At Coyo Taco, Everyone Speaks a Little SpanglishEXPAND
Photo by Kathy Mercedes

At Coyo Taco, Everyone Speaks a Little Spanglish

Behind a door in the back of Wynwood's Coyo Taco is a dimly lit room with a full bar, a projector playing your tia’s favorite music videos, a DJ effortlessly blending Latin hits and hip-hop bangers, and a girl from Instagram moving her hips in heels higher than your hopes and dreams.

This is Spanglish, a first-generation Latin mami’s fix. Here, you can still scream “Suavemente” at the top of your lungs while you throw your ass in a circle when Migos comes on. The party flyer is actually a container of  Sazon seasoning, and the host is your favorite Latina, who's representing hard for a country she visits a few times a year to see abuelita.

For radio host and event producer OhRawkC, born Roselyn Cornier, being Spanglish comes easily. She embodies the brand while proudly wearing Puerto Rican flag nails. “For me being Spanglish means growing up in both worlds, American and Latinx. My house was very rich in Puerto Rican culture. I didn't learn to speak English until second grade,” she says. “You get home from school talking about your day in English, and your parents are like, 'No teentiendo, en esta casa sehabla español.'" Even though they do understand, they just want to force you to speak Spanish so you don't forget. My school life, friends, TV, music, and food were always a constant mix of American and Latinx.”

In Miami, the Latin nightlife scene isn’t hard to find; you just follow the scent of tequila and the sound of “Scooby Doo Pa Pa.” But if you’re not hip to all things Latin, it can be a little hard to fit in. “I wanted to create a space where my friends and I could feel comfortable. There are Spanish music clubs and lounges in South Florida, but it can be intimidating to fit the Latinx stereotype, dress up and wear heels, or have to listen to only Spanish music all night,” Cornier says.

Latin girls like hip-hop too. “I know so many Spanglish friends that enjoy El Gran Combo and still want to listen to Future at the same party. This party is for Spanglish millennials, but your cool titi who used to sneak you drinks at family parties can come too and have a good time,” Cornier says.

At Coyo Taco, Everyone Speaks a Little SpanglishEXPAND
Courtesy of Spanglish

Cornier’s movement not only turns Coyo Taco into a chonga fairyland but also highlights important topics in the Latin community. She recently teamed up with the Lunchbox, a creative workspace in Little Haiti, to bring monthly open-forum discussions touching on a wide spectrum of topics. “Spanglish Conversations is a platform for issues within our Latinx community. Miami is a flashy city, mostly known for parties, and the issues that affect our community can oftentimes get overlooked,” Cornier says. These are panel events run by a moderator, but also involve the audience in an open mic. Of course, empanadas and Cuban coffee are served.

In all, the best way to immerse yourself in Latin culture isn’t always jumping into the middle of Santa Clara with a Spanish-to-English dictionary. Sometimes, all you need is a little Spanglish.

Spanglish. 10 p.m. Thursday, July 19, at Coyo Taco, 2300 NW Second Ave, Miami; 305-573-8228; coyo-taco.com. Admission is free.

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