A group of women in Oaxaca, Mexico are driving a movement to encourage other Afro-Mexicans to feel proud of their roots.
And they’re doing this through dance.
The Internet plays a huge part of this movement. After researching online and discovering that most Afro-Mexicans descend from the northeast region of Africa, they decided they would only focus on dances that come from that part of the continent. And as for how they’re learning the traditional dances? YouTube.
Their efforts are inspiring many to feel a sense of pride, but this group is also impacting the Mexican Census. Afro-Mexican was never an option in the Mexican Census until 2015. That year, 1.4 million were mexicanos identified as Afro-Mexicans.
“We want equal rights and we want to be proud of being black and be able to share that pride,” said Anai Herrera, a lead of the Obatala Afro-Mexican dance group.
Over the course of its five-season run, fans of the E! series “Botched” have seen it all. The series follows doctors Terry Dubrow and Paul Nassif remedy the disasters at the hands of extreme plastic surgeries. Together the two doctors have the most bizarre scenarios in plastic surgery from a woman whose breasts morphed in a “uni-boob” after a botched job, to a woman whose face was filled with cement. Once, a patient showed up to the doctors with the desire to be transformed into an alien-look alike. In the most recent episode of the series, the doctors have their work cut out for them when a woman whose surgery left her with pubic hair sprouting from her face came on the show to ask for help.
Crystal Coombs appeared on the show to have a surgery that she’d had at age 9 fixed for the good of her self-esteem.
Not too many years ago, a serious dog bite to the face would undoubtedly lead to extreme disfigurement for the rest of a person’s life. Today, doctors have been able to improve their techniques for patching up the results of these attacks all with the help of plastic surgery. For Coombs, who had been attacked and bitten by a dog decades ago when she was 9 years old, this proved to be very true.
“When I was 9 years old, my grandfather was holding the dog, and I was actually pretty terrified of the pitbull,” Coombs told the doctors in the episode. “All I remember is black.”
“Full attack mode?” Dubrow asks her while Nassif asked, “So he bit out the chunk of tissue?”
“Clean,” Coombs replied. “Then went to the emergency room, and there the doctors suggested that we wait until we see a plastic surgeon.”
At the time, Coombs had been left with a gaping wound which she told the doctors of “Botched” had been “open for a while. Like how the outside of Freddie Kruger’s face looks, with the burn? That’s what the inside looked like.” Fortunately, after some time, Coombs saw a plastic surgeon who was able to create a skin graft for her. With a complex procedure, he took skin from her groin and created the graft. Sadly, when puberty began for Coombs, so did another painful aspect of her scarring.
“So you were getting pubic hair on your face?” Nassif asks her in the episode.
The answer? Yes. Yes, she did.
Coombs began to grow pubic hair on her face.
“Yes. Literal pubic hair. I don’t believe that the doctor mentioned I would grow pubic hair out of my patch,” she explained while speaking to the doctors. “I don’t remember that.” Fortunately, Coombs seemed to have a bit of sense of humor about the growth of hair despite the fact that it was sprouting from her cheek.
Nassif later explained on the show that Coombs, while suffering from an odd predicament was lucky. “Crystal is very lucky that the emergency room physicians didn’t just try to stitch up that big gash and opening in her cheek because the ER doctor does not have the same skill set as a plastic surgeon,” Nassif explained. “If they did, she would’ve been like this–.” Nassif tugged his eye down to show what it might have looked like for her.
Speaking to the doctors about the hair growing from her akee, Coombs explained that she had been fine with the growth before her daughter was born.
Coombs told the doctors that the odd graft hadn’t really affected her life or self-esteem until she became a mother. “Now since having my daughter, I really started to get conscious of it,” Coombs, who is the mother of a 6 months old, explained. “I’m worried about the kids that she’ll go to school with… “After having my daughter, I am very nervous about how other kids will treat her because of how I look. I don’t want her to be teased.”
Coombs asked the doctor if they could help her with reconstructive surgery that would be as small and minimal as possible.
Dubrow later explained that the surgery needed to reconstruct Coomb’s face is “actually very deceptively complicated” because “that skin graft is very close to critical anatomical structures like the nose, the cheeks, and the eye, that if altered even a little bit can change the entire shape of the face and look very deformed.”
Eventually, the doctors performed the surgery for Coombs and the transformation was quite remarkable.
Speaking about her end results, Coombs explained “Before, I was way too self-conscious,” Crystal recalled. “And now, I’m no longer worried about Sana having to go through 21 questions about what’s on my face. I’m excited, I feel beautiful…it’s like a closed chapter.”
Check out a clip from the episode here.
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This past year, we practically lived our lives on social media — and Tik Tok was increasingly our go-to app of choice. A favorite of both Millennials and Zoomers alike, the video-sharing social networking service is especially well known for starting the internet trends that invaded our pop culture world during 2019. Besides making social media stars out of everyday people and highlighting cutting edge innovations in beauty, makeup and visual effects, the Tik Tok community is also known for popularizing the latest dance crazes.
Integrating perfectly synced choreography with the most popular songs of the year, Tik Tok makes its dance videos look so fun and easy. That’s why you’ll find that nearly everyone is willing to try to record at least one — and we’re totally here for it. Whether they could actually dance or were just suffering from delusions of dancing grandeur, in 2019, everyone was busting a serious move. Here are the dances that had Tik Tok-ers grooving all year long. Maybe you’ll pick up a step or two.
1. The Woah
Tik Tok / @jadenthekingsley
We’ve been hitting the Woah since 2018 but Tik Tok didn’t start this challenge until March of 2019. Suddenly, everyone and their little dog was making these videos. The beauty of this dance is in its simplicity. It’s simply a swift movement with one’s arms to the beat and it can be done to any song. If you search Tik Tok, you can see, Drake, Travis Scott and at least a million abuelitas hitting that Whoa.
2. “The Git Up”
Tik Tok / @ajani.huff
2019 was the year of rapping cowboys. We aren’t just talking about Lil’ Nas X — artist Blanco Brown contributed to Tik Tok’s love of a good ol’ two-step with his Git Up Challenge. Once he posted the video for his single, “The Git Up,” on YouTube (a video that included detailed instructions for the dance), Tik Tok users began recreating the two-step groove while putting their own unique spin on it. For a glorious moment, everyone on Tik Tok was a little bit country.
3. The “Obsessed” Dance
Tik Tok / @hentai101
Obviously, we’re as obsessed with Mimi as anyone can be so we already had the choreography to her 2009 music video for “Obsessed” memorized before this challenge even became a thing. Still, the variations have been really fun to watch. Especially when MC herself took to Tik Tok and made her own video of herself doing the “Obsessed” dance. Talk about ICONIC.
4. The “Hey Julie” Challenge
Tik Tok / @oceangela
The “Hey Julie” Challenge involves a clip of music from a song called “Hey Julie” by KYLE feat. Lil Yachty. Before the Tik Tok challenge started, the song was heavily sampled by other musicians on YouTube, gaining massive popularity with other musicians. In the first half of 2019, popular Tik Tok posters shared videos of themselves performing a dance to this sample. They encouraged others to pick up on the cool rhythm and start the challenge. From there, “Hey Julie” was born.
5. Spooky Scary Skeletons
Tik Tik / @autumnsklein
This challenge is a true internet collaboration. The original “Spooky Scary Skeletons” is a 1996 children’s song that gained popularity when a YouTuber added it to the 1929 Disney short film, “The Skeleton Dance.” The Tik Tok Spooky Scary Skeleton Challenge was inspired by the dancing skeletons in this short. These dancing skeletons took over our Tik Tok feeds in October and that song is still stuck in our heads.
6. Lotta Loot or The Chucky Cheese Challenge
Tik Tok / @yoo.priscilla
Much more complicated than the Floss, the Dab or the Woah, the Lotta Loot (also known as the Chucky Cheese Challenge) dominated Tik Tok this year for a reason. Namely, because it was just plain fun. Set to MadeinTYO’s song “Chucky Cheese,” each rendition of the dance is completely unique from the next one. Personally, we like the use of Jumex juice in this Tik Tok.
7. Drop Dance
Tik Tok / @dominicditanna1
Many Tik Tok dance trends start with a song that is being promoted on YouTube and the Drop Dance is no different. Released by NoCopyrightSounds, the song “Cradles” by artist Sub Urban is the sound track for the Drop Dance challenge. The dance has been recreated thousands of times and has popped up on the most popular dance trends of 2019.
8. HBS Dance
Tik Tik / @angietoday
The last Tik Tok trend of 2019 proves that sometimes simple things appeal most. The HBS Challenge sprouted from Lil Keed’s song of the same name. From his 2019 album “Viva Mexico,” that single’s beat and use of easy repetition was an instant hit with Tik Tok fans. Instantly, creative dancers came up with different ways they could present the rapper’s hook to their audiences.
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