I am an Afro-Latina, but I started using the term Black Latina to widen out the umbrella of just who embodies that term. I was once told an Afro-Latina is one who originates within the Latin American countries, specifically those affected by the African Diaspora, aka the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Yes, I am part of that with family whose descendants are Afro-Puerto Rican. But living in the North, specifically the inner cities of NYC, I grew up in a world where Blacks and Latinos, as with many inner cities throughout the US, were the main minorities; seeing the mixing of the two groups created children like my mother a Jamaican/Puerto Rican. As with the President of The Movement, her parents are African-American and Ecuadorian. So, while in both cases of my mother and partner, they in definition may not fall under the category of Afro-Latinas, their experience and commonalities pale in comparison to their differences to that of an Afro-Latina. To embrace both groups of women, we started using the term Black Latina.What is your earliest memory of identifying as Afro-Latina/Blatina/Latinegra, etc? How did you come to identify as such? There are so many memories good and bad that helped me understand this identity. From getting on a bus in Staten Island and the driver telling my mom the bus doesn’t go to Harlem, to as far back as I can remember. The food at home was always the best of both worlds and comforted me on who I was. I knew very early on that both my sides were vital to my identity. Which Latina matriarch do you most identify with and why?
I have to say my grandmothers: One great grandmother (Afro-Puerto rican), her daughter, which is my grandmother, and my paternal grandmother (Anglo-Puerto rican). They were both a wonderful mix of old and new. Super feminist with a balance of traditionalistic views regarding the male/female relationship. Both heavy and devoted believers in God. Strong powerhouse women with a kickass sense of style, and awesome cooks. I couldn’t have asked for better women to have had the privileged to be surrounded by.Who inspires you? I have to say my boys do. Raising two Black Latino males in these trying times is extremely difficult, so thankfully we put God first. But my sons inspire me to push even when I feel I can’t push anymore. They constantly give me a renewed sense of worth and understanding to who I am. Often times parents don’t understand that children can be our greatest teachers. What’s next for The Black Latina Movement? We have our tour for Black Latina (The Play) coming up for Hispanic Heritage Month. We have made some awesome stops like Penn State and Hamilton College, so I am really looking forward to where we are going next. Our series, The Colors of Love, has 5 more episode to be released on our YouTube channel and we are looking forward to screenings this summer in NYC. As well as the revival of the Off-Broadway stage version of The Colors of Love. As always, we also have top secret goodies up our sleeves that we shall unveil along the way. You can follow The Black Latina Movement on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.