October 21st: Celia Cruz!

It’s been a bit of a break for us here at Speaking Up — due to some travel and work commitments, I still haven’t had a chance to put together a post honoring Doodle-Worthy Women born in September. But, just in the nick of time, the Google Doodles team helped me out by posting a Doodle honoring Salsa performer and influential Cuban-American musician Celia Cruz.

The Google Doodle posted in honor of Celia Cruz, October 21st, 2013.

The Google Doodle posted in honor of Celia Cruz, October 21st, 2013.

Cruz, born October 21, 1925, grew up in Havana, studied at the Cuban Conservatory of Music, and became the lead singer of a Cuban orchestra in 1950, when she was only 25. This was the first significant step of a career that made her famous throughout Latin America and eventually launched a worldwide career based out of the United States. In this phase of her career, Cruz recorded and toured with the greatest names in salsa and Latin American music.

Cruz went on to win 7 Grammy Awards, a National Medal of the Arts, and a Lifetime Achievement award from the Smithsonian, and recorded more than 20 records that went gold. She became known as the Queen of Salsa, both an influential artist in that genre and an ambassador spreading it around the globe. Cruz’s catchphrase, “Azúcar!” (the Spanish word for sugar) became as associated with her performances as the flamboyant costumes and wigs represented in the Doodle.

Cruz has also been honored with an exhibit focused on her life and her contribution to salsa music at the National Museum of American History. She has also been featured on a commemorative postage stamp. Celia Cruz passed away in 2003, at the age of 77.

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