These Women At The Afro-Latino Fest Tell Us What Being Of African Descent Means To Them

credit: Ojos Nebulosos

This year’s Afro Latino Festival brought Latin American people of African descent from all over the northeast to New York to celebrate the contributions we make throughout the diaspora. The festival, which took place July 13 to July 15, creates a space for Afro-Latinx people to come together and share our music, food, culture, history and pride within a positive environment.

“Our mission is to provide a networking space to pay tribute to the African roots of people from Latin America and the Caribbean,” reads the festival’s website.

During the event, the sixth since it started in 2013, while the crowd enjoyed the sounds of Afro-Colombian music, spins from Puerto Rican-Haitian DJ Nina Azúcar and a headline from dominicana Amara La Negra, we asked attendees and artists how being afro-descendent shapes who they are.

This is what they had to say.

Juliana Pachè, Social Media Director for The Fader, Cuban-Dominican

(Photo Credit: Ojos Nebulosos / Juliana Pachè, Right)

“It shapes how I interact with the world and other people. Being part of the African diaspora feels like you have a community everywhere.”

Carmen Jocelyn Morillo, Freelance Dancer, Dominican

(Photo Credit: Ojos Nebulosos)

“Soy bailarina independiente, es una carerra que llevo [haciendo] desde que lleguè de Santo Domingo. Ser afro-descendiente me ha abierto muchas puertas para mi vida, me ha enseñado a tener mi propia personalidad y aprender como ser independiente en un paìs diferente.”

Amara La Negra, Singer and Love and Hip Hop: Miami Reality TV Star, Dominican-Italian

(Photo Credit: Ojos Nebulosos)

“Siempre he sido muy orgullosa de ser Dominicana y de ser afro-latina. Lo mas importante para mi que ha influenciado mi descendencia Africana son mis curvas naturales que vienen de mi raza negra. La comida, el sazòn, la sandunga y el saoco que yo tengo naturalmente en la sangre viene de ahì.”

Nina Azùcar, DJ, Puerto Rican-Haitian

(Photo Credit: Ojos Nebulosos)

“Being afro-latina has been a journey for me, I love my Latina culture and I celebrate it to the fullest. But at the same time, as I have grown I have learned to celebrate my roots more, the mother land more, while celebrating my colonizers less. To me its most important to connect with my African roots because that is where I am from and I am very proud to be able to be part of events like this.”


Antoinette Isama, Associate Editor at Okayafrica,

(Photo Credit: Ojos Nebulosos)

“When I think about that question I think about the art of storytelling and how much is passed down from generation to generation through how we live and preserve our legacy as afro-descendant people. In a lot of ways, the world has tried to bring us down and destroy that power, but we have been able to be resilient. That resilience is what keeps me going every day.”

Diva Green, Co-founder @IgotYourBlackFolk, Panamanian

(Photo Credit: Ojos Nebulosos / Diva Green, Left)

“You are part of a greater collective of people that have so much culture, vibrancy and history which is just a great feeling.”

Latasha, Independent Artist, Panamanian-Puerto Rican-Haitian-Jamaican

(Photo Credit: Ojos Nebulosos)

“Afro-descendance means everything to my magic. It really talks about my ancestry, the purity and authenticity that I create in my art and everyday life.”

Santana Caress Benitez, Chef and Actress, Puerto Rican

(Photo Credit: Ojos Nebulosos)

“Because I am a chef food is a huge part of my life, those influences of Caribbean and black American-style food, it really shapes what I do in terms of creating a dish. Afro descendance really determines my music, political views, the places that I live and the circles that I move in. It’s not even intentional it’s just how I live.”

Antombo Langangui, Singer and Songwriter for Profetas, Colombian

(Photo Credit: Ojos Nebulosos)

“Siendo afro-descendiente Para mi es un orgullo y privilegio. El poder unir a Africa y a Colombia demostrando la cara Afro-Colombiana que aùn muchas personas no identifican. Para nosotros es una missiòn mostrar que Colombia tiene dos Africas, el Caribe y el Pacifico a travès de nuestra mùsica.”

Read: In Yakari Gabriel’s First Poetry Book, The Afro-Dominicana Encourages Us To Own Our Truth

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