The achievements and contributions of Afro-Latinos in the United States have not always received the recognition they deserve. Despite stereotypes and discriminations, they have persevered and today their voice and presence are felt in many industries.
February marks African American Heritage Month. At PanamericanWorld we take advantage of this context to highlight the successes of 10 Afro-Latin artists, athletes and journalists who defend their roots and are the pride of their community.
This rapper is one of the most famous artists of our times. Her father is Dominican and her mother was born in Trinidad and Tobago. She grew up in the Bronx and has always recognized the impact of Caribbean culture in her upbringing.
“One thing that always bothers me is that people know so little about my culture. We are Caribbean. A lot of people attack me because they feel that I’m not saying that I’m black. Some people want to decide if you’re black or not, depending on the complexion of your skin, because they don’t understand Caribbean people or our culture,” the Grammy Award winner acknowledged in a 2018 interview with Zendaya.
Thompson’s father is Afro-Panamanian, while her mother is of Mexican descent. This actress, who has appeared in different Hollywood productions, such as “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Creed”, recognizes the pride of being a black woman.
“My mom is a woman of color, even if she is not easily identified as such, and I feel that’s the reason she always allowed some room for me to explore my identity; to get in touch with who I am. She understood the emptiness of not having enough guidance in that regard. Even though she’s not a black woman, throughout my life she filled me with so much pride in being one,” Thompson said.
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Lindor is one of the best players in the major league. In 2021 he signed a huge contract of more than 340 million dollars, with the New York Mets. Neither fame nor money have made this Puerto Rican forget his roots. Lindor was one of the players who openly supported the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020.
“Talking to the leaders of other teams, it seems like the guys are starting to understand what Afro-Latinos go through, what Latinos go through, what Asians go through. We are fighting, not only for the black community, but for all people of color,” said the Puerto Rican.
This artist with Puerto Rican and Haitian roots is a famous composer and music producer. His album BLACKsummers’night was a success in 2009 and led him to win a Grammy Award for best song of the year, with “Pretty Wings”.
“Black people are very versatile for me. I like to say ‘Black Excellence Without Borders’. A black person is black, everywhere,” he said in an interview with OkayAfrica.
Zoe’s face is very familiar for all fans of the “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “The Avengers” film saga, where she plays Gamora. Her parents are from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, so she has a solid spot among the best-known Afro-Latino artists today.
Domingo is another well-known Afro-Latino actor. His record shows more than 10 films, including “Selma,” “Lincoln” and, most recently, “Candyman,” in 2021. His portrayal of Victor in the television series “Fear of the Walking Dead” and his participation in “Euphoria”, another successful TV production, ” have markedly elevated his popularity.
Alonso’s parents are Afro-Cuban, although this film and television star, with more than 30 films on his resume, was born in Washington. He had a role in “Avatar”, by James Cameron, and he also acted in one of the parts of the “Fast and Furious” saga. In addition, he is part of the cast of the Amazon series, “The Boys”.
In an interview, Laz said, “I’m black first. Cuban-American or Latin American, that’s not a race, it’s an ethnicity. My race is black. It doesn’t matter what country your blackness is from.”
This Cuban American became the first Afro-Latina to create, produce and star in her own show for USA Network. Torres has an extensive film career, with iconic films such as “The Matrix Reloaded” and “The Matrix Revolutions”.
In an interview with CNN, Torres, of Cuban parents, was asked what was necessary for the entertainment industry in the United States to have a greater Afro-Latino presence. Her answer was blunt: “hire us.”
Acevedo is one of the most successful Afro-Latina writers today. Her Dominican parents emigrated to the United States and she grew up in New York’s Harlem district. Among her novels “The Poet X” is on the New York Times bestseller list.
One of the most prestigious Latino voices in American journalism is Soledad O’Brien. Her mother left Cuba at the age of 14, while Soledad’s father is Australian, so she brings together a very interesting mix of cultures.
Her journalistic career has been very successful and diverse. She worked for several years at CNN, where she hosted news programs. Since 2016 she has been the host of the weekly program “Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien”, produced by Hearst Television. In addition, she is the president of Startfish Media Group, a cross-platform production company that she created in 2013. We recommend reading her book “Latino en América”, where she narrates her experience as a Latina in the United States.