HOUSTONTexas (KIAH) – Creative visionary, Raul Orlando Edwards, says salsa is a lot like life, “every move complements the next.” Originally from Panama, Edwards came to the states searching for the American Dream.

When he arrived, things were different. He recalls a time when he tried to get his drivers license. He put “Hispanic” on the form and the DMV employee erased it and told him he was black and not Hispanic.

I began to explore and learn more about the culture I was not so aware of the racial situation in the United States, how deep it was even in the structure of laws and society.

Raul Orlando Edwards, Creative Visionary 

It was at that moment he knew his purpose was to highlight Afro-Latin culture through showcasing art. 

“I began to discover a lot of the beautiful things about black culture in Latin American and Native culture in Latin America, that began to empower me and embrace, and be proud of those cultures” 

Raul Orlando Edwards, Creative Visionary 

He began Foundation for Latin American Arts (F-LAMARTS), a foundation that hosts an annual music festival and events throughout the year. One popular music genre “Reggaeton” began in the streets of Panama. Colorism, however, is deeply ingrained in the fabric of Latin America.

“The drums, the percussion were black but today what we see, what is exported is European looking.” 

Raul Orlando Edwards, Creative Visionary 

Edwards says he will keep bringing the arts, the music to Houston to remind everyone that culture is an ode to the soul.