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Every Bookworm Should Be Devouring The Works Of These Afro-Latina Authors

Afro-Latinos make up a quarter of the Latino community in the U.S. but are drastically underrepresented in the publishing world. According to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, in the past 20 years, the number of multicultural books has lingered at around 10 percent, with a spike in 2015 to 20 percent.

However, there are several women who are uniquely talented and have developed their own literary styles and voices that illustrate the multitudes within Afro-Latinidad.

Here, seven Afro-Latina authors you should be reading.

1. Elizabeth Acevedo

Most recently, this dominicana has been dominating the literary scene with her debut young adult novel, “The Poet X,” but Elizabeth Acevedo has been capturing hearts with her slam poetry for years now. Her poemAfro-Latino is a proud exclamation of her roots, especially lines like “Viviremos para siempre, Afro-Latinos hasta la muerte.” The protagonist in “The Poet X,” Xiomara, mirrors the author’s passions, including using poetry as a tool to tackle colonialism, anti-blackness and sexism.

2. Ivelisse Rodriguez

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Ivelisse Rodriguezs upcoming debut collection of short stories, “Love War Stories,” follows generations of Puerto Rican women in the pursuit of love and has already received high praise from fellow Afro-Latino writer Junot Diaz. Born in Puerto Rico, Rodriguez founded The Contemporary Puerto Rican Literature Project and is currently a writer for Feminist Press while working on her next novel, “The Last Salsa Singer,” about ‘70s era salsa musicians in Puerto Rico.

3. Veronica Chambers

Born in Panama, Brooklynite Veronica Chambers gained acclaim with her 1996 memoir, “Mama’s Girl.” More recently, she edited “The Meaning of Michelle,” a collection of essays about former first lady Michelle Obama. The writer also just released a young adult novel titled “The Go-Between,” a coming of age story that revolves around Camilla del Valle, the daughter of a telenovela star in Mexico City who moves to L.A. and has to adjust to a new world without the fame or comforts of home.

4. Naima Coster

Naima Coster is a Brooklyn native of Dominican descent who recently released her debut novel, “Halsey Street,” which tackles gentrification, family, race and immigration. Coster recently wrote about what it’s like to have a Black editor in the predominately white world of publishing, saying,  “During all my training in creative writing, I searched for writers of color to mentor me and help shape the projects I had imagined. In my nine years of study at three universities, I had three workshops run by writers of color, all of them men.”

5. Sofia Quintero

Sofia Quintero is a self-proclaimed “Ivy League Homegirl” who fully embraces the genre of chica lit, telling Gothamist, “The term Chica lit is just a name that we Latinas authors use to acknowledge and celebrate that we’re featuring women like ourselves yet still universal stories.” The Puerto Rican-Dominican writer has authored six novels, including “Divas Don’t Yield,” a book about four young Latinas on a road trip from New York to San Francisco who end up on a journey toward self-discovery, including sexual awakenings. Her breadth of work includes urban fiction, which she writes under the pen name Black Artemis, and erotica.

6. Raquel Cepeda

Raquel Cepeda is a multi-hyphenated talent working as a documentary filmmaker, award-winning journalist and podcaster, and in 2013, she published her memoir, “Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina.” In the book, the Harlem-born dominicana explores her roots after realizing that the near-loss of her father could’ve meant the possibility of never knowing her ancestral background. “I’ve been mistaken for being everything except what I am: Dominican. … While Latino-Americans share enough cultural traditions to relate with one another and whatnot, we are also crazy different. One size doesn’t fit all,” she wrote. Her documentary “Some Girls” explores similar themes of identity and culture as it follows a group of Latinas from the Bronx who use DNA testing to discover their roots and then travel to the Dominican Republic.  

7. Mayra Santos-Febres

Los invito a todos a un evento bien especial para mí: me enorgullece saber que hoy estaré presentando mi novela La…

Posted by Mayra Santos Febres on Friday, December 18, 2015

Mayra Santos-Febres, a multi-award winning writer, is one of Puerto Rico’s most celebrated and honored authors. Her acclaimed 2000 debut novel “Sirena Selena Vestida de Pena” is about drag-queen life in the Caribbean. It was later translated to English and published as “Sirena Selena.” Her ability to adeptly take on complex subjects is also evident in “Pez de Vidrio,” a collection of short stories exploring relationships involving race, sex, policial and social status in the Caribbean, which won the 1994 Letras de Oro literary prize. Even more, she founded the Festival de la Palabra with the goal being the “Internationalization of Puerto Rico and to promote reading and a better understanding of ourselves through literature.”

Read: Children’s Book “Islandborn” Tells The Story Of A Young Afro-Latina Immigrant Reconnecting With Her Homeland

Let us know which other Afro-Latina writers we should be reading more in the comments below!

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Netflix Is Turning Gabriel García Márquez’s Classic ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ Into A Series

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Netflix Is Turning Gabriel García Márquez’s Classic ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ Into A Series

Fans of magical realism rejoice. On Wednesday, Netflix announced it acquired the rights to Gabriel García Márquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and will be turning the literary masterpiece into a Spanish-language series.

This is the first time the 1967 novel, considered “one of the most significant works of the 20th Century,” will be adapted for screen. For years, the author, who died in 2014, refused to sell the film rights, believing the story could not be done justice through a two-hour project, according to Deadline.

Rodrigo Garcia and Gonzalo García Barcha, García Márquez’s sons, who are serving as executive producers on the show, believe a series is an appropriate approach to the book.

“For decades, our father was reluctant to sell the film rights to Cien Años de Soledad. He believed that it could not be made under the time constraints of a feature film, or that producing it in a language other than Spanish would not do it justice,” Rodrigo Garcia told BuzzFeed News, adding that the “current golden age of series,” with “the level of talented writing and directing, the cinematic quality of content,” changed the family’s mind.

“The time could not be better to bring an adaptation to the extraordinary global viewership that Netflix provides,” he continued.

The series will be filmed in Colombia.

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” tells the story of the multi-generational Buendia family, whose patriarch Jose Arcadio Buendia founded Macondo, a fictional town in the South American country.

The book has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into 46 languages.

In a statement, Francisco Ramos, Netflix’s vice president of Spanish-language content, said, “We know our members around the world love watching Spanish-language films and series and we feel this will be a perfect match of project and our platform.”

He’s right. Since announcing the adaptation, fans of the magical realism novel have been celebrating the news.

There’s no word yet on when the series will debut and who will star in it.

Read: This Film About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is At The Center Of The Most Expensive Sundance Documentary Deal Of All Time

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10 Empowering Songs By Afro-Latinas About Loving Yourself

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10 Empowering Songs By Afro-Latinas About Loving Yourself

It’s Black History Month, a time to uplift and celebrate the historic events and people of African descent who have contributed to culture, achieved excellence and sparked social and political change. But it’s also a moment for reflection, of honestly evaluating how much — and how little — has changed for the African diaspora throughout the US, Latin America and beyond.

Confronting the everyday violence, discrimination, disadvantages and inequality Black individuals have and continue to endure, while necessary, could be enraging and upsetting, and makes self-care practices all the more necessary.

This year, whether you’re celebrating the beauty, resilience and magia of blackness with a Black History Month party or well-deserved care day, music can always add to the occasion. Here, a mix of Spanish and English songs by Afro-Latinas and for Black women that unapologetically declare self-love and engage in self-worship to add to any Black joy playlist for the month of February and all the days that follow it.

1. Celebrate being a daughter of “La Diaspora” with Nitty Scott.

When the Afro-Boricua rapper dropped Creature in 2017, she gifted Black women, particularly Black Latinx femmes, with a full project that saw, understood and exalted their existence. None of the bangers on the LP did this as intentionally as the song and short film “La Diaspora.”

2. Make your voice and joy heard with Christina Milian’s “Say I”

When the cubana teamed with Young Jeezy to drop this 2009 bop, she encouraged women to “do what you want to do. Don’t let nobody tell you what you’re supposed to do.” And that’s some pretty liberating ishh.

3. Some might call you “CRZY,” but Kehlani wants you to embrace the term.

Confidently dancing to the beat of your own drum, especially as a woman of color, is neither expected nor welcomed, largely because it makes it more difficult for white supremacy to thrive. With “CRZY,” the part-Mexican R&B songstress encourages femmes to embrace and reclaim the slights people throw at you for being a radiant, go-getting mami.

4. And Calma Carmona’s “I Got Life” shows that there is so much to be joyous about.

In her Spanglish rendition of Nina Simone’s “I Ain’t Got No … I Got Life,” the Puerto Rican soul singer declares all the beauty she has, from her voice, to her hair, to her smile to her life, in a world that told her she has nothing.

5. Something else you have: “Tumbao.”

In la reina de salsa’s multi-generational hit “La Negra Tiene Tumbao,” the late cubana Celia Cruz reminds Black women of that unfading, indescribable, swing and swag that Black women carry with them in every space they occupy.

6. Prefer an English joint? Cardi B will also remind you how “Bad” you are.

With “She Bad,” featuring YG, the Dominican-Trinidadian rapper engages in self-worship and encourages other Black women to feel themselves and own their sexuality without apprehension or apologies.

7. ‘Cause Like Maluca told you, you’re “la mami del block.”

In the Dominican singer-rapper’s mega bop “El Tigeraso,” Maluca makes the indisputable claim that Afro-Latinas have it all: “tengo fly, tengo party, tengo una sabrosura.”

8. And like Farina says, not everyone is deserving of your greatness.

In “la nena fina’s” urbano-pop jam “Mucho Pa’ Ti,” the colombiana raps what everyone knows: She, and you, are too much — too poppin’, too powerful, too radiant — for the unworthy.

9. Now that you’re reminded of who you are, enter every space like Melii walked into the club in her music video for “Icey.”

With sparkly, high-heeled white boots, a laced v-neck bodysuit, some tiny red shades and confidence that entraps you, dominicana-cubana Melii knows her value — as a woman and an artist — and watching or listening to how self-assured she is will undoubtedly rub off on you.

10. ‘Cause at the end of the day, you’re a “Million Dollar Girl” like Trina.

Like the Dominican-Bahamian rapper, alongside Keri Hilson and Diddy, told you in 2010: “Baby if I want it, I got it / ‘Cause I’ll be gettin’ some more / ‘Cause I’m a million dollar girl, for sure.”

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