Thursday Throwback – Rosie Perez

Dancer Rosie Perez is an honored member of the Soul Train alumni.  The New York native got her big break when she confronted director Spike Lee about the sexism of a “booty dance contest” Lee was having at a dance club.  Lee ended up giving Perez the role of Tina, the girlfriend of Lee’s character Mookie in the 1989 film Do The Right Thing, and the rest–as they say–is history. 
You may remember Perez as she graced the opening credits of the film, donned in shorts and boxing gloves, dancing to Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power.”  Perez went on to become a choreographer for artists such as Janet Jackson and Bobby Brown, and most notably for the television show In Living Color.

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She continued her acting career with roles in various films, among them White Men Can’t Jump, Untamed Heart, and Lackawanna Blues. She received an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress in the 1993 film Fearless and made her directorial debut with her film Yo Soy Boricua! Pa’ Que Tú Lo Sepas! (“I’m Puerto Rican, Just So You Know”).  In all, Perez has been in over 30 films–not bad for the girl who originally wanted to study marine biology and become, as she once said, “the female Jacques Cousteau.”  In addition to her entertainment career, Perez is an activist for the prevention of HIV/AIDS and serves as the chair of the artistic board for New York’s Urban Arts Partnership.

–Montrose Cunningham

Montrose Cunningham is an independent funk/rock/soul artist and devoted music aficionado residing in Dallas, Texas. When he isn’t digging through the crates–digital and analog–he’s jamming with his band or hanging with his daughter; sometimes both at the same time. Purchase his latest release “Inertia” at and on visit him online at Facebook.


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