Black Latine Artists Defy Cultural Whitewashing

While in the Caribbean, we had the privilege of being able to reconstruct the drum, for a long time, our Black-American siblings did not. But, as we know, African imagination doesn’t stop; we improvise. So what do Black Americans do? Create tap dancing, stepping, beatboxing — they use their body as the drum, which is also an act of resistance, whether or not one recognizes that. Negro spirituals, the tonality, vibrations and vocals used, these things are connected to frequencies you find in vodou music or palo. That’s why gospel songs have that spiritual essence; it’s touching on this frequency, because that’s ancestral. We may not always know how to sing in Yoruba, but we have the tonality. Similarly, elements of milly-rocking, two-stepping, lindy-hopping, and even breakdancing can be traced back to bomba music. For eons, our people have survived, and have created optimal lives of joy and happiness, through song and dance.

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