Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Culture Class. Day 2









Sometimes, as I'm rummaging through my closet, I'm feeling Chola but... I'm seeing colors.
Bright Colors.
Eccentric, outlandish, ridiculous COLORS.

I thought maybe this was inspired by my love for B-girl style, but nope.
This was deeper.
Different.
Tighter.
I searched high and low for an answer but had no luck.
Until...Miami.

Two years ago, the wifey and I went on our first Honey Moon.
Two Los Angelenos dropped off in the middle of Miami, Florida.
Culture shock, to say the least.

Just like LA, Miami is very much influenced by its Latino community.
But, as opposed to the Mexican and Central American influence we have here, Miami is more influenced by its Caribbean and South American inhabitants.

Here we have deeper colors, more in tune with the desert that surrounds us.
The music on the streets is more relaxed.
The people are chill.
More likely to bob their head at a concert then go too crazy.

In Miami, however, the colors were LOUD.
The Music was LOUD.
The People were LOUD.
For the first time in my life, I felt quiet.
It was AMAZING.

Amazing times, food, weather, swimming, dancing and....CHONGA'S.

Never heard of a Chonga? Neither did I.
No worries, like I always say, that's what I'm here for.

The Chonga culture holds similarities to the Chola culture in its affinity for arched eyebrows, lip liner and golden accessories.
But that's about it.
Instead of sporting loose fitting clothing, Chonga clothing was pretty much always tight.
Always form fitting.
There was a lot more skin to offer as well.
I don't blame them, it's scorching hot in Miami.
(And not LA scorching, I'm talking wet, dewy, tropical climates here!)
The color patterns were always outrageous.
Hot pinks, bright yellows, neon greens.
And don't forget baby hairs!
Lots of baby hairs!

I didn't grow up in Miami, so I'm not quite sure where the style came from but I can take a wild guess.
Miami, and most of the East side were a play pen for all who loved Disco.
Caribbean influence was predominant creating its own genre of Latin Disco with artists such as Mongo Santamaria and Celia Cruz, the original chonga.
When reviewing the Chonga style I can't help but notice a lot of the look holds on to the disco madness of the 70's.

So, just like the Chola is a modernized Pachuca, I see the Chonga as a modernized Caribbean Salsa-Disco queen.

I came back from Miami ready to mix those cultures.
Chola meets Chonga.
Chongla.
I love it.
That, to me, is what America is all about.
Culture clashing madness.
Now that it's getting hot, I can't wait to release the inner Chonga.
Will you do it with me?


*the adorable Christina Aguilera as a Chonga in her music video "Can't hold us down" via
www.famous-people-search.com
*Chongas on miami beach via flickr.com
*Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio from Scarface via Imdb.com
*Chonga via trendcentral.com
*Chonga Couture via

7 comments:

  1. You make my brain bigger

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  2. where are the chongalicious girls at cousin?

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  3. How tight is too tight? Literally not figuratively? lol.

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  4. Celia Cruz rocks! Love her. When it is hot you usually want to wear bright light colors. But I could only wear those colors in Miami or tropical areas. In LA I know everybody would be staring at me! : O

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  5. Tylitalia...you'll know when tight is too tight. If not, send me a pic of your outfit and I'll tell you. lol.

    anonymous...people staring should never stop you from wearing something. Give em something to stare at!

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