In Las Caras Lindas De Mi Gente Negra (The Beautiful Faces Of My Black People) Ismael Rivera interprets Tite Curet Alonso's ode of love to black people, masterfully injecting his brilliant soneo. The main two ingredients in Tite Curet’s ode are the obvious, intrinsic joy and beauty of black people, and the sorrow that has accompanied blackness in the Americas. If you have listened to our previous WYL episodes you probably recognize a similar sorrow in songs like Raza or Canto das Três Raças.
"We are the molasses that laughs, the molasses that cries" writes Tite Curet Alonso. Molasses was a commodity traded for (and most likely produced by) enslaved Africans in the Americas during the Transatlantic Enslaved Trade. This is exactly why, when Maelo Rivera sings of molasses as the materialization of Blackness in the Americas, the duality of joy and sorrow is accentuated. We are, quite literally, the molasses that laughs and cries.
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Host/Director of Series: Andrés Hincapié, PhD
Producer: Melissa Villodas, PhD Candidate
Graphic Content Creator: Susan Mykalcio