Born in Harlem to Dominican parents, Raquel Cepeda is an award-winning journalist, cultural activist, podcaster, documentary filmmaker, and author. She travels widely to speak to diverse audiences about Latina identity, social justice, gentrification and inequality. Raquel has headlined events at the Brooklyn Historical Society, El Museo del Barrio and has been a featured guest on Melissa Harris-Perry’s MSNBC show.
Her memoir, Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina, follows her coming of age in New York City and Santo Domingo, and is a detective story chronicling her year-long search for the truth of her roots using ancestral DNA testing. The book is a powerful exploration of how Raquel negotiates her identity as a Latina-American living in America today. Raquel also edited the collection of hip hop journalism, And It Won’t Stop.
Raquel’s latest documentary, Some Girls, focuses on a group of troubled Latina teens from a Bronx-based suicide prevention program. Raquel is currently in production on her next documentary, along with partner Henry Chalfant. La Madrina: The Savage Life of Lorine Padilla is a feature documentary that paints a moving portrait of a rapidly shifting Bronx, spanning five decades, through the life of a charismatic community activist and former gang matriarch.
Raquel serves on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Latin Media and Entertainment Commission, where she acts as a strategic advisor to position her beloved city as a global capital for the Latinx media and entertainment industry.