First Black President of Mexico, Vicente Guerrero #BlackHistoryIsGlobal

First Black President of Mexico, Vicente Guerrero #BlackHistoryIsGlobal

Today’s La Vida En Black, History Month message is about Vicente Guerrero, Mexico’s first black president, and also that nation’s version of Abraham Lincoln. In 1829 Presidente Guerrero issued Mexico’s own slavery abolition decree (which led a few years later to Texas slave holders seceding from Mexico).

vguerrero-estampitaVicente Guerrero was born in the small village of Tixla in the Mexican state of Guerrero. His parents were Pedro Guerrero, an Afro-Mexican and Guadalupe Saldana, an Indian. Vicente came from humble beginnings. As a young man he took the work he could find as a mule driver on his own father’s mule run. This work set him on a journey that shaped his life and ideologies. Guerrero worked all over Mexico and began to hear the voices of the people and their collective ideas of independence.

On one of the journeys, he met the famed rebel General Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon. In November of 1810, Guerrero embraced the General’s ideas of revolution and joined Morelos. Morelos, unfortunately, was assassinated by the Spaniards and Guerrero became Commander-in-Chief. Guerrero then negotiated a deal with the Spaniard General Agustin de Iturbide.

Iturbide agreed to a partnership with the independence movement and supported Guerrero on a series of nationwide measures known as “El Plan de Iguala.” This plan, however, gave civil rights to Indians but not to Afro-Mexicans. Guerrero refused to sign the plan unless equal rights were also given to Afro-Mexicans and mulattos. Clause 12 was then incorporated into the plan. It read: “All inhabitants . . . without distinction of their European, African or Indian origins are citizens . . . with full freedom to pursue their livelihoods according to their merits and virtues.”

Subsequently, Guerrero served as a part of a three-person “Junta” that governed the then-independent Mexico from 1823-24. Guerrero, head of the “People’s Party,” called for public schools, land title reforms, and many other liberal programs. Guerrero was elected the second president of Mexico in 1829. As president, Guerrero went on to champion the cause not only of the racially oppressed but also of the economically oppressed.

IMG_2934Presidente Guerrero formally abolished slavery on September 16, 1829. Shortly thereafter, betrayed by a group of reactionaries who drove him out of his house, Presidente Guerrero was lured to have dinner with a traitor on his boat, instead Vicente was captured and ultimately executed by firing squad.

Historian Jan Bazant speculates as to why Guerrero was executed rather than sent into exile, as Iturbide had been, as well as Antonio López de Santa Anna, and long-time dictator of late-nineteenth century Mexico, Porfirio Díaz. “The clue is provided by Zavala who, writing several years later, noted that Guerrero was of mixed blood and that the opposition to his presidency came from the great landowners, generals, clerics and Spaniards resident in Mexico…Guerrero’s execution was perhaps a warning to men considered as socially and ethnically inferior not to dare to dream of becoming president.”[31]

 

Guerrero’s political platform was based on the belief of civil rights are for all,including Afro-Mexicans. Mexicans with hearts full of pride call him the “greatest man of color.” On this President’s Day, La Vida En Black History Celebrates Presidente Vincente Guerrero!
#BlackHistoryIsGlobal

 

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Me Gitaron Negra! #BlackHistoryIsGlobal #MimiTVA

Me Gitaron Negra!  #BlackHistoryIsGlobal #MimiTVA

La Vida En Black History Month message today goes deep into the heart of Peruvian culture with the Heroine of Black Peru, Victoria Santa Cruz.  Victoria Eugenia Santa Cruz Gamarra was a poet, composer, choreographer, designer, and an exponent of Afro-Peruvian art.

imgresThe daughter of writer / playwright, Nicomedes Santa Cruz Aparicio and Victoria Gamarra, their family was famous for their excellence in creative pursuits including the development of Zamacueca an ancient colonial dance and music with a mixture of roots from Africa to the Andes.

Victoria was one of 10 children born into the family.  Her brothers are renown – Cesar is a musician and composer; Rafael the Bull Fighter isdeamed “untorero de gran clase” or the Wonderous Black Matador; and Nicomedes; the preeminent scholar of Afro-Peruvian culture & folklore. artworks-000077125313-5mm1bu-t500x500

Victoria received a scholarship to attend the Université du Theatre des Nations in Paris where she was educated in costuming and choreography.  She created unforgettable costumes for the play “The Altarpiece of Don Cristobal”. And made a triumphant return to Peru. In 1968 she founded the Teatro y Danzas Negras del Perú, / Black Dance Theatre of Peru, inspiring a new and diverse period in Peru for the study of black culture.

Her choreography became a part of the fabric of Peruvian culture so much so  that her talented group represented the nation at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.  Victoria won numerous prestigious awards including Best Folklorist at the Primer Festival y Seminario Latinoamericano de Televisión en 1970.

She was a special guest of the Colombian government at the Festival de Cali  in 1971. There she notably recognized that the black roots of Cali did not come from just one country of origin but from several African nations, so much like the various slaves brought to the Americas.

Santa Cruz’s name became synonymous  with the cultural identity of Peru and in 1973 Victoria became the director of the National Folklore for the National Institute of Culture (INC) /Conjunto Nacional de Folclore del Instituto Nacional de Cultura (INC).  She continued to spread her love of Afro-Peruvian culture throughout the world, teaching at Carnegie Mellon University, and in Europe at the Teatro del Sole, in Italy.

She passed away surrounded by her beautiful family, the legendary Ambassador of Peruvian culture was lain to rest at the Peruvian National Musuem.  Her poem “Me Gritaron Negra” They Screamed “Black” At Me, became a beautiful badge of honor for Afro-Latinos every where.  Performed here click the link.

Lyrics

Español                                             English

Tenía siete años apenas,               Maybe I was 7 years old
apenas siete años,                          Maybe 7 years
¡Qué siete años!                              What 7 years old???
¡No llegaba a cinco siquiera!        I wasn’t even five yet…
De pronto unas voces en la calle   when voices from the street
me gritaron ¡Negra!                          screamed ¡Negra! (Black Girl!)
¡Negra! ¡Negra! ¡Negra! ¡Negra!     Black! Black! Black! Black!

¡Negra! ¡Negra!¡Negra!                     Back! Black! Black!

¿Soy acaso negra?, me dije              I thought, Am I? Am I really Black?

¡SI!                                                        Yes!

¿Qué cosa es ser negra?                  What does it mean to be black?
¡Negra!                                                Black!
Y yo no sabía la triste verdad        And I didn’t no the sad truth

que aquello escondía.                     That black was hiding
¡Negra!                                               Black!
Y me sentí negra,                             And I felt the black
¡Negra!                                               Black!
Como ellos decían                           Just like their screams
¡Negra!                                               Black!
Y retrocedí                                        And I regressed
¡Negra!                                               Black!
Como ellos querían                         Just as they wanted
¡Negra!                                               Black!
Y odié mis cabellos                          And I hated my hair

y mis labios gruesos                        And my thick lips
y miré apenada mi carne tostada I was ashamed of my toasted skin
Y retrocedí                                         And I regressed
¡Negra!                                                Black!
Y retrocedí…                                       And I regressed
¡Negra! ¡Negra! ¡Negra! ¡Negra!     Black! Black! Black! Black!
¡Negra! ¡Negra! ¡Neeegra!               Black! Black! Black!
¡Negra! ¡Negra! ¡Negra! ¡Negra!     Black! Black! Black! Black!
¡Negra! ¡Negra! ¡Negra! ¡Negra!         Black! Black! Black! Black!
Y pasaba el tiempo,                           And time passed by
y siempre amargada                           And always bitter
Seguía llevando a mi espalda         I carried this heavy load
mi pesada carga                                    on my back
¡Y cómo pesaba!                                    And how heavy it was..
Me alacié el cabello,                           I straightened my hair
me polveé la cara,                           I powdered my face
y entre mis entrañas siempre          And deep down inside of me

resonaba la misma palabra                  I heard the same resounding word
¡Negra! ¡Negra! ¡Negra! ¡Negra!          Black! Black! Black! Black
¡Negra! ¡Negra! ¡Neeegra!                  Black! Black! Blaaaack!
Hasta que un día que retrocedía,         Until one day I regressed

retrocedía y qué iba a caer                  regressed until I was going to fall
¡Negra! ¡Negra! ¡Negra! ¡Negra!
¡Negra! ¡Negra! ¡Negra! ¡Negra!
¡Negra! ¡Negra! ¡Negra! ¡Negra!
¡Negra! ¡Negra! ¡Negra!
¿Y qué?                                             So What?
¿Y qué?                                             So What?
¡Negra!                                             Black!
Sí                                                      YES!
¡Negra!                                             Black!
Soy                                                      Black I AM!
¡Negra!                                             Black!
Negra                                             Black!
¡Negra!                                             Black!
Negra soy                                             I AM Black!
¡Negra!                                             Black!
Sí                                                      Yes
¡Negra!                                             Black!
Soy                                                      I AM
¡Negra!                                             Black!
Negra                                             Black
¡Negra!                                             Black!
Negra soy                                             I am Black
De hoy en adelante no quiero                   from this day forward I do not
laciar mi cabello                                        want to straighten my hair

No quiero                                                     I do not want to!

Y voy a reírme de aquellos,                         & I’m gonna laugh at those
que por evitar                                              who by avoiding

–según ellos–                                             according to them
que por evitarnos algún sin sabor              “bad taste”
Llaman a los negros                                    call black people,

gente de color                                               people of color
¡Y de qué color!                                             And what color is that?
NEGRO                                                      NEGRO!
¡Y qué lindo suena!                                      And how beautiful it sounds!
NEGRO                                                      NEGRO
¡Y qué ritmo tiene!                                        And what rhythm it has!
NEGRO NEGRO NEGRO NEGRO
NEGRO NEGRO NEGRO NEGRO
NEGRO NEGRO NEGRO NEGRO
NEGRO NEGRO NEGRO
Al fin                                                               Finally
Al fin comprendí                                             Finally I understood
AL FIN                                                       FINALLY
Ya no retrocedo                                             I do not regress

AL FIN                                                       FINALLY
Y avanzo segura                                             move forward with pride
AL FIN                                                       FINALLY
Avanzo y espero                                             move forward and wait
AL FIN                                                       FINALLY
Y bendigo al cielo                                     I thank the heavens above

porque quiso Dios                                     because is God’s will
que negro azabache                                 like a black precious stone

fuese mi color                                           it was meant to be my color
Y ya comprendí                                        and now I understand
AL FIN                                                      FINALLY
¡Ya tengo la llave!                                     I have the key!
NEGRO NEGRO NEGRO NEGRO
NEGRO NEGRO NEGRO NEGRO
NEGRO NEGRO NEGRO NEGRO
NEGRO NEGRO
¡Negra soy!                                                      I am Black!

Maestro Cheo Feliciano!

Maestro Cheo Feliciano!

It’s important to know who we are, from whom and from where we were formed… by telling the stories ourselves, we see an example of how to live, how to inspire and how to honor our ancestors, Aguanile, Mai, Mai…

MimiTVA Posting from the DMV…

Cheo Feliciano’s smooth distinctive voice was loved and revered by salsa fans throughout the world.  Unfortunately in 2014, Feliciano passed away in a car accident losing control of his car and hitting a light pole.  But Feliciano’s brushes with death were not uncommon and his is a story to be remembered and admired.

Feliciano (birth name: José Luis Feliciano Vega) was born in Ponce Puerto Rico.  His childhood nickname, “Cheo” came from his family, a colloquial version of José. And the name stuck plus he was not to be confused with the other Jose Feliciano who was of no relation.  At a young age Cheo was influenced by the boleros of the Trio Los Panchos. When Cheo was just eight years old he started his own group named “El Combo Las Latas”.  Their musical instruments were made out of cans because that’s all they could afford at the time. And as a young teenager in Ponce, he went on to study percussion.

Feliciano and his family moved to Nueva York to the heart of Spanish Harlem.  Once in New York, he auditioned and got the gig as a percussionist in the “Ciro Rimac’s Review” band.  After that famed Puerto Rican crooner, Tito Rodriguez offered Feliciano a spot in his big band that played at the Palladium Ballroom.   In 1955, Rodríguez found out that Joe Cuba was in need of a singer for his sextet and he knew what a talented singer Cheo was; so he recommended Cuba that he try out for the position. Feliciano became a vocalist for the Joe Cuba Sextet one of the most popular bands at the time. Feliciano was the rare baritone of salsa singers, and his deep voice and quick humor in improvisation made him el favorito dentro del publico Latino.

la-vida-de-cheo-feliciano-5

On October 5, 1957, was Feliciano’s professional debut as a vocalist with the Joe Cuba Sextet, singing “Perfidia”. He sang with Joe Cuba for 10 years. In 1967, he joined the Eddie Palmieri Orchestra singing for them for two years. Sadly at the same time he developed a drug habit at just 21 years old. Cheo quickly fell into a heroin addiction which threatened his life and professional career. Feliciano went back to Puerto Rico and decided to quit “cold turkey.   He eventually joined Puerto Rico’s rehabilitation center, Hoagies CREA.  Feliciano credits Tite Curet Alonso, the author of most of his hits and best friend, with pushing him through rehabilitation. As a result, Feliciano was a vehement anti-drug spokesperson, who volunteered to assist in the rehabilitation of fellow salsa artists who fell prey to drug addiction.

In 1972, Feliciano came back to music with the album Cheo, his first solo recording. The album, which featured compositions by Tite Curet, broke all sales records in the Latino music market. The album was loaded with hits like “Anacaona” and “Mi Triste Problema”

During the 1970s, Feliciano recorded fifteen albums for Fania Records and had hits with “Amada Mia” and “Juan Albañil”. He also recorded one of his first albums of Boleros – La Voz Sensual de Cheo. Recorded in Argentina and directed by a famed composer Jorge Calandrelli Cheo’s star rose to new levels. And Feliciano became a part of the first salsa opera by Fania pianist “El Judio Maravilloso”, Larry Harlow, entitled Hommy.

Cheo_Feliciano

In 1982, Feliciano began his own record label – “Coche Records”. In 1984, he was honored by artists like Ruben Blades and Joe Cuba in a concert entitled A Tribute to Cheo Feliciano. The next year, he became the first tropical singer to perform at the Amira de la Rosa Theater in Barranquilla, Colombia. In 1987, he played Roberto Clemente’s father in the musical Clemente. Feliciano also became a hit in Spain, and was a regular in the Tenerife Carnival. 

In 1990, Feliciano recorded another album of Boleros, titled Los Feelings de Cheo. He also traveled all over Europe, Japan, Africa, and South America. In Venezuela, he had a reunion with Eddie Palmieri. In 1995, Feliciano won a Platinum Record Award for La Combinación Perfecta.

In 2000, Feliciano recorded Una Voz, Mil Recuerdos as a tribute to various Puerto Rican singers. The album was listed among the 20 outstanding recordings of the year by the National Foundation of the Popular Culture of Puerto Rico. In 2002, he recorded Cheo en la Intimidad. In 2012, Feliciano and Ruben Blades released a collaboration album titled Eba Say Aja where both artists performed each other’s previously recorded songs. In June 2013, Feliciano confirmed that he was suffering from liver cancer and was already undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Doctors discovered the illness when they were treating him for a dislocated shoulder.  In 2014, Feliciano celebrated being “cancer-free”.

 

A memorial service in honor of Feliciano was held at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan on April 20, 2014. The service was attended by thousands and several artists paid their respects to Feliciano with songs plus kept guard by Feliciano’s coffin. Artists and groups like Danny Rivera, José Nogueras, Fania All-Stars, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Rubén Blades, Víctor Manuelle, Andy Montañez, Tito Nieves, and others were present.  The next day, his body was taken to the city of Ponce, where he was born. A public service was held at the Ponce Convention Center, led by Governor Alejandro García Padilla and Mayor María “Mayita” Meléndez. After that, a private ceremony was held for the family and close friends inside La Piedad Cemetery. Although the public was not allowed entrance at first, the gates were opened once the family finished their memorial.  Feliciano became part of Sergio George’s group called Salsa Giants whom he was touring with when he died.  Feliciano traveled and sang across the globe until his last day.

La Vida En Black History… Maestra Gloria Rolando

La Vida En Black History… Maestra Gloria Rolando

It’s empowering to know who we are, from whom & where we are formed… by telling the stories ourselves, we see an example of how to live, how to inspire and how to honor our ancestors, Aguanile, Mai, Mai…

MimiTVA posting from the DMV

Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando has been an inspiration to me for quite some time.  Her films are treasures of knowledge presented in the way of a modern day Griot, proud and brilliant; they make me eager to connect to my ancestors and fill me with pride in the way my father’s booming voice did, oh so long ago.

BalconGloria Rolando’s first film; “Un Eterno Presente: Oggún” is an audiovisual homage to the Yoruba diety Oggún.  Oggún is the blacksmith deity presenting the modern world of industrialization, and works with metals and technology through the songs of the immense Yoruba vocalist, Lazarro Ros.

In the film Rolando explains how the men and women of Lázaro’s generation, are the last bridge tying us to the Africa that gave birth to its roots in the Americas. “We must recognize that it contains legends and universal values that explain the world. My personal experience with Oggún demonstrates to me that this is possible.”

Eyes of the Rainbow,” is a documentary made in 1997 about Assata Shakur, the Black Panther and Black Liberation Army leader who took refuge in Cuba after years of struggles in the US.  The film integrates AfroCuban culture, including the Orisha Oya, to show Assata’s place in Cuba, where she has lived for the past three decades. In English.

Gloria’s latest film effort is about the Indepedientes de Color or The Independents of Color a Cuban Political party that was formed after the largely Mambi Army ousted the Spaniards from Cuba in the late 1800’s.   Recent research in Cuba has established that this army was overwhelmingly made up of Cubans of African descent (80% and perhaps as high as 90%): consequently it was thus one of the largest revolts of enslaved Africans in the hemisphere.  When the Mambis had ejected the Spaniards from Cuba, the plantocracy  / plantation owners became allies of the Americans.  These events led to the little known Massacre of 1912.

Evaristo Estenoz founded the Independents of Color in 1908 in order to secure a rightful share for Afro-Cubans in all aspects of  Cuban society, specifically the government which had successfully marginalized them. He was murdered by Cuban troops in 1912 along with more than 6,000 other AfroCubans and fellow party members, after an intense media campaign carried out by the planter class to demonize the party.  As famed sonero Arsenio Rodriguez says: “Hay que adorarlos como a Martí!”  Roots of my heart is the first treatment on film of a  history that has been largely ignored by both sides of the Florida Straights.

LaVidaEnBlack History Month 

LaVidaEnBlack History Month 

It’s important to know who we are, from whom and where we were formed… by telling the stories ourselves, we see an example of how to live, how to inspire and how to honor our ancestors, Aguanile, Mai, Mai…

Posting from the DMV, February 1, 2016

MimiTVA commits to post about different Afro-Latinos throughout Black History Month and beyond.  I’ll start out with my personal favorite … El Negro Primero, the Venezuelan soldier, Pedro Camejo!

In Venezuela, Simon Bolivar known as the liberator of South America realized the vital role Black men played in the colonies quest for freedom from the Spanish Crown. One of Bolivar’s fiercest soldiers was El Negro Primero, Pedro Camejo. Born a slave, Camejo’s nickname was a testament to his bravery for Pedro was always the first to enter the battlefield.

 Frightening the enemies with his vicious spear, Cameo rose to the rank of Lieutenant.

After fighting valiantly in the Battalla de Carabobo, Camejo was mortally wounded and before taking his last breath he uttered this unforgettable phrase to say goodbye to his trusted leader, General Josè Antonio Pàez, “Mi General vengo a decirle adiòs porque estoy muerto” (My General, I came to say goodbye because I am 
dead.)
Camejo has a municipality named for him as well as a statue in Caracas, the only such statue of a black man in all of Venezuela.  He fought for freedom and died a brave and unforgettable death.

BatallaCarabobo01

Sara Gòmez; The Documentary Gem of Cuba! 

Sara Gòmez; The Documentary Gem of Cuba! 

#LaVidaEnBlack #TheBlacksideofHispanicHeritage

  Sara Gómez (November 8, 1942 – June 2, 1974) was an Afro-Cuban filmmaker. She was born into a middle-class family in Havana and she was afforded an education in literature, piano and Afro-Cuban ethnography. 
She became a journalist before joining the newly-formed ICAIC in 1961, Castro a fan of film as art developed ICAIC as a new center for film in Cuba.   Gòmez quickly rose in the ranks as an assistant director to Jorge Fraga and Tomas Gutierrez Alea, as well as to the visiting French director Agnes Varda. 

One of only two black filmmakers at ICAIC at the time, and for several years its only woman director, Gomez made a series of documentary shorts. One of which is featured here…

“De Cierta Manera” was her last film and her first feature although Sara died after filming.  

De Cierta Manera (One Way or Another) a 1974 Cuban romantic drama was Directed by Sara Gómez. Considered Avant Garde; the film mixes documentary-style footage with a fictional story that looks at empoverished neighborhoods of Havana right after the Revolution of 1959. 

The film illuminates the history before the Revolution and the development that occured after Castro took over in 1959 Cuba. 

Its plot shows how tearing down slums and building modern settlement will not change the culture of its people. 

Gómez wrapped filming with Mario Balmaseda and Yolanda Cuellar just before her death; technical work was finished by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Julio García-Espinosa y Rigoberto López before its posthumous release.

As De Cierta Manera reveals, Sara Gómez was a revolutionary filmmaker at a crossroads; the Afro-Cuban community, its cultural traditions to include the African based religions, Abakuá and Santería, women’s issues, the treatment of marginalized sectors of society, and the role of family within the context of the revolution and workers’ rights. For its time, the film was extremely radical both in form and content.  Sara Gómez remains one of the most significant filmmakers from Latin America.  There is an award named for Sara Gòmez in the Women in Film and Video Chapter of Cuba. 

La Reina de Azùcar y los Afro-Latinos

La Reina de Azùcar y los Afro-Latinos

Ay Celia… I celebrate her this September – October in my La Vida En Hispanic Heritage Month posts and I would be remiss to not celebrate La Reina, So here ya go! 
As a constant source of inspiration you never fail to impress, Celia you still reign supreme in a world where you were meant to be just a this or a that.  But it was your destiny to touch hearts it was your purpose to make your people proud, that those who looked like feel as though they to could be respected and revered by their grace, talent, beauty.  

  
As the ONLY Afro-Latina with her very own expansive exhibit displayed in the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington DC, you had weaved yourself into the very fabric of this country, unlike any other Afro-Latina in the world.  The exhibit was complete with costumes designed by you and your music it was such an amazing thing to see and enjoy. 
 A Grammy nominee, ten times over, Celia sang only in Spanish because as she used to claim her “English was not very good looking.”    

She received a Smithsonian Lifetime Achievement award, a National Medal of the Arts, and honorary doctorates from Yale and the University of Miami. A street in Miami was also renamed  in her honor. 

  

Her trademark orange, red, and white polka dot dress (an original Celia design) and her personally designed shoes have been placed in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute of Technology. According to the European Jazz Network, Celia “commands her realm with a down-to-earth dignity unmistakably vibrant in her wide smile and striking pose.”

   

Celia was a big star in Cuba before she came to the US.  She replaced the Puerto Rican singer Myrta Silva in the famed Cuban Orchestra, La Sonora Matancera in 1950 much to the chagrin of the white aristocracy in Cuba.  This singular move would propell the orchestra and Celia to international stardom. She became one of the first Afro-Latina women to lead an orchestra and Sonora Matancera took Cuban music around the world with Celia Cruz as “La Guarachera Cubana.”

  

I will never forget the way I felt driving down Constitution Ave, when I saw this mega building sized poster of Celia emblazoned with her battle cry to sing  Azùcar! in DC.   Our national museum of American History had this beautiful icon covering the front of their building it was a win.  And I remember thinking ..wow Celia, you were

A Cruz Original
 
It was amazing to see An entire exhibit devoted to our queen, our music, the ancestors were so very pleased.  Couldnt you feel it in her voice? I can, to this day, still hear her singing in my heart,  felt her spirit in my soul, “La Vida Es Un Carnival”
La Vida Es Un Carnival Live  

I was filled with an inexplicable level of pride at who Celia was and what Celia Cruz means to me and people who look like me.  She is irreplaceable our Queen, La Reina! It was confirming to see that Celia Cruz a naturalized citizen, of these United States was still honored and revered with her own exhibit. She was a treasure. 

 

   I have my favorite songs of Celia’s I love “Usted Abuso” with its lovely arrangements and of course “La Negra Tiene Timbao” my anthem because I am Ese Negrita que esta caminando… 

But the song that just breaks my heart in its mastery of lyrics is a cover En Español of I Will Survive.  Recorded just months before she succumbed to brain cancer. Her voice rich but strained emmitted the wonderful Adios of this legendary singer. 

“Yo Vivire, en el alma de mi gente, en el cuero del tambor, en las manos del congero, en los pies del bailador, yo vivire, ahi estar, mientras pase una comparsa, con mi rumba cantare, sere siempre lo que fui con mi azucar para ti, yo vivire, yo vivire…” 

(Translation) “I will survive, in the soul of my people, in the skin of our drum, in the hands of the drummer, in the feet of the dancer, I will survive, and there it is, while my song is playing, with my rumba I will sing, always being alive with my azucar for you I will survive… I will survive” 

Below every latin vocalist from Gloria Estefan to Jose Feliciano and Marc Anthony come on stage with Celia to sing one last song with her. A truly proper goodbye.   I am always rendered to tears each time I see it. 

An All Star Tribute To Living Legend Celia Cruz

I Still cant listen to any of her music without breaking out in dance either… So this post is in gratitude… Thank you God, Mil Gracias a Dios por la Vida En Black of La Reina, Celia Cruz!