Raquel Cepeda is an award-winning editor and multi-media journalist, and documentary filmmaker.
Cepeda is the writer and director of Bling: A Planet Rock, an 87 minute documentary about American hip-hop culture's obsession with diamonds-"blinging"-and all its social trappings, and how this infatuation correlated with the ten-year conflict in Sierra Leone, West Africa. The film follows three rappers-Paul Wall, Tego Calderon, and Raekwon-as they trek to the country to meet the survivors, perpetrators and diamond miners in the country. She co-produced the documentary with article 19, VH1, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). A shorter modified version for television of "Bling?" premiered under the title "Bling'd: Blood, Diamonds and Hip-Hop" on VH1 on February 22, 2007 (3.3 million viewers). Cepeda also served as a consulting producer for "From Mambo to Hip-Hop," directed by Henry Chalfant ("Style Wars") for PBS.
Raquel Cepeda's book "And It Don't Stop: The Best Hip-Hop Journalism of the Last 25 Years," the first ever "Best of?" anthology focusing on the history of hip-hop culture, is the winner of a 2005 PEN Beyond Margins Award and Best Arts Book 2005 from the Latino Book Awards.
Cepeda's work was included in Da Capo's "Best Music Writing of 2006" anthology and in Jeff Chang's anthology "Total Chaos" where she penned a paper about Yoruba art in hip-hop iconography. Over the span of twelve years or so, she's also contributed to People, The Associated Press, Paper, Village Voice and other nationally distributed publications, MTV News (circa Kurt Loder, Chris Connelly), USA Weekend, Source, Vibe, GQ, SPIN, and many others. She served as editor in chief of Russell Simmons' Oneworld Magazine when it was fresh (2001-4), and was the founder and Executive Producer of Content and Editor-in-Chief of the very first online destination dedicated to young multicultural women.
Under her production company djali rancher, Cepeda is currently developing two internationally driven documentaries that marry hip-hop culture with social and political awareness, set in Iraq, Vietnam and South Africa, which borrows from the paradigm she created with "Bling: A Planet Rock."