Our April article for Being Latino features a Q&A with Afro-Rican Jazz Creator William Cepeda. This article was originally published on the Being Latino site.
Since 1992, William Cepeda has been bringing Afro-Rican Jazz to the world. The music he shares with us is a combination of world music, progressive jazz, and traditional Afro-Puerto Rican roots and folk music and dance.
A Grammy-nominated artist and composer, and the protégé of John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespsie, William continuously advocates for research and documentation of Puerto Rico’s musical, dance, and cultural history. This dedication has won him numerous awards, grants, and recognition around the world, but is also a part of his family history. The Cepeda family was recently featured on an episode of CNN’s Inside Africa about Bomba dance.
Born and raised in Loiza, known as the heart of little Africa in Puerto Rico, he was always surrounded by music and dance. His love of music led him to seek formal education at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, the Conservatory of Music in Puerto Rico, and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. He holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees (one in jazz composition and arranging and one in music education) and a master’s degree in jazz performance.
In 1997, William created his own record label, Casabe Records.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing him about his interest in music, why he decided to create his own label, and his latest project La Música de Puerto Rico: Raíces y Evolucíon (Races and Evolution). Read more
Our December article for Being Latino focuses on Chef Eddie Cotto, owner of the restaurant Me Casa in Jersey City.
Chef Eddie Cotto
“I’m here because I love to cook.” To say that Chef Eddie Cotto is passionate about Puerto Rican food is an understatement. He’s on a mission, plate by plate not just to change, that’s too simple, but to revolutionize how Americans view his familial cuisine.
The Brooklyn born and raised former financier says, “I dream big, never small.”
Chef Cotto aspires to see Puerto Rican food as ubiquitous as Mexican and Cuban food is throughout the United States. According to him, Puerto Ricans have not tooted their horns loud enough and have fallen short marketing their cuisine to a crossover audience as Mexicans and Cubans have. “Have we really made a mark on the world, culinarily, to really claim our spot? That’s where I think we haven’t.” The result, according to Chef Cotto is that many Americans identify and categorize Latino cuisine as either Mexican or Cuban. Read more
Pelotero is a 77 minute documentary, filmed in 2009 in San Pedro de Macorís. The documentary is a highly entertaining, intimate, inside look at the training and showcasing of these teenage ballplayers.
Our September article for Being Latino focuses on Amali’s Executive Chef Nilton Borges, Jr., an Afro-Brazilian from Rio de Janeiro.
Executive Chef Nilton Borges, Jr.
In life, we know expectations count. They shape how we live, the choices we make and the dreams we allow ourselves to pursue.
“When people come here and see me and Junior (Chef Borges) coming from the kitchen they are like “Wow.” I think they expect to see Gordon Ramsey (a British chef).” Martell Fonville, Amali Restaurant Sous Chef, was referring to some diners being surprised seeing an Afro-Brazilian and African-American at the restaurant’s helm.
Amali Restaurant’s Executive Chef Nilton Borges, Jr, an Afro-Brazilian from Rio de Janeiro, has high expectations for himself, his cuisine and his mission to serve locally sourced, flavorful food. Read more
When the widely popular online magazine Being Latino approached us with a partnership idea, we jumped at the chance to create content for such an entertaining and socially impactful site.
Being Latino will feature a story from Los Afro-Latinos on its website once a month. The hope is that our stories about the Afro-Latino community will help better inform and engage the Latino community.
You can find our first feature, “A Filmmaker’s Mission: Shining Light on Afro-Bolivian Invisibility” on the Being Latino Website. Look for exclusive content beginning in August.