I’m not a proud chest thumping-tatoo branding-flag waving-loud proclaiming Colombian-American. If you ask me my ethnicity, I’ll tell you and that’s that. Yet, somehow, I’m drawn to Colombian things on a visceral level without even knowing it.
The only novelas I’ve ever been able to tolerate, nay, actually look forward to, were both Colombian (Betty La Fea, La Madre Luna). One of the first actors I really looked up to (John Leguizamo) is half-Colombian. One of my favorite salsa groups, (Grupo Niche) Colombian. The group Bacilos has a Colombian singer. Juanes is another Colombian Rock and Roll artist. Shakira, Colombia artist who crossed over. Carlos Vives is a famous Vallenato artist. Alfredo Gutierrez is an old famous Colombian accordion player and singer. Even, Greg Giraldo, one of my favorite comedians of all time happens to be half-Colombian.
I always find out about the Colombian link after the fact. No bias because of the same ethnicity, it just happens to be. Most people never believe me. Back in college, I strongly remember somebody playing Shakira’s first album “Pies Descalzos” in her dorm room as I was walking down the hallway. I just happen to catch her single “Un Poco De Amor” on the Video Music Box (used to be a pay for play cable channel but has been diminished to a Saturday late night show on WNYE), so when I heard it playing on the radio I immediately recognized it and said how much I liked that song. The person who was playing her album scoffed at me and said I was only saying that because she is Colombian. When she saw the puzzled look on my face she realized that I had no idea. It just happened that I liked music by someone who shared my ethnicity.
This phenomena that happens to me time and time again makes me wonder about my genetic makeup. If it’s something ingrained within the actual compounds of my DNA and if scientists have ever made such a study. Or is it just a bunch of irrelevant yet curious coincidences that I’m grouping together into a little scope of idle thought and am making a mountain out of a molehill of them. I guess like that old Tootsie Roll Pop slogan, “the world may never know.”