Flaco Navaja was a backing singer with The Latin Jazz Coalition before he graduated to lead vocals with the Boricua Roots band Yerbabuena and the salsa combo The Nicky Marrero All Stars. He also devised a distinctive brand of versifying that combines recitation, singing and beat-boxing, which he regularly showcased on Russell Simmons's HBO show "Def Poetry." Performing in Spanish and English since 1990, Navaja has also hosted the famous open mic sessions at the Nuyorican Poets' Café and improvised comedy routines with the Nuyorican Rule troupe. Navaja started acting with the New York Theatre Workshop and made his screen bow in the 2004 Jersey City juvenile detention centre drama "On the Outs," which he followed with "Sanctified," Val Lik's short about troubled young lives. He took minor roles alongside Sigourney Weaver and Kate Bosworth in the maternal melodrama "The Girl in the Park," and was cast opposite Colin Farrell and Edward Norton in the NYPD family saga "Pride and Glory." On the small screen, he guested on shows like "Law & Order" and "CSI: NY" and co-starred with Ray Winstone in the 1970s cop drama "Last of the Ninth," scripted by "NYPD Blue" creator David Milch. Subsequently, Navaja enjoyed more prominent roles in Dito Montiel's New York street hustling and boxing saga "Fighting," and a drama examining the tensions between African-Americans and Puerto Ricans in the Bronx, b>Falling Awake."