First time author Isabel Cortes weaves dark fascinating tales filled to the brim with magical suspence taking place in the enchanted Blackwood Forest.
“Separated from the rest of the world and shrouded in mystery, the small village of Blackwood lives in constant fear of the dark forest that surrounds them. As soon as the sunsets and shadows start to gather over the houses shrieks and howls can be heard from within the trees. Nobody is quite sure what or who lives within Blackwood Forest, but what is known is that all manner of evil resides inside. Because of this the adults in the village stay as far away from there as possible, however the youth of Blackwood is far braver. Mare, Maria, and Ester are three young inhabitants of the village who are desperate to find themselves in the stuffy and rigid community they live in. Each decides to brave into the forest and team up with one of the mysterious creatures that lives inside to make their wildest dreams come true. But just because not every monster is evil, doesn’t mean that every monster is good. Some are there to bond and protect the children, others are there to create havoc and mayhem. Will the youth of Blackwood survive the creatures of the forest, or will they fall into their clutches? Will they discover their true selves, or will they disappear into the forest forever? The answers lay waiting to be discovered inside of Blackwood Forest.”
Samantha Leyva is an Afro-Mexican pageant queen looking to improve the visibility of Mexico’s Black citizens. And although she looks different from the typical contestant, her ideals differ greatly, too.
A glance at her Facebook page reveals the following description, “Nurse by profession and proud Afro-Mexican. #BlackLivesMatter.”
In an interview with Fusion, Leyva shared she takes pride in flipping the usual beauty ideals of Mexico. The 23-year-old won the 2016 Miss Guerrero Pageant but placed third in the Miss Mexico Pageant.
“I think we have all grown accustomed to seeing another type of woman; another type of Mexican beauty,” Leyva told the website.
Across the nursing intern’s Spanish-language Instagram page, comments are overwhelmingly positive.
“I love your project on Afro-Mexicans!” one user wrote.
“Do not let anything or anyone take away your dream,” read another remark. “Do not listen to malicious and negative comments.”
That response came after some detractors made comments that dissed Leyva. One such comment deemed the beauty queen “not very feminine” looking.
Still, Leyva continues to proudly wear her Blackness. She advocated for Black Mexican rights in the state of Guerrero, where she is from. In September, Leyva helped improve education for children in her community. Then, at the end of October, Leyva attended the second annual Afro Festival, which celebrates the rich culture of Afro-Mexicans. Additionally, she supports Black Lives Matter, a movement Leyva said is “so important” to the global Black community.
Her efforts follow Mexico’s official recognition of their African descendant-citizens in last year’s census. The country’s 1.38 million people with African heritage were accounted for, changing the more than century-long tradition of not including Afro-Mexicans. Instead, the Latin American nation counted the “mestizaje” population – people with Spanish and indigenous ancestors.
Mexico is the only Latin American country besides Chile that banned African descendants from its charter. Because of that, Afro-Mexicans remained unseen. But thanks to the México Negro advocacy group, a push came to ensure the “Mexican state pays off its historical debt with Afro-Mexicans” by providing increased support to Black civilians, Atlanta Black Star reported.
I was just thinking about how gross I look in this pic but then I remembered the only reason I thought I looked weird was because I was taught by society that if I don’t fit Eurocentric beauty standards, I’m ugly. Indigenous features are hard to get used to. So I’m just gonna leave this picture here and try not get all insecure and delete it by tomorrow. MeXICANX pride exudes through me as it should through you all as well.
I like how Yuri on Ice chose a person of color to represent America. I like how Leo is a Mexican-American representing America. It’s a nice chance seeing as whenever America is represented in anime it always seems to be someone white.
Plus being Mexican-American myself despite not looking it, it just makes me happy. uwu