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In Short, Raquel Cepeda…

Born in Harlem to Dominican parents, award-winning journalist, cultural activist, podcaster, and documentary filmmaker Raquel Cepeda is the author of Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina. Equal parts memoir about Cepeda’s coming of age in New York City and Santo Domingo, and detective story chronicling her year-long journey to discover the truth about her roots using ancestral DNA testing, the book explores how she negotiates a hyphenated identity as a Latina-American living in America today. (Hint: her negotiations with her self have been, thus far, successful!)

Cepeda’s latest documentary Some Girls, produced by Henry Chalfant and Sam Pollard, focuses on a group of troubled Latina teens from a Bronx-based suicide prevention program who are transformed by an exploration of their roots via the use of ancestral DNA testing, followed by a trip to the seat of the Americas. On that journey to modern-day Dominican Republic, the white supremacist narratives about American history they’ve been taught are challenged, leaving them free to reconstruct their own respective identities. What does it really mean to be American? And, more importantly, what does that look like?

“Cepeda’s mix of New York’s hip-hop slang and Latino ghetto language with an extremely rich and sophisticated style has produced a rare piece of high-level American contemporary literature.Frank Moya Pons, author and foremost historian of Dominican and Caribbean history

Cepeda’s currently writing, East of Broadway, a story about one community in New York, the author’s beloved Inwood, as seen through the lives of several of its inhabitants, as a way of shedding light on the impact of gentrification. The book will be published by Beacon Press (2017/18). She lives with her husband, Sacha Jenkins, a filmmaker, musician, and creative agency partner, daughter, 20, and five-year-old son in New York City, “…concrete jungle where dreams are made of [and] there’s nothin’ you can’t do…”

… there’s more to the story. Follow Raquel here …

Books

Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina

“I’m so appreciative of the book. It’s the science of the DNA. It’s the personal narrative of the finding of the finding of the self. It’s a little bit of hip-hop thrown in there. It’s all those different things. It is really a lovely book.”
Melissa Harris-Perry

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise ... , a memoir about my coming of age during the 1980s in the Inwood/Washington Heights section of Manhattan, and Santo Domingo, is also a genetic adventure chronicling my year-long journey to discover the truth about my ancestry. My forthcoming documentary, Some Girls, is an addendum of Bird ... check it out!

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And It Don't Stop: The Best American Hip-Hop Journalism of the Last 25 Years

“Once in a while a book comes along that commands attention. And It Don’t Stop is hip hop defined by its generations’ best writers and observers, an absolute must have–definite satisfaction.”
Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson, The Roots

And It Don't Stop

And it Don't Stop...is a compilation of some of my favorite articles about hip-hop culture up to 2004 when it was published.

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Films

Some Girls

(2017)

Some Girls

Some Girls is a feature documentary following a group of troubled Latina teens from a Bronx-based suicide prevention program who are transformed by an exploration of their roots via the use of ancestral DNA testing, followed by a trip to the seat of the Americas. On that journey to modern-day Dominican Republic, the white supremacist narratives about American history they've been taught are challenged, leaving them free to reconstruct their own respective identities. What does it really mean to be American? And, more importantly, what does that look like?

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Bling: A Planet Rock

(2007)

Bling: A Planet Rock

Bling: A Planet Rock is an 87-minute documentary that takes a hard-hitting look at how the flashy world of commercial hip-hop played a significant role in the 10-year civil war in Sierra Leone, West Africa.

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What’s Up With Me

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