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This Afro-Latina Reporter Is Speaking Up To Remind White People We Live In A ‘New Century’ After Someone Criticized Her Rizos

As Black women, we’re often pressured to do a lot to our hair to manipulate it into a form that will be viewed as socially acceptable. We chemically straighten it, blow dry it, dye it. All in the name of social conformity and acceptance and all the while knowing full well that damage can be done to more than just our hair. It’s manipulation, which cannot only be damaging but tedious, ultimately leaves us vulnerable on the occasions we decide to give it a break and let it heal, do its own thing and be its own self. Wearing braids, weaves, and protective styles (all of which will almost always end up drawing comments) can help us to achieve this, but for so many of us, one of the best ways to ensure our hair’s healing is to wear it naturally.

Corallys Ortiz is a Tennessee-based Afro-Latina meteorologist and reporter who has grown accustomed to straightening her hair but decided in recent years to learn how to manage it in its natural state.

On Sunday, after footage of Ortiz doing a weather report aired, a viewer called the reporter to criticize her hair.

Ortiz, who is of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent and has been living and reporting out of Tenessee for 10 months, says that she has worn her natural rizos on air all of two times. On the second occasion, a viewer by the name of Donna, called into the reporter’s station to express her opinions about her hair. In a video posted to Ortiz’s Facebook account, Donna can be heard telling the reporter that her hair looks n***ery.

“This is for the weather girl tonight, please don’t wear your hair like that anymore it just doesn’t look good at all. Please don’t. Change it back to something more normal, not something that’s all n***ery looking,” Donna said in the voicemail before hanging up.

As Ortiz points out, this viewer’s call to have her look more “normal” and less “n***ery” has been perpetuated by mainstream media outlets for decades.

In the Facebook post on her account about the incident, Ortiz admits that her hair as always been a huge part of her identity and that 90 percent of the time she wears it straight. “It’s the way I was accustomed to wearing it growing up. The last few years I’ve grown to manage and love wearing it in its natural state, the big curly fro or ‘poof’ as I call it. No it’s not a wig like some people have thought, but because of my racially ambiguous background my hair texture itself is versatile, meaning I can wear it and style it many ways.”

In the same post about the phone call, Ortiz wrote that when it comes to the world of newscasting and TV, women of color are often pressured into presenting themselves, particularly their hair, in a way that is more palatable for white viewers. For the most part, they and so many other Black women in the workforce and academia attempt to do this by heat styling and manipulating their hair. All this for the sake of appearing “professional.” Which by the way, any Black girl who has ever been faced with a dress code policy that wouldn’t allow them to wear braids or locs (two styles that can be decadent and professional as all get out) knows to really just mean “white.”

“For years on end women of color have always been told their hair wasn’t professional or ‘neat’ enough for the workplace, and for years women of color would have to adhere to ‘white beauty standards’ in order to get ahead,” Ortiz wrote in a post about the incident to her Facebook page. “Slowly but surely over the years those standards have been changing in this field and we see more and more women of color being able to present themselves with their natural hair on TV.”

Ortiz says she hopes that her post about the voicemail will encourage her audience to be more accepting of other people, their cultures and appearances.

Where do I even begin.There are many ways I like to define myself as a person. I am a woman of color. I am of Caribbean descent directly from the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Multilingual. I am a college educated woman with two degrees. Most importantly, I’m someone passionate about science and arts and I’m happy I get to work in the field that I’ve loved since I was young.Being from such a racially ambiguous background, it’s not uncommon that people ask me where I am from. Coming to this region of the United States from the North I always had my own perceptions how living in this different environment would be.To many, I look either like a black/mixed woman or a brown woman. I understand many people here haven’t seen a variety of other cultural groups or might not know the difference between being “Mexican” or Hispanic… none of which I would ever put people down for. I always appreciated the genuine curiosity that came from some people whenever they ask me these questions.One thing that has always been a strong part of my identity is my hair. About 90 percent of the time I wear it straight. It’s the way I was accustomed to wear it growing up. The last few years I’ve grown to manage and love wearing it in its natural state, the big curly fro or “poof” as I call it. No it’s not a wig like some people have thought, but because of my racially ambiguous background my hair texture itself is versatile, meaning I can wear it and style it many ways. What many people may not know is that being in the TV industry there is a “standard” in which people are made to have their hair worn. The issue with this is that it always targets and pressures women of color to present their hair in ways that are unnatural just for the sake of having their hair look “professional.” For years on end women of color have always been told their hair wasn’t professional or “neat” enough for the work place, and for years women of color would have to adhere to “white beauty standards” in order to get ahead. Slowly but surely over the years those standards have been changing in this field and we see more and more women of color being able to present themselves with their natural hair on TV.I write this because these past few days I’ve been giving my hair a bit of a break from this heat and humidity and not having to straighten it so often. This is only my second round wearing it the 10 months I’ve been in Tennessee. I’ve received so much positive feed back from viewers about the brief hair change I have going on and how they enjoy seeing my curly hair. Many people appreciate the representation I’ve given to those wanting to wear their hair in their natural state.Unfortunately, working in the TV industry there is always going to be criticism as well. We’ll focus all day in trying to get a report or forecast in, but to just end up getting criticized for wearing a certain clothing or having a certain hairdo from viewers at the end of the day.In my case early Sunday night, a viewer who goes by Donna felt that my hair wasn’t up to “her standards.” The following video just reflects back to everything I just said about criticism and dealing with what is considered “cultural or racial ignorance.” Racism for short. It is very clear you can hear what she says and it’s something I don’t condone. I hope a post like this brings to light the constant criticism a person of color might face just for being themselves. I hope it serves as a lesson to people like Donna and to remind her that we are living in a new century, in nation filled with people of different background, cultures, ideals, colors, shapes and sizes.

Posted by Corallys Ortiz on Monday, September 17, 2018


I hope a post like this brings to light the constant criticism a person of color might face just for being themselves. I hope it serves as a lesson to people like Donna and to remind her that we are living in a new century, in nation filled with people of different background, cultures, ideals, colors, shapes and sizes.”


Read: The Drug Dealer Who Supplied Demi Lovato On The Night Of Her Overdose Has A Warrant Out For His Arrest

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

Entertainment

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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