This profile is part of our Culture Changers series, which highlights those who are changing the way we think about the world around us. Read about film archivist Maya Cade, internet star Kane Elkins, rapper Latasha, filmmaker Arika Tengen and artist Kay Ruffy.
Music historian Katerina Ecclestone has always loved reggae.
“I have videos from home where [I] was 3 years old wearing a fluffy yellow dress and black shoes dancing to El General,” Eccleston said, referring to the legendary Panamanian reggae artist. “I was born to listen to Spanish reggae and General El’s reggae”.
Born to Panamanian parents and raised in Boston, Ecclestone is a proud black Latino. This pride in heritage and love of reggae inspired Ecclestone to give Afro-Latinos the attention they deserve.
The historian and artist is the founder of Reggaeton Con La Gata, the first female brand and platform dedicated to the intersectional analysis and history of Reggaeton. In addition to the bi-weekly newsletter, the brand’s official Twitter account @ReggaetonXGata focuses on black Latino in reggae music through curated playlists, roundup of music industry news and conversations between Ecclestone, artists and music experts – such as La Zista, Glory “La Gata Gangster”, Amara La Negra and more.
Reggaeton Con La Gata was created in a college dorm in Ecclestone and has been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, Remezcla, NPR and other outlets. She has given guest lectures at Harvard University and produced the Spotify podcast “Speak Out Loud: A History of Reggae”. Ecclestone is the lead researcher on MTV and Paramount’s upcoming “De La Calle” show. The feature, hosted by Nick Barili, explores “the musical and cultural evolution of Urbano that ignited the musical revolution of Hip Hop, Reggaeton, Bachata, Latin trap, Cumbia and other sounds,” Deadline reported.
Eccleston’s musical acumen and upbringing were shaped by a fusion of cultures. She spends her Sundays at an African American Baptist church where she learns how to play the piano. She attended West Indian Carnival and Dominican parties, where bachata beats echoed off the walls.