Entertainment

Revista Étnica Is The New Afro-Latino Magazine Gassing Up Our Afrolatinidad All The Way From Puerto Rico

Since Gloriann Sacha Antonetty Lebrón was a child growing up in Carolina, Puerto Rico, she has been fascinated by journalism. She was captivated by the colorful glossies of Cosmopolitan and Revista Tú that sat on the shelves of local drug stores. She wanted to read about the latest beauty and fashion and be on top of entertainment and cultural news from Latin America and the United States. But more than this, she desired to be seen, to have glamorous and powerful Black women that resembled the matriarchs in her own family cover the magazines.

“I never had the opportunity here in Puerto Rico to see Black people, and Black women in particular, in magazines,” Lebrón told mitú. “None of them represented the beauty of my family, my friends, my community or myself.”

As a teenager, Lebrón’s father, who was raised in New York, introduced her to popular African-American publications geared toward women.

 While magazines like Ebony and Essence weren’t yet available in Puerto Rico, her father would have friends mail the glossy or bring them back from trips in order for Lebrón to have access to images and stories of women who looked like her. The unnecessary struggle it took for her to see herself represented in media and the joyous feeling she felt while flipping through page after page of enchanting dark-skinned women inspired Lebrón to one day start her own magazine in Puerto Rico specifically for Afro-Latina women.

In December of 2018, Lebrón’s teenage dreams came true.

 The now 38-year-old communications professional launched Revista Étnica, the first print magazine in Puerto Rico to represent the Caribbean archipelago’s vast and diverse Afro-Latinx population.

“Our community is marginalized. If you have dark skin, you generally don’t have an opportunity to feel like you belong and are a part of this society. We are only good for food, music and sports, and that’s something we want to change,” she said.

Through the biannual magazine, Étnica’s three-person staff and group of collaborators produce a stunning publication that covers beauty, fashion, entertainment, food and culture as well as investigative journalism that looks into the deep-rooted, and largely denied, racism that exists in Puerto Rico. 

In the first issue, writer Edmy Ayala delves into the racial disparities that exist on the archipelago and how the state works to protect the rights and uplift the talents of lighter-skinned Boricuas. 

The second volume, which published in August, features an essay that examines racism in Puerto Rico’s public school system, looking particularly at the ways in which codes of conduct target and punish Black youth. 

“Right now, it’s more critical than ever to be having these conversations,” Lebrón says. “Here, we understand that we are a mix. We are mestizos, with a rich culture that includes our Spanish heritage, Taíno heritage and, less important, our African heritage. Many use this to claim we are all the same here, that racism doesn’t exist. But me being a Black Puerto Rican woman, a young Black person, I can tell you that I struggle every day and experience racism in so many ways.”

This bigotry was particularly evident for Lebrón when she first attempted to launch Revista Étnica. In her mid-20s, she submitted a proposal for the publication in a contest and was one of the finalists. At the time, she was assigned a mentor who would help her work through her proposition and advise her on steps she could take to realize her project. A leading journalist in Puerto Rico, Lebrón was thrilled to have the guidance of an esteemed figure as she pursued her ambitions. That’s why she felt completely discouraged when the male leader suggested that her magazine would fail. 

“He said, ‘people in Puerto Rico don’t want to identify as Black,’” Lebrón recalls. “I started to believe that the magazine wasn’t important, and it took away my dream.”

Disheartened, Lebrón went on to start a different career in media, working in advertising and public relations. In this industry, she was once again confronted by anti-blackness in Puerto Rico. Few brands and companies put Black Boricuas in their ads, catered to Afro-Puerto Rican communities or even hired dark-skinned employees. 

After taking a job as the director of communications for a local nonprofit that put her in direct contact with Puerto Rican youth, Lebrón was reminded of the importance of representation. During each visit with boys and girls across the archipelago, Black children would race to Lebrón, excited to engage with a powerful leader who looked like them.

“I’d tell them, ‘you are beautiful and intelligent,’ and I would see the light in their eyes. I knew I had to do Étnica.”

A decade after Lebrón submitted her proposal for her dream publication, she entered the contest again and became a finalist once more. This time, she won a social enterprise award, which allowed her to fund the first issue of her magazine.

Today, Revista Étnica is available for purchase at Walgreens and Walmarts across Puerto Rico as well as some local shops in the metropolitan area. Through the magazine’s website, readers can order copies from all over the world. Lebrón says she has subscribers from the United States, Dominican Republic, Colombia, and even Switzerland. Additionally, the publication’s site and social media include a blog and content that offers insight and opinions on more timely news.

For Lebrón, Revista Étnica is more than a magazine; it’s also a community and a movement. 

Throughout the year, the publication hosts events, from parties to movie-watching groups, and has recently also launched a start-up program for Afro-Puerto Rican entrepreneurs. She says that her company’s success isn’t measured by its magazine sales but rather by how it can help create economic security for the Black community in Puerto Rico more broadly.

While materializing her wildest childhood fantasies has been both joyous and frightening, she says that ultimately this magazine and this movement is much bigger than her alone.

“I just want women who read Étnica to feel proud of their skin, their body, their imperfections. I want them to know there is a community with them, that they’re not alone,” Lebrón says.

Black And Afro-Latino Businesses You Can Support To Financially Uplift The Communities

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Black And Afro-Latino Businesses You Can Support To Financially Uplift The Communities

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Black and Afro-Latino businesses are crucial to the growth of wealth within their communities. Latinas are the fastest-growing population of entrepreneurs. Here is a list of Black and Afro-Latino businesses you can support to help build them up.

Cafe Con Libros

Cafe Con Libros is a feminist bookstore and coffee shop serving the Brooklyn area with conversations about things that matter to the community. Though they are closed because of COVID-19, there are several ways you can continue to support the bookstore.

Azteca Negra

Azteca Negra is a textile, jewelry, and accessories line that is all about being culturally conscious. Marisol Catchings, the artist behind Azteca Negra, is a Black/Chicana artist living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Catchings also aims at recycling by reusing resources to create her products.

Kimpande Jewelry

Kimpande Jewelry is telling the history of African life and people in Puerto Rico. Eduardo Paz, the designer of the products, wanted to highlight the different African cultures brought to Puerto Rico during the slave trade. The brand is all about buying a piece of history with every piece of jewelry.

Marisel Herbal Bath & Body

Based in Puerto Rico, Marisel Herbal Bath & Body is giving people herbal and natural alternatives to the bath and body products on the market. The store, which has been dealing with the COVID-19 lockdowns, is slowly coming back to life and is offering to ship orders to customers.

Ankhari Crochet

There is something so fun about crochet. It might be that it makes us think about the vintage clothing that we have seen in our parents’ photos. It is fun, stylish, and the colors really giving us some life right now.

Ashanti Headwraps

If you are looking for some new and fun headwraps, this is the place to check out. The brand has stores in Puerto Rico and New York and the stores offer up some beautifully crafted headwraps that anyone can wear.

Pensar Africa

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Fatima – in traceable, ethically made Swag 😷😍💚 . . . Matching mask, Fanny pack and Headwrap available by custom order. DM for more information ℹ️ . . Prevention is better than cure 🦠 😷 . . Local Puerto Rican designer Sanel @disenador_sanelrivera and Pensar Africa have worked together to produced these beautiful masks to protect yourself and others from the spread of Corona Virus – best protection and prevention is to observe social distancing by staying at home but if you need to go out CDC recommends wearing a mask with two layers of tightly woven 100 percent cotton fabric. . . We have created these beautiful reversible, washable mask using high tread count pure Tanzanian 🇹🇿 cotton fabric with pellon interfacing in between for a filter. It also has a pocket to add additional filter if you choose to do so. . . Limited quantity and available in San Juan for drive through pickup only and shipped worldwide 🌍 🌎 . These masks have been disinfected, aired out, packed and ready to go. . . Fanny pack in collaboration with @jashbags . . #facetimephotoshoot with @jorlyfloress #Teamwork #togetherwecan #socialdistancing #coronavirus #protection #protectionisbetterthancure #cdcrecommendation #wearamask #stayathome #coronachronicles #protectivestyles #pensarafrica #sanelriveradiseñador #mask #facemask #santurce #sanjuan #sanjuanpuertorico #puertorico #africanprint #africanfabric #kitenge #ankaramask #africanprintmasks #afroboricua #afrolatina

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Pensar Africa is more than a place to buy things, it is a place to empower African creators. According to the website, Pensar Africa’s mission is to bring African goods to the Americas while providing the creators the opportunity to make money off of their products.

The Salvi Vegan

This food blogger is showing how you can take your favorite Salvadoran dishes and make them vegan. It is a nice reminder that not all support has to cost something. Some times you just have to show support to help those in the community attract opportunities that come with money.

Party Shop Avenue

This is one company we should keep in mind after this is all over. Who doesn’t want a nice balloon structure at their party? These are truly some beautiful pieces of art that you can use to celebrate just about anything.

READ: This Boricua Is Bringing An Indie Bookstore To Her Neighborhood Of 1.4 Million

Street Food Vending And Playing With Fire Are Two Ways To Make Some Extra Cash If You Need Some

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Street Food Vending And Playing With Fire Are Two Ways To Make Some Extra Cash If You Need Some

mitú

Side hustles are the lifeline for some of our friends and family. If you think about it hard enough. You will be able to think of someone in your life who makes most of their money from their side hustle. Well, mitú wanted to know more so we went to the streets to talk to people about their various side hustles.

Who knew that fire dancing was something people would consider a side hustle?

So far, “Side Hustle” co-hosts Sasha Merci and David Alvare have explored a few side hustles that were unexpected. There was the luchador who add some comedy to his costume to stand out. There was also the professional cuddler that we still can’t stop thinking about. She makes $120 an hour just cuddling.

Now, Merci and Alvarez are talking with two more entrepreneurs about their own side hustles that will leave some of you speechless. One of them has to do with food and the other has to do with fire.

Luis Jauregui turned his love for food into the food cart known as Jauregui’s Cravings.

“Nobody was really selling this at all,” Jauregui tells Alvarez. “Anywhere that you see this, you’re not going to see a food cart that’s mobile on the sidewalks. I saw that everyone was selling that (tacos and tamales). If you go here, there are like 5 tamaleros selling tamales. On the other street, there’s like two more.”

Jaurgeui adds: “Nobody was supporting me. It was only her since the very beginning. To be honest, I thought she was going to make fun of me or be like, ‘Nah. Don’t worry about. Just go get a job or something.’ But she was like, ‘If that’s your dream and you chase it, just got for it.'”

Andres Trevino is using his courage to play with fire.

“I had gone to this crazy party in the desert,” Trevino explains to Merci. “I was seeing these crazy people and they were spinning fire and I immediately wanted to do it. I walked up to a guy and I asked him if he would teach me. He was like, ‘Here. Play with it. Nobody taught me. Just go on YouTube.’”

Trevino adds: “It’s trial and error. Well, you know, if you play with fire you do get burned. There’s no shocker there. But, you want to take it very seriously. But, yeah. I’ve burned myself a couple of times.”

READ: ‘Side Hustle’ Episode 2: Nude Modeling And Friend Rentals