Streaming titan TIDAL is launching its first animated series, which goes deep into the roots of today’s top Spanish-language hits, digging into the African and indigenous origins. Footprints will be a TIDAL exclusive, but a preview of the first episode is available for non-subscribers to enjoy, and you surely won’t want to miss it.
Highlighting black Latin American and Latinx musical icons, Footprints’ first episode is narrated by none other than Amara La Negra, one of the most vocal advocates for Afro-Latinx representation and visibility in the U.S. pop cultural sphere. Over the course of seven minutes, the Dominican artist briefly walks us through the careers of three of the most prominent Afro-Latino performers in music history. First up is Colombian trailblazer Joe Arroyo, whose 1986 tale of slavery and black empowerment “Rebelión” still resonates deeply across Latin America. Then, the episode switches its focus to Celia Cruz – the Queen of Salsa herself and probably the best known black entertainer in Latin American history – who gifted us, as Amara says, “the ultimate #blackgirlmagic anthem” before her passing in 2003 – “La Negra Tiene Tumbao.” And finally, the episode turns to Pete Rodríguez, the boogaloo pioneer whose song “I Like It Like That” became one of the genre’s most important hits, successfully sampled years later by a certain Afro-Latina you may know by the name of Cardi B.
The episode also sheds some light on non-black artists who paid homage to their African heritage, like Willie Colón and Héctor Lavoe on their famous call-and-response track “Che Che Colé.” Footprints doesn’t forget to emphasize the important and oft-forgotten black roots of reggaetón, highlighting Panama’s El General as one of its originators.
Footprints is a window into the history of Latin American music, which folks of every generation can use to learn more about ourselves. After this spot-on celebration of Latinx blackness, we can’t wait to see what else the series has in store for us.
Watch a preview of the series below, and sign up for TIDAL to check out the full episode.