La Lupe: The Queen of Latin Soul
When I think back about the tragic entertainers of my time, I remember La Lupe. I met her with Mongo Santamaria playing at a small West Side club one night. She hugged me and said she knew all about me from the musicians she had played with. I found her to be wonderfully uninhibited, with a big heart. She complained how cold New York was and she did not have a coat, so I took mine off and gave it to her. She did not want to take it at first but I told her I would not be cold as I was going home with friends by car and had other coats at home. She hugged me and cried. I went over to Mongo and asked him why she had no money for clothes and he answered that her managers were ripping her off, and he thought she had a drug problem.
I watched her perform many times and it always made me sad to see her and know she was another victim of the record companies and managers. But I loved her dearly because she was always so warm and nice to me.
When I heard from my friend Anna (the Preacher), that La Lupe had found God, I was so happy for her – at least she would be free of all the things that almost ruined her life and career. When she was down and out, I don’t remember any of her so-called friends who made a big deal at her funeral ever helping her. I have always hated that side of the business: people who were only there when you were doing OK but kicked you to the curb when you were down. Unfortunately, there were many of those vultures around.