Through our work we have had the good fortune of seeing firsthand how success comes in every shape, size, color, faith, and orientation. More importantly we’ve learned that success is often the result of people embracing their unique backgrounds and so we’ve asked the community to tell us about their background and how it has impacted where they are today.
Natalie Guevara | Content Partnerships, Spotify, U.S. Latinx audiences
I grew up between Miami, Florida and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. My family is Cuban, and my parents also spent some time growing up in Puerto Rico, so needless to say the Caribbean influence is strong. Growing up in Santo Domingo, in particular, had a profound effect on me. While there, I attended international schools with kids from all over Latin America and the world: different races, ethnicities, backgrounds, creeds. We were encouraged to have curiosity about each other, ask questions, and respect our differences. At the same time, we were very united, bonding over mutual obsessions like kids do. American pop culture was very pervasive while I was growing up: young life revolved around MTV and Disney. Today, I guess you can say my influences and inspirations really run the gamut, from Dominican merengue to classic American musical theatre to British sci-fi. Read more>>
Unique Watkins | Educator & Youth Advocate
Walks to the corner store with my baby sister. Sitting on the P.E court playing with my friends at Earlington Heights. Going to choir rehearsal. Riding the Metrorail to Sunset and running after 10 to avoid missing the last departing train. school and 11 o’clock service then Sunday dinner at my great grandfather’s house with all 20 of my cousins. I’m from the part of Miami where most tourists wouldn’t necessarily visit, unless they cross the bridge. I grew up in a green house about three blocks away from where Malcolm X, Sam Cooke, Jim Brown, and Muhammad Ali met up after Ali won the heavyweight championship of the world in 1964 which is known as the Hampton House. My childhood was full of love and fun but very structured. I was raised in a home where my family valued education immensely. Read more>>
Sibylle DENIS | Designer and Visual Artist
I am from Haiti, a country with multiple contracdictions, very poor economically but so rich in history, art and culture. My Afro-Caribbean roots are very present in my work and it is a very strong genetic heritage for me, just like the other artists of my country to seek the sublimatory, a way for us to escape a heavy daily life with its share of tragedies but always in search of the best, the most beautiful. It is this mixture which constitutes my background and inspires my work. I often consider my jewelry as amulets to defy bad luck, as conceived by the Indians of my island or the Africans who were brought back there during the escalvage. Read more>>
Dana Donaty | Artist
I grew up in New Jersey …a very traditional nuclear family. My father was a doctor of German Irish decent , my Mother an artist is Colombian and they were both born here. From my parents and my immigrant grandparents we got a lot of ‘gems’……life lessons from their upbringings delivered in well worn phrases. One of my father’s favorites that I must have heard everyday of my life and it continues play in my head now, “ Waste not , want not”.
That has become part of my life in many ways but most significantly I have claimed it for myself in my art practice. I am naturally a messy painter so from noticing how I am, the paint on the floor and having the idea to not waste that was born the process for my paintings. By placing virgin canvases on the floor underneath “in-process” easel work to intentionally collect excess paint that is flung, scraped and whatever notes I have made for myself on the canvas. Read more>>