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20 Things Only Your Latina Friends Will Understand

I have always been the kind of person who has friends from all different walks of life, but it wasn’t until I moved to New York City and learned what it was like to have Latina friends that I felt like I found my people. It’s not that I don’t have many friends from different cultures, but there are some things that only my Latina friends can truly understand. 

I admit that we’re a pretty diverse bunch, but there are certain things that most of us have experienced and that’s what ties us so closely together. From recognizing why my nameplate necklace means SO much to me to laughing about all of the family drama that Latinxs have, here are 20 things that only your Latina friends will understand.

1. Why I’m still a bit scared of the chancla.

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I mean, aren’t you? My mami’s chancla was definitely a very common occurrence in my childhood and one that I do NOT want to repeat. So, yes, I’m still a bit scared…

2. That my nameplate necklace means a lot to me.

msirinagonzalez/Instagram

I have had a nameplate necklace ever since my teens and I absolutely love it. Although my original necklace was stolen when I was in my early 20s, I have had my newest one since the year after and I still love it.

3. That it’s practically impossible to shop for skincare products.

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There’s a lot of great skincare products out there that are made for our very complicated skin, but they’re still sometimes hard to find. For me, the biggest issue is that I have very oily foreheads but dry cheeks. And only my Latina friends truly understand WHY this is such a pain.

4. And beauty products for that matter.

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Until recently, there weren’t a whole lot of beauty products that were made specifically for different skintones. The truth is that Latinas come in many different shades and colors, and this has been a struggle for us.

5. How much I love red lipstick.

msirinagonzalez/Instagram

Seriously, red lipstick is the bomb. I know that this one is technically a beauty stereotype for Latinas but it’s one that I find to be true… at least for me. And, yes, a lot of my Latina friends love red lipstick, too.

6. Why Sundays at the salon are the best.

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Didn’t you spend many a Sunday at the salon with your mami? I certainly did. Sure, it wasn’t every Sunday and it wasn’t always consistent, but it was definitely a joy and it’s how I learned about beauty initially.

7. And, really, why Self-Care Sunday was a thing to us before it was a trend.

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In fact, I would say that Self-Care Sunday was a thing in the Latinx community long before it became a trend on Instagram. Taking care of our beauty and relaxing was just how we always spent the end of our week.

8. That mami can drive us crazy but we still love her.

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I can say this over and over again to my Latina friends and it never stops being true. Sure, my non-Latinx friends have moms that drive them crazy too but there’s just something special about the way a Latina mami behaves that only my Latina friends can understand.

9. How annoying it is to answer all those baby questions at family parties.

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Every single party I’ve ever gone to, somebody is sure to ask about two things: My love life and when I am planning to have kids. Now that I am married, the question is all about kids, over and over and over again.

10. Why our big (and small) families can be full of drama.

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Admittedly, my Cuban family is pretty small but that doesn’t mean that it is any less filled with drama. I’ve heard from many of my Latina friends that it gets even worse when you have dozens of first and second cousins to contend with.

11. How dating can often be complicated.

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Dating has always been complicated for me. To be honest, my first two relationships were with Latino men and that brought on a set of unique problems (mostly related to machismo). And I am just NOT a fan of that bull, so I didn’t stand for it in the long run.

12. Especially if you date non-Latinx peoples.

msirinagonzalez/Instagram

Before I met my husband, I mostly dated non-Latinx men. This was also difficult because, although I wasn’t dealing with machismo, I was frequently dealing with a LOT of stereotypes that they had about what it’s like to be with a Latina (i.e. the whole “fiery” thing, gross). It was pretty horrible, to be honest.

13. That dancing is the very best.

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I love to go dancing and my Latina friends are the ones I usually love to dance with. The beauty of this is that they, like me, grew up with dance in their lives so we can always connect on this. It’s pretty special every time we do it.

14. And so is eating out with your amigxs.

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Most of my friends love food, whether they are Latina or not. In fact, that’s probably a big basis for my friendships: A love of food. But only my Latina friends truly understand how important food is to me and we L-O-V-E going out to dinner.

15. Why it’s so difficult to find quality hair care products.

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That whole “pelo malo” thing that many Latinas grew up with is real. It’s pretty scary and annoying, to be honest, and one that many of us have to deal with in one way or another. Frizzy hair? Yeah, ALWAYS an issue.

16. How annoying it is when nobody can pronounce or spell your name.

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I love Starbucks but it’s really funny (and a bit frustrating) that they can never seem to spell my name correctly. It basically hapepns every time that I go there or anywhere else, so I’m used to it by now.

17. That speaking Spanish isn’t a requirement to be a Latina.

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I grew up speaking Spanish, but not every Latina does. In fact, I would say that the majority of my Latina friends don’t… And you know what? That’s okay. It’s one of the thing that makes us different.

18. Why you always play salsa music when cleaning on a Saturday. ALWAYS.

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Just like we know where Self-Care Sunday really came from, we also have a big tradition in our house growing up: Playing salsa music loudly when cleaning every single Saturday. It’s tradition and it’s one that I still love.

19. That we are all diverse and beautiful.

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Just look at all of these powerful and diverse Latinas! We’re a pretty incredible bunch, you have to admit. And the best part of being a Latina and having Latina friends is acknowledging that we are a pretty awesome, diverse bunch.

20. And that nobody can understand you quite like your Latina friends.

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One of the reasons that my Latina friends are so special to me is because they understand me better than anyone else. Even though we all grew up in different homes and with different cultural backgrounds, there are many things that make us all the same. And I love that.


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This Black History Month Celebrate The Legacy and Life Of Afro-Latina Reina Julia de Burgos

Calladitas No More

This Black History Month Celebrate The Legacy and Life Of Afro-Latina Reina Julia de Burgos

Julia de Burgos is one of the most prominent Afro-Latina poets in modern history, and considered one of the most famous female poets from Puerto Rico. Her short, but prolific, life was defined by her innovative work, radical politics, volatile relationships, and personal struggles with depression and alcoholism. In honor of black history month, we give to your the story of Julia de Burgos, the Puerto Rican, Afro-Latina feminist poet who was ahead of her time.

“My childhood was all a poem in the river, and a river in the poem of my first dreams.”

Born Julia Constanza Burgos García in 1914 in Carolina, Puerto Rico, Julia de Burgos was the eldest of 13 siblings–six of whom died due to malnutrition. De Burgos was raised on a farm in extreme poverty, which influenced both her writings and her political outlook for the rest of her life.

While most female students in 1920s Puerto Rico weren’t expected to pursue higher education, the precocious and gifted de Burgos attended University High School in Rio Piedras on a full scholarship. She went on to receive a secondary education at the University of Puerto Rico, where she earned credentials to become a teacher in 1933.

“Hear the thousand laments of your children, of your soul, of your homeland demanding liberty.”

By the early 1930s, Julia de Burgos was already a published and critically acclaimed author, both as a journalist and as a poet. She released her first book of poems, “Poema en veinte surcos” (“Poem in Twenty Furrows”) in 1938. To promote the book of poems, de Burgos toured Puerto Rico,  giving readings and meeting fans. By this time, she was already deeply involved in the Puerto Rican Independence movement, serving as the Secretary General of the “Daughters of Freedom”.

“Don’t let the hand you hold hold you down.”

By the time she was 23, de Burgos was a published author, had been married, divorced, and found herself single once again. Instead of assuming the name of her ex-husband, as was conventional at the time, the feminist poet re-took her maiden name, changing it from its original iteration of “Burgos” to “de Burgos”. She did this in order to symbolically claim ownership of herself–a feat no man would ever truly be able to accomplish.

After her divorce, De Burgos embarked on a passionate love affair with Dominican physician Dr. Juan Isidro Jimenes Grullón, whom many historians recognize as the love of her life. Grullón was an intellectual from a respected family, and their relationship gained her further access into the Puerto Rican elite.

De Burgos and Grullón moved frequently as part of their nomadistic, Bohemian lifestyle. The couple spent a brief sojourn in Cuba and then moved to New York City, where de Burgos would spend the remainder of her life. Unfortunately, the relationship didn’t stand the test of time, and de Burgos and Grullón had ended their relationship by 1942. She was left alone and practically penniless in New York City.

“I am life, I am strength, I am woman.”

It was in New York City that de Burgos truly solidified her status as a literary icon, particularly in the “Nuyorican” movement–the birth of the Puerto Rican/New York City blend of cultures that would help shape the Puerto Rican expatriate community for generations . In New York City, de Burgos took odd jobs to support herself while continuing to produce trailblazing poetry. She also contributed to the Spanish-language socialist paper, “Pueblos Hispanos”, eventually becoming an editor.

While in New York, de Burgos married and divorced once more, and the failed relationship launched her into both a depression and a battle with alcoholism that would follow her to the end of her days. During this time, one of her final poems was an English-language meditation on her lifelong struggle with poverty, entitled “Farewell in Welfare Island”.

In the end, despite her talent and promising career, de Burgos died from pneumonia at the age of 39 that many believe was spurred on by her alcoholism. Tragically, there was no one available at the hospital to identify de Burgos’ body, so she was buried in an unmarked grave. Eventually, her relatives discovered her grave and her remains were sent back to home, to her beloved island of Puerto Rico.

“I am black, pure black; kinky hair and Kaffir lips; and flat Mozambican nose.”

Despite achieving middling critical and commercial success during her lifetime, de Burgos found true success years after her death, when a new class of Latinx scholars and readers discovered her work. Her poems experienced a resurgence in popularity in the ’90s, when Caribbean and Latina writers, in particular, recognized her work for its themes of colonialism, feminism, American supremacy, colorism, poverty, and Latinx identity–subjects de Burgos explored far before they hit the mainstream.

Presently, in addition to her exploration of Latinx identity, de Burgos is recognized for her ownership and celebration of her Afro-Latina roots–a stance that was just as radical in the past as it is today. At a time when anti-black racism was just as widespread and insidious in Latinidad as it was in the US, de Burgos defied convention by fully claiming her black heritage, famously writing “Ay, ay, ay, I am black, pure black; kinky hair and Kaffir’s lips; and flat Mozambican nose.”

“She had many sins because she always lived in verse/ And what you do on earth, on earth you pay for.”

Today, de Burgos receives all of the praise and accolades that she wasn’t afforded in life. In both New York City and Puerto Rico, de Burgos has had scholls , parks, libraries, and streets named in her honor. Her likeness has appeared in murals and statues across the US and Puerto Rico, and her face has graced the front of a US postage stamp.

Julia de Burgos has taken not only her place as one of the rightful members of the Latinx literary cannon, but the broader US literary cannon in general. Because of her priceless contribution to art and culture, she is immortal.


READ: 21 Things You Didn’t Know About Celia Cruz, The Indisputable Queen Of Salsa

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These Empowering Latina Jams Are Perfect To Add To Your Galentine’s Day Playlist

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These Empowering Latina Jams Are Perfect To Add To Your Galentine’s Day Playlist

Happy Galentine’s Day, mamis! What, you never heard of the holiday? According to Parks and Recreation’s Leslie Knope, who made it a thing, “it’s only the best day of the year.” And she ain’t lying. Galentine’s Day, observed February 13, is a day to celebrate love — between your hermanas!

As the fictional character played by Amy Poehler in the series said, it’s “ladies celebrating ladies.” Whether you’re single or in a relationship, it’s a time to bring your closest gals together, either for brunch, evening cocktails, mani-pedis or an old-school slumber party, and bask in the beauty, love and joy of your friendship.

No Galentine’s Day commemoration would be complete without some girl power tunes. Here, a celebration playlist you and your bella squad can bang out to while toasting to being ride-or-dies.

1. Remind your mamis what’s in store for them this Galentine’s Day with “Ladies Night.”

This Lil’ Kim classic, featuring Boricua Angie Martinez, Left Eye, Da Brat and Missy Elliot, will undoubtedly get the squad hyped for the Galentine’s festivities to come.

2. Today’s all about feelin’ good, so you have to bring out Demi Lovato’s “Confident.”

On Galentine’s Day, you shower your femme squad with compliments — as you probably do any day of the week — and try your best to make sure the whole gang knows their worth.

3. Remind your nenas they are bomb just as they are with Bomba Estéreo’s “Soy Yo.”

Sure, if we’re being real with our chicas, as we should be, there’s room for all of us to grow as individuals, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t great already. Colombiana Li Saumet will have all the gals loving on themselves, and all their complexities, with this 2016 banger.

4. If this is a single ladies kind of festivity, pull out Paloma Mami’s “Not Steady.”

If your squad is the type that yells “soltera para siempre” as they toast their champagne, you need this chilena’s bop about not wanting to settle down blasting at the pari.

5. Remind your amigas that lovers “Can’t Hold Us Down” with this Christina Aguilera and Lil’ Kim classic.

Even if your squad is mixed, with single ladies and mujeres in relationships, both will appreciate la ecuatoriana’s still-relevant message about not letting your boo, or the patriarchy, keep you down.

6. After all, you can’t tame a boss bitch.

Just ask puertorriqueña Kelis, whose 2006 jam “Bossy,” featuring Too $hort, will have all the girls embracing their inner jefa.

7. Ride out with the nenas as the car radio blares Selena Gomez’s “Me & My Girls.”

Pre-game: check. It’s time to hit the dance floor, and this young mexicana will have you and your chicas feelin’ alive and set to shake the night away.

8. Put your worries aside with Mariah Carey’s “It’s Like That.”

As the venezolana says, “no stress, no fights … no tears, no time to cry.” Tonight is all about you and your girls livin’ it up. So heed Mariah’s advice and “open off that Bacardi” and feel “so hot tamale.”

9. Feelin’ it yet? Good! ‘Cause Cardi B’s “Money Bag” is about to have all the mamis twerking.

Like the dominicana’s own “bloody gang,” your crew is so bad that you’re out on the dance floor lookin’ “like bridesmaids,” so do like Cardi and drop that confident ass low.

10. But make sure Ivy Queen’s “Quiero Bailar” reminds everybody else that this is a Galentine’s Day party.

Swaying those hips is catching some attention. No one hates when some of the girls dance up with folk who aren’t in the crew, but let the Bori reggaetonera let the desperadxs know this is a girls’ night and the crew is going home together — punto.

Read: Watching Women In Her Life Abandon Relationships When Romance Arrives, This Latina Is Calling For A New Love Hierarchy

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