After centuries of invisibility, Afro-Mexicans have finally asserted their presence in the complex panorama of Mexican national identity. It’s been a long road paved by years of tireless activism, but today Afro-Mexicans are empowered to celebrate their unique history and traditions with pride – which means the community is more than primed for a savvy, freewheelin’ Texan capitalist to swoop in and cynically exploit their identity for financial gain.
At least that’s the comedic premise behind Episode 3 of journalist-provocateur Greg Berger‘s hilarious web series, El Joe T. Hodo Show (sound it out.) Following up on previous episodes that explored indigenous community policing and caught up with Mexican rock icon El Mastuerzo, Episode 3 takes Berger’s fictional alter-ego down to the Costa Chica in Guerrero state, which has the highest concentration of Afro-descendents in Mexico. There he talks with high-profile Afro-Mexican activist and Miss Guerrero 2016, Samantha Leyva, about the community’s ongoing battle for constitutional recognition, and her own struggles with discrimination.
But as usual, this is all built around Hodo’s tongue-in-cheek quest for personal enrichment and, ultimately, the Mexican presidency. Throughout the eight-minute episode, the heavily accented sombrerudo makes his way through one small Afro-Mexican community, speaking with local residents about his plans to dispossess them of their rich cultural heritage and ultimately taking part in a lively street festival. It’s a hilarious and wholly original approach to the subject matter, but it also serves as an important reminder that even our most cherished identities are fair game for the profit-seeking powers that be.