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  January 2, 2017   Issue #16
Feliz Año Nuevo!
"My name is Vilma Peguero, I’m a first generation American born to Dominican parents and a native of Providence, RI. I obtained by Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University of Rhode Island and earned my Juris Doctor degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

Growing up I had to constantly prove my Latinidad. People had a difficult time accepting me as a Latina because of my hair texture, facial features, and dark skin complexion. My complex racial and ethnic identity made a lot of people uncomfortable. I was treated differently by my Latino counterparts and I was often ostracized by them because I wasn’t “Latina enough." On the flip side, my African American counterparts would make comments that I was trying to be something that I wasn’t. Regardless of what people say about me today, I know that my melanin doesn’t make me any less of a Latina because “Latino or Latinx” isn’t a race it’s an ethnicity. I’m proud to be racially black and a Latina. Hopefully Black Latina Negra Bella is able to change the narrow perceptions people have of Latinos/Latinx.

And to the young girls who can relate to my struggles while growing Afro-Latina, the next time someone questions you about what it means to be an Afro-Latino, tell them it's a mixture of Brown Sugar and Sofrito!
About 3 years ago, I Co-founded Black Latina Negra Bella (BLNB) along with my sister Dania Peguero. Black Latina Negra Bella is a campaign to empower Afro-Latinas to embrace what makes them unique and celebrate the diversity among Latinas. BLNB has hosted events to promote positive body image and round table discussions centered on issues affecting Afro-Latinos. Most recently, my sister Dania Peguero released her book Nina Bellas a children’s book about diversity and acceptance."
Jada Gomez is a proud Afro Latina (Black, Honduran, and Puerto Rican), a Nuyorican from birth. Now the Digital Deputy Editor of Latina.com, she was one of the youngest editors at TIME Magazine ever, at 23 years old. An NYU graduate, she’s worked at People Magazine, Fortune, Interactive One and a host of music publications. The once pre-med student followed her passion for journalism and has never looked back.
Jada is proud to serve the Latino community at Latina magazine, celebrating our rich culture, style, and fighting for the issues that matter: gender equality, immigration, race relations, and health and fitness. As she says, she does everything for the little brown girls: to empower and inspire them.

Latina.com is gearing up to launch a major Health and Wellness push for 2017! Read Jada's recent articles HERE
"I’ve always been proud of my multicultural Afro-Latina identity. But this year I’ve watched that pride manifest into my purpose. It’s been incredible to represent Latinas of all colors and hair textures. But it’s also important to include our multifaceted interests and identities. You can be a Latina nerd, a Latina boss, a Latina powerhouse. I’m honored to take some part of reshaping the way we are pictured in media, and around the world." ~ Jada
 
Twitter: @JadaGomez
 
Venessa Marco is an Afro-descendant poet, writer by way of Cuba and Puerto Rico. Marco currently resides in Harlem, New York. She was a member of the 2012 Da Poetry Lounge in Hollywood, California slam team and a member of the 2013 Nuyorican Poets Cafe, which placed 3rd in the nation. In 2014 Marco competed in The Women of The World poetry festival and placed 6th in the nation. She is a recipient of the Cora Craig Author Award for young women writers allocated by Penmanship Books. Marco is currently organizing a poetry festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico that will focus on showcasing both local natives and those who have migrated across the world. 

Click HERE to view Venessa performing "Off White" at The Strivers Row #BlackLivesMatter Benefit Show. Recorded Live at MIST Harlem, USA. 

Earlier this year Venessa was a guest on The Brilliant Idiots Podcast with Charlamagne and Andrew Schulz to discuss identity, race, and ethnicity. View some of the conversation HERE.


"I think it is important as Afro-descendants to engage in conversation that unpack our history of trauma and displacement. To discuss the ancestors and ways we can engage in healing." ~ Venessa
 
Twitter: @marco_venessa
Sociocultural critique from the perspective of Dominicana feminist artist and writer
Zahira Kelly.
La Otra Cara Latina (LOCL) was created by Sasha and Priscilla (Sasha’s from Queens, Costa Rican and Panamanian. Priscilla’s from Jersey, Ecuadorian). This blog affirms and celebrates Afrolatinidad and shows that we can be anything not just the roles the media relegates us to. 

La Otra Cara Latina is now accepting submissions from Afro-Latinos who are not in the Tri-State area. Anyone who wants to take part in LOCL can send a photo and their answers to: laotracaralatina@gmail.com 
Sasha: 

As a person who is African-American, Panamanian, and Costa Rican I struggled with identity issues when I was younger. Sometimes it felt like I was too Black for the Latinos and too Latino for Black people. So at one point I just identified as Black to keep things simple. Finding the term Afro-Latina a few years ago helped me fully embrace my roots. I realized that I didn’t have to validate my Blackness or my Latinidad to anyone. Being Afro-Latina is amazing because I love my culture. One of my favorite quotes about Afrolatinidad is from actor Laz Alonso:


"I'm Black. You can't pretend to be Black. You can't fake it... And that's what I am.
But I'm also Latin. You know it's just like Idris Elba. He's British and he's Black.
You can't say he's one or the other. He's both...Black is Black. Regardless of
whether you are from Jamaica, Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Domnican Republic...England.
Black is Black and Black is beautiful! And we need to celebrate that."


Priscilla:

Ever since I began photography I was waiting for the right time to start a photo series dedicated to our people. When I was a kid I always wanted proper representation in shows that I watched, music I listened to, and even dolls I played with. But the typical Latina depicted in any platform didn’t look like me or my family. Those who did weren’t of my culture. Then the whole “you’re not black enough” thing came up because a lot of people didn’t understand that Black is universal. Also including the fact that I’m only half. But still, I was raised by a beautiful brown woman with beautiful hair and unapologetic curves who always told my sisters and I to 'Never forget where your roots come from. You are not “Blanca Nieve.” And never oppress others or trigger self-hate, embrace the gold in your blood.'

My goal with this project and collaboration with Sasha is to celebrate our existence and input into Hispanic/Latino culture. Because we are Afro-descendientes doesn't mean we are any less Latino. What better voices and eyes to create these visuals of our culture than two women? Maybe it’s not noticed enough but women in photography hardly ever get taken seriously, especially women of color! I’d have to say Sasha and I are pretty brave to keep this going.

There is no shame at all, it gives me much pleasure to shine the limelight on a current marginalized issue in our culture. I’ve never created images so beautiful. LOCL demonstrates that Afro-Latinxs aren’t only the maids in novelas, the mistresses, or the evil villains in Hispanic media. We demonstrate that our brothers and sisters are artists, students, businessmen/women, editors, and more.

I love my brown skin, I love my curves, I love my hair, I love the brown women who raised me, I love my culture, I love the fact that I can say I am Afro-Latina. The best of both worlds! 


 

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/Sash_Marguerite

https://twitter.com/prisjul

IG: 

@prisjul

@sash_marguerite

@priscillajpho

@afrolatinxofnyc 

Penned  By, About, and For Us!




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20 Amazing Afro-Latina Moments In 2016
A Wish After Midnight ~ Fifteen-year old Afro-Latina Genna Colon believes wishes can come true. When Genna flees into the garden late one night, she makes a fateful wish and finds herself instantly transported back in time to Civil War-era Brooklyn.

Es Mi Cultura is published every first Monday of the month by Tamika Burgess. Tamika is a Afro-Panameña, NYC- based Writer and Educator. Learn more about her by visiting TamikaBurgess.com
View past issues of Es Mi Cultura: HERE
Follow Es Mi Cultura on Instagram & Facebook
Copyright © 2017 Es Mi Cultura, All rights reserved.


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