WASHINGTON — The U.S. Mint is adding some "Azucar!" to its quarters.
Celia Cruz, the late Cuban icon who dominated the salsa genre, is one of five honorees for the 2024 American Women Quarters Program. Cruz will be the first Afro Latina to be on a U.S. quarter.
She is known as "The Queen of Salsa" for her impact and dominance of the Latin music genre. Cruz, who was born in Havana, Cuba, and later moved to the U.S., was a five-time Grammy award winner and received a National Medal of Arts among other honors.
In 2016, she received a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Grammy.
“All of the women being honored have lived remarkable and multi-faceted lives, and have made a significant impact on our Nation in their own unique way,” the Mint Director Ventris C. Gibson said. “The women pioneered change during their lifetimes, not yielding to the status quo imparted during their lives."
Cruz, who died in 2003 at the age of 77, recorded more than 80 albums during her life. During the last decade of her career, she was inducted into the Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame and the International Latin Music Hall of Fame.
Aside from her flamboyant and extravagant costumes, Cruz is known for her trademark phrase, "Azucar!"
Here's who else is honored in 2024:
- Patsy Takemoto Mink - the first woman of color to serve in Congress.
- Dr. Mary Edwards Walker - a Civil War era surgeon, women’s rights advocate, and an abolitionist.
- Pauli Murray - a poet, writer, activist, lawyer, and Episcopal priest, as well as a staunch advocate for civil rights, fighting against racial and sex discrimination.
- Zitkala-Ša - a writer, composer, educator, and political activist for Native Americans’ right to United States citizenship and other civil rights they had long been denied.
The mint will release five new quarters featuring a different woman in American history each year through 2025. The designs for the 2024 quarters will be released by mid-2023.