11 Digital Platforms Whose Founders Are Elevating Afro-Latinxs
There's no denying that seeing ourselves and our experiences represented in the media we consume is hugely impactful. When we see positive, authentic portrayals of people who share our racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds, it's beyond empowering. It shows us that our stories are worthy of being told and, more importantly, that they're worthy of being seen and heard. For generations, Afro-Latinxs have been left out of that almost entirely. Many Afro-Latinx individuals have actually shied away from identifying as Latinx at all, simply because people didn't understand how a person could be Black but also be Latinx.
But by now, we should all know that race, ethnicity, and culture are not all the same thing, and that's largely in part due to social media and the Afro-Latinx creators who have used their digital platforms to educate, uplift, and inform their followers about what it means to be Afro-Latinx and, consequently, increase Afro-Latinx visibility in the best way possible. As Afro-Latinxs, we now have digital spaces we can turn to in order to connect with others who share some of our lived experiences. While there's still a lot of work to be done, the discourse about what it means to be a Black Latinx is more open than ever, and these digital platforms give us safe spaces to express ourselves in relation to that identity and also to bond over the things that have shaped our cultures.
"We were erased for so long and people didn't want to recognize our existence, but we are here to shake the room and elevate our voices because we are here and we exist," Jenay Wright, founder of hashtagiamenough on Instagram, tells POPSUGAR Latina, and we couldn't agree more. Here, we're sharing 11 of our favorite digital platforms using their space and influence to elevate Afro-Latinxs.
We love following Paola Garcia of afro_latine over on Instagram. Yes, her family is adorable, but the work she's doing to inform and inspire the community is also incredibly important. "My mission is to educate the Latine community on afro_latine issues in hopes to create more equity and represent in our community," Garcia, who also blogs about Latinx and Afro-Latinx issues at AfroLatinxUnited.org, tells POPSUGAR. Whether it's politics, colorism, or mental health, the Harlem native has an interesting and impactful perspective to share.
Ada Washington and Sade Pizarro are the incredible duo who make up afrochicas on Instagram. They use their space to help Latinx and Caribbean people embrace their natural hair and celebrate their culture and heritage. "We created our page Afro Chicas as a platform to showcase the diversity within the Latino/Caribbean community," they tell POPSUGAR. We love their tips on curl care and appreciate that they use their platform to celebrate Afro-Latinx and Black beauty, celebrities, and change-makers.
Jenay Wright launched #IAmEnough with the goal of "redefining the Afro-Latina narrative," using both her website and her Instagram account, hashtagiamenough. "Being Afro-Latina is standing in my Blackness and not being afraid to wear it proudly on my sleeves," she tells us. Wright posts lots of inspirational and motivating content on Instagram, highlighting and amplifying Black Latinx voices and showcasing the diversity within the Latinx community. On her website, readers will find stories from various Latinas with roots throughout the diaspora, as well as resources for finding community. "I want to reignite, redefine, and reshape our pride in embracing our Blackness and still embodying our Latinidad," she says.
Founded by filmmaker Nydia Simone, Blactina is a multiplatform entity on a mission to support and engage Afro-Latinx and Afro-Caribbean voices. From webinars and retreats to social media and the arts, Simone provides spaces and resources not just for Afro-Latinx individuals to be seen and heard but also to aid people and companies striving to be more inclusive of Afro-Latinx individuals. In her own words, she hopes to "amplify and empower Afro-Latinx and Afro-Caribbeans through the celebration of our culture and history." Follow her at blactina on Instagram to get behind-the-scenes info on her work as a filmmaker, information about culture and history, and news about events that are relevant to our communities.
Sessle Sarpy started theafrolatindiaspora on Instagram to work toward "decolonizing and redefining the narrative of Afro-Latinidad within the African Diaspora." The page now has over 100,000 followers and has become a place for Afro-Latinx people to connect and sound off on the issues that face our communities, find out about relevant news and events, and see more from Afro-Latinx creators in music, digital media, movies, television, etc.
With nearly 30,000 followers on Instagram, Amanda Pericles of afrolatinas_ is using her platform to share a beautiful message of love and acceptance for the beauty and diversity of Black Latinas. "The creation of my page marked the beginning of my racial/ethnic identity journey. It has led me to become a person who now considers themselves a lifelong learner and hopes to be an advocate for all marginalized people, especially those whose intersections include Blackness," she tells POPSUGAR Latina. "Holding a space to call Black women of Latin American descent BEAUTIFUL is important and necessary, as Black women continue to be ignored, denigrated, and abused. It began as a place for representation of my intersections and has turned into so much more. This page is a place to honor Blackness and reject all that white supremacy has taught us by unlearning and relearning. I am no longer the person I was when I created the page, and I am so grateful for all that it has given me."
Ain't I Latina
"Ain't I Latina?" founder Janel Martinez has been doing the good work of amplifying Afro-Latinx voices on multiple platforms, including Instagram, as a contributor for the acclaimed Latinx anthology "Wild Tongues Can't Be Tamed," as well as on television and radio. She describes her blog as an "online destination celebrating Afro-Latinx womanhood," which she primarily does through written profiles of Afro-Latinas on the rise in their fields. Janel also organizes and promotes online and in-person events on a variety of topics intended to inform and advance Afro-Latinas in various areas of life. "I started Ain't I Latina?" in 2013 to amplify the stories of Black women of Latin American descent through our social media channels, as well as written and video content on our website. There's still a great deal of work to be done, but it's been such a beautiful journey documenting our narratives on our own terms. I wouldn't be able to have reached this point, nearly nine years later, if not for the support of my team and our community," she tells POPSUGAR.
Bomba Con Buya
Bomba Con Buya is a Chicago-based musical ensemble group who play the traditional Afro-Puerto Rican musical style of bomba. The company's entire mission is to preserve and showcase what some would say is Puerto Rico's most soulful music and dance form, and they do so not just with their live shows but also by sharing the history and significance of bomba and its deeply African roots on Instagram. "The recognition and acknowledgement of the African Diaspora is as important as it's ever has been. We hope that we can continue to contribute to the legacies that all the bomba practitioners have already left us," cofounder Roberto Perez tells POPSUGAR. The group regularly share photos and videos from their own performances as well as those of others and often post information and events of interest to the Afro-Latinx and Latinx communities. Their work is a true celebration of Puerto Rico's African heritage.
Yo Soy AfroLatina
"My experience of being Afro-Latina, of being both Black and Mexican, and not feeling like I had to choose one or the other led me to launch Yo Soy AfroLatina, an online platform and lifestyle brand that celebrates Afro-Latinidad in the Americas and validates our hermanas' experiences," founder Bianca Kea tells POPSUGAR. And while a lot of the focus is on Bianca's super-dope apparel collection, her presence on Instagram has become much more than that. "It was born out of not seeing myself represented and wanting to create something that would not only make an impact on the culture but also cultivate a community. We all have different experiences — we're not a monolith — and it's important for people to understand what it means to be at the intersection of two beautiful cultures. I hope we're able to break down stereotypes, empower people, and allow them to be Afro-Latina. Just be yourself," she adds.
Radio Caña Negra
"We are Black Since Birth. We lead workshops about how anti-Blackness shows up in Latin America and offer tools, coaching, and resources for individuals and organizations to reflect on their practices and beliefs," Radio Caña Negra founders Dash Harris, Janvieve Williams-Comrie, and Evelyn Alvarez tell POPSUGAR in a joint statement. "Black people and Blackness are whole and complete. Beautiful. Powerful. We celebrate being Black every day." Follow radio_cana_negra on Instagram and check out their podcast on Spotify for information, inspiration, and celebrations of Afro-Latinx identity and culture.
Reggaeton Con La Gata
Reggaeton is Black music, and Katelina Eccleston has devoted her digital platforms to celebrating that, discussing its history and impact, and opening up discourse on why reggaeton resonates with so many people throughout the diaspora. "My work is bridging the gap between academia, the Latin music industry, and fans of reggaeton," Eccleston, who is the founder of Reggaeton Con La Gata and owner of Elumina Media, tells POPSUGAR. "This music is joy, resistance, and like it is for so many, for me it is heritage. I think everyone should have the tools to better understand the intersections of life through this music that connects us."