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The Black Roots Of Latin Music And Dance

From 'Selecciones Favoritos de Celia Cruz' (1953) with La Sonora Matancera
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.Host Frank Stasio talks about the African roots of Latin social dance with Melissa Villodas and Andrés Hincapié, co-hosts of the Mix(ed) Tape podcast.

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.


Hincapie and Villodas dancing
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

Copyright 2020 North Carolina Public Radio

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.
Grant Holub-Moorman is a producer for The State of Things, WUNC's daily, live talk show that features the issues, personalities and places of North Carolina.