This filmmaker investigated what it is like to be African in Mexico.
Filmmaker Ebony Bailey’s documentary film “Life Between Borders: Black Migrants in Mexico” is a glimpse into the lives of black African and Caribbean migrants in Mexico. The film dives into the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, where many Haitian migrants are “stuck” in Mexico following an order by former President Barack Obama. After the earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010, many Haitians left the country to find work in countries such as Brazil. When the U.S. suspended deportations of Haitian nationals and granted them humanitarian visas to enter the country following the 2010 earthquake, many Haitians began traveling through Mexico to enter the U.S. But the order was eventually reversed, leaving thousands of Haitians who were traveling from Brazil to the U.S., effectively stranded in Mexico.
Bailey’s film also explores the relationship between Mexicans and migrants of African descent. Seynabou, the child of a Mexican national and an African immigrant, discusses facing discrimination from teachers, professors and law enforcement. Seynabou also talks about creating Cocina Baobab, a cultural organization that serves dishes from the African Diaspora to show the influences of African food on Mexican cuisine.
“I would tell all black people arriving in Mexico not to give up hope,” Seynabou told Bailey. “The literal problem that exists is that we are black because European immigration does not bring discomfort. It is welcome. White migration is always welcome. It’s not a problem. Black migration will always be one. So, don’t lose hope; don’t put your head down. Work hard. In the end, money is the consequence of work and well-being is the consequence of work.”