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How Afro-Latino Festival Is Empowering A Rich & Diverse Community

It's a brown thing, baby… and black IS beautiful. 

The 3rd Annual Afro-Latino Festival could not have come at a better time. Amid national unrest and sweeping racial tension, the 3-day event (July 10-12) is bringing together artists, scholars and performers to affirm and celebrate Afro-Latino culture. Afro-Boricuas, Dominicans and many others across the Caribbean community will gather at panel discussions, documentaries, musical performances, dance workshops and art exhibits throughout New York City.

READ: Poetic Justice: First Latino Poet Laureate Announced

In a time where the Latino ethnic and racial identity continues to shift, it is important to not only recognize but educate on its rich and multi-layered heritage. Here's how the organizers are doing just that, and so much more…

It serves as a voice for the voiceless:
"We look at Afro-Latinos as a coalition community," founder Mai-Elka Prado told NBC. "We have a lot of unique issues, from lack of representation in the media to profiling to immigration. We want the festival to be a place where people can be heard and seen, in an authentic way. Our concerns - whether it is our cultural heritage, our economic situation, political issues - are all fundamental and deserve a platform."

It aims to celebrate the essence of Afrolatinidad:
"Many of our (Latin) cultures have not necessarily celebrated our African roots, said New York State Assemblymember Robert J. Rodriguez. "Events like this recognize our heritage, and the contributions to our identity that come from both sides of our heritage."

READ: Latinos In Hip-Hop (Part 2): From Underground To Mainstream

It is concerned with the multiplicity of the Afro-Latino experience:
"The issues addressed when you say you are Afro-Latino are multiple and complex," explained author and professor Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, who believes the Census undercounts Afro-Latinos because the questions are culturally insensitive. "In Latin America, people have come up with all these terms - café con leche, como greko, mulata - all to avoid saying that they are Black. And then people come to the U.S. and identify as Puerto Rican or Dominican or Mexican - the African identity seems to be lost, in part to cultural pressures."

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VIBE / Nick Rice

10 Most Important Hip-Hop Artists Of 2018

We’ve reached another end to an eventful year in hip-hop. From rap beefs to new music releases and milestones, 2018 has been forged in the history books as a year to remember. But more important than the events that happened over the span of 12 months are the people who made them happen.

While fans received a large dose of music from our favorite artists and celebrated some of the most iconic album anniversaries, there are a few names that stood out as the culture pushers, sh*t starters, and all-around most significant artists of the year.

For your enjoyment, VIBE compiled a list of the top 10 most important hip-hop artists of 2018 based on a series of qualifications: 1) public actions - good, bad, and ugly; 2) music releases; 3) philanthropic/humanitarian work; and 4) trending moments.

Be clear: This list isn’t about the most influential, the most talented, who had the best music or tours. While we are commemorating artists for the work they’ve contributed to this year’s music cycle, we’re looking beyond that and evaluating how these particular artists have shaped conversations and pushed hip-hop culture forward.

READ MORE: 15 R&B Songs We Obsessed Over Most In 2018

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VIBE / Nick Rice

15 R&B Songs We Obsessed Over Most In 2018

Hip-hop may have become the Nielsen Music-declared most dominant music genre, but let's not overlook the strides R&B (including all its many sub-genres and cousin genres) have taken on the airwaves and within the culture in this year alone.

While persistent naysayers keep peddling the tired argument that "R&B is dead," the most recent news cycle has proven the exact opposite, as talks of a supposed King of R&B dominated discussions both on- and offline. Jacquees' lofty declaration notwithstanding, there's no denying that there are ample songs swimming around the 'Net from talented vocalists killing it within the genre.

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