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zoe saldana dominican independence day

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Actress Zoe Saldana is under fire once again. Following her responses to an Instagram post explaining the complicated history of Dominican Independence Day, Saldana’s problematic comments have allegedly even incited death threats and hateful messages being sent to the team of the thought-provoking post.

If you didn’t know, February 27th is Dominican Independence Day. In an effort to shed light on a piece of the holiday’s history that often goes under-discussed or misunderstood, Refinery29’s Somos Instagram account partnered with InCultured Co. to share a 10-slide long post asking “What to the Afro-Dominican is the 27th of February” — a take on Frederick Douglass’ “What to the slave is 4th of July.” As an educational offering, the post detailed how the split between Haiti and the Dominican Republic has influenced the anti-blackness often both internalized and/or experienced by many Afro-Dominicans to this day.

Despite the comments underneath the slideshow having to later be disabled, screenshots of Saldana’s comment underneath it showed the actress initially seeming to have a problem with the term “afro” being tagged onto the question asked to the account’s Afro-Dominican community. Her suggestion in the comments read, “Maybe just say ‘What to the Dominican is the Independence Day.'”

Following that comment, Refinery29 reported that Saldana shared the post to her over seven million followers via her personal Instagram stories — with a message directed to the Somos team which read, “You owe all Dominicans — regardless if they’re Black, white, or Taino — an apology. On our independence day, we do not need to be schooled by others on what we “should’ know about ourselves #CancelCultureIsStartingToSuckSometimes.” Later, as shared through screengrabs by Twitter user @alexa__1, the actress re-emphasized her demand for an apology by adding, “Waiting for your apology about this post. Shame on you and shame on all platforms who resposted you — you all know who you are! But that’s okay, the sun will always continue to shine on La Bella Quisqueya.”

Additionally in the user’s screenshots, you can see that even Saldana’s father added in his own two cents to the slew of comments — thought-provoking, threatening, hateful, and otherwise — all sent to the Somos page as per Saldana’s inciteful posts.

The star’s strong response to Somos’ educational post make’s one wonder what exactly she found to be problematic about the history it told. Was it that it highlighted Haiti’s history of joining forces with its neighbors to help those of the Dominican Republic gain freedom from Spanish colonial rule — twice? Was it that it highlighted how the “white Dominican elite” re-wrote some of the historical texts still being studied in the Dominican Republic today to promote racist and anti-black rhetorics? Or was it because overall, the post aimed to spark a conversation surrounding how Afro-Dominicans might grapple with their identity in relation to the Dominican Republic and Haiti’s complicated past?

In her response to the actress’ behavior, Refinery29 writer Thatiana Diaz shared that she’s “received death threats and ongoing harassment” from the star’s fans. Despite that though, she emphasized that the publication would be sticking by its post on the topic because for her and the Somos team, “Dismantling anti-Blackness is not cancel culture.” Regardless of Saldana’s personal feelings on the subject, the writer highlighted that it was important for their team to bring up the fresh angle on how one might consider their connection to the holiday because their platform aims to be one that “facilitates dialogue that sparks action and conversation, challenges the status quo, and fosters our readers’ abilities to learn about and inhabit different perspectives within and without Latinidad.”

It’s ironic that Saldana of all people included “#CancelCultureIsStartingToSuckSometimes” in one of her posts. In addition to it just not making sense, if you recall, the actress isn’t new to “cancel culture.” In fact, she’s actually been “canceled” quite a few times. On top of consistently being called out for acting in blackface as the singer Nina Simone back in 2016, Saldana is also often associated with being canceled for her past statements on being “colorblind,” and saying that colorism was an individualistic issue as opposed to (and not in addition to) a societal and systematic one. Overall, when it comes to the erasure of Black women’s stories — Afro-Latina and African American in particular — Saldana’s opinions always seem to miss the mark.

Scroll below to see some of the tweets that are circling the ongoing conversation.

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