Es Mi Cultura is a resource that features women who proudly acknowledge their African ancestry, while staying true to their Latina culture.

Although the monthly newsletter is no longer sent out, feel free to browse through previous issues.

December 2016 ~ Issue 15

Aleichia Williams is a writer, student, traveler, and lifestyle blogger. She blogs for HuffPost Latino Voices and her website Aleichia also maintains a Youtube channel which she updates regularly. Aleichia will be featured in Oxford University's Introduction to Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Book in 2017. Her upbringing in New York plays a fundamental role in her career as a writer and in her understanding of culture. She is a Honduran Garifuna and a proud Afro-Latina. This fuels her writing and her identity in an ever-changing world.

Aleichia is currently working on her novel, while blogging often and updating her YouTube channel regularly.

"As an Afro-Latina in the U.S. I have had a very unique experience compared to that of my friends who aren’t afro-latinos. My identity allows me to connect and empathize with various groups who are often overlooked in our society. For example, because I am American born and black I am marginalized in similar ways as other African Americans. I've been discriminated against by those who only see me for the skin I live in. But I’m also the child of an immigrant, which means I know firsthand about the struggle of leaving your home country to work towards a better future and an ‘American dream.’"

November 2016 ~ Issue 14

Maria Fernanda Snellings is a poet, writer, and organizer. As a transracial adoptee, she identifies as Black-Ecuatoriana, along with her adoptive parents’ ethnicity stemming from Louisiana. A D.C. native, she is a 2014 VONA/Voices Of Our Nation Fellow, an undergraduate finalist for the 2014 Hurston/Wright Amistad Award for College Writers in Poetry, and a co-recipient of the 2015 Andrea Klein Willison Prize for Poetry, recognizing a poet whose work examines relationships among women as it relates to justice. Upcoming, she is one of three queer poets selected to be profiled in a queer photo ethnography project composed by multimedia artist and producer Danielle Levy. The project ultimately explores the concept of home.

Since moving to New York City in 2015, she has performed at MoMaPS1’s 2015 NY Art Book Fair, LALSA’s 2016 FIESTA, the Queens Festival’s 2016 Lit Crawl, and the La Pluma y La Tinta’s DeclaracionesWords from the Diaspora, a curated reading held at WordUp Bookshop Librería Comunitaria featuring AfroLatinx writers and poets. Maria Fernanda’s poems and translations have appeared most recently in The Wide Shore’s 2016 issue, Kweli Journal 2016 Spring-Summer issue, and the 92nd Street Y’s 2016 Words We Live In series. She has conceptualized and organized with Living In My Skin curator & Bronx-native Yelaine Rodriquez to produce the Quisqueya-centered exhibit’s poetry reading.

Presently Maria Fernanda is co-founding a workshop to support Latinx writers who self-identify as persons of African descent and/or as Black with a connection to Latin American and/or US Latino/a/x culture to explore poetry, find or exchange resources, and strengthen their craft.

She is crafting poems in collaboration with the upcoming Black Liberation Music project and the Daughters of Elysium, a collective of women who integrate modern perspective with myth in the theater. She and fellow queer poet I.S. Jones are slated to release a podcast with the Indie Creative Network, a collective of podcasts reaching as far as Canada and South Africa.

Maria Fernanda is planning a release of her first chapbook in the Summer of 2017.

October 2016 ~ Issue 13

As a DIASPORADICAL cultural advocate and social entrepreneur, Nati "conrazónLinares creates visibility for the world's wildest creators who are re-balancing the world. Hailing from Staten Island, New York City raised by immigrant Cuban mother and Colombian father, she is a digital nomad splitting time between the West Coast and the East Coast - the center and the edge - connecting hearts to minds with her big mouth & open eyes.

A diosa with a decade in the music biz working with artists from Manu Chao to Bomba Estereo to Los Rakas to Zuzuka Poderosa and festivals like NYC's SummerStage, she's worn various hats as a manager, producer, publicist, organizer, promoter and more. Having learned the realities and limitations of the culture industry within the Capitalist structure in her twenties, she's always worked with young women interested in the marketing field to re-balance the industry one new narrative at a time and she's dedicating her 30s to contributing her communication skills to building economic alternatives by investing in new paradigms.

"My favorite quote is by one of my sheros, the African-American playwright Lorraine Hansberry. She says: "The continents of the world met in her blood." It's how I feel as a daughter of a Cuban mom from Havana and Colombian father from the Caribbean coast - who was brought to Staten Island after they researched the "whitest part" of NYC, which in my parents logic meant the education would be the best or at least better in Jackson Heights, Queens where they landed.

I am not the origins of where I come from be them Spaniard, Arabic, Indian, Black, Cuban, Colombian, nor am I of Staten Island even if I was raised there - I am a new synthesis of all of them. A New Yorker. A New Latino. I love what writer Raquel Cepeda said: "In you is everything. Being Latino in an American, kind of new world way is basically being the physical embodiment of how America began as we know it. For me, being Latino is being phenomenal.”  Or I've dubbed it - DIASPORADICAL - a word to describe my active identity as someone who embraces this idea articulated by my amazing partner: "If I am not at home anywhere then I must be at home everywhere." I walk with that as an Afro-descendant mixed-race woman and will work to re-balance the world one story, song and new system at a time!" ~ Nati

Read Issue 13

September 2016 ~ Issue 12

Jolín Miranda is the owner of the online Etsy shop, Boricubi. She was born in Glendale, California to a Puerto Rican mother and Afro-Cuban father. She is a self-taught artist who has been drawing all her life. She fell in love with acrylic painting at the age of 20, when she did her first fairy self-portrait. At the time, she had an obsession with mermaids and fairies but could never find any that represented her. It was then, that she had decided to paint her own paintings in which she could relate to. 

As a child, growing up Afro-Latina in California was a real struggle for Jolín. She had so many questions and faced so much confusion. It was difficult for her to completely relate with her Central American friends, whose Aztec features represented the “traditional” Latino image in Los Angeles. She also couldn’t completely relate to her African American peers, with her first language being Spanish and her main household music being Salsa and Merengue. To make matters even more confusing, Jolín didn’t seem to understand why at school the US Race Census list had a category of “Black not of Hispanic Origin”.

As her peers began to label her as being mixed with Black and Mexican, she began to constantly asking her parents, “Are you sure I’m not Black?” She was never completely satisfied with their response of, "No, you're Latina. You are of African descent but you're not African American."  Of course logically her friends made more sense to her than her parents. California has a high population of Mexican Latinos since it neighbors Mexico. Therefore many Californians have the ignorant mindset of, if you speak Spanish, then you must be Mexican. And if you look Black with kinky curly hair then you must be African American. There were so many times Jolín just wished she lived in the East Coast where she didn’t have to explain her culture and her Afro-Latina features would be accepted. But her wish never happened.

Read Issue 12

August 2016 ~ Issue 11

New Yorker by birth + AfroDominican by bloodline, Suhaly Bautista-Carolina is an artist, educator + cultural advocate. She earned her B.A. in English and American Literature from NYU and her MPA from the Wagner School of Public Service at NYU, where she was named one of “NYU’s 15 Most Influential Students.” 

Her attention to environmental justice earned her the artist name, The Earth Warrior. The Earth Warrior is interested in the way humans interact with and re(imagine) themselves in natural spaces. Her recent artwork explores themes of womynhood, the preservation of memory and the AfroLatinX experience.

Suhaly is currently working on an AfroLatina Portrait Project. "This forthcoming series of portraits + interviews (project name tbd) aims to catalogue how we (as self-identifying AfroLatinas) speak to/honor/dismiss/deal with the memory and existence of our African ancestry.

The final goal is to produce a catalogue of 100 portraits and interviews of AfroLatinas in New York City for a published book. I expect this to be a journey of several years + look forward to sharing this process, time and energy with you all."

Read Issue 11

July 2016 ~ Issue 10

Welcome to a very special edition of Es Mi Cultura, entitled:

“Los Hombres”

As the title suggests, this issue spotlights just a few of the men who are doing their part to further advance our Afro-Latino culture. Through various arts, cooking, and education, Los Hombres featured in this issue are a great representation of people who put their all into the things they are passionate about.

This issue contains a lot of great information and is worth the lengthy time it may take to read through everything…ENJOY!

Read Issue 10

June 2016 ~ Issue 9

Ghislaine Leon is a Harlem, NY native with roots in the Dominican Republic and a passion for Afro-Latino educations and empowerment. She is a Digital Marketing professional by day and the founder of art and spirituality site
"The main thing that being an Afro-Latina means to me is breaking all those mental barriers that have been passed on from generation to generation among all Latinos. For too long we’ve been taught to hate our darker-skinned Latinos, so the main thing that being an Afro-Latina means to me is educating myself and educating people that I come across to not look at Black Latinos as any less. Being able to embrace our rich history; being able to embrace, understand, and continue to push Afro-Latino music whether it’s bomba, whether it’s plena, whether it’s palo, whether it’s Yoruba. It’s not forgetting those things.
Being an Afro-Latina to me means respecting our ancestors; it means honoring our ancestors. It means teaching other people like ‘Yo, I’m the same color as you, I may not speak the same language as you, but we come from the same place.’"

May 2016 ~ Issue 8

Jes Perez in her own words: "In many Latin American countries, and also in the states, the issue of black heritage is considered a bit taboo. There is much talk, but it is known as something no one wants to hear or speak about. Especially being from the Dominican Republic, it is common for many people not to identify with his or her black heritage. I personally think they don't know the truth about their own story.

In my case I still see myself as the only person in my family who really identifies as an Afro-Latino. Most of my family sees themselves as just Latino(a), even though the color of their skin says otherwise. Growing up I remember my grandpa calling me, "La Negra." It wasn't a big deal but I was aware that I was a little darker than my cousins.

Let's take it back to 1804 when Haiti gained its independence and the remainder of the island made a bid for its own independence in 1821. When this attempt failed the Dominican Republic was ruled by Haiti for the next 22 years. And although the Dominican Republic gained independence in 1844, much  of the historic prejudice against Haitians stems from this 22 year period preceding independence. There's no single individual who has been more influential in how Dominicans view their own blackness than El General Rafael Trujillo. During his approximately thirty year dictatorship, he had a long-lasting effect on how Dominicans viewed race, blackness, and their own African heritage.
There is this hiding within the Latino culture, the hiding of the darker ones, the hiding of the ones who have curlier hair or bigger lips or a bigger nose. I have had encounters, even in the Latin entertainment field, where people didn't know where to place me or they didn't get me... because Dominicans can look like anything so..."

Read Issue 8

April 2016 ~ Issue 7

Afro-Panamanian Sahsha Campbell-Garbutt is a mother, Wife, Writer, Author, Life Coach, and Wellness Advocate. She is also the founder of Life and Light Wellness, a firm that incorporates inspirational writings with holistic wellness for the spiritual, mental, and physical elevation of people. The child of two Panamanian parents, this Afro-Panamena is CPR/AED certified and helps her clients attain their physical wellness goals holistically as a Personal Trainer and their personal goals as a Life Coach.

Her approach is simple: To attain long lasting results in any venture, the work must be done from the inside out. Sahsha’s gentle, yet forthright “no short cuts” approach to healing incorporates meditation, self reflection, physical activity and addressing, for example “positive distractions” so her clients can utilize their time wisely to achieve their overall goals. In addition to her devotion for wellness, she’s a long-standing member of the Screen Actors Guild. Sahsha’s writing has been published in MindBodyGreenHuffington Post, Atlanta's Creative Loafing, andLennox and Parker Magazine. Sahsha is Co-Author of the best selling book, “20 Beautiful Women, Volume 3” and her book, “Life and Light: 111 Motivations and Messages”,will be released fall, 2016.

Read Issue 7

March 2016 ~ Issue 6

Sulma Arzu-Brown is a proud Garifuna woman born in Honduras, Central America. "She came to New York City at the tender age of six. Throughout her life, Sulma’s parents instilled the belief that progressive thinking, education and sound values were the key to success in one’s personal and professional life.

Holding steadfast to those values, Sulma received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Herbert Lehman College of the City University of New York. Sulma took those teachings a step further when she became a mother by becoming one with her essence and growing out her natural hair. 

It was her way of encouraging her girls to love every aspect of themselves especially their hair. 
Sulma knew it was the right decision when her older daughter expressed “mommy we finally look alike” the day she cut off her chemically straightened hair. The book soon followed.

Read Issue 6

February 2016 ~ Issue 5

Established in 2010, BoriquaChicks is an entertainment and lifestyle news blog that provides readers access to popular celebrity news stories and real life topics.

Founder, Raquel reflects on why she started Boriqua Chicks:
"As a child, I always loved to read about celebrities in the latest magazines—making sure that I stayed current in television, film and fashion news. However, there was one thing missing, I didn't really see a lot of stories about Black Latinos/as. Growing up with a Puerto Rican mother and an African-American father on the South Side of Chicago, I didn't have a lot of people around me that I could identify with.
Often my world was split in two parts. My mom created a home where we could embrace our Puerto Rican identity and we spent many summers visiting our family in Puerto Rico. In Chicago my African-American family and friends were influential in shaping my African-American identity. Whether people understood me or not, I always felt I had the best of two worlds*-- whether it was eating my mother's arroz con pollo (rice & chicken) or my paternal grandmother’s soul food.
Some years ago my friends began to say, "Why don't you start your own blog? You're always reading and talking about other blogs." I thought to myself, 'I guess so, why not?' I started the blog in 2010 and it has grown with a wide audience over the years. I started casually blogging and wanted to share news about topics I was interested in. Early on, Boriqua Chicks covered a lot of entertainment stories [some ratchetness :) too] with a focus on celebrities of color—specifically, African-Americans, Latinos/as and Afro-Caribbeans.
The addition of my sister Rebecca has strengthened the blog. My blog wasn't started to be divisive (as some people have questioned), but to share my thoughts with audience members that could personally relate to my story and those who have an affinity to read what my sister and I write about. Over the years we have worked to offer quality content and have also integrated more lifestyle topics into our editorial.

January 2016 ~ Issue 4

Ariana Brown is an Afro-Mexicana poet, performer & author
from San Antonio, Texas.

She is the recipient of the Andrew Julius Gutow Academy of American Poets Prize and was recently awarded the title of Best Poet at the 2014 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, a national competition in which her team representing UT Austin, took first place. In 2015, she was awarded the title of "Best Poem" for her piece, "Invocation". Ariana is currently working on her first manuscript and pursuing a degree in African & African Diaspora Studies and Mexican American Studies at UT Austin, where she co-founded Spitshine Poetry Slam in 2011. When she is not onstage, she is probably eating an avocado, listening to the Kumbia Kings, or validating brown girl rage in all its miraculous forms. Her work is published in HuizacheRattleBorderlands: Texas Poetry Review and is forthcoming in ¡Manteca!: An Anthology of Afro-Latin@ Poets from Arte Público Press.

Read Issue 4
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