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The Fearless Cool of Buika

Afro-Spanish flamenco-soul-jazz singer Concha Buika is as talented as she is fearless. Growing up on the island of Mallorca in an immigrant family from the tiny former Spanish colony of Equatorial Guinea in Central Africa, Buika says her mother was “a happy mama” despite raising several kids by herself in a strange new country.

That undying appreciation for life has been bred into her music as well. With help from frequent producer Javier Limón and an album collaboration with Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés, Buika seamlessly blends her influences and interests with deep emotion.

Buika talks about her art and music, her childhood, and why she believes women are united by their experiences.



Sabiduría: Outsider Within

To close out our show focusing on Afro-Latinos, we get a bit of wisdom from friend of the show Janel Martinez.

Janel reads to us an adapted version of a post she featured on her site It’s called “Outsider Within.”

A Photo Essay: The Garifuna Exodus

Since last year, high numbers of Garifuna people from Honduras – of mixed African and indigenous Arawak heritage – have been migrating to the United States. They say they are fleeing discrimination and seizure of  traditional lands. Latino USA producer Marlon Bishop reported on the Garifuna exodus for this week’s episode of Latino USA. Below, check out some of the photographs he took while he was there.

Norma Quioto lives in Barra Veija, a small Garifuna community located on a spit of land between the Caribbean Sea and the Laguna de Los Micos, a lagoon.

Next door to Barra Vieja is Miami, one of the more traditional-looking communities in the country. Houses here are made of manaca, or dried coconut palm fronds.

Barra Vieja residents build a house together. Many Garifuna communities have a system called manovuelta – basically, “you help me build my house, I help you build your house.” It’s a form of communal living.

Carlos Castillo, democratically-elected head of the town council in Barra Vieja, shows off his photo in a Honduran newspaper. The article reports on an attempted eviction of the community that happened in September 2014.

Residents believe the eviction was related to the nearby Indura Beach & Golf Resort, a $120 million dollar tourism project owned by the Honduran government and business interests. Garifuna communities have been fighting against the development of the resort since the mid 1990s.

Residents believe the eviction was related to the nearby Indura Beach & Golf Resort, a $120 million dollar tourism project owned by the Honduran government and business interests. Garifuna communities have been fighting against the development of the resort since the mid 1990s.

Members of the Garifuna at Barra Vieja pose under the tree that serves as a town square. “We don’t want any tall buildings here,” says Raymond Grant. “We want to keep living how we’ve been living.”

Luis García is a drum-maker and community leader from Sambo Creek. His family has been making drums for generation. He says that knowledge is fading out in the community.  “When four young people who might have learned to make drums migrate instead, that’s four less drum makers,” he says.

Luis Garcia’s infant daughter doesn’t make drums yet, but he wants to teach her one day. For the meantime, she enjoys banging on them.

Rolando Sosa, better known as Chichi Man, plays guitar in his back patio in Sambo Creek. The music he plays is parranda, sometimes referred to as the Garifuna blues.

To get to the Garifuna community of Vallecito, you have to drive East towards the Mosquitia rainforest for many hours. It’s a dicey part of the country, where the majority of drugs that come through Honduras are trafficked.

Vallecito is a swath of ancestral land that the Garifuna have won title to in a Honduran court. At mid-day, women prepare beans for a communal meal.

Miriam Miranda is the leader of OFRANEH, a grassroots political activist organization that agitates for Garifuna rights. She wants to see Vallecito become a sanctuary for Garifuna around the Honduras and beyond who have been displaced, so they don’t feel they have to migrate to the U.S.

N                                             There are only a few full-time residents at Vallecito, but many young Garifuna come for short stays to help develop the project. Here, a plan outlines the day’s work – clearing land, planting land, repairing infrastructure.

Erlan Diego, 25, is a youth leader in OFRANEH. “Being here at Vallecito is like being in the time of my great-grandmother, living without electricity, without technology, with a feeling of brotherhood,” he says. “I want to live this way for the rest of my life.

The Garifuna cuisine is based heavily around seafood – seafood stews, fried seafood, grilled seafood. Before you can cook the fish, you have to chop the fish.

Young Garifuna men take a break from working at Vallecito.  In the background, women plant yucca and peppers.

At night – the music beings. “We’ve brought back some of the song that only the old women knew,” says Yillian David, 29. But drumming is about more than having fun. “Culture is a powerful form of resistance,” says OFRANEH leader Miriam Miranda.

All photos by Marlon Bishop. Marlon’s reporting in Honduras was supported by Round Earth Media 

This Week’s Music: Afro-Latino

-Beiba by Andy Palacio & The Garifuna Collective

-EL POWER Cumbia (Afro Kumbe Remix) Ft. Locos por Juana by Kanye West

-Timbales y Bongo by Mongo Santamaria

-You Ain’t a Killer by Big Punisher

-Afro Blue by Mongo Santamaria

-Afro-Sound (Remix) ft Palenke Soultribe by Locos por Juana

-Africana (Prod. by Yeti Beats) by Los Raka

-Yau by Aurelio Martinez

-Nando by Aurelio Martinez

-Milaguru by Aurelio Martinez

-MidNight Cumbia (Afro Kumbe Remix) by M83

-Afro Cuban Ritual by Mario Bauzá

-Relax and Mambo by Machito

-Drume Negrita by Instituto Mexicano del Sonido

-Garifunasty by K. Sabroso

-Hoy Es by Café Tacuba

This Week’s Captions: Afro-Latino

#1503 – Gaming the System

We examine diversity in gaming, the way the NYPD may have played themselves by slowing quality of life arrests, and learn about a community garden that sneaks in a little computer programming.

Diversity in Geekdom: Video Games

Video games like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto 5 have made headlines in the last few years thanks to record breaking sales. Those sales exist because video games are hugely popular. About 185 million people in the United States play video games.

It’s no secret that people of all background play video games, its hard to tell that from the lack of diversity among playable characters.

According to a study published in the journal “New Media and Society” in 2009, only 3% of all video games characters can be identified as Latino. And of that 3%, only 5% are characters you can use to play.

As we continue our series on Diversity in Geekdom, Latino USA producer Daisy Rosario speaks with three people who love video games but would like to see things change.

Mary Lordes is a writer at Upright Citizens Brigade and former co-host of the video game podcast Unlimited Lives. David Brothers is a former journalist who works at Image Comics. Vander Caballero is the Creative Director of Minorty Media.

The Irony of the NYPD’s Work Slowdown

After last month’s tragic and unpredictable shooting of two NYPD officers, already high tensions between the NYPD and Mayor Bill de Blasio turned a strange corner. The NYPD effectively shut down a massive portion of their policing: arrests plummeted by two-thirds while traffic and parking violations dropped by 90%.

The shutdown, informally orchestrated by the city’s largest police union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, asked officers only to make arrests “unless absolutely necessary,” possibly in protest, possibly as result of a fatigued force coming off the heels of protestors’ agitation. Yet despite concerns that a slowdown of policing might lead to a crime spree, instead life carried on as normal.

The work stoppage ended mid-January and arrests rates “are going back to what we would describe as normal levels,” according to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. Throughout it all, the important question was raised: If police were only making “necessary” arrests during the work stoppage, what kinds of arrests were they making before—and what kinds of arrests will they make now?

One of the journalists asking those questions was Matt Ford, national editor at The Atlantic. Host Maria Hinojosa sat down with him to figure out what the purpose of the work stoppage was, whether it succeeded, and how it might affect future policing.

Then, producer Michael Simon Johnson took to the streets of New York City to talk to residents about their thoughts on the work stoppage, whether they felt a difference in their neighborhood and what their hopes are for community-police relations.


Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Gina Rodriguez’ Amazing Golden Globes Speech

Actress Gina Rodriguez stole the show at last weekend’s Golden Globe Awards with a surprise win in the category of  Best Actress in a Comedy for her role in “Jane The Virgin.” Her tearful speech got social media talking… and the Latino USA newsroom crying. The next day, Latino USA producer Daisy Rosario got in the studio with Maria Hinojosa to talk about what this win means for Latinos in show business.


Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Making the Most of Spare Parts

In 2004, a public high school robotics team in Arizona beat the odds by beating M.I.T in a competition. The team members were undocumented and had little resources. Their story inspired a book, a documentary, and now a feature film produced by and starring George Lopez. The movie is called Spare Parts and is out in theaters now. Over a decade after their unexpected win, two of the original members of the team, Cristian Arcega and Lorenzo Santillan, look back at their experience.


Photo above of 2004 Robotics Team members Cristian Arcega, Oscar Vazquez, Luis Aranda, and Lorenzo Santillan with Carl Hayden teacher Fredi Lajvardi

(C) 2013 Richard Schultz. Courtesy of 50 Eggs


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