Raquel Cepeda: Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau

Raquel Cepeda

Author, Cultural Activist, Filmmaker, and Award-Winning Journalist

Born in Harlem to Dominican parents, award-winning journalist, cultural activist and documentary filmmaker Raquel Cepeda is the author of Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina. Equal parts memoir about Cepeda’s coming of age in New York City and Santo Domingo, and detective story chronicling her year-long journey to discover the truth about her ancestry, the book also looks at what it means to be Latina today. She is currently in production on Deconstructing Latina, a documentary focusing on a group of troubled teenage girls in a suicide prevention program who are transformed through an exploration of their roots via the use of ancestral DNA testing.

Cepeda directed and produced the NAMIC (National Association for Multi-ethnicity In Communications) Vision nominated film Bling: A Planet Rock, a feature length documentary about American hip-hop culture’s obsession with diamonds and all of its social trappings, and how the infatuation with “blinging” became intertwined in Sierra Leone’s decade long conflict. The film was co-produced by VH1/MTV Networks and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

For almost two decades, Cepeda’s writings have been anthologized in books such as Da Capo’s Best Music Writing of 2006 and 2010, and her byline has been featured in national media outlets including People, the Associated Press, The Village Voice, MTV News, CNN.com, and many others. She’s contributed to WNYC, CNN and CNN’s Inside the Middle East as a freelance reporter. Cepeda edited the critically acclaimed anthology And It Don’t Stop: The Best Hip-Hop Journalism of the Last 25 Years, winner of the PEN/Beyond Margins and Latino Book Award. As the former editor in chief of the award-winning Russell Simmons’ Oneworld, Cepeda was responsible for the magazine’s overhaul in September 2001, receiving accolades for her global take on urban culture.

Cepeda, named one of El Diario|La Prensa’s Distinguished Women of 2013, and sits on the board of City Lore and the Style Wars Restoration Project. A public intellectual, she’s appeared on Melissa Harris-Perry, Huffington Post Live, Al Jazeera English, CNN, and other outlets talking about genetic genealogy, Latino-American identity, immigration, and mental health amongst Latina-American teenagers.

She lives with her husband, a writer and television producer, teenage daughter and infant son in her beloved New York City. Visit her at www.djalirancher.com.

Interested in booking Raquel Cepeda to speak at your next event?

Contact Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau.

(866) 248-3049

  • Rethinking the “American Dream”: Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina
  • Latina-American Studies and Racial/Ethnic Identity and Hyphenated identities: What it means to be Latino and American today
  • Ancestral DNA Testing and Race in Latino-a-America
  • Exploring Social Justice and Popular Culture in Documentary Filmmaking

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