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She’s A Black Woman Singing Regional Mexican Music With A Perfect Accent, So Why Are People Upset?

Before you even hear her voice, you’re wrapped up in the imagery. But then you hit play and all you can done is, who is this woman with a voice like the late Tejano star Selena? And what’s her story?

Thankfully, we finally have a story behind the woman taking regional Mexican music to new heights with her perfect renditions of top Mexican classics, hits by Selena and Jenni Rivera, among others.

Sarah La Morena is making headlines for her perfect renditions of popular Mexican classics.

Sarah Palafox, aka Sarah La Morena, has become a phenomenon on social media because of her performances of Mexican songs in a perfect Zacatecan accent. 

In her videos uploaded to Instagram, which have already generated thousands of views, you can see 23-year-old Palafox holding her iPhone while singing ‘Qué me vas a dar’, by Jenni Rivera, accompanied by a mariachi band, as well as other songs she performs with her regional music band from southwestern Mexico. 

The clip of Palafox singing with mariachis spawned a half of million views on Instagram and another 200,000 on Twitter. Other videos of her singing banda — another form of regional music from Mexico’s southwest coast — also have been shared thousands of times.

Palafox’s story represents the American story, one of diversity and overcoming immense challenges.

For Sarah, born in California but raised in Zacatecas, Mexico, by a family of Mexican immigrants, the controversy and burden is nothing new. She’s had to live with it for much of her life.

Like other children born into troubled families, Sarah was separated from her biological mother and placed in a foster home until a Mexican couple offered to give her a home and eventually officially adopted her and moved to Zacatecas, where the girl spent a happy and rural childhood. 

Once in high school, Palafox and her parents returned to California, and there she faced similar disdain because she was a Black girl who did not speak English and felt Mexican. That feeling of others wanting to scrutinize her race and her dual roots led to depression and a suicide attempt a couple of years ago, the artist explained to the Associated Press. 

But there are those who think that an African-American woman cannot sing mariachi and they have made that known.

While some Black users have criticized her for “being ashamed of her Blackness,” Latinos have not been far behind, and Palafox has received all kinds of racist insults and accusations of cultural appropriation in both Spanish and English. 

For California State University Chicano Studies professor Alexandre Jose Granadilla, Sarah La Morena “takes authenticity to a whole new level. Not only is her Spanish better than most Latinos, but she identifies with a town in Zacatecas. She is Mexican and this music is hers,” he told the AP.

Granadilla also emphasized that her music not only represents the shared historical experiences of Mexicans and African-Americans in the United States, but breaks down apparent dichotomies about race.

Palafox confirms that she is working on new music after having signed with LA-based Silent Giant Entertainment and we can’t wait to hear what she puts out next.

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