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 popular Afro-Latinos to help you get pumped about February.

1. Tessa Thompson

CREDIT: Credit: @tessamaethompson / Instagram

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

CREDIT: Credit: @brunomars / Instagram

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

CREDIT: Credit: @miguel / Instagram

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

CREDIT: Credit: @celia_cruz / Instagram

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

CREDIT: Credit: @kidcudi/ Instagram

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

CREDIT: Credit: @sheisdash / Instagram

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

CREDIT: Credit: @christinamilian / Instagram

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

CREDIT: @maxwell / Instagram

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

CREDIT: Credit: @mariahcarey / Instagram

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

CREDIT: Credit: @lalunavelez / Insagaram

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

CREDIT: Credit: @carmeloanthony / Instagram

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

CREDIT: Credit: @tatyanaali / instagram

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

CREDIT: Credit: @lazofficial / instagram

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

CREDIT: Credit:@selenisleyvaofficial / Instagram

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

CREDIT: Credit: @itisjudyreyes1 / Instagram

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

CREDIT: Credit: @kelis / Instagram

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

CREDIT: Credit: @zoesaldana / Instagram

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

CREDIT: Credit: @ginatorresfanpage1 / Instagram

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

CREDIT: @k_lotto / Instagram

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

CREDIT: @rosariodawson / Instagram

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

CREDIT: Credit: @rosieperezbrooklyn / Instagram

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

CREDIT: @sophinathediva /Instagram

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

CREDIT: Credit: @magojuanalvarez / Instagram

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

CREDIT: Credit:@nuestra_patriapr / Instagram

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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UPS Delivery Man Is Fired After Video Surfaces of His Anti-Latino Racist Rant

Things That Matter

UPS Delivery Man Is Fired After Video Surfaces of His Anti-Latino Racist Rant

Photo courtesy Forward Latino

An unnamed UPS delivery driver has been fired after being caught using racist language when delivering a package to a Latino household. The incident occurred on December 17th.

The video, which was caught on a doorbell camera’s security footage, shows a white UPS driver appearing to be angry when delivering a package.

“Now you don’t get f—–g nothing…You can’t read and write and speak the f—–g English language,” he says while writing a “failed to deliver” notice and pasting it on the house’s front door.

The Aviles family says that the footage shows that the UPS worker never even attempted to deliver the package in the first place. He never rang the doorbell or knocked on the door. Based on that, the family has come to the conclusion that the driver intentionally withheld the package from the family out of prejudice and spite

They believe that the only way the driver could’ve known that the family was Latino was by making assumptions based off the name on the package.

“The only information this driver had that could serve as a trigger for this deep-seated hate was the name on the package,” said Forward Latino President Darryl Morin at a press conference addressing the incident.

“So what we have here is a very intentional act to ruin Christmas for somebody, for someone to spew this hateful rhetoric, and quite honestly to deceive their employer,” Morin continued.

Per UPS, the employee has now been fired. “There is no place in any community for racism, bigotry or hate. This is very serious and we promptly took action, terminating the driver’s employment. UPS is wholeheartedly committed to diversity, equity and inclusion,” UPS said in a statement. They also said they contacted the family to apologize.

But the Aviles family is still rattled that such bigoted people are out and about, letting their petty prejudices effect other people’s lives.

“The package was a Christmas gift that we eventually received after Christmas Day, but what if it happened to have time-sensitive content like an epipen or a book I needed to take a final,” said Shirley Aviles, the mother of the man who lives at the address, told NBC News. “I don’t get it. It’s just sad.”

Aviles seemed disturbed about what this incident says about human nature. “This is about the things people do when they think no one is watching them. That’s important because that’s when you see people’s true colors and that’s what’s scary,”

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Here Are Some Christmas Traditions From Around Latin America

Culture

Here Are Some Christmas Traditions From Around Latin America

Henry Sadura / Getty Images

Christmas is a special time of year. Families have their traditions to mark the festive year and some of those traditions are rooted in culture. Here are some of the ways various countries in Latin America celebrate Christmas.

El Pase Del Niño Viajero – Ecuador

El Pase del Niño Viajero is a pageant that happens in Ecuador that lasts weeks. The parade is meant to represent the journey of Mary and Joseph. The parade highlights the religious importance of Christmas in Ecuador and is most common in the Andean region of the country.

The biggest and most important parade is in Cuenca, a deeply religious city. Citizens near the city have all day to see the parade as it starts in the early morning and runs through the late afternoon. This gives people a lot of time to make it to the city to witness the parade.

La Gritería – Nicaragua

La Gritería comes after La Purisma. La Purisma is celebrated at the end of November and is meant to celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. La Gritería is celebrated in early December and involves literal yelling. Someone would shout “Que causa tanta alegria?” (“What causes so much happiness?”) People respond “La Concepción de María.” (“Mary’s Conception.”)

Las Posadas – Mexico

Mexican posadas are the most recognizable. Posadas take place in Mexico from Dec. 16-24, though this year they are most likely to be virtual. The posada begins with a procession in the neighborhood filled with people singing and sometimes led by two people dressed as Mary and Joseph.

Another part is the posada party. Before guests can enter, there is a song exchange with the people outside playing Joseph looking for shelter. The hosts sing the side of the innkeeper saying there is no room. Eventually, the guests are welcomed into the home to celebrate Christmas.

Aguinaldos – Colombia

Aguinaldos are a series of games played by people in Colombia leading up to Christmas. There are certain games that are common among people in Colombia. One is pajita en boca, which requires holding a straw in your mouth the entire time of a social event. Another is dar y no recibir, which is about getting people to take something you are giving to score a point.

El Quema Del Diablo – Guatemala

El quema del diablo is celebrated in early December and is a way of letting go of the previous year. People burn piñatas and effigies of the devil to let go of all negative feelings and moments from the previous year. If there was every to try a new tradition, this would be the year. Burn an effigy and banish 2020 to the past, where it belongs.

READ: These Seriously Sad Christmas Presents Were Worse Than Actual Coal

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