INK BLAST | AFRO-LATINAS TO CELEBRATE DURING BLACK HISTORY MONTH
By Juleyka Lantigua
About half way through this month, it hit me that I had not ever considered whether Black Latinos, some of whom prefer to be called Afro-Latinos, are or should be part of the celebration of Black History Month. (Might be because I, myself, am what Dominicans affectionately call jaba [“high-yellow” might be the vernacular translation]. I am, therefore, uniquely unqualified to discuss the nuanced particularities of being Afro anything.)
No matter. Despite not having any cultural connoisseurs or hip historians to consult, I decided to add my own small, but meaningful celebration to this auspicious month. Let’s hear it for my Afro-Latina sisters doing their damn thing!
Gina Torres—Cuban; actress, power wife, sci-fi goddess. She owns any screen her beautiful face graces.
Zoë Saldaña—Dominican/African-American, and yes, that is the correct spelling of her name; actress and Hollywood mover and shaker; saw her losing her mind front row at the Juan Luis Guerra concert in NYC and have loved her even more since. She reps being Dominican with style and gusto.
Rosario Dawson—Puerto Rican/African-American; actress, infuses two-dimensional characters with soul and lust.
Nelly Rosario—Dominican; gifted author, teacher, fierce spirit.
Rita Marley—Cuban; singer, Bob Marley’s widow; as a backup singer in his band, she contributed to the legacy of one of the greatest musical revolutionaries ever.
Gwendolyn Ifill—Panamanian; PBS anchor, author, political commentator; emerged as a media force after owning two major presidential debates.
Mitzi Miller—Panamanian/African American; author, journalist, natural superstar. One of my GLFs (Girls For Life) and the hardest working woman in the media business. Oprah and Tyra better enjoy it while it lasts.
Christina Norman—Puerto Rican/African-American; MTV President but still anchored to her Latina roots; had the brilliance to launch MTV3 and allow a fellow Latina to run “Cribs,” their monster brand.
Kelis—Puerto Rican/Chinese/African American; on the musical vanguard with her sexy/eclectic sound, and standing on the cusp of true stardom. I’m ready and waiting for her to ascend to greatness.
Josefina Baez—Dominican; an enigma of an artist, whose creative journey has enlightened many around her, including me. (Dominican)
Juleyka Lantigua is a writer whose work has appeared in books, magazines and newspapers around the country.