La Raza takes the spotlight in the latest single by Ecuadorian-American producer Helado Negro, aka Roberto Lange. It doesn’t pack the kind of punch you’d expect from a song title that evokes the militancy of Latino legends, such as the Young Lords or the Brown Berets. Sonically speaking, it hardly even follows the effervescent, tropical synth pop trajectory of his 2014 album, Double Youth. But perhaps the crawling pace and low-lying vocals mark a turn in pan-Latin consciousness: one in which the old promise of a uniformly beige, “cosmic race” no longer carries the sparkle it used to.
This song conjures a more honest vision of the future, in which generations of Latinos meet from various corners of the diaspora with the will to better understand one another, despite all their differences. “[Your grandmother] is young, Latin and proud, [your parents] are young, Latin and proud,” he sings, “One day you’ll be old, Latin and proud.” Helado Negro’s single is a dream of a colorfully varied, empowered group of people, walking confidently toward the sunset.