June 6, 2016 ~ Issue 9
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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.

"I’m Zahira Kelly, a mami, writer, artist, mujerista, sociocultural critic, and speaker. Born in NYC and raised between Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and the Bronx, by my mother and auntie who are both creative renaissance women.

I write what many call a very candid advice column at and am creator and author of Bad-Dominicana, an AfroLatina feminist blog and twitter with a large, constantly growing following comprised of everyone from editors of major publications and scholars to teenage girls. In my writing, dynamic use of social media, and at speaking events I employ Indigenous style storytelling, no holds barred analysis of abuse culture, colonialism, social power dynamics and critique of media and pop culture. I aim to pick apart white supremacist capitalist hetero-patriarchy from an anticolonial AfroLatina perspective. 

Most recently, my hashtag #MaybeHeDoesntHitYou which highlights much ignored non-physical abuse, went viral on social media and was featured widely in major publications. It is part of my daily task of writing on abuse culture and all its manifestations, as we often lack awareness and support for it. 

visual art is dedicated to highlighting AfroLatina and Women of Colors beauty and very much tied to my writing. It has been exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, among other galleries. I traverse many mediums: watercolor, photography, pencil illustration, oils, acrylics, animation, digital painting and often mix them together."
"In my images I reexamine my bicultural upbringing, Indigenous displacement and neocolonial marginalized womanhood as well as concepts of fragility historically denied to lower class women of Afro-Descent. In my retro pinup inspired art I materialize women rendered invisible by an era and society that only prized middle to upper class white womanhood and beauty as a paragon of femininity."
A native of San Diego and a daughter of Honduran and Grenadian parents, Kiana Welsh has a great affinity for people of all cultures, coming from a multicultural family herself. She has distinguished herself as one of the preeminent personalities in the events marketing arena.

Her background has provided her the requisite skills to perform at the highest level of event staffing. At the age of 18, Kiana got her start at one of the most popular radio stations in the San Diego market. While working in radio, Kiana perfected her skills as a voice over talent. This introduction to the communications arena sealed her love and admiration for the entertainment industry. For the last 10 years, Kiana continued her pursuit in the entertainment industry, modeling in both the print and commercial fields.

While modeling, Kiana was discovered by major event staffers who found her personality and skills highly impressive. Soon after, Kiana was highly sought and was in high demand by corporations and high profile personalities in the entertainment industry. It was there that she began to let her personality flourish while simultaneously developing her portfolio of talents.     

These skills have served her immeasurably in the industry. During this time in her life, Ms. Welsh also worked for an organization that staffed carefully selected personnel for high profile celebrity events. It was during this time that an idea had sparked, and eventually, it was turned into what is now known as, Ki Events, a fast growing, Atlanta-based event staffing company. 
With over 15 years of high-profile event catering and staffing experience, Ki Events has the creativity and ability to turn any event into a success. We’ve catered and staffed numerous high-profile events in the West Coast ranging from Golden Globe Awards after-parties, Larry King’s birthday bash, as well as the grand openings of Giuseppe Zanotti store, Jimmy Choo and many others. Finally, Ki Events is on the East Coast providing our world-class level of service to the Atlanta area.
Ghislaine Leon is a Harlem, NY native with roots in the Dominican Republic and a passion for Afro-Latino educations and empowerment. She is a Digital Marketing professional by day and the founder of art and spirituality site

"The main thing that being an Afro-Latina means to me is breaking all those mental barriers that have been passed on from generation to generation among all Latinos. For too long we’ve been taught to hate our darker-skinned Latinos, so the main thing that being an Afro-Latina means to me is educating myself and educating people that I come across to not look at Black Latinos as any less. Being able to embrace our rich history; being able to embrace, understand, and continue to push Afro-Latino music whether it’s bomba, whether it’s plena, whether it’s palo, whether it’s Yoruba. It’s not forgetting those things.

Being an Afro-Latina to me means respecting our ancestors; it means honoring our ancestors. It means teaching other people like ‘Yo, I’m the same color as you, I may not speak the same language as you, but we come from the same place.’"

"With this site I aim to provide a space where spirituality and art virtually meet to ignite conversations on the realities of being a contemporary woman. Going through and growing through different things in life, and looking to my girlfriends for spiritual guidance and advice. I understood that many women go through similar growing pains. My experiences inspired me to begin Fearless Leon. This is a space where we can all relate through beautiful artistic expression and thought." - Ghislaine Leon 
Pajón Comic- By Crystal Rodriguez
“I wanted to highlight the everyday struggle Afrolatinxs go through when developing their self worth,” she told The Huffington Post in an email. “This comic is for the Afrolatinxs [who] have kept childhood traumas locked away in our hearts because good children are supposed to be silent and beautiful with our straightened hair, faldas (girdles) y media panties (pantyhose).”
La Borinqueña, a Puerto Rican superhero created by Puerto Rican collaborators alongside the National Puerto Rican Day Parade was announced yesterday in New York. (Courtesy of Edgar Miranda-Rodriguez)
AfroLatino Travel has several trips to Cuba scheduled for 2016!

Penned  By, About, and For Us!

Roots & Culture: Exploring the Afro-Latino Experience

Dascha Polanco: If I'm Not American or Latina Enough, Then What Am I?

15 Latinx Women You Should Follow On Social Media

This Afro-Cuban Life

Viviann Rodriguez on Truth, Glitter, and Rainbows

Things You've Probably Heard If You're Afro-Latino

10 Afro-Latina Authors You Should Know

Playwright And Actress Krysta Gonzales 

Meet AfroLatino Travel, A Collective Connecting Tourists To Latin America's
African Roots

Why Do So Many Latinos Deny Being Black?

How Two Latina Bloggers Are Using Their Sites to Talk About Mental Health 

Latina's #WCW: Omaris Zunilda Zamora

Afro-Cuban Twin Sisters Talk About Race Through A New Cigar Line

Lupita Nyong'g, Rosario Dawson & More Honor Immigrants in Powerful PSA
Women Warriors of the Afro-Latina Diaspora
"This title is a collection of fascinating stories by seven extraordinary women, all Afro-Latinas. In these essays they relate their stories and their efforts to advocate for justice, racial equality, cultural equity, and human and civil rights." --El Boricua

About the Editors

MARTA MORENO VEGA is a professor at El Centro de Estudios Avanzados Puertorriquenos de Puerto Rico y El Caribe in San Juan, Puerto Rico; she has also taught at Hunter College, City University of New York. She is author of The Altar of My Soul (One World/Ballantine, 2001) and When the Spirits Dance Mambo: Growing Up Nuyorican in El Barrio (Three Rivers Press, 2002). Among many other things, she is the founder/president of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora and co-founder of the Global Afro Latino and Caribbean Initiative. She lives and works in New York City.

MARINIEVES ALBA is a Puerto Rican/Panamanian activist, producer and writer, who has worked in the arts, and youth and community development throughout the United States and Latin America for over 15 years. She has dedicated her life to exploring and nurturing the intersections between the arts and social justice, and issues of social and cultural rights and equity for Puerto Ricans, Latinos, and other people of color in the United States, with a special attention to nurturing solidarity, inter-cultural understanding and collaboration between Afro-Latinos and other peoples of the African diaspora. Marinieves holds degrees from Wesleyan University and New York University's Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and is a graduate of the NALAC Arts Leadership Institute and the Third World Newsreel. She is presently a citizen journalist/correspondent for World Pulse/Pulsewire, a women's communication network dedicated to connecting women and social change work globally. She is a Community School Director in Washington Heights, New York.

YVETTE MODESTIN, a writer and activist focusing on Afro-Latino issues, was born and raised in Colon, Panama. She is the founder/director of Encuentro Diaspora Afro in Boston, Massachusetts, which mobilizes the Afro-Latino community, empowers young girls of African descent and builds bridges of understanding between African Americans and Latinos. Modestin has been profiled by the Boston Globe as "The Uniter" for her work in bringing the Latin American and African American communities together and for her activism in building a voice for the Afro-Latino community. In 2006 she was highlighted as "Six in the City" by the Boston Globe for her service in the community. She continues to address race in the Latino community and to increase awareness of the Afro-Latino/a experience.

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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