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!!

Romeo Santos Became First Latinx Artist To Headline MetLife Stadium And The Latino Gang Was Their To Celebrate

Entertainment

Romeo Santos Became First Latinx Artist To Headline MetLife Stadium And The Latino Gang Was Their To Celebrate

RomeoSantos / Instagram

Romeo Santos is no stranger to breaking records and shattering expectations. He is the first Latinx to headline Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, the first to bring bachata music to a global stage, and as of Saturday night, he is the first Latinx to headline the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. 

Santos who got his start in The Bronx-based bachata boy band, Aventura, has also found major success in his solo career. In the eight years on his own, Santos has had seven number one songs on the Hot Latin Songs chart, and 15 number ones on the Tropical Songs chart.

Nicknamed the “King of Bachata,” Santos turned the MetLife Stadium into his kingdom where he paid tribute to his Dominican heritage and bachata roots to celebrate his fourth studio album Utopia. According to Billboard, the concert felt historical

“With the help of this powerful cast of Dominican bachateros and allies, Santos marked another big moment for bachata that will certainly go down in history for the genre’s continued and formidable evolution,” wrote Isabela Raygoza of Billboard.

 King of Bachata Makes History 

Santos became the first Latinx artist to headline the MetLife Stadium. Santos played to a sold-out show to a crowd of over 80,000 fans in New Jersey on Saturday night.

But this isn’t the only record he broke last night. His performance was the single highest-grossing concert in MetLife Stadium’s history. The record was previously held by U2. 

“It’s difficult to express what I’m feeling at this moment, and I managed to do the possible and impossible to offer you the best bachata show in history,” Santos said during the show. 

Santos shares the stage with other Latinx heavyweights 

It is always heartwarming to see Latinx solidarity, Santos’ concert was no exception. Dominicans proudly waved their flags, and Santos was happy to share his stage with today’s hottest Dominican artists and the bachateros who influenced him. 

“Not every bachatero that impacted my life and my career is here tonight. Not everyone. But I still guarantee that you are in for a splendid time,” Santos said.

Bachata legends like Raulin Rodríguez, Frank Reyez, Joe Veras, Monchy & Alexandra and Zacarías Ferreira collaborated with Santos on stage for songs like “Me Quedo.” Not only did they join Santos for his own songs, but the artist also gave these trailblazers the space to perform their own classics. When you can take a step back at your own concert to center other artists, that is respect. 

This feels true to the message of Santos’ recent album Utopia which pays homage to the bachata artists of yesteryear that paved the way for him. This is all about Latinx history past, present, and future.

“You bless us tonight. Your contributions marked an era for bachata,” Santos said. 

Among his more urbano special guests were Cardi B, Ozuna, Aventura, and El Chavel.

Cardi says Santos is living the dream

“85,000 people last night at the MetLife stadium. A Dominican from The Bronx made that happened! Thank you so much @romeosantos for bringing me out to your sold-out concert. That’s an artist’s dream and you’re living it! So inspiring and motivating to me. I had the best time EVER!!!! Oooo yea I can sing now! Ya hear my vocals singing Obsession?” Cardi captioned on Instagram.

Frank Reyes on Romeo Santos

“He escuchado que algunas veces es mejor ser el primero que ser el mejor, pero lo que sucede cuando se es el primero y el mejor al mismo tiempo, es una UTOPÍA, felicidades @romeosantos y Gracias por hacer historia a ritmo de bachata una noche inolvidable,” the 50-year-old legend wrote. 

Joe Veras gets emotional

“Lo que dicen las fotos.!!! Es pura combinación de sentimientos y alegría de compartir esta hermosa colaboración con @romeosantos y ese publico furioso de emoción.!!!! Waaaaaoooo gracias Dios mio por tanta bendición!” Veras wrote on Instagram. 

The Bachata Utopia of your dreams

Santos gave the audience what they came for a bachata utopia of their dreams. Every moment was a homage to the genre from start to finish. What was once considered “rural” Dominican music is now recognized as a mainstream genre and important element of Latinx history.

“To compete in a moment when urbano music is so strong… being a tropical artist, we have to keep working hard, and reinventing ourselves,” Santos said while accepting the Tropical Artist of the Year at the Latin Billboard Awards earlier this year. “Long live tropical music!”

For one night Santos delivered, to an audience of over 80,000, something many may not have been able to conceive of in their wildest dreams: a celebration of tropical music and a taste of the solidarity it takes to make it. 

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

Entertainment

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

guinessworldrecords / Instagram

Dominican and Puerto Rican Latin trap and reggaeton singer Ozuna, born Juan Carlos Ozuna Rosado, has broken four Guinness World Records. Ozuna has been a disruptive force in music as he steadily climbed the ranks from up-and-comer to streaming powerhouse. His success comes as Latin artists like Maluma, J Balvin, and Bad Bunny continue their chart domination in the years leading up to the decade’s end. 

While first known for his features, in 2017, the artist released the single “La Modelo” featuring Cardi B. The track debuted at number 52 on the Billboard Hot 100 marking Ozuna’s first time charting as a lead act. By 2018, his second studio album debuted at number 7 on the US Billboard 200. In 2018, he was the most-viewed artist in the world on YouTube. 

Ozuna Breaks Four Guinness World Records

Credit: Ozuna / Instagram

Ozuna is set to be featured in Guinness World Records 2020 based on the success of his last two albums. The first is for “Most weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart (male).” The album Odisea spent 46 non-consecutive weeks at number 1 during the duration period of September 16, 2017 to September 1, 2018. Next, it’s honoring Ozuna’s 11 Billboard Latin Music Awards in 2019 with “Most Billboard Latin Music Award wins for a single artist in a single year.”

And bye bye, Justin Bieber!

If you need more proof the Billboard Latin Music Awards loves Ozuna well check out his third honor; “Most Billboard Latin Music Award nominations for a single artist in a single year,” with 23 nominations. Lastly, Ozuna has achieved a huge milestone with “Artist with the most videos to reach one billion views on YouTube,” for the songs “Criminal,” “Te Bote,” “El Farsante,” “Ahora Dice,” “Escápate Conmigo,” “Se Preparó” and “Taki Taki.” 

The milestone is massive because Ozuna had to dethrone, none other than, Justin Bieber to do so. 

Look, mami! 

Credit: guinessworldrecords / Instagram

“Mira Mami estoy en los “Récord Guinness,” Ozuna captioned a photo of himself holding all four framed records with some help. This is definitely one of those “look mom” moments. 

“I feel honored to receive these [Guinness World Records] titles, which validates how hard we’ve been working for the past years. I dedicate this, first of all, to God, and to my fans from around the world, who have been there supporting me since the beginning of my career. I am thankful to Guinness World Records for this important recognition,” Ozuna told Guinness.

More Latinos are breaking Guinness World Records than ever before.

Credit: guinessworldrecords / Instagram

“Congratulations to Puerto Rican singer and songwriter, Jan Carlos Ozuna, commonly known as @Ozuna, has been awarded four Guinness World Records titles for his music achievements.⁣ Featured in Guinness World Records 2020, he has obtained the following records based on the triumph of his latest two albums,” Guinness wrote on Instagram.

The glow up appears to be continuing as Latinxs gain more traction and visibility in the mainstream. 

 “More and more Latinos, especially Puerto Ricans are headlining the lists of world records,” said Ralph Hannah, Official Adjudicator of Guinness World Records in a press statement. “The passion and enthusiasm that characterizes these stars have seen them reach the top of our rankings.”   

Ozuna’s journey to the top.

Credit: Ozuna / Instagram

Born to a Dominican father and Puerto Rican mother in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Ozuna began composing music at age 12. The 2015 track “La ocasión” featuring Anuel AA and Archangel catapulted him into the Latin trap ranks when it reached number 22 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart. In 2017, he signed a recording deal with Sony Music Latin. 

Like many Latinx artists, Ozuna’s popularity success can be attributed to global popularity particularly in Latin America. Moreover, unlike other contemporaries, Ozuna is known for creating songs with sexually explicit lyrics that don’t objectify or demean women — making his music all the more accessible. 

In 2019, Ozuna was named Latin composer of the year at the Billboard Music Awards and one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people. The artist’s next album Nibiru is poised for release this month and will inevitably span more record-breaking moments. 

Elevating Latinx Artists

Credit: Ozuna / Instagram

Ozuna hopes to pave the way for others all the while exporting Latinx culture to the world. It’s time the United States get a little more bilingual, and we agree. 

“I want Latino culture to truly break into the United States, because it really hasn’t yet,” Ozuna told ET. “There isn’t enough mainstream art that centers on Latino identity. All the time it’s ‘English, English, English.’ If I have the opportunity of having so many followers, and helping to take Latino artists and culture to the mainstream, I’m not going to selfishly throw it away because I learned English and can ‘cross over.”