Culture

24 Inspiring Afro-Latinos To Celebrate For Black History Month

Get excited gente! It’s Black History Month, which means it’s a huge month for us! As Latinos whose roots are extensive and varied, there’s no doubting that we have a long history of African heritage within our culture. For those of us living in and outside of the United States it’s so key to make sure that we encourage our families and friends to take part in the celebrations because Black History Month isn’t just a celebration for African-Americans. It’s for all African descendants!

Here are some of the most famous afro Latinos to help you get pumped about February.

1. Tessa Thompson

Since being invited to the Academy of Motion Pictures, the world has finally learned that Tessa Thompson is Afro-Panamanian. You might remember her from “Dear White People” and “Creed,” but this Latina has so much more in store.

2. Bruno Mars

Puerto Rican-Filipino-Hawaiian singer Peter Hernández, a.k.a. Bruno Mars, rocked our worlds when he first released “Just The Way You Are” in 2010. (And you just started singing it in your head, didn’t you?) In fact, this year, “Just The Way You Are” was certified nine-times platinum, meaning he’s another Latino owning the music industry.

3. Miguel

If this Afro-Mexican singer isn’t adorning you with his beautiful smile and sultry voice, he’s using that same voice to call for social justice. Miguel’s latest song “How Many” is a plea for justice and acknowledgment of deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police.

4. Celia Cruz

La reina de tumbao might have come from the tiny island of Cuba but her musical reach became international. Her powerful voice made her an international star and Latina icon all this, despite the many struggles she faced as an Afro-Latina as well. 

5. Kid Cudi

Kid Cudi came out of NOWHERE with his hit song “Day ‘N Night,” and the whole world took notice. Since, the Afro-Mexican singer has been dropping hit after hit and recently teased us all with a future collaboration with Pharrell.

6. Dascha Polanco

The Dominicana made waves as Daya on on the Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black” when it first premiered in 2013. Her most recent role takes place as a detective on “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.”

7. Christina Milian

Christina Milian hit the scene in “American Pie” and had us all dancing to “Dip It Low.” Though she recently caught herself in some controversy over an #AllLivesMatter tweet, this Afro-Cuban beauty will be on your TV screen this year in a made-for-TV version of “Rocky Picture Horror Show.”

8. Maxwell

The Afro-Puerto Rican is currently touring and giving men and women everything with his incredible talent. In a recent interview, the soulful singer spoke about not feeling black enough to be in the company of some of the greatest should singers of the time.

9. Mariah Carey

Fans of Mimi have loved and appreciated the songstresses vocalization of discovering her heritage at an older age. Her father is of African American and Afro-Venezuelan descent and her mother is Irish.

10. Lauren Vélez

The Puerto Rican from New York City nabbed her first role  as a performer in Dreamgirls, but it wasn’t until years later when she earned impressive roles on “Dexter” and “Ugly Betty” that Vélez began to gain international attention. These days she’s very open about the importance of Afro-Latino inclusion on screen. 

11. Carmelo Anthony

When this Afro-Puerto Rican isn’t dominating on the basketball court, he’s offering his voice and fame to social good.

12. Tatyana Ali

Tatyana Ali won all of our hearts as Ashley Banks on the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” The Afro-Panamanian actor has a few projects that will be released soon, but for now she seems totally content being a mommy-to-be.

13. Laz Alonso

The Afro-Cuban “Fast & Furious” actor has been vocal about his Cuban and Black pride. His passions for speaking up about being a Latino raised in an American society has always given fans insight into the way the actors views his life.

14. Selenis Leyva

She might be Gloria Mendoza on OITNB, but in the real world, Selenis Leyva is out to help everyone she can. The Afro-Cuban/Dominican actor spends her time off the set donating her energy and fame to the causes that matter to her most, like LGBTQ rights and fighting cancer.

15. Judy Reyes

The Dominican from The Bronx New York began her career on “Law & Order.” Over the years her roles on television have expanded and these days she filling lead parts on “Devious Maids and “Claws.” 

16. Kelis

It has been a long time since we’ve heard “Milkshake” bless our radios, but Kelis isn’t done with her adventure yet. These days the Afro-Puerto Rican trained at Le Cordon Bleu and is showing off in London of all places.

17. Zoe Saldana

Dominican-Puerto Rican actor Zoe Saldana is probably best known for her role in “Avatar,” when in fact she is really THE Afro-Latino representation in the sci-fi world.

18. Gina Torres

She might not top this list, but there’s no doubting the actress from Cuba tops the hears of Latinos the world over. Her role in beloved shows like “Xena: Warrior Princess” and “Firefly” have gained her a cult following.

19. Soledad O’Brien

The Afro-Cuban broadcast journliast and executive producer has talked extensively about her experience of being an AFro-Latina in the U.S. She is a graduate from Harvard University and the daughter of a woman from

20. Rosario Dawson

Dawson has been killing the acting game for a long time. Now, this Afro-Cuban/Puerto Rican has become the voice many young Latinos have turned to this political season. Not only has the actor been out campaigning for her fave politician Bernie Sanders, she has even been arrested exercising her right to protest in a peaceful sit-in.

21. Rosie Perez

The Brooklyn-native was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “Fearless” back in 1994.  These days she’s heading up a talk show as a host on “The View” and makes regular appearances on TV. 

22. Sophina DeJesus

The American gymnast of Puerto Rican descent made waves a few years ago when she did an impeccable dance floor routine. She landed an appearance on the Ellen Degeneres Show and killed yet another performance.

23. María Isabel Urrutia

The former weightlifter, athlete and political from Colombia held a seat in Chamber of Representatives of Colombia twice. She’s had an impeccable athletic career as well. In 1988 she held her own as a shot put and discus thrower.

24. Sylvia del Villard

The Afro-Puerto-Rican activist, actress, and dancer gained popularity for her acting career. Still, it was her role as the first and only director of the office of Afro-Puerto Rican affairs for the Puerto Rican Institute of Culture was the most impactful by far.

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Harry Shum Jr. And Zoe Saldana Share Their Personal Mental Health Journeys In the ‘Getting Better Together’ Campaign

Culture

Harry Shum Jr. And Zoe Saldana Share Their Personal Mental Health Journeys In the ‘Getting Better Together’ Campaign

Photos via Getty Images

Mental Health Awareness Month is going on right now and this year, Americans are struggling more than ever. The pandemic has forced us all into our homes, shutting us off from our communities and our support systems. For people who already struggle with mental health issues like depression and anxiety, the isolation of the pandemic simply exacerbated our problems. For children, the problem is even worse.

The Child Mind Institute launched its yearly campaign for mental health awareness. This time, the campaign is called “Getting Better Together”. The campaign is meant to give support, encouragement and connection to kids struggling during this unprecedented time.

Celebrities like Zoe Saldana, Harry Shum Jr., Diego Boneta and Jordana Brewster, and many more, will be sharing personal videos of their mental health journeys for the “Getting Better Together” campaign.

Recently, Costa Rican-American actor and dancer Harry Shum Jr. shared his mental health checklist for dealing with anxiety and depression.

“You’re not alone if you’re feeling anxious, dealing with anxiety or depression, because I’ve felt that way, not just this past year, but all my life,” he started the video. “Over time, you just find things that will help you through those times.” He then shared what helps him stay in good mental shape.

“My checklists are very, very simple things,” he said. “Are you getting enough sleep? Two is, are you eating the right things that are helping repair your body that are giving you nutrition? And if you’re not, then you might want to take a look at that.”

“And then three, what I love to do, I love to dance and sing and exercise, and sometimes just lifting weights and sometimes just dancing and acting like a goofball by myself in the room, and sometimes doing it with other people if it’s safe to do. And other times it’s really just about having a good conversation with someone that will listen and that you’ll do the same for them.”

Harry Shum Jr.’s advice is both incredibly helpful and spot-on. Mental health experts agree that sleep, a healthy diet, exercise, and talking about your feelings as excellent methods of dealing with mental health issues.

Dominicana actress and sci-fi queen Zoë Saldaña also revealed her personal mental health journey in her Getting Better Together video.

“Growing up with ADHD and dyslexia meant school was challenging,” Saldaña said. “I can’t imagine how hard a year like we’ve just had would be for kids who face the same classroom struggles that I did. Adjusting to remote learning, trying to stay focused on a screen hour after hour.”

She continued: “I know some of you may need more help. And it’s really brave and empowering when you ask for it. From a teacher, from a coach, and from your family. I remember when I reached out for help and it was such a relief.”

According to the Child Mind Institute, 1 in 5 young Americans struggle with a mental health or learning disorder. Additionally, they also estimate that today, 5 in 5 young Americans are feeling increased anxiety, fear, and uncertainty because of the pandemic. Now, more than ever, we need to open a dialogue with younger people about mental health. Let them know they’re not alone.

Learn more about the Getting Better Together campaign at www.childmind.org or follow them on their social media channels.

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Here Are 10 Famous Asian Latinos

Culture

Here Are 10 Famous Asian Latinos

Photos via Getty Images

May is AAPI Heritage Month, a month where we honor and acknowledge the contributions that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to our culture and society. And since anti-Asian sentiment sentiment has been on the rise in recent months, now is the time to celebrate Asians and Asian-Americans more than ever. And that celebration includes Asian Latinos.

There is a misconception that all Latinos are just a mixture of Spanish and Indigenous backgrounds, but this assumption is simply not true. To be Latino does not mean you are a specific race. In fact, Latinidad comes in all shapes and forms and many Latinos are of Asian descent. Here are 10 famous Asian Latinos.

1. Ana Gabriel

CREDIT: via Getty Images

Known for her unequivocal raspy voice, the “Quién Como Tú” singer has Chinese heritage by way of her maternal grandfather. The Mexican-Chinese singer is one of the greatest voices in Latin America and that’s just a fact. 

2. Harry Shum Jr.

CREDIT: harryshumjr/Instagram

Harry Shum Jr. danced his way into our hearts as Mike Chang on “Glee” and has since appeared in several other films, including the hit movie “Crazy Rich Asians.” He was born in Costa Rica and relocated with his family to San Francisco when he was 6 years old.

3. Bruno Mars

CREDIT: via Getty Images

Many of us know Bruno Mars has Asian Latino roots—his father is half Puerto Rican, half Ashkenazi Jewish, while his mother was born in the Philippines. But you probably didn’t know Bruno Mars was nicknamed ‘Bruno’ by his father after the wrestler Bruno Sammartino. The singer’s real nombre is Peter Gene Hernandez.

4. Tatyana Ali

CREDIT: via Getty Images

Now this is a story all about how Tatyana Ali (who portrayed Ashley Banks on the emblematic ‘90s show “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”) has Indo-Trinidadian roots from her father who was born in Trinidad & Tobago, and Panamanian roots via her mother. Apart from her acting career, Ali has been active in politics after graduating from Harvard as a government and African-American studies major.

5. Franklin Chang Díaz

CREDIT: via Getty Images

Franklin Chang Díaz is a former NASA astronaut who has been on a whopping seven Space Shuttle missions. Born in Costa Rica, Chang Díaz is of Chinese descent on his father’s side. Chang Díaz was the first Latin American immigrant astronaut that NASA selected to go into space. He was inducted into the NASA Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2012.

6. Fred Armisen

CREDIT: via Getty Images

Fred Armisen is an actor, comedian, and musician most famous for his __ year stint on Saturday Night Live. But what most people probably don’t know is that Armisen is of Korean and Venezuelan descent. He even showed off his Spanish skills in the Spanish-language comedy series, Los Espookys.

7. Bruce Chen 

CREDIT: via Getty Images

Bruce Chen is a Chinese-Panamanian former baseball pitcher for various MLB teams. After retiring from the Kansas City Royals in 2014, he went on to become the Latin America Field Coordinator for the LA Dodgers.

8. Leonardo Nam

CREDIT: via Getty Images

Nam was born in Buenos Aires and is of Korean descent. After growing up in Australia, the actor moved to New York to pursue his dream of acting. You might recognize him from his role as Lutz in “Westworld.”

9. Cassie Ventura

CREDIT: via Getty Images

You may know Cassie Ventura from her successful R&B career. But you might not know that this talented songstress is of Mexican and Filipino descent. 

10. Jessica Sanchez

CREDIT: via Getty Images

Jessica Sanchez blew viewers away with her unparalleled singing ability on the 11th season of American Idol, in which she was crowned runner-up. Sanchez is of mixed Mexican and Filipino ancestry. She’s still releasing music today.

READ: 11 Awesome Ways Latinos And Filipinos Are Totally Connected

Were you surprised any of these entertainers had Asian Latino heritage? Let us know in the comments and share this article with your friends!

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