op-ed: confessions of an afro latina – why i won’t let society define me by autumn myers, afropunk contributor

March 22, 2016

As we continue to unite during the Black Lives Matter and black recognition movements we tend to forget another from of black culture. A culture that only took until now to gain proper recognition and still not receiving a title in the Black Latinx community. I am talking about the Afro-Latinx community. As more and more people from Latinx cultures identify themselves as an Afro-Latinx rather than just Latinx, it helps develop more acceptance within the Latinx community.

For awhile, people would categorize you as a black man or women. Never able to choose both of the box options, you were only assigned to one. If you choose more than one, this means that you’re mixed but still not Latinx. I, too, have been forced to identify myself either as a black or mixed girl when participating in the statistics. Leaving me unable to identify myself as an Afro-Latina. I am very proud of who I am and where I come from. I love the passion and pride from all my origins.

Why do I have to identify with only one? Why are we unable to acknowledge Afro-Latinx pride and self-love? There was an interview Kimora Lee Simmons did on an old episode of Fashion Police when interviewing famous Afro-Latinx, Joan Smalls. Joan explained her origins and heritage. Kimora sat confused and asked, “So are you a black girl or Latina?” These are still the questions we are faced every day when saying we are Afro-Latinx. We face these categories that make us believe we can only be one. We are all black people. I hope in 2016 we stop using labels to separate us and who we are as people. Black is among all of us and we should celebrate the different origins of it.

I wish to see more Afro-Latinx come out and be proud of their voice. Seeing more diversity in the industry as well and allowing celebrities to identify as more than their Latin roots but Black roots as well. We are coming far but if we continue to allow society to divide who we are and put us in these categories, we won’t be united and strong for years to come. I am a proud Afro-Latina! From my fro curls, to wide hips, and plump lips. I am proud and all fellow Afro-Latinx should be as well.

By Autumn Myers*, AFROPUNK contributor