Who: Crystal Rodriguez is a 23 year old Dominican artist who is currently living in Connecticut. She decided to turn her Instagram account into a platform to share her mission to “deconstruct and decolonize her relationship with her hair and body,” and started to make illustrations to celebrate the bodies and hair textures of Latinxs’ – especially Afro-Latinxs.
Why You Should Follow: Crystal has posted two small comics so far, the first one on Latinas’ difficult relationship with afro-textured hair, and how to stop cultivating this mindset from childhood. The second is about the struggle to hide a naturally curvy body under fajas. She shared with Huffington Post, “This comic is for the Afro-latinxs [who] have kept childhood traumas locked away in our hearts because good children are supposed to be silent and beautiful with our straightened hair, faldas y media panties.” Her page is a beautiful point of view from a young woman who is fighting to love and embrace herself, despite a world that tells her she should do otherwise. She continues,
“I hope this comic can help us better understand our intersecting identities, harmful cultural conditioning and how to recognize opportunities to honor our differences, whether it is our racial, gender or sexual identities…I hope people read the comic and want to shake out their curls and dance bachata half naked in their rooms.” Ugh, I love her already.
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Pajon Comic Pagina 1. // I'm creating the Pajon series to highlight unique moments in a Dominican/afrolatinxs life. Dominican families like other afrolatinxs families look completely different from one another…for example, siblings express different recessive or dominant traits and cousins can look racially distinctive from one another as well. Navigating within a family and culture that is completely mixed can be beautiful, confusing and difficult because of all these intersecting identities. Dealing with privilege becomes especially sensitive and important. Knowing what to say at the right moment can protect someone from being hurt or their identity oppressed. I hope this comic can help us better understand our intersecting identities, harmful cultural conditioning (mejorar la raza, pajons etc) and how to recognize opportunities to honor our differences whether it be our racial, gender, or sexual identities. I especially made this comic for my possible future children and nieces and nephews to read together. #afrolatinx #decolonize #naturalhair #natural #blackgirlmagic #qpoc #dominican #pajoncomic
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Pajon comic; Issue 2//Pagina 4: "Cuando tengas una hija espero que salga igual que tú – de jodona!" you cry and cry. Your aunt says I'm going to leave your hair half done … And you stop crying because you don't want to be half ugly – half curly – half good. You want to be full beautiful. You sit back down on the silla. Your tantrum made your forehead sweat so now your aunt has to go back in to straighten your baby hairs and those hurt the worst. #dominicana #afrolatina #decolonize #pajoncomic #naturalhair #curlyhair