Lucky Diaz Shares How He Keeps Culture Alive in his Bicultural Home
I love discovering the journeys of other parents raising bicultural and multicultural kids. Grammy award winner Lucky Diaz shares some of his experiences of his upbringing and bicultural family.
Being part of a bicultural family, what are the challenges you have faced?
I think mixing cultures is the most beautiful thing. Taking something from Alisha’s culture of Americana, Bluegrass music and food; mixing that with my Mexican heritage creates a new experience. One can see this all over our country with families. It’s wonderful. It’s American. Our new album Aquí, Allá reflects this mix. I grew up on American Rock and Roll and Tejano sounds. It’s all about the mix. The challenge? Finding a new place that feels like home in-between two cultures. Making something new.
Why is it important for you to transmit your culture to your daughter?
I always wanted Ella to know her Mexican roots. Although it wasn’t until she got older and we started visiting my family in Texas that she grew more interested. My parents and relatives are proud Mexicans. They are progressive Mexicans, but also very traditional in cultural pride. Ella started speaking Spanish more proudly around my family. I saw I needed to do a better job of integrating our Mexican roots in our home.
What inspired you to record in Spanish?
As I mentioned before, these visits to Texas inspired my curiosity and rediscovery of growing up Mexican. I took for granted all the wonderful colors, smells, foods and places I knew as a child. It was a very personal journey writing our new record and doing Fantástico. It was half music production, half cultural exploration. I grew closer to my family and culture. Also, my daughter inspires me to no end. I can see by being proud of our roots, she finds the pride within herself as well. It’s incredible.
What advice would you give bicultural families who also want to raise their children to be proud of both cultures?
Well, I’m not one to give advice! If anything, I’d say to take it easy. Everything takes time. I find that introducing elements slowly helps as well. The most important thing I believe is TRAVEL. Immersion in places is the best thing to make a cultural impact with kids. You don’t need to fly to another country to do it either. I once took Ella to a taco truck in East Los Angeles. She was blown away. I ordered our food in Spanish from the friendly owner. The colors, music, smells, people, the FOOD! She often talks about how much she loves going.
Total cost of this experience: $10. Best ten bucks I’ve ever spent.
If you could do it over again, is there anything you would do differently?
I would be prouder earlier on. I tried to be so much like my non-Mexican friends growing up. Thankfully, my parents never let me forget where I come from.
Lucky, you mentioned that your parents stressed the importance of “assimilating” and speaking English in order to blend in, what do you think are the pros/cons of that? what difficulties did you face? or did it make your upbringing easier?
It’s a double edge sword. Having a command of the local language is key. Unfortunately, I often felt the struggle of “Not being Mexican enough”. It’s a huge issue for Chicanos. We’re from here and from there. Where do we belong? Historically speaking, we’re a relatively new society of people.
My parents are very progressive Mexicans. They always stressed education and travel as of the highest importance. My mother, a fine artist and my father, a contractor and entrepreneur, wanted the most for my brother and I. They knew the value of knowledge and travel early on. My mother likes to joke that our passports came out of the womb with us.
Unfortunately, they also faced so much discrimination. They worked in canneries and as farm workers. They walked with Cesar Chavez.They didn’t want my brother and I to experience such conditions or hatred. We spoke Spanish at home but they insisted our English be perfect. Sometimes people don’t know I’m Mexican and say things in passing I won’t repeat here. Needless to say, I let them know it’s not ok.
Describe an AHA moment that made you think “This is so worth it.”
Hearing my dad cry after he listened to final mixes of Aquí, Allá over the phone. I knew…we finally made it.
Anything else you want to share?
Thank you for the opportunity. I’m proud to share my journey, and I hope people are inspired by the art we create because of it.
*Ladydee’s note: Thanks to Lucky for sharing his journey with us! His family is what America is all about, it is the future of America, more and more families will be multicultural.
Aquí, Allá is a celebration of culture, language and music! It will get your kids to love Spanish and get them (and you!) dancing! Since Hispanic Heritage Month is around the corner, I’m giving away a free copy, enter to win!