Filtering by Tag: representation

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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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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Learning the Real History of Memorial Day Made Us Reflect on the Festival

Credit: Afrolatin@ Project Archive

Credit: Afrolatin@ Project Archive

Memorial Day is generally thought of as a day of remembrance. Its also about storytelling and the construction of our historical memories, what stories we remember or are encouraged to remember. 

We recently learned that the 1st Memorial Day was actually started May 1, 1865 by freed slaves honoring black soldiers killed by the confederacy during the U.S. Civil War and that the Statue of Liberty was originally intended to honor freed slaves (not immigrants as the official narrative portrays). 

This got us reflecting on these years theme "Reclaiming Culture+Spaces" and one of the key reason's we do this Festival. As the Festival grows, its always important to refocus, recommit and share. The Festival supports and is supported by the work of the Afrolatin@ Project, our 501(c)(3) non-profit. As the Project curates the AfrolatinTalks & Awards portion of the Festival, the Festival in turn gives a portion of proceeds from our events towards continuing the preservation work of the Project.

There are only a handful of Afrolatinx focused non-profits in the US. The Project is the ONLY Afrolatinx oral history archive that currently exists in the WORLD and one of very few digital archives about us. After the Project's founder, George Priestley, died 10 years ago, we realized there were few, efforts to document and preserve the narratives of Black Latinxs generally, but especially the work of those who set the stage for a new generation to push forward with the current conversation around Afrolatinidad.    Inspired by Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, we realized the importance of preserving our narratives and cultural heritage and set out to create such a resource.

The mission of the Afrolatin@ Project is to serve as a digital resource center and archive for the historical and material documentation and preservation of the cultures, histories and experiences of Afrodescendant people in the Americas and the Caribbean and to facilitate collaborations and programs that advance Afrolatin@ Studies and grass root activities.

These are the faces of some of the 100+ Afrolatinx oral histories and interviews we have recorded and archived from more than 15+ countries. 

Know that when you celebrate community, music and culture, you not only help the Festival and our community gain more visibility; you also help document and preserve Afrolatinx history, past and present.
Let's party with a purpose, because now more than ever, if we dont tell our story someone else might and not the way it should be told. 

Well have more in the coming months as we work to redevelop the website. Thanks for your continued support and interest. 

Seguimos Palante

2014 Afrolatin@s Presente Kickstarter Video by The Afrolatin@ Project

Following protests, Nike recalls "Puerto Rico" Air Force 1 Edition misappropriating Panamanian indigenous art

Credit: Arnulfo Franco/AP

Credit: Arnulfo Franco/AP

Nike has recalled its latest edition Air Force 1 which attempted to pay tribute to Puerto Rico, by using art from indigenous communities in Panamá. After coming under criticism for cultural misappropriation, Nike issued a statement on May 21, "We apologize for the inaccurate representation of the design origin for the Nike Air Force 1 'Puerto Rico' 2019. As a result, this product will no longer be available."

Comments across social media were swift including from famous Panamanian -American hip hop DJ Clark Kent and thousands signed several petitions that had been initiated. 

The mola design is the cultural patrimony of the Ngobe Bugle or Ngäbe-Buglé, an indigenous community in Panama which has been recognized by the Panamanian government via century old treaty. They primarily reside in autonomous territory regions and set their own laws.

Representatives from the Ngobe Bugle also denounced the use stating  The indigenous groups of panama consider the design an unacceptable disrespect of Panamanian culture and history. ["Los grupos indígenas panameños consideran el diseño un irrespeto inaceptable a la cultura y la historia panameña”]. 

Others including Belisario López, the traditional leader of the Guna Yala community stated, “We are not against our ‘mola’ being commercialized. What we oppose is it being done without consulting us first."

What is striking is that Puerto Rico has its own indigenous cultural heritage attributed to the Taino,  including famous historic and cultural symbols, such as the coquí. More baffling is that Nike had an internal example of a successful country tribute effort with its Fall 2018 De Lo Mio campaign celebrating the Dominican Republic.

These occurrences of culturally problematic or appropriative designs are not new in fashion, as Gucci and Nordstrom have come under recent criticism from the Sikh community for their use of "indy turbans" in the Fall 2018 collection or Gucci's use of blackface on a turtleneck last winter. One hopes that the recent introduction of a house of Fenty by Rihanna to the LVMH portfolio will ensure that a new standard of cultural awareness will be set across the fashion industry.  

Afro-Panamanians nominated for 2019 Emmy Award for Univision's "Afrolatinos"

Credit: Facebook

Credit: Facebook

Stephanie Murillo, a young Panamanian professional, specialist in multimedia productions, is among the nominees for a 2019 Emmy Award in the United States. The good news came to her this week, after receiving a call from her best friend Edwin Pitti, also Panamanian, who serves as the Univision correspondent for the White House.

"My Whatsapp [Edwin] was blowing up to announce that the report we did together last year, AFROLATINOS, is nominated this year for an Emmy Award among the four nominations that he has" announced Stephanie on their social networks.

On the other hand Pitti, based in the United States, shared in his personal Twitter account his joy as this year is nominated in four categories. In 2018 and 2016 Pitti won awards for Best Series-Special Generic Report, Best Report-Medicine Science and Technology, Best Promo-Specific Report.

"The AFROLATINOS report was born out of a concern of his, of knowing more about our history, our ancestry, our culture and our shared struggles throughout the region, and he asked José Antonio Gil and myself to support him as producers in Panama, through Mambriche Media, to raise Afro-Panamanian voices "explained the happy nominee.

Translated fromSpanish/Version en Español:


This Black Hairstyle Collective Is Embracing the Beauty of Natural Hair in Colombia

Credit: Chontudas

Credit: Chontudas

This collective came to life as a Facebook group with 70 black women in 2014. Since then, it has become a place to share the experiences of making the transition to natural hair, and a place to showcase a more diverse standard of beauty as well as a place to trade hair care advice.

Beleño, from Bojayá, a town located in the Chocó region in the Western part of Colombia, was one of the founders of the group and describes the collective's founding as "the result of the need of black women—who at the time were discovering themselves—and who wanted to see examples of regular black women, because we are always seeing other types of women who are very different from us and with whom we do not identify."

The online natural hair collective began to grow, and now has about 5,000 members.

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Rihanna Disrupts Luxury Fashion World, Joining LVMH With 'Fenty' Brand

Credit: Mark Ganzon/Getty Images for Fenty Beauty

Credit: Mark Ganzon/Getty Images for Fenty Beauty

The 31-year-old Barbadian singer has partnered with the historic LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton fashion house, becoming the first woman of color to have a label under LVMH and the first woman to start an original brand for the world's largest luxury group.

The new label is named Fenty, after the last name of the singer (born Robyn Rihanna Fenty). It's an expansion of her cosmetics empire of the same name, launched in a 2017 partnership with LVMH.

The Paris-based Fenty line, which will include ready-to-wear clothing, shoes and accessories, will launch this spring 2019 season as the first house established by the group since Christian Lacroix in 1987, joining legacy brands like Dior, Givenchy and Fendi.

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Why Joan Smalls’ “Supermodels Roots” with Vogue International Is Significant to Latinas

Credit: Yahoo

Credit: Yahoo

In 2011, Joans was named the first Latina face of Estee Lauder’s global marketing campaignwhich was especially a big deal considering she’s Afro-Latina, as we rarely get recognition. In 2015, she placed sixth on Forbes list of the world’s highest paid supermodels and has worked with top designers including Givenchy, Chanel, and Tom Ford.

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