NPR’s Panel On Afro Latinidad Asks The Big Question About Who Exactly Gets To Claim The Title

Credit: NPR

“In some rooms, I’m never Latina enough, in other rooms I’m never black enough, I’m constantly code-switching…”

NPR’s Latino USA had an amazing discussion on the topic of Afro-Latinidad, zeroing in on the panel’s thoughts about who actually gets to call themselves “Afro-Latino.” The panel, expertly led by NPR’s Latino USA anchor Maria Hinojosa, consisted of Amilcar Priestley, director of the Afro-Latino Project and co-director of the Afro-Latino Festival; Marjua Esteves, Senior Editor at Vibe; M. Tony Peralta, artist and creator of lifestyle brand Peralta Project; and Jamila Brown, of HUE, a digital marketing company.

NPR’s Latino USA held a panel that kept it ? on Afro-Latinidad.

The conversation ran the gamut, from the realization that as a Latino you could even be black, to the “pelo malo vs. pelo bueno” conversation, to the discussion about whether ancestry, physical appearance, or both, are the main qualifiers over who gets to claim to be Afro-Latino. An important point that everyone gave a big “mmm-hmm” to was someone phrasing the question of Afro-Latinidad as “What color does a police officer think you are?”

The conversation of anti-blackness and racism within the Latino community came up when discussing the case of Philando Castile, who was shot and killed by Jeronimo Yanez, a Mexican-American police officer. Of Yanez’s motivation, Hinojosa says “you bought into the entire narrative of anti-blackness as a Latino and you acted on it.”

The conversation ends on what can be done about changing views, with the suggestion that white people educate and challenge themselves as people who can have a major impact on dismantling white supremacy from the inside. Another important suggestion was to build on the work of others who have been making an effort to dismantle anti-blackness in Latin America for centuries. Most importantly, the panel states that we need to unite around the issues facing us, from racial profiling to being targeted by the police and deportation of immigrants, many of whom are black Latinos. The panel ended on “we all need each other, particularly in this political climate.” Word.

Later in the radio program, Hinojosa spoke to Congressman Adriano Espaillat on his experiences as an Afro-Latino.

Rep. Espaillat, of New York’s 13th District, made history as the first Dominican to serve in the U.S. Congress. As an Afro-Dominican, he was welcomed warmly by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. But he faced opposition when he tried joining the Congressional Black Caucus. This isn’t the first time Espaillat has come up against opposition for being Afro-Latino, and he isn’t as frustrated about it as one may think. Not being frustrated, however, doesn’t mean he isn’t a fighter and isn’t ready to kick some doors down.

Listen to the second part of the program to hear what Rep. Espaillat’s Afro-Latinidad meant to him and how it helped shape his political career.

Credit: NPR

Rep. Espaillat is still waiting to hear whether or not he’ll be accepted into the Congressional Black Caucus. According to Hinojosa, an official reply should be out within the coming weeks.

[H/T] NPR’s Latino USA

READ: Afro-Puerto Rican Rapper, Princess Nokia, Dropped A Dope Video For Her Song G.O.A.T. And Her Story Will Amaze You

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Ritchie Torres Makes History As First Gay Afro-Latino Elected To Congress

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Ritchie Torres Makes History As First Gay Afro-Latino Elected To Congress

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The 2020 election is far from over for the presidency. However, in the meantime, there have been some historic firsts in American politics. One of these firsts is Ritchie Torres, the first gay Afro-Latino elected to Congress.

Ritchie Torres made history as the first openly gay, Afro-Latino to be elected to Congress.

Torres won his race against Republican Patrick Delices by 77 points with 88 percent of the vote reported. Torres will represent the 15th district of New York, which includes the southern Bronx. Torres, who was a New York City Council member, is taking Rep. Jose Serrano’s seat. Rep. Serrano is retiring after 30 years.

Torres was eager to see a Blue Wave leading up to the election.

Torres has hopes of being part of a government where Democrats control the House, the Senate, and the White House. Torres told CNN that have that majority would be a chance for Democrats to boldly lead the U.S. into the 21st century.

“That to me is self-determination,” Torres told CNN. “That is decolonization. That is democracy.”

His election to Congress is an important part of the continued steps of representation in politics.

Torres has been making history in politics because of his sexual orientation. At 25, Torres became the first openly gay person to win a seat on the city council. Torres had to defeat a crowded primary race to get to the general election. This includes running against Democrat Ruben Diaz Sr. Diaz Sr, another city council member, is a Democrat who supports President Trump and has expressed anti-abortion and anti-marriage equality views.

New York doubled down on their history last night by also electing Mondaire Jones to the House of Representatives.

Jones understands the importance of his victory in national politics. Jones and Torres made history by breaking a barrier that has held steadfast for centuries. The two Congressmen-elects show that gay people of color can have a seat at the table in national politics.

“There’s never been an openly gay Black member of Congress in the 244-year history of the United States, and it was only in the past few years that I began to think that it was possible,” Jones said on The Mother Jones Podcast.

Congratulations on your victories!

READ: Ritchie Torres Is Poised To Become The First Out Gay Afro-Latino In Congress After Primary Win

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Netflix’s Newest Musical Teen Hit Series Stars a 16-Year-Old Afro-Latina Newcomer


Netflix’s Newest Musical Teen Hit Series Stars a 16-Year-Old Afro-Latina Newcomer

A new teen series has dropped on Netflix that the internet can’t stop talking about. The newest cultural phenomenon that has hit the juggernaut streaming service is a musical series called Julie and the Phantoms, based on the 2011 Brazilian show of the same name.

The series follows a 16-year-old insecure girl named Julie who has lost her love of music after the tragic death of her mother. But with the help of a (stay with us here) band of musical ghosts she stumbles across in her garage, she soon re-discovers her love of singing and performing. Backed by her band of “phantoms”, Julie confidently takes the stage again, blowing everyone away in the process. ,

But the wacky, heartfelt story-line isn’t the only reason people are excited about the show. The buzz around the show is building because its star, 16-year-old newcomer Madison Reyes, is an Afro-Latina singer-actress of Puerto Rican descent.

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Before landing the role of Julie, Reyes was just a regular shmegular Nuyorican girl going to high school in Brooklyn. Needless to say, the process of auditioning for Julie and the Phantoms was both a whirlwind and a game-changer.

“I found out about Julie and the Phantoms through my school. At first I was nervous to send my video in, but after talking to some friends, I sent it in and got a call back,” Reyes told Refinery 29. “From there it was just figuring out when I could fly to L.A. When I finally made it out there, the audition process lasted two days.”

Reyes, for one, understands the burden of her load. “[Julie] is Latin American, she’s got textured hair, she’s a strong and independent female character,” Reyes recently told the LA Times. “As a person of color who wants more diversity [on-screen], I’m kind of scared about the hate comments that I’ve seen other people have to go through, especially women.”

As if having an Afro-Latina actress at the center of a popular Netflix show wasn’t exciting enough, the series is also being helmed by Mexican-American director and all-around legend Kenny Ortega. For those of you unfamiliar with Ortega, he is the creative genius who directed bonafide classics like High School Musical and Hocus Pocus.

Ortega has been publicly effusive in his praise of Reyes. “She has this raw talent that can take on any genre of music, and this promise of greatness that excited everybody,” he told the LA Times. “And yet she’s so relatable and grounded.”

Fans are already calling for a second season after watching the cliffhanger season finale. Reyes, herself, can’t wait to get back in the shoes of Julie. When asked in an interview about where we’ll see her next, she responded: “Hopefully in the next season of Julie and the Phantoms!”. We second that wish.

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