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6 Famous Afro-Mexicans Least Known Beyond Mexico

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Afro-Mexicans in Mexico haven’t always received recognition. It wasn’t until 2015 that they received formal identification as Afro-Mexicans. According to the country’s 2020 census, 2.5% of the population is black, with the highest concentration in Costa Chica. Among them are less known artists around the world. In this article, we’ll list famous Afro-Mexicans.

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Toña La Negra

Toña La Negra’s song Alma de Veracruz. Video Credit: Par si, par la

Toña La Negra’s birth name was Antonia del Carmen Peregrino Álvarez. She came from a musical family. Her father played the guitar and her mother sang at gatherings. She began her career in the 1920s, performing tangos.

Toña became famous for her interpretation of Lara’s Enamorada and Lamento Jarocho. She popularized other songs by Lara. The singer worked at Peerless Records and RCA Victors. She was one of the famous Afro-Mexicans.

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Johnny Laboriel 

Johnny Laboriel singing. Video Credit: Rafael Moriel De la Fuente

Johnny Laboriel was another famous Afro-Mexican artist. He performed in the rock and Roll genre and was among the first Mexicans in rock music. In 1958, Laboriel joined the “Los Rebeldes del Rock” and made songs like “Rock del ángelito,” “Melodía de amor,” and “Muévanse Todos famous. Later, he left the group to start his solo career. Some of his hits include El mechón and La Bamba.

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Alejandra Robles

Alejandra Robles performing. Video Credit: Alejandra Robles

Robles was born in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico. She entertains her fans with contemporary Mexican songs and dances. Her interest in music began while young. Robles attended the School of Fine Arts in Oaxaca to learn contemporary song and dance.

The artist also studied opera at the Universidad Veracruzana School of Music. Some of her songs include La Morena and La Malagueña.

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Abraham Laboriel

Abraham Laboriel playing his guitar. Source: Wikimedia licensed by CC-BY-SA-3.0

Like his brother Jonny Laboriel, Abraham was an artist and became one of the most famous Afro-Mexicans. He was a bass player and one of the most played. He reportedly appeared in over 4,000 recordings. At the Berklee College of Music, he trained on the guitar but switched to the bass.

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He spent two years jobless but later, landed a road tour. He then formed a band called Friendship and Koinonia. Some of his songs include Dear Friends and Live in Switzerland.

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Kalimba Marichal

Kalimba Marichal TED Talk. Video Credit: TEDx Talks

Kalimba joins our list of the most famous Afro-Mexicans. He’s an actor and musician. Marichal was a child prodigy, appearing in television shows like Chiquilladas and Chispas de Chocolate, aged 3. He was in a Mexican pop group, La Onda Vaselina and took part in making the La Banda Rock album. Some of his albums include Aerosoul and NegroKlaro.

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Jacob Perez

Jacob Perez talking about his career. Video Credit: In The Know

Although Jacob Perez was born in America, he’s of Mexican and African-American ancestry. He began his career at a young age, featuring in commercials for brand-name companies like Nike and McDonald’s.

Apart from television appearances, Perez was part of the group, Mindless Behavior, until 2017. His film work includes The Rosie Show and Tamar & Vince.

These are some famous Afro-Mexicans who’ve been on the entertainment scene. They’ve used their platform to elevate Black Mexicans and promote their culture through music and films.

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