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La La Anthony on Her Puerto Rican Background

La La Anthony: "We're Raising Our Son With a Strong Understanding of the Importance of Heritage"

La La Anthony is an actress, producer, and New York Times bestselling author.

I am incredibly proud of my Puerto Rican heritage. A lot of people don't realize that I'm Puerto Rican or when they do, they think that means I can't be black. I identify as an Afro-Puerto Rican woman, and my Puerto Rican culture is in my blood and ingrained into my life. I speak Spanish fluently! Both my parents are Nuyorican, born in New York, and they raised my brother and me there too and later in New Jersey and Atlanta, where we grew up eating arroz con gandules, plátanos and pasteles. I learned so much from my parents about Puerto Rican cuisine and culture. To this day, I still love visiting my mother's house because I know the best food will be waiting for me!

My grandparents were both Puerto Rican, born and raised in Yabucoa. They moved to the Marcy Houses in New York City looking for a better life after they had my aunt. My mother was their first child born in NYC. I still have a lot of family over in Puerto Rico, including aunts, uncles and cousins and I feel totally at home there. It's such a beautiful country with the most amazingly rich and dynamic culture. The people, the food, the music — there's something so inviting and comforting about it and we love to visit as a family and spend vacation time there.

My husband Carmelo's father is also Puerto Rican, so the Latino culture is really important to us and a big part of our lives. We are raising our son with a strong understanding of the importance of heritage and family, and while where you or your ancestors come from doesn't have to define who you are, it's important for us to embrace our family's cultural background and show pride in it. I feel really blessed to have such a diverse family history.

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Image Source: Getty / D Dipasupil
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