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Lifetime Achievement Award for Pedro ‘Cuban Pete’ Aguilar

“Dancing is a gift,” 80-year-old Pedro ‘Cuban Pete’ Aguilar notes in an article in today’s Sun Sentinel. “My mother gave it to me, and it’s my duty to pass it on.”

Aguilar is being honored, along with his dance partner, Barbara Craddock at the annual Latin Jazz USA Chico O’Farrill Lifetime Achievement Awards. The event takes place at the Manuel Artime Theater in Miami’s Little Havana. 

“The awards are given each year to recognize the contributions artists have made to Afro Cuban jazz and Latin jazz,” the Sentinel reports. “Aguilar and Craddock are the first dancers toCubanPete.jpg receive the award, named for the late O’Farrill, a Cuban bandleader and composer.”

Pedro ‘Cuban Pete’ Aguilar (

On his website, Aguilar’s dancing career is put into perspective: “Cuban Pete made his mark in the Latin dance world at the dawn of the mambo craze, at the Palladium Ballroom, the 'Home of the Mambo,' vaulting from there to international eminence. By March 1950, Cuban Pete had nabbed 63 first prizes at the Palladium, forever immortalizing mambo with his creation of over 100 steps, still the standards of today. These include but are not limited to, the Porpoise, the Prayer, the Shimmy Shimmy, a sort of demi-plie with a knee shimmy action exactly on the clave, the Tango Fan, Handball Mambo, the Head Snap, and the Cuban Pete Special, a kick tap tap, en clave, the most widely imitated step in New York mambo. Handwork, never before used as embellishment in Latin dance, became his trade mark, so much so that Machito often referred to him as ‘El Cuchillo’ (the knife.) Dance Magazine, (March 1959), Albert and Josephine Butler, ranked Pete #1 on their list of mambo luminaries. ‘Cuban Pete will kick his feet in the air and beat the dance floor with his knuckles, all in fine mambo rhythm.’ Cuban Pete, 50 years later, still dances a sizzling mambo, currently with his partner, Barbara Craddock. They perform, teach and judge nationally and internationally."

7:27 pm est          Comments

Congressional Black Caucus says it's time to pardon Mychal Bell

“Members of the Congressional Black Caucus called on Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco to pardon Mychal Bell and five other teenagers known as the ‘Jena 6,’” the Associated Press is reportingMychalBell.jpeg

“Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee said in a letter to Blanco this week that Bell and the other teens have paid their debt to society and should be immediately pardoned.

CBC says it's time to pardon Mychal Bell 

"Blanco's press secretary, Marie Centanni, issued a statement Friday saying the governor cannot grant a pardon or commutation without a recommendation to do so from the state Pardon Board.

"Blanco leaves office Jan. 14. The next Pardon Board meeting is scheduled for Jan. 17."

6:44 pm est          Comments

Reggaeton Nation gets respect

A new article in NACLA describes the rise of reggaeton and shows how the music went in a short span of time from being looked down upon, to being celebrated. 

“Originally dubbed ‘underground,’ among other names, reggaeton is a stew of rap en español and reggae en español, cooked to perfection in the barrios and caseríos (housing projects) of Puerto Rico. Drawing on U.S. hip-hop and Jamaican reggae, Spanish-language rap and reggae developed parallel to each other throughout the 1980s in both Puerto Rico and Panama,” write Frances Negrón-Muntaner and Raquel Z. Rivera in their article “Reggaeton Nation.”

The populist lyrics of artists like Tego Calderón and the politically conscious take on Puerto Rican society represented by Calle 13 tegocaldernelenemydelosguasbiri.gifhave helped transform reggaeton, both making it less sex-oriented and more socially relevant. 

The authors write about how “reggaeton calls attention to the centrality of black culture and the migration of peoples and ideas in (and out of) Puerto Rico, not as exotic additions but as constitutive elements. If Puerto Ricans and other Latin Americans have celebrated Spain as the ‘motherland,’ reggaeton redirects the gaze toward Africa’s diasporas. If much of Puerto Rican high culture is invested in distancing Puerto Rico from the United States, reggaeton brings Puerto Rican culture closer to the U.S. mainstream than ever by becoming a part of the ‘hip-hop nation.’ If Puerto Ricans on the island pride themselves in being whiter and wealthier than all other Caribbean islanders, reggaeton insists that Puerto Ricans are as much a part of the United States as they are of the Caribbean. If island-based Puerto Ricans have looked down on Nuyoricans and the rest of the diaspora as not-quite-Puerto Ricans, the reggaeton generation stresses the island–diaspora connection in order to integrate itself into the long-standing history of Puerto Ricans in U.S. hip-hop music and culture. In this regard, reggaeton may at times imagine the nation as a contained space, but this notion of the local is composed of globalized cultures.”

10:50 am est          Comments

Palacios kidnapping unites Afro Hondurans
By Karen Juanita Carrillo

The kidnapping of 15-year-old Edwin René Palacios has united Garifuna in support of one of Honduras’ most renowned sports families.

Edwin – one of five brothers in the Palacios family – was kidnapped from his home in La Ceiba, Honduras on October 30, 2007.  Five armed men entered the PalaEdwinRenewEulogioPalacios.jpgcios home in the La Ceiba neighborhood of Las Mercedes sometime near dawn:  they tied up the boy’s mother and father and abducted Edwin from his home. 

A few days later, the men sent a ransom note to the family, demanding payment for his release.

Because he is the youngest brother of Wilson Roberto Palacios Suazo, currently a midfield soccer player for England’s Birmingham City
“Blues” team, Edwin’s kidnapping    has made international news.
read more 

                                                                                                                                                Edwin René Palacios with this father, Eulogio
                                                                                (Photo credit:

10:46 pm est          Comments

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In partnership with:
LUNDU Center for Afro-Peruvian Advancement 



By Lisa Scott


Interviews with over 30 Jamaican immigrants on their pre-migratory perceptions of New York and England

 Click here to view and purchase the book.



by Miriam Jimenéz Román  (Editor), Juan Flores (Editor) 


The book focuses attention on a large, vibrant, yet oddly invisible community in the United States: people of African descent from Latin America and the Caribbean. The presence of Afro-Latin@s in the United States (and throughout the Americas) belies the notion that Blacks and Latin@s are two distinct categories or cultures. Afro-Latin@s are uniquely situated to bridge the widening social divide between Latin@s and African Americans. At the same time, their experiences reveal pervasive racism among Latin@s and ethnocentrism among African Americans. Offering insight into Afro-Latin@ life and new ways to understand culture, ethnicity, nation, identity, and antiracist politics, The Afro-Latin@ Reader presents a kaleidoscopic view of Black Latin@s in the United States. It addresses history, music, gender, class, and media representations in more than sixty selections, including scholarly essays, memoirs, newspaper and magazine articles, poetry, short stories, and interviews.

 Click here to view and purchase the book.



By Karen Juanita Carrillo



The proof of any group's importance to history is in the detail, a fact made plain by this informative book's day-by-day documentation of the impact of African Americans on life in the United States.  One of the easiest ways to grasp any aspect of history is to look at it as a continuum. African American History Day by Day: A Reference Guide to Events provides just such an opportunity.

 Click here to view and purchase the book.



by Karen Juanita Carrillo


The View from Chocó: The Afro-Colombian past, their lives in the present, and their hopes for the future is an introduction to the lives of Blacks in Colombia. Afro-Colombians live in a resource-rich yet remote region of Colombia. They only recently won recognition as one of that nation's distinct ethnic groups. But Colombia's on-going civil war has led many Afro-Colombians to reach even farther than their nation's borders for recognition: many have made their way to the United States as refugees and as political activists working for peace in their homeland. The View from Chocó introduces the lives and struggles of a too-long neglected community of Colombian Blacks. 

 Click here to view and purchase the book.





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