Life story

Hispanic Heritage Month | Raul Orlando Edwards of Houston shares his life story

HOUSTON, Texas (KIAH) – Creative visionary Raul Orlando Edwards says salsa is a lot like life, “every move complements the next.” Originally from Panama, Edwards came to the United States in search of the American dream.

When he arrived, things were different. He remembers a time when he was trying to get his driver’s license. He put “Hispanic” on the form and the DMV employee erased it and told him he was black and not Hispanic.

I started to explore and learn more about the culture. I was not so aware of the racial situation in America, of its very depth in the structure of law and society.

Raul Orlando Edwards, creative visionary

It was then that he knew his goal was to showcase Afro-Latin culture through the enhancement of art.

“I started to discover a lot of beautiful things about black culture in Latin America and indigenous culture in Latin America, which started to empower me, to embrace and to be proud of these cultures”

Raul Orlando Edwards, creative visionary

He launched the Foundation for the Latin American Arts (F-LAMARTS), a foundation that organizes an annual music festival and events throughout the year. A genre of popular “Reggaeton” music began on the streets of Panama. Colourism, however, is deeply rooted in the fabric of Latin America.

“The drums, the percussions were black but today what we see, what is exported looks European.”

Raul Orlando Edwards, creative visionary

Edwards says he will continue to bring the arts, music to Houston to remind everyone that culture is an ode to the soul.

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