Four Dominicans you Should Already Know
This article is going to be a little different from the rest of what you’ll find on our blog.
It’s easy to look at the Dominican Republic as a “far-away” place, disconnected from your daily life and the popular zeitgeist. Many group it alongside other Caribbean resort destinations and only think about how the United States and other major nations have affected it’s culture and way of life. But, there’s no better way to appreciate a country than to look at how its culture and people have affected yours.
The Dominican Republic has, doubtlessly, affected your life in ways that you’ve yet to realize, and no-where is that more evident than the long (very long) list of famous people and celebrities that hail from the island nation. The DR has given the rest of the world a variety of people from world-changing fashion designers, to Pulitzer prize winners, to Major League Baseball stars (a lot of those, actually).
Realize that this list is nowhere near exhaustive. Truth is, we couldn’t fit all the people you may know off-hand onto this list. But, we’ll hit a good variety of some of the interesting ones to get your curiosity pumping.
Junot Diaz is a lot of things; an activist, a teacher, and a writer. One of the most impressive parts of his resume is his Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which is often required reading in high schools and colleges, these days.
Diaz’s work is known for a few things. The first is his inclusion of Spanish words within the prose, with just enough context provided to understand what they mean. The second is its unflinching honesty. The third, and the most relevant to this blog post, is its inherent connection to life in the Dominican Republic and the Immigrant experience for Dominican-Americans.
You can view his work as a bridge and a contrast between the Dominican culture he grew up in and that of the American world he was transplanted to. Even if you never travel to the Dominican Republic, it’s well worth the read.
If you don’t know this name, we figure you probably don’t have much interest in baseball.
Sammy Sosa’s been at the center of several controversies, but between the fact that little has ever been definitively proven and the undeniably skillful way he plays the sport, we think it’s appropriate to put all that behind him.
The high points of Sosa’s career mostly occurred during his time with the Chicago Cubs. He ended a season with 66 home runs and was selected as the National MVP. Over the whole of his career, he’s scored 609 home runs and earned a batting average of .273.
Oscar de la Renta
We’ve talked a bit about Oscar in some of our other posts, but he bears repeating.
Most of Oscar’s work was known for its flattery of the feminine form, a trait possibly inspired by the Dominican fashion that surrounded him in his youth. During the 90’s and 2000’s, his work adorned just about every American first lady; Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush all wore outfits designed by him.
To top it off, Oscar has a reputation as a humanitarian, and has patronized artistic institutions and even opened a fashion line aimed at affordability.
Here’s one that’ll appeal to a more casual crowd.
Reyes isn’t a high-end fashion designer or Major League sports star. In fact, you may not know her name off the top of your head. But, if you don’t know her face, then you probably didn’t look at a television screen in the early 2000’s.
Reyes starred in the NBC hit comedy Scrubs as the tough, mature nurse Carla Espinosa. Her heritage as a Dominican-American was a recurring theme in the series. And, unlike many of her co-stars, Reyes is still active in big-name television shows like Devious Maids and Claws.
These are only four of the Dominicans you might know something about. We’ve got a time limit, here, so we can’t tell you about the politicians, activists, painters, and musicians that this beautiful country has produced. You can go look these folks up yourself, if you’d like, but you know what’s a better idea?
Come to the Dominican Republic. See what makes this place so special, and feel the unique culture it’s imbued in those who emigrate from it.
Written by Connor Johnson
Connor Johnson is a flexible content and copy writer located in the Boston area. He supplements his writing with in-depth research and general marketing skills. He can be contacted here.