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The Black Roots Of Latin Music And Dance

A brown skinned woman with two hands over her face, the hand on the right side is white and the hand on the left side is black. The same woman is also shown at the bottom right corner of the picture with her head and hands up, her mouth is also open .
From 'Selecciones Favoritos de Celia Cruz' (1953) with La Sonora Matancera

Activists and artists continue fighting to awaken U.S. arts institutions to the foundational Blackness of Rock, EDM and Punk. The whitewashing of music and dance is a supremacist project throughout the Americas. Choreographers and instructors oftentimes ignore the West African traditions undergirding salsa, merengue, tango, and bachata.

The whitewashing of national art forms reinforces the pervasive erasure of Afro-Latinxs. Two dancers in North Carolina aim to reincorporate that history and celebrate the continued contributions of African artistry in Latin music and dance. The "Mix(ed) Tape” podcast features the voices of Afro Latino and African American dancers describing racism and cultural marginalization — both on the dancefloor and in the genre. It also breaks down hit songs by Black artists to contextualize and amplify their socially-conscious lyrics.

Two dancers in neon colors dance with one another
Credit Courtesy of Andrés Hincapié
Hincapie and Villodas dancing

Host Frank Stasio discusses the project with co-hosts Melissa Villodas and Andrés Hincapié. Villodas is a doctoral student of social work at UNC-Chapel Hill, and Hincapié works there as an assistant professor of economics.

Listen to the podcast

Listen to their curated playlist of Latin music on Spotify and Apple Music

Grant Holub-Moorman coordinates events and North Carolina outreach for WUNC, including a monthly trivia night. He is a founding member of Embodied and a former producer for The State of Things.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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