From former Buzzfeed Pero Like correspondent Julissa Calderon to actress and America’s Next Top Model alumna Yaya DaCosta, Afro-Latinas have been putting on for the culture. And with the upcoming Steven Spielberg remake of West Side Story starring Ariana DeBose and Lin Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights, which was released today in theatres, starring Anthony Ramos, Dascha Polanco, and Leslie Grace, stories highlighting the Afro-Latinx experience from various regions, generations and eras are being brought to center stage more and more.
“To be Afro-Latinx is to be someone who comes from a Latin American country and has Black heritage. You experience the world as both a Latinx person and a Black person,” explained Refinery29’s Ariana Romero.
As a Senior TV Critic and interview correspondent for R29 Somos, the Latinx vertical of Refinery29, Romero further recognizes the importance of Afro-Latinx and racial duality representation on screen. “As with most arenas of pop culture, so much of Latinx representation on screen is centered around whiteness. Because you can be a Latinx person and a white person – in the same way you can be Afro-Latinx,” Romero explained to ESSENCE. “However, whiteness is not the only way to experience Latinidad or view our communities. There are Afro-Latinx people everywhere and Hollywood has consistently silenced them, marginalized them, and erased them from their own stories. Not only is it painful, oppressive, and racist — it’s simply ignorant towards reality.”
Whether Venezuelan, Panamanian, or Boricua, these Afro-Latinas have been demonstrating what representation and diversity look like for young multiracial girls who may not have seen themselves on television or commercial ads growing up. Below, check out a list of Afro-Latinx celebrities to follow on your TV screen, add to your playlist, or support in your local movie theatre.
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