Puerto Rican photographer Linda Nieves-Powell is celebrating six powerful Afro Latinas in a new series for her project "Latina Icons," and saying the pictures are too damn stunning is an understatement.
"I had been thinking for some time about creating a photography project to feature Latinas and by chance I came across an old photo of Rita Moreno on the cover of Life magazine on my Facebook timeline. That picture sparked the idea to create a tribute to trailblazers," Linda told POPSUGAR over email. "The first series I worked on was a tribute to Selena, Carmen Miranda, Frida Kahlo, Rita Moreno, Iris Chacón and Maria Montez. It was a beautiful re-creation and the response was phenomenal. Latinas do love to see themselves in this way."
For Black History Month, Linda decided to dedicate an entire section of her project to Afro Latinas. "In my research, I noticed that Afro Latina musicians, at least the ones that I had found, possessed an incredible sense of style and seemed to revel in their individuality — Celia's blue wigs, La Lupe's makeup and eyebrows," Linda said of finding the subjects for her second photo series, which also includes Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes, La India, Amara La Negra, and Esperanza Spalding.
So why is this Afro Latina series so special? It's all about representation. "As a child, growing up in a predominately white neighborhood, I was bullied for looking different. I had thick black curly hair, an olive complexion, and thick thighs," says Linda. "When I had the opportunity to see photos of women who resembled me, it validated me." Scroll ahead to see Linda's amazing work.