March 7, 2016 ~ Issue 6
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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.

Sulma Arzu-Brown is a proud Garifuna woman
born in Honduras, Central America.

"She came to New York City at the tender age of six. Throughout her life, Sulma’s parents instilled the belief that progressive thinking, education and sound values were the key to success in one’s personal and professional life. Holding steadfast to those values, Sulma received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Herbert Lehman College of the City University of New York. Sulma took those teachings a step further when she became a mother by becoming one with her essence and growing out her natural hair. It was her way of encouraging her girls to love every aspect of themselves especially their hair. Sulma knew it was the right decision when her older daughter expressed “mommy we finally look alike” the day she cut off her chemically straightened hair. The book soon followed.
As a proud Garifuna woman, Sulma was privileged to serve as Executive Director of the Garifuna Coalition, USA Inc., a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to serve as an advocate, a resource and a forum for the Garifuna people living in New York City. The Garifuna people are the Black Caribs living in the coastland of Central America. Sulma is currently the VP of Operations for the New York City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce." 
"Bad Hair Does Not Exist / Pelo Malo No Existe! is about Cultural Solidarity through hair.  It looks like a children's book, however the message is a mature one.  It's target demo is from the age of comprehension to adulthood.  

The book is even more effective when I am able to deliver the message behind it. While in college, I was on a quest to find myself.  That is when I took on a project about my Garifuna culture, just to learn more about me.  It was at that point when classmate labeled my type of hair as "malo/bad." She had no idea what I was going through, nor the reality of my challenges as a black latina woman. 

I have to admit, if the young lady and I had someone like me to come deliver the message of Bad Hair Does Not Exist - the class argument would have never happened. So please, I ask with all the respect in my heart not to "judge a book by its cover" or font size.  Purchase Bad Hair Does Not Exist/Pelo Malo No Existe and help me spread this powerful message!" ~ Sulma Arzu-Brown, Author

MAGDALENA ALBIZU, Writer, Director and Producer

As one of the founders of Mezcla Media Market, Magdalena Albizu created the Long Island Latino International Film Festival (LILIFF) in 2004.

Magdalena began working in production in 2005 on various sets of independent films , such as So In LoveLove Me Through ItThe Great Divide, and Willets Point.  Her TV projects include: 2006 MTV Music AwardsI am LegendMemphis on the Big Screen, 50 Cent’s Power and Money and PBS.  As a SpikeTV freelancer, she has worked on:  All Access WeeklyMadden 2011 BattlefieldSpare TimePlaybook and Weekend Pre-Game.  Magdalena is the former President of the New York Chapter of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP).

Born and raised in Long Island, NY to Dominican parents,  Magdalena received her BA in Sociology from the University of Florida and her MA in Social Work from Adelphi University.

For the past few years, Magdalena Albizu has been working on Negrita: Racially Black and Ethnically Latina – a documentary about the Afro-Latina experience in the United States.

"NEGRITA, written and directed by Magdalena Albizu, is a documentary about the Afro-Latina identity and experience in the United States. In their own words, empowered, self-affirming educated Afro-Latinas, located across the United States, share their experiences of living with a changing, often contested identity in a racialized society and how it affects their personal and professional lives.

NEGRITA highlights individual unique Afro-Latina experiences within a broad range of skin color and ethnicity across the United States, while revealing psychological and social factors that add to the confusion, uncertainty, shame and affirmation about one’s self-image of being both “Black” and “Latina."

NEGRITA aims to establish a ‘black’ consciousness across all generations by reigniting a movement to embrace Latinos’ African roots through a trans-national dialogue on race, identity, ethnicity, nationality and community-building."

Penned  By, About, and For Us!

NYC! Call for Afro-Latina Portrait Series 

I Am A Proud Afro-Latina!

Afro-Panamanian & Proud!

Being Black in Colombia 

The Black History of Latinos

Young, Gifted, and Black: 15 Artists, Activists & Creatives
Repping for Afro-Latinidad

Young, Gifted, & Afro-Boricua

Meet Juliana Pache, The Woman Behind #BlackLatinxHistory

Shout-Out to All Afro-Latinxs

Fighting A Black 'Genocide' in Brazil 

I'm Afro-Latina & I Wish I Saw Myself More In Black History Month

Meet Six People Who Celebrate Being LatiNegro 

Latina Behind Negrita Come Coco Project on Race & Identity 

I, An Afro-Latina Woman, Was Attacked By An Officer

How Poet Ariana Brown Became The Afro-Latina Role Model She Needed

Identity, A Challenge For Latinas Who Are Black

The Secret Lives of Afro-Mexicans In America

Stop Shaming; Start Embracing

Black & Puerto Rican Gymnast Sophina De Jesus

The Best Argument For Black History Month In Mexico

Edwing D'Angelo Brings Afro-Colombian Designs To The Runway 
"In 2009, when Raquel Cepeda almost lost her estranged father to heart disease, she was terrified she’d never know the truth about her ancestry. Every time she looked in the mirror, Cepeda saw a mystery—a tapestry of races and ethnicities that came together in an ambiguous mix. With time running out, she decided to embark on an archaeological dig of sorts by using the science of ancestral DNA testing to excavate everything she could about her genetic history... 

Years later, when Cepeda had become a successful journalist and documentary filmmaker, the strands of her DNA would take her further, across the globe and into history. Who were her ancestors? How did they—and she—become Latina? Her journey, as the most unforgettable ones often do, would lead her to places she hadn’t expected to go. With a vibrant lyrical prose and fierce honesty, Cepeda parses concepts of race, identity, and ancestral DNA among Latinos by using her own Dominican-American story as one example, and in the process arrives at some sort of peace with her father."

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

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

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