ‘el negrito ojos claros’ finished with the Top 2 LPs, his 2017 debut, “Odisea,” and its follow-up, “Aura,” on Billboard’s year-end Top Latin Albums Chart. In April of this year, he took home 11 trophies, including artist of the year, at the Billboard Latin Music Awards, becoming the biggest winner in a single night in the event’s history.

Now, the singer’s getting ready for what’s coming. He has a big week ahead of him.

Credit: ozuna / Instagram

In addition to the release of “Nibiru,” which will be his third studio album, the reggaetonero is scheduled to perform at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and at the Prudential Center on Friday as part of the Mega Bash, an all-star Latin concert. 

The Puerto Rican singer has crossed over to U.S. audiences by collaborating with huge Hip Hop and pop stars.

Crossover audiences have gotten to know Ozuna, too, thanks to his international smash “Taki Taki” in collaboration with Cardi B, Selena Gomez and DJ Snake. Another high-profile collab that boosted his career, was 2018’s “La Modelo” with American rapper Cardi B, which marked Ozuna‘s first entry on the Hot 100.

“That’s my sister; that’s my family,” said Ozuna in an interview with The New York Post, about the Bronx rapper, who he first met in 2014. “I had a show in New York at La Boom [in Queens]. Somebody told me, ‘Yo, Cardi B’s coming to see you.’ I said, ‘Who’s Cardi B?’”

Although Ozuna has only recorded in Spanish so far, he’d like to expand his repertoire of songs in the future.

Credit: ozuna / Instagram

“Yeah, I want to record in English,” he says. “I’m working on my English right now.” Growing up in Puerto Rico, Ozuna was influenced by old school reggaeton stars like Don Omar, Wisin y Yandel, and Daddy Yankee; “the real, real reggaeton,” as he puts it. As well as taking in influences by hip-hop and R&B heavyweights such as Jay-Z and Usher. But music was already in his genes from his Dominican dad, who was a dancer for the reggaeton artist Vico C. “I got it in my blood,” Ozuna says of his father, who was fatally shot when the singer was just 3.

Ozuna is celebrating Thanksgiving with his family in New York. 

Credit: ozuna / Instagam

The reggaeton singer is bringing his family over from Puerto Rico, to be there with him at the parade. His family’s made up of his wife Taina Marie Meléndez and their two kids, daughter Sofia and son Jacob. About riding atop a float at the iconic parade, he says, “That’s a dream because I’ve seen it on TV for years. And now I’m going to perform. That’s awesome! So I’m going to bring the best energy.”

Ozuna’s having a very busy Christmas this year.

Credit: likealocaltours / Instagram

As for the rest of the holiday season, the singer will be busy with the launch of his new album, preparing for a world tour in 2020 beginning in the Dominican Republic in February. “Man, I gotta work!” he says, although he plans to be back home in Puerto Rico with his family to have a feliz Navidad. “But for me,” he says, “every day is Christmas.”

The singer is dropping his third album, “Nibiru,” this Friday.

READ: Ozuna Shatters World Records, Honored With Four Guinness World Record Titles

Amid All The Drama Of The Latin Grammys And Urbano Music, Here’s What Happened At Last Night’s Latin Grammys

Entertainment

Amid All The Drama Of The Latin Grammys And Urbano Music, Here’s What Happened At Last Night’s Latin Grammys

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The 2019 Latin Grammys hosted by Ricky Martin kicked off yesterday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. There were some big wins for Juan Luis Guerra, Mon Laferte, Christian Nodal, Bad Bunny, Luis Enrique and — much to many Latinxs’ chagrin — Spanish singers Rosalia, who won Album of the Year, and Alejandro Sanz.

However, there were many highlights of the evening as well. Legends Celia Cruz, Juan Gabriel, Joan Sebastian, and Gustavo Cerati received a lavish tribute. Vincente Fernandez made his story when he brought his son Alejandro and grandson Alex Jr. on stage to perform. Bad Bunny gave a disruptive speech about the Latin Grammys snubbing reggaeton artists, and strangely enough, a member of Metallica showed up. These are the 2019 Latin Grammys highlights. 

A tribute to late Latinx legends ushers in a star-studded 2019 Latin Grammys. 

Brazillian singer Anitta was accompanied by merengue veterans Olga Tañon and Milly Quezada to perform a samba and merengue infused version of “La Vida es un Carnaval,” to honor Celia Cruz. Then Mexican crooners Carlos Rivera, Reik, and Leon Garcia came on stage to perform JuanGa’s “Querida.” 

Natalia Jimenez, Calibre 50, and Prince Royce performed Mexican singer-songwriter Joan Sebastian’s “Secreto de Armor.” Ricky Martin was joined by Draco Rosa, Fito Paez, and Beto Cuevas to honor Gustavo Cerati with their rendition of Soda Stereo’s “Musica Ligera.” 

Miguel sang in Spanish and everyone lost their minds.

Miguel performed a Spanglish version of “Show Me Love” with Alicia Keys. After the Mexican heartthrob sang his parts in Spanish, people on Twitter kind of lost it. 

“Miguel singing in Spanish is making me feel some type of waaaay *heart eyes*,” one user wrote. 

“Seeing @Miguel sing during the Latin Grammys with @aliciakeys was something else. Sensual and romantic at the same time,” another Twitter user wrote.

“My parents are watching Latin Grammys and I look up to see Miguel and Alicia Keys performing I was likeajxjdjxj,” a stunned user wrote. 

Mon Laferte bared her chest on the red carpet for Chilean rights.

We can’t exactly show you the full photo, but Chilean musician Mon Laferte, who won Best Alternative Music Album, bravely exposed her breasts to get the public’s attention about human rights in Chile. Written across her decollete in black ink were the words “En Chile Torturan Violan,” which translates to “In Chile They Torture, Rape, And Kill.” 

At least 20 people have been killed during protests in Chile about wealth inequality (the nation is one of Latin America’s wealthiest) and better social services following the government’s announcement of higher subway fares. Tens of thousands of protesters set up fiery barricades and confronted riot police in October. 

Vincente Fernandez showed three generations of Mexican artistry. 

“I’m a grateful man for my family and my music,” Vicente Fernandez said as he was joined on stage by his son Alejandro and grandson Alex. “When you listen to the voice of who has your blood, you feel immortal.” 

Alejandro performed his latest single “Caballero.” Throughout the tear-jerking performance by the trio, family photos were displayed in the background. 

 “I still needed to sing 50 more songs but I owe it to you. All I want to say to God and my public is that you know you are a part of me until the day they bury me. Thank you,” Vincente said after receiving a standing ovation. 

Bad Bunny stood up to the industry while accepting his reward. 

Bad Bunny scored his first Latin Grammy for Best Urban Album for X100Pre. Bunny was one of many artists to join Maluma in defending reggaeton against the industry’s consistent snubbing of musicians of the genre.

 “Reggaeton is part of Latin music,” he said. “To my colleagues, let’s give it our all. The genre has become about views and numbers but we have to bring different things to the table.”

Nella won Best New Artist. 

Venezuelan artist Nella, a Berkeley College of Music alumni, won Best New Artist. She snagged the tile from Paulo Londra, Greeicy, Aitina, and Cami. 

“This is for everyone who, like me, comes from another country looking for new opportunities,” she said.

Juanes win Person of the Year and gets a surprise from Metallica.

Colombian rock musician Juanes won Person of the Year after performing a medley of songs including “A Dios Le Pido” and “La Camisa Negra.” He was surprised by Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich who presented him the award. 

 “You guys changed my life,” Juanes told Ulrich. The drummer says he met Juanes ago while performing in Mexico. 

“Tonight we come full circle. I proclaim myself a Juanes fan, my friend, my parcero, I’m proud to recognize you as Person of the Year for the Latin Recording Academy,” Ulrich said.