afrolatino

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some dope stuff going on on twitter right now…

twitter user @thecityofjules decided to start discussing afro-latinx history as she “[was] inspired to tweet about AfroLatinx contributions for Black History Month because so many Latinx publications fail to represent us. I logged into my social media and looked at how white washed a lot of Latinx publications are, and was frustrated.

as language learners, the language itself is not the only the thing that’s important to engage - the histories and cultures of the places where our target languages are spoken are equally significant and i figured this might interest some of you as you dive deeper into your spanish language study.

i only posted a partial list from the initial thread so check out the other figures mentioned here and jump into the #BlackLatinxHistory hashtag that was created to expand on the conversation in one place to learn more!

que disfruten mucho!

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Bomba is an Afro-Puerto Rican folkloric music style developed throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries by west African slaves brought to the island by the Spanish. It is a communal activity that still thrives in its traditional centers of Loíza, Santurce, Mayagüez, Ponce, and New York City. The traditional musical style has been diffused throughout the United States following the Puerto Rican Diaspora, especially in New York, New Jersey, Chicago, California, and Florida. It also became increasingly popular in Peru, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil, and has largely influenced Afro-Latino music styles within these countries.

More than just a genre of music, it’s most defining characteristic is the encounter and creative relationship between dancers, percussionists, and singers. Dance is an integral part of the music. It is popularly described as a challenge/connection, or an art of “call and answer,” in which two or more drums follow the rhythms and moves of the dancers. The challenge requires great physical shape and usually continues until either the drummer or the dancer discontinues.

There are several styles of bomba, and the popularity of these styles varies by region. There are three basic rhythms, as well as many others that are mainly variations of these: Yubá, Sicá and Holandés. Other styles include Cuembé, Bámbula, Cocobalé, and Hoyomula.

Let's get into it: Latin@ vs. Black

This post is too damn much for me to just sit here and see this kind of logic (or lack thereof, better yet) come onto my dash.

(edit: modified due to ableist language and erasure of nonblack indigenous Africans. My sincere apologies for any trespasses committed due to ignorance and brute tongue.)

Identity is such a difficult topic to discuss, especially when it comes to race & ethnicity, as it’s a very personal expression and affirmation of our own experiences (in relation to a larger collective) and us navigating the spaces we create within that identity.

Let’s understand some keywords first (because context):

Black (person): any member of the African diaspora who is racialized as Black

Diaspora: the scattered population with origins within a smaller geographic location

African-American: a Black person living in the United States of America, with cultural traditions stemming from their displacement into the country by the Transatlantic Slave Trade (often interchanged with Black, although the two have separate meanings); created as a reaction to terms such as “Negro”

Afro-: prefix used to emphasize African heritage or influence on something, sometimes used as a reaction to invisibility or Otherness within that group

Hispanic: a term created in order to classify all Spanish speakers into one box on the census form; this term means “of Spain” and erases any Indian or African identity a person from Mexico, Central America, the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, or South America might have.

Latin@:  a person from Latin America (anywhere in the above-mentioned regions); this term is preferred over Hispanic because it does not deny the large influence of pre-existing indigenous American culture and African culture brought over by the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Spanish: a person from Spain; another word for Castilian, the most popular language of Spain and the majority of its former colonies (often interchanged with Latin@ although this is wrong as fuck)

Racism: institutionalized discrimination of an ethnic group, often based on phenotypical or linguistic differences

Shadeism/Colorism: discrimination of certain (usually dark but sometimes light) skin tones due to conforming within a Eurocentric standard of beauty; often happens in post-imperialist countries

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s make something clear: Latin@ and Black are not mutually exclusive terms. Meaning that you can be Latino and Black at the same damn time. Latin@ does not define a race, but rather expresses that people from Latin America come from miscegenation and often are multiracial. That’s why you have people like Celia Cruz, Roberto Clemente, and Arturo Schomburg identifying as negro and Latino simultaneously. Because Black is a term describing race and Latin@ is a term roughly describing ethnicity.

When Latin@s who are more visibly African in origins (or Afrolatin@s) deny what they are (like this lady) it’s due to anti-Black propaganda fed to the masses in Latin America largely due to North American influence (the last thing antebellum US wanted was Latino Blacks and American Blacks thinking they could be like Haiti and revolt against imperialist rule. In fact, most of the reason why Haiti’s economy remains abysmal is due to French and US influence but they don’t tell you that in US History II, do they?)

That’s why you’ll find loads of colorism within countries like Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Not to mention other countries like India, Brazil, South Africa, and even right here in the United States of America. The post-colonial identity is, largely, a reaction to what European rule did during their control. In countries with a huge American Indian influence, indio is an insult because calling someone out on their other-than-white heritage is hurtful; negro or prieto is also used derogatorily. 

Articles like that woman’s are problematic because it just falls right into that cycle of anti-Black (self-)hatred. Latin@s in the US often do not claim their Black heritage and opt for a raceless identification with the terms Hispanic and Latino. But the truth is that most of Latin Americans are mestizo or mulato, or a combination of both. This obsession with race and skin tone was enforced by the Spanish caste system which treated lighter or Spanish-educated people as better.

Black slaves in the US faced an entirely different struggle from Black slaves in Spanish colonies or Dutch colonies or Portuguese colonies. That’s why we all have a different culture but are still part of the African diaspora. So, being Afro-Dominican and being African-American are two totally different things, but for the most part we all have the same point of origin. And our differences in self-concept and self-expression are just due to who colonized us. (Did you know that babies born to indigenous or Black mothers & Spanish fathers but educated in Spaniard customs was considered white in the Dominican Republic? It throws the contemporary American understanding of race out the fucking window, I’ll tell you that.)

Will Latin@s ever claim their indigenous and African ancestry for good? I don’t know and I don’t give a fuck. But you won’t deny that shit in my presence because I’ll get your life together for you REAL quick. 

The island of Haiti & Dominican Republic was the first fucking stop for stolen Africans in the New World. The Black Experience in the Western Hemisphere STARTED in DR and Haiti, and denying that is an insult to every African man, woman, and child brought over on slave ships to our fucking soil.

REFERENCES AND RESOURCES FOR Y'ALL (taking y'all to college real quick wepaaaa)

Black behind the Ears: Dominican Racial Identity from Museums to Beauty Shops by Ginetta E. B. Candelario

Merengue : Dominican Music and Dominican Identity by Paul Austerlitz

The Dominican Republic: A National History by Frank Moya Pons

Race in North America: Origin and Evolution of a Worldview by Audrey Smedley

Introduction to Dominican Blackness by Silvio Torres-Saillant

Jakiyah McKoy was crowned Little Miss Hispanic Delaware but…

“There was uproar when the winner was announced because, according to the public, she was not the best representative of a Latin beauty." 

Source: http://www.eltiempohispano.com

"Jakiyah is Miss Chiquita Delaware

Delaware has a new mini queen of Dominican roots

On Saturday August 31 at Wilmington Drama League, the event of election of Miss Chiquita Delaware was held. The competition included the presence of 8 contestants: Juriada Marie Perez, TatianaAyala, Katherine Fred-Martinez, Eleiana Santiago, Ciara Gonzalez, Meriana Ayala, Estrella Torresand Jakiyah McKoy, all very intelligent and very nice.

The contestants had to demonstrate their talent dancing or singing, modeling down the catwalk and answering the final question.

At all times was Thalia Sanchez, the former queen, cheering audiences with her dances while the girls changed costumes.

There was uproar when the winner was announced because, according to the public, she was not the best representative of a Latin beauty. The winner was Jakiyah McKoy, first runner Meriana Ayala,second Eleiana Santiago and third Katherine Fred-Martinez.

The new Miss Chiquita Delaware Jakiyah McKoy, age 7, was born in Brooklyn, New York. She is descendant of her grandmother who was born in the providence of La Vega in the Dominican Republic. Her mother lives in Brooklyn, New York, and Jakiyah lives in Wilmington, Delaware with her father. She likes to sing, dance and watch movies with her grandmother. She has two siblings, her brother Shad and her sister Jamiyah; she loves spending time with her aunts, uncles, and her cousins and loves her God Mother Relly. Her favorite pastime is drawing.

The event was enlivened by the pleasant India Colon and the always smiling Denize Leal. Attendance was high and finally the new little queen Jakiyah came out smiling with her crown.”

According to a college friend of mine, who knows the family:  "[the pageant] required proof of only her ethnicity, not the other contestants. On top of that they take her title and crown away, because she can’t show proof of ethnicity because her undocumented grandmother who was from the Dominican Republic, which gives her the necessary 25% of Latino ancestry, is deceased.“

Why is Jakiah "not the best representative of Latin beauty”, could it be that she is of African descent? Just a speculation. I am fleshing out this story as we speak so stay tuned. 

 

Please stop telling the following people that they aren’t black enough:

- Black people with vitiligo

- Black people that are albino

- Black people that are light-skinned and/or bi-racial

- Black people with light eyes

- Black people that do not have their hair natural

-Black people who are Latinx

Your black is so beautiful!
✊🏾

remezcla.com
These Aztec Dancers Joined a Black Lives Matter Protest in Minnesota
On Saturday, Black Lives Matter St. Paul and the Minneapolis NAACP held the Rally & Solidarity March for #PhilandoCastile & Others.

At a time when racist policing has taken center stage, solidarity with the black community, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement, is vital. Over the weekend, this is exactly what happened in Minneapolis, and dancers from the Kalpulli Yaocenoxtli group were right along them every step of the way – behavior that’s not uncommon for these dancers. In California, for example, danzantes have come out to support gay rights and partnered with the Korean Immigrant Worker Assn. They’ve also denounced police brutality and Christopher Columbus. Danza Mexica Cuahtemoc leader Judith Cuahtemoc told the Los Angeles Times that Aztecs side with underdogs. And that’s exactly what the Minnesota group did this weekend.

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Lxs Afrxlatinxs: Queer Afrolatin@ Visibility Project

Here are some photos from the project I’ve been working on for the past few months on Queer Afrolatin@s. Check out this other post with one of the videos from the project.

If you’re interested in participating in the project also, feel free to inbox me. To keep up with project developments check out the facebook page, www.facebook.com/LxsAfrxlatinxs , and follow us on twitter @Lxs_Afrxlatinxs!

Afro-Latina women relate their personal stories and advocacy for racial equality

“My housewife mother turned into a raging warrior woman when the principal of my elementary school questioned whether her daughter and the children of my public school had the intelligence to pass a citywide test,” Marta Moreno Vega writes in her essay.  She knew then she was loved and valued, and she learned that to be an Afro-Puerto Rican woman meant activism was her birth right.

Hers is one of eleven essays and four poems included in this volume in which Latina women of African descent share their stories. The authors included are from all over Latin America—Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Panama, Puerto Rico and Venezuela—and they write about the African diaspora and issues such as colonialism, oppression and disenfranchisement. Diva Moreira, a black Brazilian, writes that she experienced racism and humiliation at a very young age. The worst experience, she remembers, was when her mother’s bosses told her she didn’t need to go to school after the fourth grade, “because blacks don’t need to study more than that.”

The contributors span a range of professions, from artists to grass-roots activists, scholars and elected officials. Each is deeply engaged in her community, and they all use their positions to advocate for justice, racial equality and cultural equity. In their introduction, the editors write that these stories provide insight into the conditions that have led Afro-Latinas to challenge systems of inequality, including the machismo that is still prominent in Spanish-speaking cultures.

A fascinating look at the legacy of more than 400 years of African enslavement in the Americas, this collection of personal stories is a must-read for anyone interested in the African diaspora and issues of inequality and racism.

It was surprising for me to see white privileged Puerto Ricans play plena, bomba, and salsa music considering that those are Afro-diasporic derived musical inheritances of black resistance.[1]This usurpation of black culture caused me frustration because I knew that black Puerto Rican culture was more than listening to salsa while getting drunk off of Medalla Lights on the Juan Ponce de Leon Blvd. I noticed that what acclaimed Afro-Puerto Rican scholar, writer and researcher, Isar Godreau argued was right: that there is a selective celebration of blackness in Puerto Rico. A selective blackness that was folklorized and distanced that does not require critically assessing inner-workings that contribute racial inequity and injustice.[2] In these academic spaces most black Puerto Ricans seemed more interested in being accepted as Puerto Rican first before being black and never spoke about racism and white supremacy, always reinforcing racial harmony.
—  White Puerto Rican Migration and the Effacement of Blackness
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Help Jack Move Fund

Hey y'all.

My long time partner and I recently split, but the thing is we still live together and I can’t afford to move out. Thankfully we have separate bedrooms, but sharing space makes disconnecting from someone you’ve been with nearly 3 years really difficult.

I’m trying to go to Gainesville (2 hours North of where I live now) because it’s cheaper rent and I have friends there that can give me the community I need right now. I also work 3 jobs currently, but 2 are contracted and they both end on March 20th. This means I only have the flower shop job to support myself, but I make about $30-$50 a week. It’s not enough to pay for gas, food, rent, and car insurance. 

I’ve been applying for work and was able to get interviews for a few jobs, but I haven’t been offered any positions. I’m beginning to panic because there are only 10 days before I don’t have a consistent income.

If y'all could donate 50 cents to my paypal (jackquemi@gmail.com) I’d be really grateful. I’m trying to afford a 1/1 apartment that goes for $450 a month, $450 deposit, $300 pet fee (the cats are staying with me/ sadly Roux will stay with Eli), and an application fee which is $60.

I don’t know how y'all would like me to be accountable for my crowd funding spending, but I can put up an Excel spreadsheet of my expenses if that makes y'all more confident in donating. 

You can click the “donate” button on my page or just send 50 cents to my paypal email jackquemi@gmail.com

Thanks in advance- you’d be helping me out a lot.

There’s that old saying: The devil’s greatest trick is that he convinced people that he doesn’t exist. Well, white supremacy’s greatest trick is that it has convinced people that, if it exists at all, it exists always in other people, never in us.
—  Junot Diaz, “Decolonial Love,” interview with Paula Moya for salon.com