Spanish was my first language, but it was one that I rejected growing up. As a child, I saw my parents, especially my father, struggle with the English language and face ridicule for it. My father, to this day, is hesitant to speak English as he is self-conscious about his thick Cuban accent and his difficulty pronouncing certain words. To some degree I was embarrassed by this, and I sought to distance myself from anything related to my Hispanic heritage. I recall disliking family gatherings, because the strains of Mambo and Salsa, the smells of traditional Cuban party fare, and the constant murmur of Cuban dialect all served as constant reminders of the heritage I sought to avoid.
As I grew older, I came to understand the insensitivity and the immaturity of my ways as I became aware of the challenges my parents had to face. Both had come to the United States after being exiled from Cuba as a result of the Revolution. They faced extreme poverty, but more importantly, they had to overcome language obstacles, cultural barriers, and overt prejudice. In spite of these challenges, they still remained proud of their background. I came to appreciate the efforts of my parents, and on a personal level, realized that my worldview was largely shaped by my Cuban roots. My religious, political, and cultural views were all products of my Cuban heritage.
My four years at ___ University solidified my pride for my Hispanic heritage. I did experience some prejudiced remarks about my background, but I chose not to dwell on these negative instances. Instead, I endeavored to use the opportunities afforded to me by my school to further learn about my roots and bring the unique aspects of my culture to my college’s community. I worked closely with my school’s latino organization, but I chose music as my personal avenue for educating others about my culture. As a music producer, I enjoy incorporating the rhythms of traditional Cuban with contemporary electronic sounds. For example, much of my music incorporates a broad range of percussion characteristic of the island, such as claves, timbales, and conga and I modified my electronic synthesizers to mirror Cuban instrumentation of trombones, trumpets, and keys. I use my music to educate others about the beauty of the Afro-Cuban musical tradition- one that I had initially shied away from, but had come to love. I used my position radio disc-jockey to play the records of popular Cuban musicians, and at school parties I often will diversify my musical sets with one or two dance tracks in the style of Merengue or Bachata.