Culture

The Black Majesty At The Afro-Latino Fest NYC This Weekend Is What Dreams Are Made Of

#afrolatinofestnyc / Instagram

With six years of celebrating Afro-Latinidad behind them, Afro-Latino Fest took to New York City for the seventh time running and it was better than ever. Latino Rebels and Futuro Media group partnered to create a social entrepreneur workshop, creating more much-needed access, and Afrolatin Talks launched their Podcast series to a live audience.

With live music, indoor and outdoor stages, and coalescence of uninterrupted culture-affirming celebration all weekend long, you can bet the whole event was like a POC dream come true.

In the last U.S. Census, more than 25 percent of all those claiming Afro-Latino heritage report living in New York City.

Credit: @blackownedbklyn / Instagram

So it makes sense that Afro-Latino Fest would go down in Brooklyn, where the bulk of the community already lives. In the last census, only 2.5 percent of all Latinos also identified as Black, which makes Brooklyn an especially special place.

Latin flags were held and celebrated showing the diversity of the Afro-Latino community.

Credit: @kirstensmetsx / Instagram

That’s just what you do at the Afro-Latino Fest. You don’t have to be afraid of someone coming up to you asking if you’re an American or be in fear to express cultural pride.

The music was next-level increíble.

Credit: @blackownedbklyn / Instagram

Internet community Black Owned Brooklyn couldn’t have described the event any better: “Celebrating all things Afrolatinidad — from music, dance and food to politics, philosophy and religion — the Afro-Latino Festival (@afrolatinofestivalnyc) returned to Brooklyn last weekend for its seventh edition. Run by husband-and-wife duo Amilcar Priestley and Mai-Elka Prado Gil (both from Brooklyn by way of Panama), the event started in 2013 as a small gathering at Flatbush’s Parkside Train Station Plaza to “affirm, celebrate and educate” around the contributions of people of African descent from Latin America and the Caribbean. It has since evolved into a two-day festival, most recently at City Point in downtown Brooklyn, featuring music from eight countries across three stages. 🇵🇦 🇩🇴 🇵🇷 🇭🇹 🇭🇳 🇨🇺 🇨🇴 🇧🇷 ⠀”

There were chingona level DJ’s setting the party mood.

Credit: @blackownedbklyn / Instagram

These identical twins, Coco and Breezy, were just one set in a lineup of incredible performance artists like Puerto Rican spoken-word poet, Felipe Luciano, Dominican singer, José Alberto “El Canario,” Haitian-American singer Tadia and all-women Mariachi group Flor de Toloache. 

Afro-Latinos of all ages were able let loose a little bit.

Credit: @blackownedbklyn / Instagram

Every child was made to feel like royalty, with Afro-Latino owned vendors like “A Princess Like Me” in attendance. This was a family event.

Of course, there were bubbles for los niños.

Credit: @aprincesslikemenyc / Instagram

Who doesn’t love a good bubble machine?! Unlike the parties many of us went to as kids, there were actual children’s events to look forward to after rubbing the red lipstick off your face from all the tía besitos. Plus, who doesn’t want to hang out with Elena of Avalor?

The festival was all about community.

Credit: @aprincesslikemenyc / Instagram

And representing your whole heritage with pride. With the festival in its seventh year running, some of the children knew each other from the year before and others made fast friends.

The festival empowered Afro-Latino vendors to empower young Afro-Latino niños to be themselves.

Credit: @aprincesslikemenyc / Instagram

Caption: “Thank you @afrolatinofestivalnyc for booking us and giving OUR kids a place to freely run, play, dance and color with PRIDE! Our Latina Princess met amazing little Latina princesses too 👑👑👑🥰 where we hosted the entire kids zone at @citypointbklyn !!! Empowering our girls one princess & party character at a time. With live singing, makeup, nails, tattoos, dancing and more we bring the party to you! Ensuring your child has the best party possible for the lowest cost in NYC it’s no wonder we only have top ratings! Ps ask us about our customized characters and package options.”

We hope they get even more business after the festival’s long over.

It also empowered Afro-Latina‘s all over the place.

Credit: @bxmary80 / Instagram

“I am so excited! #laborinqueña #Brooklyn,” wrote this festival goer. She even got to meet the artist that created the highly anticipated “La Borinqueña” superhero comic, which celebrates a Black Puerto Rican woman as the protagonist.

At the end of the day, the event was all about family.

Credit: @cjrbarnes / Instagram

The young man in this photo expressed his gratitude for the event with a post on Instagram that read, “As the son of a 🇯🇲 [Jamaican] Immigrant and a 🇨🇺[Cuban] American, I’m blessed to be able to identity with both my Caribbean and African roots. @AfroLatinoFestivalNYC exemplifies all of the richness that Africa has on our beautiful Latinx counterparts—culture personified!🌍”

READ: From Maxwell To Cardi B, These Afro-Latinos Are A Driving Force In The Music Industry Today

Fans Of Spider-Man Are In Meltdown Mode After News Breaks That The Series May Be Out Of The Marvel Universe

Entertainment

Fans Of Spider-Man Are In Meltdown Mode After News Breaks That The Series May Be Out Of The Marvel Universe

Sony Pictures

Yup, you read that traumatizing headline correctly. Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. It’s been confirmed that Tom Holland, the latest actor to play the beloved Peter Parker on the big screen, will no longer be involved in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

But what does that actually mean? And how does that affect Miles Morales, the first ever Afro-Latino Spider-Man who starred in “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”? 

So how did we get here? We need someone to blame.

Well, like most things in life, it looks like it all revolves around a dispute about money. Disney, which owns Marvel, suggested an equal cofinancing agreement between it and Sony, according to Deadline, the first outlet to report the news. This would mean the studios would split profits 50/50 as well. When Sony declined this offer, Disney acted by removing Kevin Feige — the president of Marvel Studios who has had tremendous success with the latest Spidey iteration — as a producer on future films featuring the famous webslinger.

Nobody seems to know exactly what’s going to happen next here. Sony has been building a fairly impressive Spider-Verse of their own lately. Venom turned out to be among the most profitable films of 2018, and their recent Into the Spider-Verse won the Academy Award for best animated feature.

The studio is putting together a sequel to Venom, which has already received some attention for its recently-announced director, Andy Serkis. There’s a Jared Leto-starring Morbius film in production, and, reportedly, a Kraven the Hunter film on the way, along with some other rumored Spider-Man-Universe films (that, as of now, will not feature the beloved web slinger). Sony may be banking on getting the current Peter Parker—or some form of him—back in their Spider-Verse, and out of the MCU once and for all. This means, of course, that it’s possible for fans to get a Venom and Spider-Man crossover.

Amid the shock, sadness, and uncertainty, fans did the only thing they could do: laugh to keep from crying.

One fan described the news as being just the latest tragedy that comic fans have had to endure this summer, following the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame.

And what about Stan Lee?!

People considered Spidey’s ousting from the MCU as a slap in the face to the late Stan Lee, the superhero’s co-creator, who once called Holland “a great Spider-Man.”

Fans are convinced the series is cursed.

People thought about Sony’s role in all the Spider-Man films to date — like the third movie in Tobey Maguire’s time in the franchise, which was panned, and Andrew Garfield’s turn as Spidey, which was met with mixed reviews.

Now fans fear Holland is being done dirty by Sony.

In fact, it does seem like there’s a pattern where things go a little haywire every time Spidey is supposed to star in a third film.

And then there’s Miles Morales.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse / Sony Pictures

With news that the series will no longer be part of the Marvel Universe, where does that leave the first Afro-Latino Spider-Man? 

Many are hoping that if Tom Holland is out, there could be an opening for the bilingual star.

His version of Spider-Man went on to win an Oscar and brought greater representation to a community that struggles to see itself in the media. 

Comic book writers have made him proud of his heritage, and one of his superpowers is being bilingual. 

The character was created in 2011 by comic book writers Brian Michael and Sara Pichelli.

Credit: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse / Sony Pictures

The reason? Bendis, who is African-American, wanted to create a character that young black kids, like his own, could relate to. Repeat after us: representation matters.

He is Peter Parker’s successor with great power. 

Credit: miles-morales-spider-man-1149710. Digital image. ComicBook.com

After Peter dies (or did he?), Morales is bitten by a genetically enhanced spider, and with the aid of S.H.I.E.L.D., the family and friends of the late Peter Parker and other encapuchados he becomes the one and only Spidey. There is drama, of course, as his police officer father Jefferson totally loathes justice fighters. 

Here’s Why An Afro-Latino Decided To Make A New Meditation App Just For People Of Color

Culture

Here’s Why An Afro-Latino Decided To Make A New Meditation App Just For People Of Color

Indian Yogi / Unsplash

Raise your hand if you’ve used a meditation app that works for you until the “teacher” tells you to let go of the idea you can change the world around you. Often, whether it’s your white, blonde yoga teacher or that app, it can be triggering to enter the safe space of your consciousness only to feel triggered by a tone-deaf mantra.

Julio Rivera was one of those people that tried the existing meditation apps only to feel discontent. Some people want to change the world and when your community is in crisis you have to believe that you can change the world. Thankfully, Rivera is an engineer and decided to go out and make his own app that would be a truly safe space for people of color.

Liberate Meditation is “dedicated to empowering the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color community on their journey to find inner peace.”

Credit: Liberate Meditation / Apple Store

“We want to help empower people, not only to meditate but to show them that there’s something you can do about your suffering,” Rivera said of the app. “We can help each other get free and be liberated.” The app is made by POC for POC.

It all started when he finally found the POC sangha at New York Insight Meditation Center. He finally found a spiritual home and wants “folks of color all over the world to know that they are not alone.” With that, he embarked on designing an app that would do just that.

You can scroll through different categories depending on your needs at that given moment.

Credit: Liberate Meditation / Apple Store

The topics range from Ancestors, The Body, Gratitude, Love, Micro Aggressions, LGBT Pride, Self Worth and more. Then, once you choose which topic you want to engage in within yourself, you can select from 5 to 20-minute meditation sessions. 

The app also offers non-meditative teachings, which sound more like empowering, resounding speeches from the Teachers. For example, Dr. Valerie Mason-John offers a talk on “Reconciling Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Non-Self.” Hearing non-POC talk about shedding attachment to identity and self can feel frustrating for POC. We spend so much of our lives wrestling with our identities and when we’re able to claim them with pride, its an act of defiance and self-love. I feel this especially around my gay identity–something that my parents tried to beat and pray out of me. Dr. Mason-John’s soft eye into “how the Dharma offers liberation from the suffering that comes from attachment with our identity” is much more palatable given her experience as a queer person of color (QPOC).

All of the voices you will hear on the app are from Teachers of Color.

Credit: Liberate Meditation / Apple Store

The User Interface (UI) is clever–allowing you to browse by topic and by teacher. If you find a teacher that resonates with your experience, you can immediately find a list of other teachings and meditations of their own making. When you click on their teacher card, you can read a biography of their experiences in culture, sexuality and more.

“It’s not unusual for people of color to survive by keeping parts of ourselves hidden,” Teacher Cara Lai describes her meditation on “The Power of Belonging.” “We learn to behave in certain ways when we have needs. We learn to hinder our creative expression for social acceptance. This meditation helps us open to the things we’ve locked away to regain our wholeness.”

Liberate Meditation is absolutely free to use.

Credit: Liberate Meditation / Apple Store

The reviews are in. People are finding refuge within themselves thanks to the app. It’s clear that Rivera has tapped into a market that has been widely ignored by the wellness industry. Instead of pretending that the harms of external racism and internalized racism don’t exist, the Teachers are acknowledging it, allowing an opportunity for healthy release.

“You will not just mediate, you will be found,” writes one reviewer.

Credit: Liberate Meditation / Apple Store

Another reviewer maintains that “This app is not just some icon you press in your phone to relieve some stress before getting out of bed in the morning.” It’s much more than that. For them, “it is a creation to help our kin heal, rebuild and liberate. You see yourself in this, you find yourself and you take in the words of those who have lived to speak wisdom to you through those guided meditations. You will not just meditate, you will be found.”

Liberation Meditation is available on iOS and Android devices.

READ: We Have Latinos To Thank For Some Of America’s Biggest And Strongest Businesses

Paid Promoted Stories