If there is one thing that Sammy Sosa, an Afro-Latino man, and his skin-bleaching fiasco has taught us, it’s to be proud of who you are.
The term “Afro-Latino” (or the gender-neutral “Afro-Latinx”) is used to refer to African descendants from Latin America. For many growing up, being black and Latinx was not always beautiful.
“To be Latina, you have to look like J.Lo, or Sofia Vergara or Shakira, but if you look like myself, you’re, like, lost in the map,” says Dominican pop star Amara La Negra. Still, La Negra—a beautiful, brown Afro-Latina who was born in Miami—has come to fame in a country that struggles with racism.
“When we think of ‘latinidad,’ what do you think about? You think of food, and that’s black food. You’re thinking about music, and that’s black music. You’re thinking about dancing, and that’s black dancing. You’re thinking about curves, and ass ... well, that didn’t come from Spain,” says artist activist Zahira Kelly.
We spoke with four women about their latinidad (or “Latinness”), blackness and where the two meet at the Afro-Latino Festival in New York City last weekend.
See the video above.