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February 1, 2016 ~ Issue 5
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Afro-Latina ~ A woman with roots from any Latin American country
that is of, relates, or celebrates African a
ncestry 

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.

Established in 2010, BoriquaChicks is an entertainment and lifestyle
news blog that provides readers access to popular celebrity
news stories and real life topics.

Founder, Raquel reflects on why she started Boriqua Chicks:

"As a child, I always loved to read about celebrities in the latest magazines—making sure that I stayed current in television, film and fashion news. However, there was one thing missing, I didn't really see a lot of stories about Black Latinos/as. Growing up with a Puerto Rican mother and an African-American father on the South Side of Chicago, I didn't have a lot of people around me that I could identify with.

Often my world was split in two parts. My mom created a home where we could embrace our Puerto Rican identity and we spent many summers visiting our family in Puerto Rico. In Chicago my African-American family and friends were influential in shaping my African-American identity. Whether people understood me or not, I always felt I had the best of two worlds*-- whether it was eating my mother's arroz con pollo (rice & chicken) or my paternal grandmother’s soul food.

Some years ago my friends began to say, "Why don't you start your own blog? You're always reading and talking about other blogs." I thought to myself, 'I guess so, why not?' I started the blog in 2010 and it has grown with a wide audience over the years. I started casually blogging and wanted to share news about topics I was interested in. Early on, Boriqua Chicks covered a lot of entertainment stories [some ratchetness :) too] with a focus on celebrities of color—specifically, African-Americans, Latinos/as and Afro-Caribbeans.

The addition of my sister Rebecca has strengthened the blog. My blog wasn't started to be divisive (as some people have questioned), but to share my thoughts with audience members that could personally relate to my story and those who have an affinity to read what my sister and I write about. Over the years we have worked to offer quality content and have also integrated more lifestyle topics into our editorial.

I LOVE to see celebrities and everyday people who own their identity and are proud of their culture. That's why this site was created, to highlight those individuals. We've made a few changes, as we will be blogging about even more lifestyle topics and identity. We are very excited about the many other things we have in the works too. You’ve got to stay tuned."

Raquel, M.A., Educational Leadership
Founder | Blogger | Entrepreneur

Raquel has always had an affinity for celebrity news. In her youth, she had subscriptions to Fresh and Word Up! magazines. In addition to this, she always read her mom’s copy of Latina. A lover of pop culture, she often served as the go to source for information for her friends who needed an update on the latest entertainment news in the world of music, movies, and Hollywood. Raquel is a former Chicago Public School teacher turned entrepreneur. As a proud Afro-Latina, she was inspired to launch BoriquaChicks.com. She created this website to highlight news around Afro-Latino/a celebrities. Over the years it has evolved into an entertainment and lifestyle website that covers stories related to African-Americans, Latinos/as, and Afro-Caribbeans. Moreover, the blog has been a major influence in the many discussions that are now taking place around Afro-Latino/a identity—which was less “popular” in years past.

Raquel enjoys listening to music and traveling.

 

Rebecca, M.A., Organizational & Multicultural Communication
Blogger | Brand Strategist | Communication Scholar

From conversations with her mom about Afro-Latino/a identity growing up, to studying abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico and visiting the Pueblos Negros (the Black Villages) along the coast as a college student, Rebecca’s journey has reflected a curiosity around identity—specifically her Afro-Latino/a identity. This interest led Rebecca to join her sister's blog BoriquaChicks.com, where she often blogs about entrepreneurship and identity, as well as manages the brand. Since her involvement with Boriqua Chicks, Rebecca has been instrumental in increasing readership and creating advertising partnerships.

When Rebecca isn’t blogging at BoriquaChicks.com, she is serving as the chief brand strategist at Be Strategic PR, a boutique strategic branding and communications firm that inspires small businesses to maximize their brand’s potential. She is also currently working on a special research project that examines contemporary media images of Afro-Latina identity.

Rebecca loves to eat at vegan restaurants and enjoys traveling to new and exciting places.

AfroChicas strive to grow the voice of Latino/Caribbean women in the
Natural Hair Community one curl at a time.

"We began rocking our curls proudly after years of dismissing them. Long straighten hair is accepted and even used as an adjective to describe ones beauty in the Latino community. “Mira que tiene un cabello hermoso“or “pelo bonito” is what we heard all our lives anytime fellow Latinas complimented our hair. Straight long hair was our beauty or that was what we have been told growing up. Being a brown skin Latina your physical traits defined your beauty.

Don't get us wrong we loved rocking our straight hair and even now giving our curls a break for free flowing locks. We just learned how to love, embrace and care for our curls. We rock our Rizos with pride and love teaching fellow Latinas to do the same. We want to encourage Latinas they are not alone on their Latina Natural Hair Journey. For this reason we have created the tag curls and culture to represent us and our movement.

Deciding to wear our hair in its natural state did pose a problem for us. We were never taught how to care for our curls just to mask them. Sade had a relaxer and Ada kept a wash and set. We’ve always went to Latin hair salons growing up to care for our straight hair. When we decided to go natural we were open to a whole new world of hair. We had frizzy lifeless curls and began to seek stylist, salons and even products that could help us on our natural hair journey. We did struggle for many years to find the right products and techniques that enhanced and moisturized our curls.

Our curl life lessons have given us an extra boost of confidence to encourage fellow naturally curly hair Latinas they can all hear “pelo bonito” no matter your texture. Even though it took us a while to love our curls we don’t regret going natural or rocking straight hair for years. Seeing ourselves with straight long hair for years then a short curly fro was an adjustment. We rock our curls proudly and wouldn't have it any other way. We are two Curly Afro Hair Rocking Afro-Latinas!"

"We are the AfroChicas! Sade Pizarro and Ada Washington two Curly Afro rocking Afro-Latinas. The Chica's were both born and raised in New York City the melting of diversity. They connected over having curly hair and Latino roots. It was refreshing to meet fellow Latino women who have embraced their natural hair texture. We craved for a space that showcased curly hair Latinas! As natural hair enthusiasts we felt the Latina/Caribbean Natural Hair Movement was lacking a voice in the natural hair community.

AfroChicas started off as a social media page with the tag theme Curls & Culture ! The Chica's have worked hard to create a space that showcases both our passion of the beauty industry and natural hair community. Our page encourages and empowers fellow natural hair lovelies. We give hair advice, fashion must haves and all things beauty. We have had the pleasure of working with beauty brands, being hair models, hosting and speaking at various beauty/natural hair events. We stride to grow the voice of Latino/Caribbean women in the Natural Hair Community one curl at a time."

Rizos Bella

Sade & Ada

"Afrolatin@s, Presente! is a unique weekly planner complete with 52 bilingual (English-Spanish) factoids about people from Latin America and the Caribbean of African descent. It also features notable dates and amazing photos from the region. Improve your Spanish or English while discovering the histories of nearly 200 million people from over 20 countries in the Western Hemisphere. Published by The Afrolatin@ Project, a digital cultural heritage preservation organization founded in 2006."
"The black woman has to have faith. She's a warrior. I'm proud of this skin."
"Being a black woman is to resist to exist."

"Despite Brazil’s reputation as a “racial democracy,” anti-blackness thrives in the South American country, just as it does across the region. But for women, whose experiences with racial discrimination are compounded by gender, there’s an added layer of subjugation.

#ComoéSerUmaMulherNegra, a new photo campaign by Somer Nowak, is bringing visibility to the intersectional identities and experiences of black women in Brazil.

"The photo campaign challenges the images that are portrayed of black women in Brazilian society while creating a space where these women are able rewrite their personal narratives, reclaim spaces, their bodies, their identities, and heal and empower each other," Nowak said in an article for Necia Media Collective, a critically conscious collective and network hosting the project.

Ahead, get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a black mulher in Brazil."

View more: Latina.com

Penned  By, About, and For Us!




How I Became Black

Video Showcases Pride & Struggle of Afro-Peruvians 

This Brazilian Photographer's Project Celebrates Black Beauty in Bahia

A New Cuban Revolution and the Stark Divide Between Rich and Poor

The Afro-Caribbean Inspired Dolls That Should've Existed A Long Time Ago

What It Means To Be AfroDominicana 

Yo Soy Latina!

This Is What It Means To Be Afro-Latino

Celia Cruz to Be Honored With Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award 13 Years After Her Death

How I Learned That Being West Indian Didn't Make Me Better Than African Americans

10 Afro-Latina Anthems You Need To Hear

10 Films About Indigenous People & Struggles You Need To Watch 

Why I Call Myself Afro-Latina

Bucket-List for African Americans: Experience Cuba

The Time My 3rd Grade Teacher Thought My Hair Was Unacceptable For Picture Day

 

Feliz Día de la Independencia, Dominicanos!
27 de Febrero
"Much rhetoric has been said about the schism between the Black and Brown communities, with accusatory fingers being pointed from both sides.  This collection of online essays intends to bridge the gap between these two communities, and show that we're not all that different from each other.  Whether breaking it down in layman's terms, or spittin' in a Hip Hop vernacular, Raise Your Brown Black Fist seeks to deal with these issues from a different perspective."
"Once again...IT'S ON!!  Back with a fresh set of essays and verses, this second volume of RAISE YOUR BROWN BLACK FIST continues to help bridge the gap between the Black and Brown communities, and gives voice to the little known "Third Root" of Latino culture.  Extending the "Black Thoughts" article series into one complete volume, a new perspective in now given.  Whether still breaking it down in layman's terms, or still spittin' it in a Hip Hop vernacular, this second volume continues to deal with these issues from a different perspective. Keep the fist raised!"
 
For purchasing information contact: Author Kevin Alberto Sabio

Es Mi Cultura is published every first Monday of the month by Tamika Burgess. Tamika is a Afro-Panamanian, NYC- based writer, blogger, and copy editor. Learn more about her by visiting TamikaBurgess.com


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View past issues of Es Mi Cultura: HERE
Copyright © 2016 Es Mi Cultura, All rights reserved.


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