Black history month is here -- and though it may be a U.S. celebration, the United States isn’t the only country in the Americas with black achievements and cultural contributions to commemorate.
While many people in the United States view Latinos as a race, the societies of Latin America are multicultural and multiracial. More people of African descent live in Brazil than any country in the world besides Nigeria. Another 8 million African-descended people live in Colombia, and millions more in the Caribbean countries of Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Venezuela, Panama and elsewhere.
As Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. told Latina.com, “The real Black Experience, in terms of numbers, is all throughout the Caribbean and Latin America… There were 11.2 million Africans who came to the New World in the slave trade and of that 11.2 million, only 450,000 came to the United States.”
So, to kick the month off, here’s six songs from Ismael Rodríguez, Jorge Ben, Joe Arroyo, Choc Quib Town, Arsenio Rodríguez and Los Van Van that celebrate the black experience in Latin America. Enjoy!
Click the videos for live performances, or listen to the Spotify playlist for studio versions.