Thursday, September 10, 2015

Yes, Black People Do Dance To ‘Spanish Music’

It would be weird to go to one of your family gatherings and see Black people dancing to Spanish music,” someone said to me. “Why?” I asked. “Because…it would just be weird,” he responded.  

This comment was made to me over seven years ago and it’s still at the forefront of my mind. Mostly because the ignorant comment holds true to what many of us already know, which is that people still don’t know or understand that Black people can actually be Latino. But at this point, I feel I have exhausted the topic of Afro-Latinos not being recognized so I’ll leave that alone, for now.

The ‘Spanish music’ that my associate was referring to when he made that comment could actually be anything from Salsa and Merengue to Bachata and Reggaeton, amongst several others. All of which, and more, I grew up listening to in my Panamanian household. 

The under lying common factor in Latin American music is that they are all mixed with sounds from Africa. Because of the Slave Trade with Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean are filled with many African influences, and music is not exempt. One major African influence that is still present in today’s Latin American music is the use of the drums. These are the sounds that came from religious ceremonies and the fun that came along with free dancing. 

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