Nuyorican Movement  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Nuyorican Movement is an intellectual movement involving poets, writers, musicians and artists who are Puerto Rican or of Puerto Rican descent, who live in or near New York City, and either call themselves or are known as "Nuyoricans".


Literature and poetry

Some of the best known "Nuyorican" writers and poets who have written about their experiences of being a Puerto Rican in New York and who have been responsible for the "Nuyorican Movement", directly or indirectly, are:

The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, a non-profit organization in Alphabet City, Manhattan founded by Pedro Pietri, Miguel Piñero and Miguel Algarín, is a bastion of the Nuyorican Movement. Edwin Torres, a well-known Nuyorican poet, is a regular at the cafe. Other modern day notable Nuyorican poets include Willie Perdomo, Caridad de la Luz and Emanuel Xavier.


"Nuyorican" music became popular in the 1960s with the recordings of Tito Puente's "Oye Como Va" and Ray Barretto's "El Watusi" and incorporated Spanglish lyrics.

Latin bands who had formerly played the imported styles of Cha-cha-cha or Charanga began to develop their own unique Nuyorican music style by adding flutes and violins to their orchestras. This new style came to be known as the Latin Boogaloo. Some of the musicians who helped develop this unique music were Joe Cuba with "Bang Bang", Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz with "Mr. Trumpet Man", and the brothers Charlie and Eddie Palmieri.

Subsequently, Nuyorican music has evolved into Latin hip hop, Freestyle music, rap, Salsa, and reggaeton.

The development of the Nuyorican music can be seen in salsa and hip hop music. Musician and singer Willie Colon shows this diaspora in his salsa music by blending the sounds of the trombone, an instrument popular in the New York urban scene, and the cuatro, an instrument native to Puerto Rico and prevalent in salsa music. Furthermore, many salsa songs address this diaspora and relationship between the homeland, in this case Puerto Rico, and the migrant community, New York City. Some see the positives and negatives in this exchange, but often the homeland questions the cultural authenticity of the migrants. In salsa music, the same occurs. the Puerto Ricans question the validity and authenticity of the music. Today, salsa music has expanded to incorporate the sounds of Africa, Cuba, and other Latin American countries, creating more of a salsa fusion. In addition, with the second and third generations of the Nuyoricans, the new debated and diasporic sound is hip hop. With hip hop, the Nuyoricans gave back to Puerto Rico with rappers like Vico C. and Big Pun who created music that people in both New York and Puerto Rico could relate and identify with. Subsequently, the music diaspora between the United States and Puerto is a circular exchange and blended fusion, as evident with name Nuyorican.


Among playwrights who pioneered the Nuyorican movement were Luis Rafael Sánchez, author of "La Guaracha Del Macho Camacho" and René Marqués whose production of The Oxcart (La Carreta) traces the life of a Puerto Rican family who moved from the country to San Juan and then to New York, only to realize that they would rather live a poor life in Puerto Rico than face discrimination in the United States.

Miguel Piñero became an acclaimed playwright with Short Eyes, a drama about prison life which received a Tony Award nomination and won an Obie Award. Judge Edwin Torres wrote Carlito's Way, the saga of a Puerto Rican drug dealer which eventually became a Hollywood film.

Puerto Rican actress Míriam Colón founded the "Puerto Rican Traveling Theater" which gives young actors the opportunity to participate in its productions. Some of the productions, such as "Simpson Street" concern life in a New York's ghettos.

See also


  • Allatson, Paul. Key Terms in Latino/a Cultural and Literary Studies. Blackwell Publishing, 2007.
  • Flores, Juan. 2004. "Creolite in the 'Hood: Diaspora as Source and Challenge. Centro 16, no. 2 (Fall):283-289.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Nuyorican Movement" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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