While many people are still trying to wrap their heads around Charlamagne’s refusal to understand the duality of being Black and Latin and the colorism that is often faced in the community, including by Love and Hip Hop Miami star Amara La Negra, there are countless other stars of the Afro-Latinx community who’ve spoken about dealing with this type of resistance to their choice to embrace all aspects of their heritage. Whether it’s something they faced in the entertainment industry or just growing up, the following stars said they feel proudly Black and Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban, Panamanian and more. Check out what they had to say, many who grew up in Latin American countries, about their experiences. Maybe, if you still don’t get how it all works, you will.
“It’s weird because it’s like you’re stuck in the middle of this weird place,” she said. “It’s like, you’re too black to be Hispanic and too Hispanic to be black, and you’re always in this crisscross. If I embrace that I’m Afro-Cuban, people say that I’m saying I’m not black, and that’s not what I’m saying at all…I’ll get a lot of flack, like ‘you just want to be exotic, you just want to be different,’ and I’m like, ‘I’m not different!’”
– Afro-Panamanian and Trinidadian
“I remember black friends and white friends saying, ‘why is your hair different?'” she said. “It was so hurtful and confusing, when you’re little.”
“I have a Cuban influence from my ethnicity, so I feel 100 percent Cuban and 100 percent Black and nobody can take that away from me,” he said to Latina while promoting his role in Jumping the Broom. “For me, playing an African American role is playing myself and playing a Latino role — I’m playing myself.”
– Afro-Puerto Rican and Dominican
“I am proud to be Latina. I will not accept [anyone] telling me that I’m less or whatever, because to me, that is just hysterical,” she said. “But I don’t like to break and divide myself into all these small little categories like, “I’m an American, a woman, a Latina, a black Latina.” No. I am Zoe.
– Afro-Puerto Rican
“Somebody asked me about what it was like when I was first auditioning as an Afro-Caribbean woman. I couldn’t get an audition as a Latina,” she said. “People didn’t know what that was, they just said, ‘Well our vision of a Latina looks more Mexican, or Central American, or Spanish.’ And that was an interesting journey to take and something that I had to struggle with initially.
“I consider myself to be a black woman, and I think a lot of Dominicans should, because from what I see that’s what we are,” Polanco frustratingly explained to Charlamagne and co. on The Breakfast Club in 2016.
– Afro-Puerto Rican
“I think it’s all intertwined. We are all minorities and it’s all intertwined. You’re starting to see more of that now than you have before in the past,” Anthony said. “You’re starting to see more Afro-Latinos. Before it was pure boricua and that was it. Now you’re starting to see more of a mixed race. We need that. The times are different, different people fall in love with different people and you need more of that.”
“Since early, it’d be like, I’m Cuban but [people] didn’t get it because I was also brown-skinned, and you usually see a fair-skinned Latino, so it was just like, ‘Oh, what are you? Are you black? Are you white?” Milian said. “I didn’t feel like I had to make a choice. I am what I am.”
“We’re all different, but you have to accept our differences,” she continued. “As far as Afro-Cuban [goes], I’m finding more and more that there’s people opening their eyes to seeing that. Latinos come in all colors, all shades.”
“My view of myself doesn’t change. I know who I am,” Torres said. “I’m Cuban American, both my parents are Cuban–one was a little browner than the other one. That’s who I am. I feel sorry that it’s taken so long for the film industry to figure it out and to catch up.”
“There are so many of us out there,” she continued. “And part of it is, we’re undercover. They don’t know, and if we stood and said, “that’s it I’m not going do any roles that are not Latina,” we would not work. I don’t feel like I’m living a lie, because the fact is the world sees me as an African American woman unless they ask the question. Therefore my experience in the world, outside of my family, is that of an African American woman.”
– Afro-Puerto Rican and St. Thomian
La La Anthony
– Afro-Puerto Rican
“I definitely don’t feel like I’m what Hollywood thinks of when they think of a Latina actress at all,” La La told Latina. “They can’t wrap their minds around it. I actually speak Spanish fluently. The industry just hasn’t been thinking outside the box when it comes to Latina women.”