The Beatdown

These 7 Protective Hairstyles Are For The Afro-Latina Ready To Take On Summer And Protect Her Rizos

The hot season can be a double-edged sword for Black women. While summer rays give us a chance to soak in the sun, it also brings the threat of heat damage (something so many of try to avoid) is ever-looming. Fortunately, protective hairstyles can be the ultimate saving grace, keeping our hair free of the breakage and frizzies that come with the sun’s harsh beams.

For tips on the easiest, cutest and most protective styles for summer looks, we spoke with some of our fave Afro-Latina Instagrammers about how they rock their fly curls in the summer.

Silk wraps

@solpaulino / Instagram

When it comes to keeping her curls moisturized and healthy, Afro Latina hair and fashion blogger Solimar Paulino says one of her favorite methods is to keep things under wraps. “It is important for us to have a good hair care routine in the summer because, as Afro-Latinas, our hair tends to be dryer when the weather changes,” the Dominicana tells FIERCE . “It is important to be conscious of how weather changes affect your hair and what products you need to add to your routine to help your hair transition. Your curls can be your best summer accessory if you take care of them.”

Paulino shared that when summer comes around, one of her biggest concerns is seeing her curls turn dry. To keep them silky smooth, she uses wraps daily. “I silk wrap my hair every night. A silk wrap keeps all the moisture in your hair and helps your curls last longer from wash to wash.”

French braids

@solpaulino / Instagram

Paulino’s other preferred protective method involves pulling off the classic french braid. Mostly because, as she explains, “they are a good way to keep your hair from tangling and and promote growth.” Whether you go for a single French braid, two or three—it’s up to you—make sure your hair is getting the care it needs and be sure to moisturize before plaiting up your hair by using a nourishing product.

To keep her curls hydrated, Paulino says her favorite products are ones created by the Latina-owned brand Rizos Curls. “My favorite products are the Rizos Curls hydrating shampoo, deep conditioner and curl defining cream. I love their products because they are the perfect combination for full curls that feel smooth to touch.”


@miaroublow / Instagram

Mia-Loren Roublow is the voice and creator of the Latina intersectional feminist clothing line Pussandboobs. She’s also a model and rizos queen. Roublow knows the damage the sun can end up doing to her hair and says that, because of this, she thinks moisturizing and protective hairstyling methods are a must. To keep her hair moisturized and styled, the Afro-Latina model says she’s all about affordable products. “Aussie Moisturizing conditioner does it for me! After years of looking for a good leave-inl I feel like I found something that gives me consistent results. It not only leaves my curls smelling good, but also keeps them moisturized without that greasy feel,” she tells FIERCE.

During the summer season, when it’s hot and dry outside, Roublow says pulling her hair up into a chic bun and smoothing her edges is one of her go-to looks. “I try to stay cool, so in the summer I make sure to keep my hair out my face. [Buns] are super cute for during the day and a night out with your boo or friends.”

Pineapples and silk scarves for straight hair

@miaroublow / Instagram

As much as we all adore our curly hair, sporting straight locks every once and a while can be a fun way to switch things up. Still, all Black girls know that the only thing more damaging to our hair than the summer sun is the direct heat from style tools. Together, the two can make for a truly ugly combination.

To combat damage, Roublow, whose hair tends to dry out and get knotted in the summer when it’s in its natural curly state, says she always makes sure to wrap up her hair at night. “I used to just put it up in a pineapple,” she says. “But now I wrap with a silk scarf and place hair pins around my edges so the scarf stays on while I sleep. Its made a huge difference.”

Keep your trenzas low.

@miss_rizos / Instagram

Fans of Afro-Latina hair dream queen Carolina Contreras knows that this Dominicana has a head full of rizos. To keep her hair safe in the summer months, she often sports protective box braids with ends that extend to great lengths. Contreras has taught us that trenzas can be one of the most versatile protective looks, giving us the ability to sport braided bobs and mermaid-length hair.

Faux Locs

@hola_carola / Instagram

Faux locs can be a pretty easy way to keep your hair wrapped up and protected during the summer. Head to a stylist to get your hair sectioned off and woven up with yarn or synthetic material, but whatever you choose, be sure to keep your locs moisturized and your baby hairs slick.

Bantu Knots

@browngirlsondeck / Instagram

For the Afro-Latina leaning into the super ’90s retro trend, bantu knots are the ultimate summer choice. To accomplish the look, section off your hair and twist one section at a time until it turns back on itself. Fasten with bobby-pins and accessorize with colorful twine, and you’re good to go.

Read: Here’s How A Hair Tour Turned Emotional As Afro-Latinas Discussed Their Blackness

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10 Empowering Songs By Afro-Latinas About Loving Yourself


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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A Latina High School Student Just Won A Massive Scholarship After Writing An Essay That Praised Celia Cruz For Being ‘Unapologetically Black’


A Latina High School Student Just Won A Massive Scholarship After Writing An Essay That Praised Celia Cruz For Being ‘Unapologetically Black’

Cuban singer and world-renowned Queen of Salsa Celia Cruz (RIP) has long been an inspiration to millions of men and women around the globe. Throughout her career and after her death, Celia’s fans have hailed her as a musical icon and a Cuban force of resistance. All of these years later, and Cruz who passed away in 2003, is still inspiring the generations that came decades after her.  In fact, in a bid to stake her claim in a college scholarship program, high school student  Genesis Diaz recently applied for and won a lucrative prize from Altice USA (the provider of Optimum and Suddenlink) all thanks to an essay she wrote about the late singer.

In her inspirational essay about the  Cuban singer, Diaz wrote about admiring Celia Cruz for being “unapologetically black.”

According to BKLYNER, Altice USA holds an essay contest in the fall to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month (which runs from September 15 through October 15th). The prompt, which is given to middle and high school students, is to “name a Latino, past or present, with whom you would choose to spend a day and explain why.” The grand prize this year is a whopping $1,500 check which, if you remember college costs, can really help out any student eyeing higher education.

Diaz, a senior in James Madison High School in Brooklyn, New York, won this year’s contest. Her essay was selected out of over 700 submissions from across the country, according to Jen Rivera from Altice USA, who spoke with BKLYNER.

In her powerful essay, Diaz wrote that she would want to spend the day with Celia Cruz because she exclusively surrounds herself with people who “radiate positive energy.”

“And who’s more positive than Celia Cruz?”, Diaz wrote.

But what she really captured in her essay on Cruz isn’t just her positive energy but rather the way that she was unapologetic about being Black and Cubana and how she used her African roots in her music. While writing about the artist’s accomplishments as well as her being Hispanic and Black, Diaz emphasized the effect that Cruz has had on the Latinx community throughout her life and beyond.

“Black has always been seen as a color of inferiority, which is why Celia Cruz’s early critics claimed that she did not have the right look,” she said in her essay. “She wasn’t an ideal artist simply because of her African descent.”

Diaz went onto say that Cruz “carried her African roots in her heart and through her lyrics… Celia told everyone, including me, how phenomenal and majestic it is to be unapologetically black.”

Diaz, who hopes to attend New York University and is anxiously awaiting her acceptance from the prestigious school, was celebrated last week by school officials, classmates, members of Altice USA and Council Member Chaim Deutsch

“I couldn’t believe I actually won!” Diaz said in her view.. “I was very proud and very emotional. I feel like people take entertainment figures for granted. What people don’t realize that these figures are activists also.”

Diaz’s description of Cruz as an activist and powerhouse, couldn’t be more accurate.  The Afro-Cubana proved herself to be an icon and hero in her time, when she rose to face as a salsa vocalist and eventually became the symbol and spirit of the Cuban expatriate community.

Celia Cruz has inspired countless amounts of people, including people like Amara La Negra.

“Growing up, I never saw anyone who looked like me besides Celia Cruz. She was such a strong, powerful woman. She was a very inspirational person,” Amara La Negra told Latino USA about the late singer who considered her Blackness with a sense of pride that eventually turned songs like “La Negra Tiene Tumbao” into huge hits. “When Celia Cruz passed away, there was no one else to really look up to as an Afro-Latino or Afro-Latina on TV. So, I went and became a fan of Whitney Houston, Tina Turner, Donna Summers, who are truly talented women and I truly admire them. But, as far as the Latin community, we really didn’t have anyone to look up to.”

For her part, Diaz, who her principal calls a “remarkable young woman,” has become her own source of inspiration. Not only did the award-winning student win the grand prize for her Celia Cruz essay but she has also started her own club “about Hispanic, Black and Carribean cultures,” according to BKLYNER. There, students can gather once a week to “discuss issues facing the school and the community as a whole.”

It’s extremely encouraging to see the younger generation fall in love (and be inspired by) Celia Cruz just as much as the rest of us were. Here’s hoping that Diaz, with her award-winning essay, continues to draw inspiration from the Cubana and that she herself embodies being “unapologetically black.”

Read: Meet Mona Marie, The Caribeña Helping Women Find Their Strength And Freedom Through Pole Dancing

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