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!!

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AOC Tells Princess Nokia How She Brushes Off Online Haters: ‘You’re Either Going to Believe All These Horrible Things About You, Or You’re Going to Choose Yourself’

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AOC Tells Princess Nokia How She Brushes Off Online Haters: ‘You’re Either Going to Believe All These Horrible Things About You, Or You’re Going to Choose Yourself’

Photos: Roger Kisby/Samantha Burkardt/Getty Images

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Princess Nokia recently sat down to have a candid and emotional conversation about changing the world through their respective paths. The two Bronx-born Boriquas touched on topics of self-confidence, sexism, representation, and how they deal with criticism. The conversation was part of a partnership between Rolling Stone magazine and Stacey Abrams’s Fair Fight Action.

As the two sat down to begin their discussion, Princess Nokia (born Destiny Nicole Frasqueri) joked about the two of them being “twins” and bonding over their shared Bronx heritage.

But after the jokes subsided, the conversation quickly turned emotional, with Princess Nokia telling the Ocasio Cortez how much of an inspiration the congresswoman has been to her. “I picture you as a teenager and just being into all of these profound subjects,” said Princess Nokia, her voice breaking. “And really believing in yourself and taking your interests and ambitions to a really high place that not only rewards you, but honestly serves so many other people.”

In turn, Ocasio Cortez gave Princess Nokia credit where credit is due by saying that she, too, serves her community, albeit through a different medium.

AOC said that both her and Princess Nokia have used their culture to influence their work.

“At the end of the day, we are uplifting our communities, and we’ve taken how we’ve grown up and we’ve learned that it’s not just our own individual stories, but they’re part of larger systems,” she said. “And to talk about that and to let it shape how we think which in turn shapes the work that we do.”

But the meat of the conversation came when Princess Nokia talked about how she turned her life around from living with her abusive foster mother to deciding to leave and move in with her grandmother. Nokia opened up about how that small decision influenced her to keep on making “healthy decisions” and ignoring other people’s negativity. From that point forward, she began to believe in herself.

AOC praised Princess Nokia’s story, adding that the question she gets a lot from young women is how to “deal with all the toxicity” from others.

At this point Princess Nokia jokingly raised her hand and said “I want to know that too.”

Ocasio Cortez responded by saying, “You get to a point where it’s so bad, that there’s a very clear choice in front of you: You’re either going to believe all of these horrible things about you, or you’re going to choose yourself. And you’re going to believe in yourself. The moment you choose yourself and you trust yourself…that just automatically disqualifies all the haters.”

Ocasio Cortez then summed up why she believes Princess Nokia’s music is so important: because it celebrates the beauty of the individual. “You don’t have to prove your worth to anybody,” said AOC. “You don’t need to be anything to be worthy. You come out of the box worthy. And that aspect of your music and your art is so important.”

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Reggaetón Won Big At This Year’s Billboard Latin Music Awards And These Two Artists Took Center Stage

Entertainment

Reggaetón Won Big At This Year’s Billboard Latin Music Awards And These Two Artists Took Center Stage

Alexander Tamargo / Getty Images

The 2020 Billboard Latin Music Awards have finally come and gone after being postponed because of the Coronavirus pandemic earlier this year. So many of us were anticipating the night asa chance to escape from all the worldwide drama – even if only for one night. And the awards show definitely delivered.

Going into the night, Bad Bunny and Ozuna were expected to win big with 14 nominations each including Artist of the Year. But it was Bad Bunny and Daddy Yankee who went home with seven awards each. And when the awards weren’t being handed out, Pitbull, Paulina Rubio and Ozuna, along with many others artists, delivered stunning performances.

Much of the show’s success is owed to Venezuelan actress Gaby Espino who served as the show’s host with help from Nicaraguan co-host Nastassja Bolivar.

Reggaetón artists stole the show at this year’s Billboard Latin Music Awards and we couldn’t be more proud.

Although reggaetón artists were expected to win big this year, many were still surprised at just how well some of the biggest artists ended up doing. Both Bad Bunny and Daddy Yankee triumphed with seven trophies each at last night’s Billboard Latin Music Awards.

Of course, the night was about celebrating all the incredible music these artists have brought us this year – perhaps a git more important than ever as we all struggle amid a pandemic and other global issues. But so many artists shined a light on front-line workers, victims of Covid-19 and violence against women – it was a very powerful evening.

One of the first groups to speak out was Wisin y Yandel. The duo sent a powerful message through their acceptance speech, with Yandel ending it with a resounding “no more abuse against women.” Wisin urged Latinos to get out and vote on Nov. 3 with his second message. “Go out and vote because we’re voting for our future. And vote for that person that will actually care about our community.”

And to top it all off, Maluma accepted the Billboard Spirit of Hope Award, in honor of his foundation, El Arte de los Sueños, which protects youth in pursuit of their dreams.

Bad Bunny is our reigning Artist of the Year.

After last night’s award ceremony, we have a new reigning Top Artist of the Year in Bad Bunny. Although the reggaetónero didn’t attend the award ceremony, he was definitely a highlight of the night.

San Benito took home seven awards (from his 14 nominations) including the top honor, as well as top Latin Album for “X 100PRE” and Songwriter of the Year.

Daddy Yankee, Karol G and several other top artists won big as well.

Daddy Yankee won six of his awards for his hit “Con Calma,” which featured the 1990s artist Snow. His honors included the hot Latin song “Aware.” During his acceptance speech, he acknowledged these have been tough times and dedicated his award to those who have lost their loved ones due to COVID-19.

“These have been challenging times and I want to share this award with those who have been perseverant and those who have lost a loved one. Music continues to be the best medicine,” he said.

Karol G also won big with prizes for Top Latin Albums Artist of the Year, Female, and Hot Latin Songs Artist of the Year, Female.

Ozuna gave us two incredible live performances.

About an hour into the show, Ozuna and the Black Eyed Peas heated up the stage with their smash hit “Mamacita.” Practicing social distancing, Ozuna sang from one stage while Taboo, apl.de.ap and J. Rey Soul danced away to the catchy tune and will.i.am was in another stage delivering the catchy hook “Mamacita, Mamacita, que bonita.”

In his second performance of the night, Ozuna returned to the stage for an intimate performance of “Gracias.” Surrounded by candles and dressed in angelic white, a thankful Ozuna slowed things down for this stripped-down acoustic track. Making the performance even more special and personal, the superstar’s kids joined him onstage. By far one of the most beautiful performances of the night. “Let’s take care of our families,” Ozuna said. “Let’s take care of women. There are too many femicides around the world and they are the ones who gave us life.”

Another standout moment was the special tribute in honor of Mexican singer-songwriter Armando Manzanero.

Artists Pablo Alborán, Luis Fonsi, Jesús Navarro (Reik) and Joy (Jesse & Joy) sang a medley of Manzanero classics including “Contigo Aprendí” and “No Sé Tu.”

“I have no words to express what my heart is feeling right now after singing with this new generation of artists that is so grand, strong and talented in a special stage like this one,” Manzanero said following his performance.

Meanwhile, the ear worm “Despacito” was named Song of the Decade.

It seems we can’t escape this 2017 hit featuring Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. We won’t mention the other version that also had an appearance by Justin Bieber – although I guess I just did.

But it was inducted into Billboard Latin Music history as it took home the evenings Song of the Decade award – marking another win for Daddy Yankee.

Did you watch the awards show? What did you think?

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