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In the eighth episode of the second season of Narcos when Murphy and Pena are interrogating Blackie the following dialogue can be heard:

Pena: Blackie Blackie, Blackie, Blackie. [Sighs] What name did your mother give you?

Blackie: Nelson Hernandez... Lucumi­.

Pena: Lucumi­? From the Pacific. Lucumi, they found explosive residue on your hands. On your jacket, everywhere. They're going to blame you for that bomb, Lucumi­.

What made me curious about this is that both Murphy and Pena are initially surprised when hearing this unusual, African-sounding name, but then Pena quickly associates it with the Pacific.

I've done a quick research and found Lucumí people, but they live in Cuba, so have no association with the Pacific ocean.

Then I found this explanation from the book Afro-Latino Voices: Translations of Early Modern Ibero-Atlantic Narratives: lucumi was a term used by transatlantic slave traders to identify slaves that the Yoruba tribe was selling to them and was used as a self-identification term by the descendants of these slaves, that lived in Western South America and called themselves de casta lucumi ("of the Lucumi caste").

This one definitely seems related, but if Lucumi is not a family name, but a name of the people (or "caste") then why Blackie gave it as a name that his mother gave him and Pena was referring to him using it?

Could someone having knowledge on Colombian/South American culture explain that?

Edit: The information about lucumi being a name of the slaves of Yoruba origin can also be found in Spanish language Wikipedia (provided that the Google translation got it right). However both sources refer to a term used in 18th century, I didn't found any information regarding its current use, apart from being an actual family name.

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As in the English language, names used to describe a person or a group of persons have mutated into their last name, similar to those whose last name is a profession.

In Colombia, the last name Lucumi is frequently found in case of persons born in the Pacific Coast of the country, and so far it hasn't spread much around the country. If you find a Lucumi in Colombia, he most certainly will be from that part of the country.

So, being used to be called Lucumi during their slavery, and being proud of that, after slavery ended and got the right to have a last name like the rest of the citizens, they pick one they could relate to.

  • This is the explanation (and actually a confirmation of my own conclusion, as mentioned in my comment for David's answer) that I was looking for. Thanks. – Chanandler Bong Sep 28 '16 at 13:30
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    You're welcome. Greetings from Colombia. – DavoTR Sep 29 '16 at 20:38
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You mention the following publication Afro-Latino Voices, it is explained that the term "Lucumí" is "used by transatlantic slave traders to identify men, women, and children who were sold by Yoruba states to Atlantic merchants".

The book continues to further describe that "Slave traders and slaveholders in Cartagena and Panama, along the Pacific coast, and the Andean highlands also employed the term Lucumí to distinguish certain enslaved people from others[...]"

A current search of the Lucumí last name in Colombia shows 28 people living in Colombia with that last name.

I suggest that just like in English, a name used centirues ago to describe a person, or group of people, has become their last name.

The reference in the dialogue, during the interrogation of Blackie, most probably indicates a knowledge of the term used in the Pacific coast of Colombia as explained in publication cited.

  • I'm citing the same publication in my question. – Chanandler Bong Sep 22 '16 at 14:01
  • @ChanandlerBong, sorry about that. I am editing the answer. – David Sep 22 '16 at 14:17
  • In fact I came to the similar conclusion and I admit it's probably the most plausible explanation. Still it's really a speculation, I really hope I will get an answer from someone that can confirm it. If not, I guess this will do. – Chanandler Bong Sep 23 '16 at 7:45
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Blackie is a costeño, which means a person from the coast. When the term "Pacific" is used, it is likely a reference to Buenaventura/Cali, both considered Pacific coastal towns. Thus the DEA agents are surprised Pablo has such a dedicated employee from this region and not the Paisa/Medellin region.

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