Manero

The Stories of Antonio Sacre

By: Judy Cantor-Navas

Storyteller Antonio Sacres father told him that men don’t cry, and always spoke to him in Spanish. Antonio spoke Spanish back to him, until another kid called him stupid for using that language. He only talked to his father in English from then on. When he was nine years old, his parents divorced and his father moved away, so by the time he got to high school he didn’t speak Spanish at all.

The Boston-born Sacre, whose father is Cuban and whose mother is Irish-American, started speaking Spanish again (actually, his grandmother forced him to), and now makes his living as a bilingual storyteller. He tells stories about his family that he admits aren’t all exactly true, but true enough to sound familiar to many of us. 

Sacre, who lives in Los Angeles, tells stories at schools, on the radio, at festivals and libraries, and recently published a book called My Name is Cool. The reason behind that title is too long a story to tell here (we’ll leave it for when you catch Sacre live), but its content is about the kind of parallel lives Americans live while growing up between cultures. And like a lot of Sacre’s stories, it makes you laugh while you’re nodding your head in recognition.

Sacre teaches kids to talk about themselves and to tell their stories. Sacre’s own stories about breaking the silence of a room full of texting-and-stone-faced teenagers are simply inspiring. And sometimes they are so touching they could make a man cry.

Judy Cantor-Navas is an award-winning journalist, critic and Latin music programmer who most frequently writes about music and its context. She is the Managing Editor of Billboard en Español and a correspondent for Billboard Magazine in Los Angeles.