Musical Imagination: U.S.-Colombian Identity and the Latin Music Boom

By Maria Elena Cepeda | Go to book overview

2
A Miami Sound Machine
Deconstructing the Latin(o) Music
Boom of the Late 1990s

As the Ethnic Studies scholar George Lipsitz observes, the triumvirate forces of technology, globalization, and the subsequent migration of individuals from south to north have transformed cities like Los Angeles and Miami into global, as opposed to national or regional, centers. As recently as 1980, Anglos constituted a majority in metropolitan Miami-Dade, while African Americans and Latinos represented the areas largest ethnoracial minorities. However, a mere decade later, the Anglo population was in steady decline due to “selective” white flight, the African American population (largely because of the continuous arrival of new immigrants) had remained constant, and Latinos had become the new majority. Currently, Miami-Dade County Latinos make up more than 50 percent of area residents, with blacks representing almost 20 percent. In recent years, the continuing influx of black and/or Latino immigrants from neighboring Latin America and from the Caribbean (Colombians, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Brazilians, among others) has provoked a “change [in] the meaning of all racial identities” in global cities like Miami.1 Miami s newest migrants, unlike earlier generations, are less willing to adhere to the assimilationist paradigms of the past and maintain an interest not only in the daily life and institutions of their home countries but in those of Miami, as well. As a focal point of North Americas present anxieties centered on immigration, ethnoracial identity, and historic anti-Communist apprehensions, this “city on the edge” embodies “a new type of urban space, at the intersection of North America, South America, the Caribbean, crossed over by the new demographic, cultural, and economic flows between these areas.”2 Despite the demographic shifts, the U.S.-Cuban community, the ethnic group that has traditionally dominated contemporary Miami political and cultural life in the public Imagination, continues to do so, most visibly within mainstream U.S. media outlets.3 This is so despite the

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