Culture

@blaxicansofla Gets an Intimate Portrayal of What It’s Like Growing Up Black & Mexican

It’s already difficult trying to convince your others that you’re Mexican, Salvadoran or even Latino enough. But being part of two minority groups is twice the battle. @blaxicansofla is a platform that captures the true experience of biracial black and Mexicans living in Los Angeles.

It started with Walter Thompson-Hernandez who created this account dedicated to the research he was doing in grad school.

"My mother is from Jalisco, Mexico and my father is from Oakland, California. They met in South LA in the early 1980s and came of age in this community. My mother was almost always the only Mexican woman in my father's circles and vice versa. There was explicit racial discrimination that they had to navigate through for their relationship to have a chance. On top of that, South LA, in the mid-1980s, was experiencing one of the largest demographic, racial, and social transformations that it had ever encountered. And there was a strong movement to divide African American and Latinos in and around LA. Defining myself, with the understanding of this historical context, is why I have always said that identifying as a Blaxican is a political and revolutionary act." ?: @mychivas

A photo posted by Blaxicans of Los Angeles (@blaxicansofla) on

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

“I have always said that identifying as Blaxican is a political and revolutionary act,” he said in his personal account.

Dozens have joined his efforts and agree that Blaxican is it’s own identity.

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

And that the discrimination they face may be more than what others experience – But it has only made them more powerful.

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Especially because they’ve had the strength to not identify with one group or the other.

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Because why should anyone have to pick sides?

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Or be discriminated by their own race?

"I went to Mexico when I was five. It was nice but I could still feel the division. I'm speaking Spanish but people were looking at me like I was diferente. But my family never discriminated. My great-grandma loved me and treated us good. We could see a couple of stares and could feel a little of that on our backs but nothing bad. But it's difficult here. There's such a divide because even though we are Afro-Latinos and getting our numbers up you don't find too many. In New York you do and they have a good Muslim community out there. So they have a lot going on out there, but in LA our numbers are lower and we got to find where we fit in. That's why I was drawn to this project because it's hard growing up and going to your black family and they would be like why is your hair like that? Oh you got long hair? I'm gonna cut it off. And on your Latino side you're La Morena — it's definitely a struggle and it's good to be open minded." ?: @mychivas

A photo posted by Blaxicans of Los Angeles (@blaxicansofla) on

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Being Blaxican is beautiful.

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Participants are proud to share their parents’ love stories.

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Even R&B star Miguel understands the mix of cultures is a unique experience, yet sometimes frustrating.

#Repost @nytimes with @repostapp. ・・・ @miguel at the @boweryhotel in New York, where @malinfezehai photographed him earlier this month. @miguel’s first headlining tour — for his new album #Wildheart — will bring him back to the city in August. On his first two albums, @miguel, 29, presented himself as a typical R&B figure. Now, he's claiming his own more specific identity: a songwriter who finds his hometown — Hollywood, beaches, the suburbs, the ghettos — both around and within himself. “I really am #LosAngeles,” he said. “Not only in the sense that I’m Mexican and black, and they’re the dominating ethnicities in this city, but in the energy of Los Angeles, and how everywhere you go there’s this weird juxtaposition of hope and desperation. And that’s my life, that’s who I am.”

A photo posted by Blaxicans of Los Angeles (@blaxicansofla) on

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Although some feel they’ve had something to prove…

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Most use one word to describe their heritage: proud.

"If I had to use one word to describe how I felt about my racial background? Proud." ?: @mychivas

A photo posted by Blaxicans of Los Angeles (@blaxicansofla) on

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

What are your thoughts on this Instagram account? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to ? us on Facebook to follow all the cool things we’re doing at mitú. 

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

BREAKING: After Almost Thirty Years, A Tía Abuela Took The Plastic Off Of Her Chair And Twitter Is Sweating

Fierce

BREAKING: After Almost Thirty Years, A Tía Abuela Took The Plastic Off Of Her Chair And Twitter Is Sweating

Peter Macdiarmid / Getty

In 2001, the Wall Street Journal wrote a piece about plastic slipcovers. The headline? Plastic Slipcovers Are the Clear Choice For Immigrants — and Trend-Setters. The piece examined the reasons why immigrants in particular use plastic slipcovers. Of course, as children of immigrants and immigrants ourselves, we don’t need A Wall Street Journal article from the early aughts to tell us why they come in handy. Furthermore, why they’ve proven to be a household essential amongst our families. For so many Latino households, slipcovers have been used as protective devices. Things to preserve our furniture for special occasions years and years down the line like if the President or Jesus ever come around. In short, the slipcovers only come off for very special occasions.

One abuela recently decided that she was done waiting for special occasions and stripped the covers off.

In a recent post to a user’s Twitter page, an abuela can be seen carefully doing away with a slipcover she’d been using for 30 years.

In a post to Twitter, a user known as @TheTaeWae shared a video of her great aunt peeling a very old and yellowed slipcover off of her fancy couch. “Y’all my great aunt took the plastic off of her chair for the first time in 30 some years,” she shared in the post.

The great abuela is not the only one pumped though. Users on Twitter cannot get enough of it.

Literally the video is the sweetest thing because the user’s great aunt is so clearly excited to have a chance to sit down on the fancy fabric of the chair.

Fans were super excited to see what the rest of this woman’s house looks likes.

And many users were eager to share cleaning tips to keep the sofa in shape.

Seriously, if you’ve got hot tips tell us in the comments below.

Because some Latinas are revealing that their own aunts and abuelas’ furniture looks like.

And we are here to cheer them on as they take them off.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

A Photographer Is Capturing New Mexico’s Chicanx Community Through Portraits

Culture

A Photographer Is Capturing New Mexico’s Chicanx Community Through Portraits

Courtesy of Frank Blazquez

Photographer Frank Blazquez is paying a loving homage to Chicanx culture in the Land of Enchantment. The photographer is showing the world what it looks like to be Chicanx in New Mexico to highlight the diversity in a shared experience.

Frank Blazquez wants to show the world what Chicanx culture looks like outside of California.

“I am an Illinois transplant, so I was fascinated, and eventually obsessed, with the differences in my ethnicity’s iconography,” Blazquez says about the inspiration behind his project “Barrios de Nuevo Mexico: Southwest Stories of Vindication.” “For example, in New Mexico, as opposed to the Midwest and East Coast, there is a strong connection to American geography. You’ll see Latinx people with New Mexico state symbols tattooed directly on their faces and skulls. But refreshing similarities such as hairstyle also struck me.”

The other reason Blazquez started to document these lives was because of the devastating and widespread impact of drug addiction.

View this post on Instagram

Sleepy with his Daughter

A post shared by Frank Blazquez (@and_frank13) on

Blazquez admits to once having a drug problem and eventually overcoming those struggles. Some of the people that he photographs are former drug users or others who have sought redemption.

“I started in 2016 just walking around Albuquerque’s Central Avenue in the War Zone earning my street photography badge. When I almost died a couple of times, I started to use my Instagram page more often to set up shoots and contact homies from my former days of opiate abuse,” Blazquez explains. “My friend Emilio created the random handle @and_frank13 and I kept it after he died in 2017 from drug complications; an event that made me work harder to present portraits of New Mexicans demonstrating faces of dignity, hence my project ‘Barrios de Nuevo Mexico: Southwest Stories of Vindication.'”

Photography was a passion for Blazquez that grew into something bigger than him as he learned.

Blazquez’s interest in photography and love of his culture combined to create a photo series celebrating the people in his life. Blazquez turned his lens to the people in his life to capture a beauty he saw in his own community that is often overlooked and ignored.

Blazquez is hoping to show people that Chicanx culture has spread farther than California because of an exodus.

“Homies escaping the three strikes law in California created an exodus in the ’90s that transferred new symbols from organizations, namely 18th Street, Sureños, and Norteños,” Blazquez explains about the Chicanx community in New Mexico. “As New Mexico is an expanse of serene beauty that attracts people to escape from former lives, in turn, symbols were exchanged such as black and gray tattoo and font styles with purist craft structure adhering to Southwest archetypes—fat ass cursive and serif fonts with ornate filigree stems.”

He acknowledges that California is known for its Chicanx and Latinx communities but there is so much more to teach people.

“LA fingers do not represent the millions of brown people outside of California and it certainly does not represent native-born New Mexicans,” Blazquez explains. “I learned the Latinx experience is entirely different in various locations—the California stereotype doesn’t carry itself across America. It’s enlightening to know that brown culture grows and adapts independently.”

The photographer also wants to teach people that the Latino community is vast and diverse.

View this post on Instagram

Homemade New Mexican Tattoos // #dukecity

A post shared by Frank Blazquez (@and_frank13) on

“That the Latin-spectrum in America is not pigeonholed to any sole category,” Blazquez says. “Knowing that the labels Mexican, Mexican-American, Chicanx (a/o), Latinx (a/o), Hispanic, Mexica (not Hispanic nor Latino), Indo-Latino, Afro-Latinx (a/o) are just several of the hundreds of labels available to classify my culture’s diaspora is important.”

“Duke City Diaries” is a mini-series on YouTube that Blazquez has produced to take you deeper into the lives of the people in his photos.

“I knew the profound faces from my 2010’s New Mexico experience would make great art and explain an important POC narrative at the same time,” Blazquez says. “Creating the short YouTube documentary series “Duke City Diaries” was also an offshoot from my portraiture and one that created distinct reception. The hateful and racist comments kept me moving forward to show a larger audience that racism still exists.”

Blazquez is currently working on a new photo series called Mexican Suburbs diving deeper into his themes of Chicanx culture and the opioid crisis.

READ: Photographer Diego Huerta Took An Update Photo Of The Most Beautiful Girl In Mexico

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com