Doyenne of Salsa

Alexis Rodriguez-Duarte chokes up when he talks about his 15-year friendship with La Reina de la Salsa, Celia Cruz. "Celia was an inspiration for me; she was the light," the New York-based photographer whispers after catching his breath. Rodriguez-Duarte met the doyenne of Cuban music when he and his husband, fashion stylist Tico Torres, were surviving on a diet of bread and mayonnaise. "It was 1988 and we were living in London, and we noticed a huge poster that announced, 'Celia Cruz in concert!' My first thought was, Who in London would go see Celia Cruz?" Homesick, the Cuban-born couple, who had met in Miami, rang the hotel where the Grammy-winning diva was preparing for her concert. They were both left tongue-tied when Cruz invited them up for tea and cake and also left them two VIP tickets at the box office.

Location Info



1398 SW 1st St.
Miami, FL 33135

Category: Libraries

Region: Little Havana

"Siempre Viviré: Photographic Portraits of Celia Cruz," a series of black-and-white snaps from Rodriguez-Duarte's 2004 book, Presenting Celia, is on view at Miami-Dade's Hispanic Branch Library. See the exhibit through March.
Tue., Feb. 28, 10 a.m., 2012

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