Entertainment

21 Things You Might Not Know About Celia Cruz, The Queen Of Salsa

Celia Cruz is the legend of all legends; the Queen of Salsa, La Guarachera de Cuba, an icon of Afro-Latinidad. We all know her for classic hits like “La Vida es Un Carnaval” and “Guantanamera” but she’s the icon we inherited from the last generation.

Here the woman, the myth, the legend behind “Azúcar!” and 21 facts you probably didn’t know about her.

Her full name is Ursula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso.

CREDIT: @celiacruzonline / Instagram

She was born October 21, 1925, making her the most famous Libra Latina to ever grace the planet Earth. She was born in the poor, working-class neighborhood of Santos Suárez in Havana, Cuba.

Cruz was brought up a devout Catholic, but the first angelic notes she sang were to Santería.

CREDIT: @celiacruzonline / Instagram

Her neighbor practiced Santería and while her father highly opposed any other religion, she had a good time with her neighbor.

Cruz later studied Yoruba to sing alongside Merceditas Valdés.

CREDIT: @celiacruzonline / Instagram

Cruz stayed in this religious genre for a little while, singing backup for female led productions. Eventually, she made her big break, though.

She started singing as a teenager because her tía took her to cabarets.

CREDIT: @celiacruzonline / Instagram

A little context: back in the 1940’s, singing wasn’t considered a respectable profession. It was a different time where people weren’t as free to express themselves as they are now.

Her father’s influence won for a minute when she attended the Normal School for Teachers in Havana.

CREDIT: @celiacruzonline / Instagram

One of her teachers at the school gave her the down low and told her to escape, quickly. They told her that she could earn a teacher’s monthly salary in a single day as an entertainer.

To appease her father, she went to school…at Havana’s National Conservatory of Music.

CREDIT: @celiacruzonline / Instagram

Once she started getting gigs, however, another maestro told her to drop out of school and just pursue her career full-time. This was her moment.

Cruz started winning multiple “La hora del té” singing contests on the local radio.

CREDIT: @celiacruzonline / Instagram

Venezuela was actually the first country to truly embrace her stardom. Her first recordings were made there in 1948. From there, she found her in.

Cuba’s Sonora Matancera lost their Boricua lead singer to her home island and Cruz tried out for the empty slot.

CREDIT: @celiacruzonline / Instagram

She was the best thing to happen to Sonora. Soon, her name was far bigger than the band’s and she stuck with the band for 15 years.

Cruz didn’t even get to say goodbye to Cuba before she was exiled.

CREDIT: @celiacruzonline / Instagram

It’s impossible to find a picture of Celia not smiling, but we know this was a very difficult time for her. The band was on tour in Mexico during the 1959 Castro take over of Cuba and the band decided not to return home. Instead, they crossed into the U.S.

Castro was so enraged by Cruz’ defection that he barred her from ever returning to Cuba.

CREDIT: @celiacruzonline / Instagram

In 1961, she became a US citizen. She tried to go back to Cuba when her mother died in 1962 but the government wouldn’t let her in.

Never returning to her home was heartbreaking.

CREDIT: @celiacruzonline / Instagram

In 1990, she visited Guantanamo Bay, U.S. territory on the island of Cuba. She heartbreakingly was on her homeland, but not in her Cuba. She reached between the fence to collect the Cuban soil that she would later be entombed with.

She ended up marrying Sonora’s trumpet player, Pedro Knight, in 1962.

CREDIT: @celiacruzonline / Instagram

At this point, the Cuban exile community in the U.S. was idolizing this marriage, but they hadn’t reached mainstream American music ears just yet.

They stayed together for 40 years, until they died.

CREDIT: @celiacruzonline / Instagram

Knight’s sideburns lived on until his death in 2007, when he was buried with Celia Cruz in the Bronx. But before all this morbid end to their lives, Celia conquered the world.

In 1994, President Clinton awarded Cruz the National Medal of Arts.

CREDIT: @celiacruzonline / Instagram

Was someone looking for proof that #ImmigrantLivesMatter? Well, you don’t need it, it’s just true. But here’s proof that immigrants enrich the United States in every single respect.

The Queen of Salsa was known for her statement wigs.

CREDIT: @celiacruzonline / Instagram

In a completely male-dominated industry, Celia took ownership to the very top of salsa music with her own flourish. Her unconfined joy and creative expression was the icing on top of that deep, other-worldly voice of hers. We’re all sold.

Here’s the story behind “Azucar!”

CREDIT: @celiacruzonline / Instagram

In a 2000 Billboard interview, she explains how she came up with her famous catchphrase:

“I was having dinner at a restaurant in Miami, and when the waiter offered me coffee, he asked me if I took it with or without sugar. I said, ‘Chico, you’re Cuban. How can you even ask that? With sugar!’ And that evening during my show … I told the audience the story and they laughed. And one day, instead of telling the story, I simply walked down the stairs and shouted Azúcar!”

A few years after marrying Knight, she dropped out of Sonora and joined Tito Puente to record eight albums.

CREDIT: @celiacruzonline / Instagram

The albums didn’t go anywhere but the pair eventually started headlining concerts at Carnegie Hall. Her voice never aged and many claim that while she is the Queen of Salsa, her voice was truly operatic.

There isn’t a Grammy Award that she was nominated for that she didn’t win.

CREDIT: @celiacruzonline / Instagram

Truly. She generated over fifty albums in her lifetime and four won Best Salsa/Merengue Albums.

Two years ago, she was awarded post-mortem the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

CREDIT: @celiacruzonline / Instagram

In her last years of life, she was awarded three Grammy’s. Never give up, kids. Give it your all till the end.

On July 16, 2003, Cruz died from brain cancer at the age of 77.

CREDIT: @celiacruzonline / Instagram

While Cruz never had children, she inspired a whole generation of artists who attribute her music, her grace and her strength in Afro-Latinx representation as their inspiration.

Apparently, Cruz’ dedication and inspiration is infectious, because she hugged Amara La Negra and now we’re stanning.

CREDIT: @AmaraLaNegraALN / Instagram

We’re hard pressed to find any quotes from Celia about what it was like embracing her Latinx blackness, but contemporary artists like Amara La Negra cite Celia Cruz as their ultimate validation and inspiration. The spirit of Cruz lives on in us all, but we like to think that she’d be saying a lot of the things Amara has been saying for years.


READ: Let’s Revisit Celia Cruz And Patti LaBelle Rocking The 1998 ALMA Awards

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17 Makeup Tips For Darker Skin Tones To Make Sure You Get The Most Out Of Your Makeup Money

Fierce

17 Makeup Tips For Darker Skin Tones To Make Sure You Get The Most Out Of Your Makeup Money

Monica Style Muse / Youtube

When it comes to makeup, a lot of what we see in the media is still focused on lighter skin tones. Fortunately, this is starting to change and even some makeup companies have realized the demand for more variety in terms of products. Moreover, there’s a global movement to recognize the beauty of darker skin tones as more artists and influencers are embracing their natural skin. Whether you are just starting to experiment with makeup or have already picked up plenty of looks from your favorite tía, telenovela star or singer, here are a few tips for working with makeup with darker skin tones.

1. Don’t Skip UV Protection:

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Your skin is beautiful with or without a tan. However, it is important to use UV protection even if you are dark. When planning for a day in the sun, add a bit of sunscreen, or at least a foundation and lip balm that offer UV protection to your look. Not only will a little sunscreen protect you from dangerous skin cancer, but it will also keep your skin looking younger as you age.

2. Develop A Solid Routine:

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Dark skin has plenty of variety and reacts differently to various climates. Whether you need to moisturize on a regular basis or deal with excess oil, a good routine can help you avoid breakouts. And, of course, always remember to take your makeup off before going to bed no matter how tired you feel. Your skin will thank you.

3. Mind the Undertones:

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Your skin may have yellow, olive or even reddish undertones. Understanding your undertones can help you select colors to either bring these out or keep them hidden.

4. Moisturizer Is Key:

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Dark skin can get ashy when it’s dry. This can be embarrassing especially if you live in a climate that you’re your skin doesn’t like because everyone will know when you need to moisturize.

5. Match Your Makeup To Your Personal Style:

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Makeup can definitely be used to express your style and your individuality. If you love bright colors, you can certainly translate that into your night time, and even daytime, look.

6. Find the Right Shades:

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Finding the shades of foundation and even eyeshadow that compliment your skin tone can be a bit of a journey. Fortunately, once you find what works, you can use that as your framework for future looks.

7. Play With Foundation:

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If you are blessed with clear skin, you may skimp on, or even skip foundation all together for certain daytime looks. On the other hand, you can also use foundation and powder to play up different parts of your face. Most experts recommend using a foundation that is two shades lighter than your natural skin tone.

8. Do Some Research:

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If you’re trying out something new, or if you’ve generally had trouble with matching makeup to your skin tone- you’re in luck; there are several YouTube and Instagram influencers who specifically work with darker skin tones and offer tutorials. You can also ask a friend for help.

9. Make The Most Out Of Your Concealer:

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While concealer is traditionally used to hide skin blemishes, it can also help make your eyes pop. Simply apply your favorite concealer under your eyes and to your eyebrows in a triangle

10. Makeup After Contact Lenses:

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This tip is universal but worth noting regardless of whether you are using contact lenses to help correct your vision or are opting for color contacts to make your eyes pop for a special occasion. Putting on your contacts last minute will inevitably lead to running makeup- and possibly even mascara smudged contact lenses.

11. Balance Your Eyes And Lips:

lissmorr / Instagram

Having both eye and lips pop can be overwhelming, which is why makeup artists focusing on one or the other. That doesn’t mean that your eyes can’t look stunning if you’re wearing a red or purple lipstick, but having your eyes pink at the same time, can be a bit too much at best, and may leave you looking like a clown at worst. To make sure you aren’t overdoing it, stick to accentuating either your eyes or your lips- especially if you are a beginner.

12. A Touch Of Bronzer Gives A Bright, Sun Kissed Look:

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Adding a little bit of bronzer can help your skin look fresh and sun kissed- even if your skin is naturally dark. Fortunately, there are several types of bronzers on the market that have been designed for darker skin. The key is remembering to blend the bronzer with your foundation for a smooth finish.

13. Add Primer To Enhance Your Eyeshadow:

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Whether you are going for a relaxed look or want to attract attention to your eyes, applying primer before your eyeshadow can help ensure that every shade looks its best.

14. Go Darker With Blush:

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If you have darker skin, you’ll need a darker blush color to get your “rosy” cheeks. You can also pay attention to your skin’s undertones and complement for a natural blush or contrast for a more dramatic look.

15. Combine Colors To Make Your Eyes Pop:

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Most expert makeup looks use several colors. Adding a light color around the edge of your eyes can make you look bright-eyed. Meanwhile adding a similar shade to the edge of your eyebrow can make your eyes look larger.

16. Take Time to Experiment:

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Most people who are “good at makeup” have spent time experimenting with different shades, colors, and techniques to find out what works- and what doesn’t. Giving yourself time to mess around with your makeup will not only sharpen your skills but can also lead to you discovering that a specific shade or color looks amazing with your skin tone. And, of course, you can always get ideas for your next party look or Halloween costume.

17. Keep Your Makeup Supplies Clean:

Credit:@sndlee777

Over time, your skin oil, dead skin cells, and extra pigment can build up on your makeup brush causing it to be less effective and leading to unpleasant breakouts. Meanwhile, unclean eyeshadow brushes can lead to eye infections. As a best practice, clean your brushes at least every few weeks- or every four months if you only use makeup once in a while. Your skin and your eyes will thank you!

Here Is A 12-Song Playlist To Make Your Christmas Very Festive

Entertainment

Here Is A 12-Song Playlist To Make Your Christmas Very Festive

loslobos / Instagram

We love the holidays as it is the one time of year we truly embrace being home for the holidays and taking in all of our favorite Latin traditions. Tamales, check. Atole, check. The Loteria cards, check. Drunk Tío Juan in the corner, check. Now you cannot forget the tunes. While we most definitely have Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and Wham’s “Last Christmas” on the holiday playlist, we will certainly include our favorite Latin music artists as well. To make your life easier we made a list of the most beloved Latin holiday music. 

Los Lobos have just released a brand new Christmas song, and it’s so good!

Our favorite East L.A. rock band just released “Christmas And You” and it will make you so very nostalgic and teary-eyed. The music video was also shot on the streets of East Los. The holiday ballad was written by band members David Hidalgo and Louie Pérez. Los Lobos, who went mainstream for their recording of “La Bamba,” is back with a new album perfect for Christmas that the whole family will love.

The album is titled “Llego Navidad” and it includes holiday music from all over Latin America. 

According to a press release, Los Lobos started with 150 selections and narrowed their way down to a tracklist that includes a regional folk song from Veracruz in Mexico (“La Rama”), a rework of ’70s South American salsa hit “La Murga de Panamá,” the 1958 novelty song “Dónde Está Santa Claus” and the Tex-Mex border classic “Christmas Time In Texas.” It’s surely will be a classic for years to come. 

Juanes — “Mi Burrito Sabanero”

This is one of our favorite holiday songs from our childhood, so this new-ish version from 2009 is a family pleaser. There are lots of artists that cover this song, but Juanes by far is one of the best. 

Celia Cruz — “Campanas De Navidad”

If you’re throwing a real fiesta, your party playlist must include this salsa holiday song by the one and only Celia Cruz. 

Jenni Rivera — “Amarga Navidad”

Now we don’t wish a bad Christmas on anyone, but sometimes sh*t happens. It’s no secret that people typically break up during the holidays, so this song by Jenni Rivera will help somewhat. Let’s face it, you’re going to get tipsy anyway, so you might as well do it while listening to a song that you can relate to. 

José Feliciano — “Feliz Navidad”

José Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” goes hand-in-hand with Christmas just as much as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Heck, everyone knows the words to this song, especially non-Latinos. So, we’re lucky that we Latinos can basically assume all rights to this song at every holiday function — even that work office party. 

Hector Lavoe and Willie Colon – “Aires de Navidad”

With a glass of coquito, grab your favorite relative and get down to Hector Lavoe and Willie Colon’s “Aires de Navidad.” This song just speaks to our festive family that can be simultaneously bickering over politics and dancing at the same time. 

Yuri — “Eterna Navidad”

Now, if you really want to go old-school your holiday playlist must include this ’80s retro version of Yuri’s “Eterna Navidad.” The video will literally drive you mad, so just to stick to the song and forget this dizzy video. 

Alejandro Sanz — “Noche de Luz”

For those romantical folks who want to get in the holiday spirit but also want to secretly daydream over the lustful Alejandro Sanz, his “Noche de Luz” song will melt your heart. 

José Alfredo Jiménez — “Se Va Diciembre”

Your abuelitos will love that you included a lovely ranchera ballad from their heyday. The inclusion of José Alfredo Jiménez’s “Se Va Diciembre” will perhaps score you an extra present this year. You’re welcome. 

Luis Miguel — “Santa Claus Llego A La Ciudad”

After watching the life story of Luis Miguel on Netflix we can’t help but feel a little closer to the crooner. So here he is doing what he knows best, singing his heart out. 

Prince Royce — “Mi Regalo Favorito”

This Christmas playlist would not be completed without the addition of Prince Royce’s “Mi Regalo Favorito” from 2013. It’s got everything you could possibly want: that bachata beat, Spanglish lyrics, and Prince Royce’s lovely voice. 

We hope you liked our holiday roundup. If there’s anything we missed let us know in the comment section below!

READ: Mariah Carey Is Re-Issuing Her ‘Merry Christmas’ Album With New Content And The Internet Is Losing Its Mind