Afro-Latinidad is far from a new term, but it – more specifically the word, Afro-Latina – reached a new audience on January 1. With Dominican singer Amara La Negra among the cast of VH1’s Love & Hip-Hop: Miami, the 1.8 million who tuned in got a front-row seat to the colorism and Eurocentric beauty standards that plague Afro-Latinos across Latin America and within the states. However, Amara held her ground, reminding fellow castmate Young Hollywood that she is Black and proud, and that one can be a Black Latino. (Que idiota, verdad?) A lot of comments and conversations have happened since that scene, but this dialogue has taken place within the Afro-Latino community for decades, with social media serving as a record of this for the last few years.
This is significant when you consider that Spanish-language media continues to overlook Afro-Latinos for roles. Univision only recently promoted Ilia Calderón to prime-time anchor, making her the first Afro-Latina to hold the role. It’s not just that the media continues to erase this population, but it’s that it also perpetuates stereotypes. Three years ago, former Univision personality Rodner Figueroa made derisive comments about Michelle Obama. His co-hosts didn’t call him out; instead, they just laughed at his ignorant attempt at a joke. Things are changing, however. While English-language media geared toward Latinos and general market have taken cues from Spanish-speaking media, they’re inching toward more inclusive content. But representation for the Afro-Latino community remains slim, meaning that English-language media still lags behind the lanes many online platforms have created to celebrate Black Latino identity, culture, and concerns.
For those looking to further educate themselves on Afro-Latinidad, here are five platforms you should know that center Black Latino identity.
The Afro-Latin Diaspora
Started by Afro-Latino activist Sessle Sarpy, The Afro-Latin Diaspora informs and educates people on the Afro-descendant experience. With a focus on Afro-Latinidad, you can find news, video clips, photos, and graphics that highlight the Black experience from each of the 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Instagram account encourages readers to be critical of traditional education and media by touching on topics that are often dismissed like spirituality, interconnectedness between Blackness globally, the exotification of Afro-Latino identity, and language, among other things.
While it provides a safe space for Afro-descendants to celebrate their identity, disrespect isn’t tolerated and the comments are filled with the page’s responses, facts, and gems. For those who try it in the comments section, you will get checked!
Follow on Instagram.
AfroLatinos Siempre Pa'lante
The name says it all. AfroLatinos Siempre Pa’lante – an account run by Micoláii-Yomaris Fuentes – highlights the experiences and culture of Afro-Latinos. It showcases information and visuals, spanning from the 1800s to today. Tapping on the cultural connections between food, for example, one post broke down the link between fufu (a traditional West African dish, which can be made of cassava, yams or plantains), mangú (a mashed plantain dish stemming from the Dominican Republic) and mofongo (a Puerto Rican dish comprised of fried, mashed plantains). AfroLatinos Siempre Pa’lante shares insight on both Instagram and Facebook.
It’s not until very recently mainstream media has covered the topic of intersectional identity, as well as ethnicity and race, in an in depth way, so a handful have taken the task into their own hands, namely for Afro-Latinas. Creator Jenay Wright launched a platform for Afro-Latina empowerment titled #IAmEnough (pronounced hashtag I Am Enough). Her blog infuses “self-assurance, pride and confidence into the lives of all Afro-Latinas,” as mentioned on its website. The part Panamanian, part African-American writer highlights Black Latinas from all walks of life, women like Amara La Negra and Nitty Scott MC to writers, creatives, entertainers and healers, to name a few. #IAmEnough has run several content series, including Afro-Latino leadership in college, Afro-Latinas in media for Women’s History Month, and Black from the Dominican Republic. In addition to the blog, you can find #IAmEnough on Instagram, sharing uplifting quotes and messages, photos and videos.
Beautifully Black Latinas
Another Afro-Latina-centered platform to place on your radar is Beautifully Black Latinas, which is powered by Dominican-American bloguera Amanda Pericles. Pericles, founder of Your Average AfroLatina, highlights the beauty of Black women of Latin America on her Instagram page. One scroll through and you’ll see Black Latinas of all shades, shapes, sizes and hair textures. Click over to her website to read about Afro-Latina-run brands, issues like driving while Black and “pelo malo,” as well as navigating life as a Black Latina.
Follow on Instagram.
Es Mi Cultura
This is one newsletter you’ll want to open each month. Es Mi Cultura, the brainchild of Panameña Tamika Burgess, has delivered nearly 30 issues of all-things Afro-Latina. The monthly digest includes profiles on Black Latinas from various industries and articles from across the web “penned by, for and about us.” It includes items you can purchase from the Es Mi Cultura team, as well as Afro-Latina entrepreneurs who are featured. Why not get educated and support an Afro-Latina at the same damn time?