As we focus on Afro-Latino identity and issues, we wanted to start by going to people who live it every day.
In this segment we hear four people talk about what being Afro-Latino means to them. We meet an entrepreneur, an author and two sisters trying to educate others through the Internet.
They tell us about facing racism, their issues with the media and the way people have reacted to them over the years. (“Somos” means “we are.”)
Anthony Otero, a Bronx native, Syracuse University alum, Afro-Latino blogger, and frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, has aspired to be a published author for most of his life. He wrote his first novel as a therapeutic outlet while recovering from his divorce and realized that his story can shed light on a man’s side of a love story—an underrepresented angle.
His first book, “Hanging Upside Down”, is a fiction novel that explores the pressures men face after divorce, the consequences of letting good intentions go astray, and how a single turn of events can change the world as they know it. With support from his family, friends, and fellow Latino alumni at Syracuse, Anthony delivered a whirlwind, twist-turning, and explicit story of a man rediscovering the world around him before finally facing his “global warming.”
Victoria Arzu is the co-founder of Proyecto Más Color. Victoria is a first generation Honduran-American of Garifuna descent. Victoria was born in Fort Sill, Oklahoma and later moved to Katy, TX where she spent her middle school and high school years. Victoria graduated cum laude from the University of Houston with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. Victoria now attends Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and aspires to be either and immigration or an international lawyer. Victoria is very passionate about social justice and equality and would like to see that reflected in Latin American media. Since she was a little girl she had noticed the racial inequities and stereotypes portrayed on Spanish soap operas, and with Proyecto Más Color she aspires to put an end to this. Her dream is to see positive and honorable portrayals of Indigenous and Afro-Latinos integrated into the daily programming of Univision and Telemundo. Victoria is 26 years old.
Sophia Arzu is the co-founder of Proyecto Más Color. Sophia is a first generation Honduran-American of Garifuna descent. Sophia was born in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, but she spent most of her childhood in Katy, TX. Sophia and her parents later moved to Georgia where she spent her high school and college years. Sophia now attends Georgia State University and is studying Communications & Journalism. Sophia enjoys listening to music and producing YouTube videos. From a young age, Sophia has noticed the racial disparity in Latin American television shows and her dream is to put an end to the discriminatory nature of Latin American media so that one day, her children can see Afro-Latinos like her on television. Sophia is 21 years old.
Janel Martinez is a multimedia journalist. Martinez currently serves as Content Producer at NewME, a customizable support platform that transforms cool ideas into great businesses. She previously served as Technology Editor at Black Enterprise, the premier business, investing, and wealth-building resource for African Americans, where she oversaw the editorial strategy for technology across the company’s platforms. Her work and insights have appeared on various media sites including TheGrio, Madame Noire and The Root, as well as Arise News and NPR’s Latino USA.
The Honduran-American added entrepreneur to her title, launching AintILatina.com, an online destination celebrating diversity among Latinas. Founded to fill a void in the representation of Afro-Latinas in both mainstream as well as Spanish-language media, AintILatina.com offers profiles of Afro-Latinas across the globe, celebrity news, career advice, lifestyle coverage and exclusive interviews with today’s hottest celebs.
One thought on “Somos: Afro-Latino”
There doubt in my mind that we are in an identity crisis within the Latino Community. The racial issue between Black and Latino as well as the Afro-Latino identity runs deep, and yet the Afro-Latino experience remains largely invisible in mainstream media. I applaud you for this venue and I am hoping that I am not the only one providing feedback here. We need to highlight what makes being Afro-Latino beautiful, Challenging and Unique so the newer generation focus on what is important…Self-Steem. Here in America, we need to bring down these invisible walls and eliminate the negative stigma associated with Afro-Latinos. We are the one that can make a difference. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/14/afro-latinos-american-culture_n_1963162.html Just remember “There were 11.2 million Africans who came to the New World in the slave trade and of that 11.2 million, only 450,000 came to the United States,” Gates, Jr told Latina.com.
There are some stories that we need to bring to this discussion – An example of a Strugles, Success, Challenge and Uniqueness… ” 1960s Cuban singer and exile Guadalupe “La Lupe” Victoria Yolí Raymond.She was this incredible force of nature, dynamic, brilliant singer. She was kicked out of her country, out of Cuba, by Castro because he considered her to be as decadent as America. She represented freedom, unbridled passion, and all those things that he actually didn’t want to be what represented Cuba. And so she had to flee. She came to New York and became famous singing with Tito Puente [and] “Mongo” Santamaría. She became the Queen of Latin Soul and the first woman to sing in Carnegie Hall. [The movie is] really a sort of rags to riches to rags tale of redemption, about an extraordinary woman….Somehow, this woman who was just so uniquely herself and so powerful, scared people. “http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/26/lauren-velez-la-lupe-movie_n_1895532.html
Hopefully, we receive dozens of responses and compile a list of our favorites ones so we can learn from their experiences moving forward.