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If You’ve Ever Been Accused Of Being A Tender Headed Child, Please Proceed With Caution On This One

If you’re an Afro-Latina like me, you know the joys of being a woman encompassing the best of both worlds. The combination of your African and Latino roots means there’s a whole lot of culture and roots to embrace, celebrate, honor, and love. However, the comb might not be one of them.

When it comes to the roots on our heads, some of us have it too damn hard. And it 100 percent has to do with the fact that we’re “tender headed.”

If you’re an afro-latina with a tender head proceed with CAUTION!

This one’s filled with all kinds of triggers.

The sight of your mother wielding a comb in her hand.

@orchfilms / Giphy.com

Because to this day, that image alone is enough to bring you to your knees in fear and plead for mercy.

These words: “Are you crying?”

Even though you know they mean well, you’ve been trained to believe that there’s a comb wack behind any answer to this question.

These torture thrones.

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The marks these babies left on your legs after hours of detangling may have faded, but the emotional scars they left are still there.

Your mom’s blistering side eye.

She hit you with it hard, especially when your new stylist was giving your hair the estimate.

Any time you go to a salon and see a fellow tender headed child in the trenches of getting their hair yanked.

Glee / Fox / Giphy.com 

Second-hand tender headedness is a THING and your tear ducts being triggered are proof.

Children sitting on the ground crisscross style.

#tenderheaded.

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A sizzling stove.

Nothing like the words “hold you ear” to make you mentally prep for possible third-degree burns.

Hair clips, boletas, bobby pins, scrunchies, and any other type of colorful hair accessory you can find at Walgreens.

You know you still feel the yank, tug, and pull from these days.

But hey, pull yourself out of your stress hole for a moment and look on the bright side!

#braids #tenderheaded ???hair by @cindieefashi @flycindiee

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Through all of the tears and post-traumatic stress, these days you’ve learned how to grit your teeth and get it done. Because when that style is finally over you know all that hair makes you look FLY AF.


Read: This Afro-Latina’s Album Is For The Brown Girl’s Intersectional Feminist Movement

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

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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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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Shared a Heartfelt Message About Her Relationship to Her Hair As A Latina Of Afro-Latinx Descent

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Shared a Heartfelt Message About Her Relationship to Her Hair As A Latina Of Afro-Latinx Descent

Newly elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has never been one to shy away from talking about hot-button topics. In the past, she has spoken out against everything from sexism to socioeconomic inequality. Now, Ocasio-Cortez can add “hair activist” to her list of accomplishments.

In a post shared to her Instagram story, Ocasio-Cortez shared her latest hairstyle: a single corn-rowed braid on the left side of her head.

Ocasio-Cortez described her decision to wear the braid as a way for her to “honor the African and Indigenous heritage that is part of being Puerto Rican.”

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Own your power. . For so many, it’s radical to feel comfortable in your own skin – and to know that you are more than enough, just as you are. . One of my favorite quotes is from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr: “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” . So take up space. Speak up. Hold the door open and take others with you. Accept that you will be criticized no matter what – that is the price of fighting for change and innovation. I consider constructive criticism a blueprint for improvement and a medicine for ego. . Ultimately, the people who get down, stay focused in adversity, and do the thankless work of change are the ones who transform society. We can all be a part of that, if we so choose. We can all knock a door, register our cousin to vote, or educate ourselves on an issue we’re curious about. . We are all capable of awakening and commitment. And because of that, we can all be great. . ????: @gigilaub

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Needless to say, the House of Representatives is hardly a place where braids are commonly seen on the heads of its members. Obviously aware of the precedent, Ocasio-Cortez explained why she felt it was necessary to wear her hair in a braid as a Congresswoman.

In her post, Ocasio-Cortez wrote, “My family is Afro-Latina. When my niece was very little, it upset me to see how early she started to feel that her big, curly, beautiful, natural hair was anything other than gorgeous. I don’t want my little nieces to ever be told that their hair or their braids are “unprofessional”. That’s why I chose to wear one today–to MAKE it normal and celebrated, with respect and honor to our ancestors, and to let every little girl out there know that they can bring her braids to congress too”.

Ocasio-Cortez’s words rang true for many Latinas on Twitter who have gone through their own personal natural hair journeys.

Sometimes it’s hard for marginalized communities to even know what they’re missing in terms of representation until someone shows it to them.

Afro-Latinas responded to the heartfelt message with ones of their own.

As trivial as it may sound to some, something as simple as wearing a braided hairstyle in a space that has historically been dominated by white men is enough to make a profound impact.

This fellow Baricua gave a shout-out to Ocasio-Cortez for using her platform as a woman of color to uplift other WOC who leave their hair natural.

In the past, women of color who have worn their hair curly or in traditionally black hairstyles like cornrows or braids, have been lambasted by employers for looking “unprofessional”. As we know, the standard for “professional” hair is socially constructed, with straight hair (i.e., white hair) being upheld as the ideal.

And of course, others decided to celebrate the fact that Ocasio-Cortez recognized her Afro-Latina heritage, which can be difficult for some Afro-Latinas.

As many of us know, many Latinas are hesitant to embrace the mixed black ancestry of their background because of Latinidad’s unfortunate inheritance of structural racism against Black people.

It would be an understatement to say that a politician talking about the ubiquity of Euro-Centric beauty standards is new territory. The fact that Ocasio-Cortez understands and speaks about the complex identity of being an Afro-Latina is groundbreaking in politics. Furthermore, her speaking out against the widespread idea that natural hair and braids are “unprofessional” is also groundbreaking. Again, this just proves that Ocasio-Cortez is exactly the type of phenomenal Latina our country needs in its government to truly make a difference.

Read: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Breaks Down Why The Holocaust Has Lessons To Offer Sen. Lindsey Graham In Twitter Spar

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