Fashion designer Carolina Herrera accused of plagiarizing indigenous designs


Another major international fashion designer is in hot water in Mexico over cultural appropriation, having been accused by the federal government of plagiarizing indigenous Mexican designs for its latest catalogue.

In a letter published in the Spanish newspaper El País, Culture Secretary Alejandra Frausto asserted that several articles of clothing featured in Carolina Herrera’s Resort 2020 collection copied liberally and without due recognition from designs used in indigenous textiles from several regions of Mexico.

“Some of the designs used in the collection form part of the world view of indigenous peoples of specific regions in Mexico.”

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Afro-Latina actress Tessa Thompson saves the world in 'Men in Black: International'

By Arturo Conde

Tessa Thompson considers herself Afro-Latina, a black woman, a person of color, and Latinx. But when fans go to see the sci-fi action blockbuster "Men in Black: International" this weekend, she hopes that they will only see her character, Agent M, on the silver screen.

“I hope we can get to the space in Hollywood where it’s not noteworthy for a woman, and particularly a woman of color, to top line a franchise film,” Thompson, who has Afro-Panamanian and Mexican roots, told NBC News. “I hope we can get to a place where we don’t have to congratulate it, or comment on it because it happens with such frequency. But we are still really far away from there.”

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Miami commission makes 'moral statement' against Cuban artists

Mayito Rivera

Mayito Rivera

The crowd at the Studio 60 Nightclub in Miami-Dade County's Allapattah neighborhood loved Afro-Cuban singer Mario "Mayito" Rivera's performance so much they threw dollar bills at him.  

Rivera, 53, and the members of the Los Van Van danced on the cash. It was a full house on the evening of Thursday, May 30, at the Latin nightclub at Northwest 36th Street and Northwest 23rd Avenue.

Miami commissioners want it to be the last time Cuban artists who have the support of the Cuban government can profit from performances in South Florida. 

"It is a mockery what these Cuban artists are doing when they come here," said Miami Commissioner Manolo Reyes, who was born in Cuba. 

Reyes and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez introduced a resolution urging the U.S. Congress to enact legislation to allow local governments to prohibit businesses from hiring Cuban artists who do business with the Cuban government. Commissioners voted to pass it on Thursday. 

The commission wants the proposed ban to stay in place "until freedom of expression is restored for all Cubans and not just a few favored artists" -- including Rivera. 

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In Havana, a Look at Race & Racism in Cuban Art

Juan Roberto Diago, “Día de Reyes,” 2019 Courtesy Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana

Juan Roberto Diago, “Día de Reyes,” 2019
Courtesy Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana

By Cuban Art News

Unlike most historical surveys, the exhibition Nada Personal (Nothing Personal), begins in the present moment.

“Contemporary art,” says curator Roberto Cobas Amate, “is where the frictions between the races, the theme of racism, is most evident.” And racism, he adds, continues to be an unresolved problem.

With the title Nada Personal, says Cobas Amate, the curators wanted to point out that racism is generally not about a specific person. “It’s against the race, against the color of the skin,” Cobas Amate says.

In the Edificio Cubano of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, the exhibition begins just outside the gallery, with Día de Reyes (2019), a large-scale painting by Juan Roberto Diago. “A current work,” says Cobas Amate, “in which he expresses his militant opposition to racism.”

Cobas Amate points out a phrase at the center of the canvas: Tu odio no me mata (Your hate does not kill me). At the upper right is another: Soy humano igual que tu (I am human, the same as you).

A Colombian is the first Afrolatina to graduate with a Masters in Global Health from Harvard


By: María Mónica Monsalve - @mariamonic91

Dr. Gloria Prado Pino becomes the first Afrolatina to graduate with a Masters in Global Health from Harvard.

“Two weeks ago Dr. Gloria Prado Pino was in Boston (United States), receiving her Master's degree in Medical Sciences in Global Health from the School of Medicine at Harvard University. It was a unique title, because it also made her the first Afro-Latin woman to graduate from this program. The first Colombian and the first Chocoana. Today, days later, she is in Medellin finishing arranging some papers and will travel to Quibdó (Chocó), her hometown, the day after tomorrow. What Gloria has lived these days sums up, in some way, what her life was for about three years. A life as a student, academic, mother and leader of a family.”

“There, Gloria worked as a doctor in a mobile unit that traveled through places in Quibdó that she did not know. "Isolated, riverside areas, indigenous reserves where there was no health center. And since then I began to have a feeling of dissatisfaction, of living in a social injustice, where in my awakening, there did not exist things that were normal to see in Medellin or Bogota."

Original in Spanish: “Una colombiana es la primera afrolatina en graduarse de la Maestría en Salud Global de Harvard”

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Afro-Ecuadoreans Maintain Identity Through Spiritual Practices

Amada Cortéz, a community leader and educator from the San Lorenzo district in Esmeraldas, bathing in the San Pedro waterfall. She is also a writer and poet, author of the book “Me Llaman la Cimarrona” (“They call me the Cimarrona”), based on African octave poems that she learned from her father. Ecuador, 2018. Credit Johis Alarcón

Amada Cortéz, a community leader and educator from the San Lorenzo district in Esmeraldas, bathing in the San Pedro waterfall. She is also a writer and poet, author of the book “Me Llaman la Cimarrona” (“They call me the Cimarrona”), based on African octave poems that she learned from her father. Ecuador, 2018. Credit Johis Alarcón

Photographs by Johis Alarcón; Text by David Gonzalez

The photographer Johis Alarcón documented not just the indelible influence of African culture in Ecuador, but also how the descendants of enslaved women maintained their culture.

"Yet even for their descendants today, the strength of those bonds can be tested. Ms. Alarcón recalled one story of a friend who arrived at home to find her brother covered in talcum powder — his way, she said, of lightening his skin. Another friend remembered how when she was 9 years old, a teacher told her that her hair was “ugly” and should be straightened. They find a sense of self as they get older, wearing traditional styles and learning religious chants passed down through generations. 

“This is a story about liberation,” Ms. Alarcón said. “Their only way to resist and stay connected is though these practices they have preserved for centuries. They want to get to know Mother Africa.”’

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5 Things to Know about ‘When They See Us’ breakout star Jharrel Jerome


By: Blue Telusma

“I’ll tell you what Jharrel did to me,” co-star Michael K. Williams, who plays Antron McCray’s father, Bobby, told BET. “We were at the table read. We hadn’t even begun filming yet. We read episode one and it was to the part where Korey was being sentenced and he was freaking out in the court room. And Jharrel started to go in AT THE TABLE READ. I’m sitting here and he’s to my left. I’m looking at him like, OK, this kid is going too hard, he’s gonna get you, Mike. He’s gonna get you.”

“I didn’t want to cry at the table read,” said Williams of that emotionally charged first encounter. “So I turned my head and looked this way and I locked eyes with the real Korey, who is just sitting there with tears streaming down his face. I took my baseball cap, pulled it down, and said it’s going to be that kind of ride. At the table read, he wore me out.”

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New York City Monument Will Honor Trans Activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera


By: Meilan Solly

A new monument will commemorate Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, trans activists, drag performers and close friends who played central roles in the 1969 Stonewall Uprising. The statue—one of six commissioned by public arts campaign She Built NYC for its first wave of women-centric installations—will be the “first permanent, public artwork recognizing transgender women in the world,” according to the City of New York.

Johnson and Rivera were prominent figures in the gay liberation movement and the Greenwich Village scene. Tireless advocates for homeless LGBTQ youth, those affected by H.I.V. and AIDS, and other marginalized groups, the pair were involved in the early days of the Gay Liberation Front, a radical organization that peaked in the immediate aftermath of Stonewall, and the Gay Activists Alliance, a more moderate and narrowly focused spin-off group. In 1970, Rivera and Johnson launched Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), an organization dedicated to sheltering young transgender individuals who were shunned by their families.

According to some accounts of the Stonewall Uprising, Johnson and Rivera were among the first to physically resist a police raid on the bar.

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NABJ President Visits Colombia to Meet with Afro-Colombian Journalists

Credit: NABJ

Credit: NABJ

By Kanya Stewart

National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) President Sarah Glover is traveling throughout Colombia this week for a special trip to exchange ideas with and offer support to Afro-Colombian journalists. President Glover has expanded NABJ’s international footprint, and this trip marks a first for an NABJ president to South America. 

During NABJ’s 2016 joint convention with NAHJ in Washington, D.C., eight Afro-Colombian journalists met with President Glover and NABJ Board members to seek insight about NABJ’s mission and how it could impact their work and career development, as well as help promote inclusion for journalists of color in Colombia.

“I was deeply moved that a group of Afro-Colombian journalists would travel on their own to meet me in 2016. Now it’s time for me to return the gesture. I’m appreciative that I’m able to take some time off and still bring my passion for NABJ’s mission and goodwill to the people of Colombia,” said President Glover.

During her time in Colombia, President Glover will visit Bogotá, Cali and Medellin to learn more about Afro-Colombian culture and the issues facing black journalists in the country. While in Cali and Medellin this Saturday, she will participate in two special programs as a part of NABJ’s Black Male Media Project, held on June 1 worldwide, to promote better representation of black men and boys in the media and elevate the issues they unjustly face.

Glover’s trip comes at a special time in Colombia. This month marks the 168th anniversary of the Colombian Abolition of Slavery. May is also celebrated as Afro-Colombian Heritage Month, similar to Black History Month in the U.S. Also, there is an ongoing observance of the International Decade of People of African Descent as declared by the UN in 2014. The theme for the observance is “Recognition - Justice and Development.”

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¿Qué es el blackface y por qué no va más?

Argentina: 25 de mayo: una campaña contra el blackface, la costumbre de pintar de negro a lxs niñxs para actuar de esclavos.

 Un gran problema del abordaje escolar de la historia argentina con les niñes más pequeñes es que los programas se organizan alrededor de las efemérides. “Por eso los cuadros del 25 de Mayo en los actos escolares suelen representarlos los de nivel inicial o primer grado –cuenta Marce Páez, docente de escuela primaria de Mar del Plata–. Aquí nos encontramos con otro inconveniente: lo que le gusta a la comunidad, que no suele llevarse bien con la perspectiva histórica. La comunidad quiere fotos familiares con los niños ataviados como ‘siempre’ se vistieron los niños en los actos del 25 de Mayo. Por eso el enfoque de los actos escolares sigue la representación de nuestra propia escolaridad en primaria y en jardín de infantes”.

“En la escuela donde trabajo ya nos estamos cuestionando estas representaciones. En mi colegio la última vez que vi la práctica del corcho quemado fue en 2015. Nos vino bien el libro de Felipe Pigna sobre mujeres de la historia. Gracias a este libro nos sacamos de encima el texto de Floria-Belsunce que estudiamos en el profesorado e incorporamos a personajes históricos como Juana Azurduy y María Remedios del Valle –afrodescendiente, capitana del Ejército de Belgrano–, que además nos ayudan a trabajar contra los machismos que son muy fuertes en los barrios periféricos de nuestra ciudad, donde damos clases”, señala.

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Advierten incremento de migración de etnia garífuna en Honduras

Kenny Castillo Fernández, periodista e investigador garífuna.

Kenny Castillo Fernández, periodista e investigador garífuna.

Por: Proceso Digital

El periodista e investigador independiente, Kenny Castillo Fernández advirtió en la Conferencia Migración y Dispersión Garífuna en la Última década, de un incremento de la migración de esta etnia asentada en Honduras hace 22 años.

- España, Italia, Panamá e Inglaterra son los principales destinos de emigración de la etnia garífuna, según el investigador.

En los últimos 20 años los garífunas mantienen una dinámica de emigración importante que se acrecienta, aunque no existen cifras porque la mayor parte se va por la vía irregular. En las comunidades se notan los vacíos señaló el investigador.

"Hay hasta temor que las comunidades queden vacías, esa preocupación está fundamentada en el flujo de migración de los últimos meses, en comunidades como Corozal, Tornabé, Sambo Creeck, el resto de las comunidades no es diferente. Desafortunadamente no hay datos estadísticos en virtud de que se marchan por la vía irregular”, apostilló.

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NEW MUSIC: "De mar y río " Canalón de Timbiqui


Por: Jenny Cifuentes // @Jenny_Cifu

“Canalón de Timbiquí lleva la selva que cuida la vida en su música. Canalón es Pacífico cantando a la voz de la marea. Sin la selva no existiría la juga, el currulao y el bunde. La chonta, el bambú, la jigua, el balso, el venado, la chira y el caucho son por el río y la marea, el ritmo que entregan los ancestros.  El territorio y las músicas de marimba son la armonía de los ríos y el mar hechos canciones, el ritmo del bosque, de la lluvia infinita”, se lee en el arte del nuevo disco de Canalón de Timbiquí. El grupo, antena de la herencia sonora del Pacífico colombiano, anclado a su cultura y con inspiración que emana de la tierra, liderado por la versátil cantadora Nidia Góngora, presenta por estos días su más reciente trabajo De mar y río.

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NEW MUSIC: Flor de Toloache, 'Indestructible' NPR Review

Credit: Billy Ellis

Credit: Billy Ellis

By: Marisa Arbona-Ruiz

Flor de Toloache stuns at the crossroads of fusion and mariachi girl magic. Whether intimately airy or ice-crackingly powerful, their intricate vocal runs and harmonic alchemy seem to defy logic with equally clever instrumental arrangements by the singers themselves.

These are exciting times for artists baring their musical truths through the cross-cultural evolution of music. Flor de Toloache's new bilingual album Indestructible pushes the boundaries of mariachi music and its instruments through reimagined pop covers, originals and original collaborations. It's a fusion fest starring vocals, lead violin, trumpet, vihuela and guitarron graced by the likes of John Legend (singing en español!), Alex Cuba, Josh Baca of Los Texmaniacs, Las Migas, Sinuhé Padilla and R&B singer Miguel.

Melii Is Not Playing Around

Credit: Chris Paul Thompson

Credit: Chris Paul Thompson

By Julyssa Lopez

The then-20-year-old had only a few songs and covers to her name at that point. After dropping out of Manhattan’s Edward A. Reynolds West Side High School in 2015 (the same school that hip-hop artist A$AP Rocky once attended), Melii had been working with local managers and releasing her DIY efforts directly to the Internet. Her first real break came in 2017, when she unleashed a remix of Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” that went viral, racking up more than 2 million views. A stack of original tracks followed, including “Icey,” “Como Si Na,” and “Shit Talk”—all songs that showed off her raspy voice, brisk flows in English and Spanish, and talent for writing stinging bars and catchy hooks with ease. The early material positioned Melii as the spunky-kid-sister type, someone who punched back at haters and always fought to keep her career throttling forward, despite the challenges of being an emerging female artist in rap.

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