Cruz holds a Cuban flag during the 'Combinacion Perfecta' concert at Madison Square Garden, New York City, 1993. Photo: Getty Images
Cruz holds a Cuban flag during the 'Combinacion Perfecta' concert at Madison Square Garden, New York City, 1993. Photo: Getty Images

"Queen of Salsa" Celia Cruz to be honored during the New York Cuban and Hispanic American Parade


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Legendary Singer Celia Cruz will be the focus of the 2023 annual New York Cuban and Hispanic American Parade this Sunday, July 16. This year's parade will be dedicated to the "Queen of Salsa,” as friends and fans honor and recognize the singer and her impact on Latin American music worldwide. 

Sunday is also the 20th anniversary of Cruz’ passing. The festivities start at 11 a.m. at Madison Avenue and East 38th Street.

Along with the parade, Cruz will also be honored at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx where they will unveil its majestic mausoleum to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the singer's untimely passing. Fans of Cruz will have the chance to pay their respects to the beloved “Guarachera de Cuba” between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., as revealed by Barbara Selesky.

The Cuban American icon recorded over 80 albums, earned 23 gold records, won five Grammy Awards, and received the president's National Medal of Arts over the course of her storied career. 

Earlier this year, the U.S. Mint honored Cruz with a quarter of her own, making her the first Afro Latina to appear on the coin. She is one of five honorees who are a part of the American Women Quarters Program for 2024. 

Among one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th century, her large body of work "captured the unique vibrancy and magic of Latin music, and won the hearts of millions across the globe," the Celia Cruz Legacy Project Archive and Research Center wrote. 

The program, which began in 2022 and runs until 2025, honors the accomplishments and contributions of American women. Other 2024 honorees include Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first woman of color to serve in Congress; Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, a Civil War surgeon and suffragist; Pauli Murray, a civil rights activist and lawyer; and Zitkala-Ša, a voting rights activist from the Yankton Sioux Nation.

"All of the women being honored have lived remarkable and multi-faceted lives, and have made a significant impact on our Nation in their own unique way," said Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson in a statement at the time."

"The women pioneered change during their lifetimes, not yielding to the status quo imparted during their lives. By honoring these pioneering women, the Mint continues to connect America through coins which are like small works of art in your pocket." 

Born in 1925 in Havana, Cruz first made waves in Cuba as the lead singer for the country's most popular orchestra, La Sonora Matancera. Following the Cuban Revolution, she immigrated to the U.S. in 1961 and changed modern salsa music. 

Cruz died in 2003 at the age of 77.

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