May 2, 2016 ~ Issue 8
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Afro-Latina ~ A woman with roots from any Latin American country
that is of, relates, or celebrates African a

Es Mi Cultura spreads awareness of the wonderful contributions Afro-Latinas are making to further advance our presence. Each month this newsletter spotlights Afro-Latinas and all their sabor, provides links to various articles and personal stories penned by, about, or for Afro-Latinos, along with book features, and additional information.
While this newsletter is aimed towards Afro-Latinas— we need to see people who look like us. Es Mi Cultura is for readers of both genders, all races, cultures, and backgrounds.

She's the face of Es Mi Cultura!
Brooklyn-born, Jes Perez, spent her childhood in Santiago, Dominican Republic. She returned to America to pursue her career in the entertainment industry. Her debut appearance was on the reality show, “Model Latina” (onSiTV). She obtained a degree in video arts and technology; and, has worked with major companies such as: MTV3, Telemundo, City Buzz, and Seventeen Magazine. Her smile has lead her to be the face of Dr. Jays 2009 campaign, featured in many music videos and magazines, and compete in several beauty pageants. Jes Perez, bilingual communication skills have positioned her as a co-host for “Latinas on the Run,” MundoUrbano.TV, Radio Disney New York,  and the Dominican Channel Super Channel33. These are just a few great achievements off her aspiring resume. Also, Jes, is the CEO of her own project titled ,“Industry High,” a  podcast focused on the lives of the most influential people. It is a medium to inspire people to pursue their dreams in any industry such as: music, art, fashion, politics, law, or business. Hence, the term
“Industry High. 
"In many Latin American countries, and also in the states, the issue of black heritage is considered a bit taboo. There is much talk, but it is known as something no one wants to hear or speak about. Especially being from the Dominican Republic, it is common for many people not to identify with his or her black heritage. I personally think they don't know the truth about their own story.

In my case I still see myself as the only person in my family who really identifies as an Afro-Latino. Most of my family sees themselves as just Latino(a), even though the color of their skin says otherwise. Growing up I remember my grandpa calling me, "La Negra." It wasn't a big deal but I was aware that I was a little darker than my cousins.
Let's take it back to 1804 when Haiti gained its independence and the remainder of the island made a bid for its own independence in 1821. When this attempt failed the Dominican Republic was ruled by Haiti for the next 22 years. And although the Dominican Republic gained independence in 1844, much  of the historic prejudice against Haitians stems from this 22 year period preceding independence. There's no single individual who has been more influential in how Dominicans view their own blackness than El General Rafael Trujillo. During his approximately thirty year dictatorship, he had a long-lasting effect on how Dominicans viewed race, blackness, and their own African heritage.
There is this hiding within the Latino culture, the hiding of the darker ones, the hiding of the ones who have curlier hair or bigger lips or a bigger nose. I have had encounters, even in the Latin entertainment field, where people didn't know where to place me or they didn't get me... because Dominicans can look like anything so...
When someone calls me Afro-Latina I’m like, 'Well duh.' I just  feel like that’s something people have to accept, that it's a part of your heritage, not just for Latino/as in the Caribbean but in other places too. There’s plenty of mixing that happens over time and I definitely understand the need to identify with it, especially if it’s a super strong part of your culture and your upbringing. Being an Afro-Latina is a mixture of greatness, it's like all that Sazon in a soup,  and I love representing that mixtura!" ~ Jes Perez 
Camille Safiya ~ Afro- Cuban/Dominican Singer
Camille Safiya is an artist in the purest form. From an accomplished painter, to pushing out amazing music, she creates to touch lives. Camille Safiya is for the people, for the most common woman to the most intricate personality. As a young revolutionary spirit she grew up traveling the world with her mother’s Feminist movement, protesting against domestic violence and global civil rights issues before she could even walk. Her music today is a melting pot of all she’s learned from her family and world travels. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Bob Marley, Billie Holiday, Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill, Mary J Blige, Nas, MIA, Nneka and Damian Marley has allowed Camille Safiya to create her unique and empowering sound. Following her 2013 debut release, “ISLAND BLUES | The Sonic Memoirs”, she released her “24K” album in January of 2015, which she calls, “her treasure chest of gold that she has to give to the world”. Camille Safiya has graced countless stages from New York to Philadelphia, from Toronto to Atlanta. In March of 2015 she made her debut at the SXSW Festival. 
In addition to Camille’s personal style of music, she has dabbled into the world of dance music. Along with Producer/DJ Serge Devant, she created the hit song, “Fearing Love”. The track has been played from beach clubsin Ibiza to the renowned Burning Man Festival in Nevada. This collaboration created an international buzz for Safiya and an entirely new fanbase. In 2016, Camille Safiya will look to add to her unique resume witha new EP entitled, “Indigo” which will release in early spring. 
Listen to Camille Safiya
Blacktina Magazine is the premiere digital magazine for today’s young and progressive Afro-Latina. The magazine offers Afro-Latinas an opportunity to be informed, inspired, and celebrated. With relevant and engaging content, Blacktina Magazine aspires to give voice to a population of women who are often ignored or dichotomized as 'Hispanic' or 'Black.' The magazine seeks to add to the many conversations around the complexity of the Afro-Latino identity, especially when anti-blackness is still prevalent in the Latino community.
BlackTina Magazine Creator ~ Julia Christie
"I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I am an Afro-Latina of Panamanian (mother) and Colombian (father) descent. I’m a writer at heart. I have a Bachelor of Arts in English from Spelman College, and a Master of Science in Publishing: Digital and Print Media from New York University. I am currently working towards a Master of Science in Special Education at Brooklyn College as a New York City Teaching Fellow. After 10 years in the book publishing industry, I decided to give back to the urban community that shaped me. It is my desire to encourage all of my students to live up to their academic potential, and to help them succeed."
Dominican model Ysaunny Brito ~ Vogue Mexico April 2016
Boriqua Chicks and Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, founder of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute

Penned  By, About, and For Us!

The Black People 'Erased From History'

How Deep Latin America's African Roots Are

The Problem With 'Latina' Magazine Crowing Beyonce "Honorary Latina" 

Traditional Outfits From Every Latin American Country

My Father's Game and Journey

Camille Safiya's 'Indigo' EP

14 Examples of White Privilege in Latinx Communities

Afro-Cuban Community Sings in Almost Extinct African Language

Afro-Latina: Alexandrea Lushington

The Natural Hair Movement and Afro-Latina Identity

The Founders of The Afro-Latino Festival

Afro-Latino Poets Who Get Radical on The Mic 

To Be Black and Boricua 

Afro-Latinx ~ Project Bronx

Why I Stopped Americanizing My Name

Documentary Celebrates the Afro-Dominican Culture of Escaped Slaves 
Written by Marshalla Ramos, "Isabella's Hair and How She Learned to Love It is a story about Isabella, a young girl who lives in Carolina, Puerto Rico. As an Afro-Boricua child, Isabella struggles with understanding the beauty of her natural hair and the color brown. Her grandmother serves as an inspiration towards self acceptance and love.

The book was written out of a desire to respond to the issues surrounding self image within the Afro-Latino community and to contribute to multi-cultural protagonists being represented in children's literature." 

Es Mi Cultura is published every first Monday of the month by Tamika Burgess. Tamika is a Afro-Panameña, NYC- based writer, blogger, and copy editor. Learn more about her by visiting
View past issues of Es Mi Cultura: HERE
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Copyright © 2016 Es Mi Cultura, All rights reserved.

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