Afro-Latinas made headlines in 2017. While Afro-Latinas, or Black Latinas, have been changing the game through activism, art, business and entertainment, among other spheres, for decades, the digital space has furthered the visibility and awareness for our community globally in 2017. Between Belcalis “Cardi B” Almanzar’s major wins to seasoned journalist Ilia Calderón becoming the first Afro-Latina to anchor a news desk on a major network in the United States, our narratives are reaching new heights.
With the year nearly over, it’s only right we celebrate how Afro-Latinas changed the narrative, created a space for greater visibility and did so unapologetically in ’17.
1. Cardi B Broke All Barriers
Who had a better year than Cardi B? I’ll wait.
We included the Bronx-bred rapper on last year’s list, but 2017 became her breakthrough year. The Dominican-Trinidadian artist earned a historic first on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart: She became the first woman to chart her first three entries (“Bodak Yellow (Money Moves),” “Motorsport,” a collab with Migos and Nicki Minaj, and “No Limit,” G-Eazy’s track) on the list in the top 10, simultaneously. Cardi became the first Dominican artist to reach No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 and the first woman since Lauryn Hill in 1998. She’s also graced the cover of Rolling Stone and New York Magazine; snagged a shoe collaboration with Steve Madden; got engaged to Migos’ Offset, and nominated for two Grammys for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance.
Who’s working as hard as her?
2. Ivy Queen and Cardi B Meet At Soulfrito Urban Latin Music Fest
Ivy Queen and Cardi B met for the first time, and we’re still gathering our edges. Iconic!
3. Amara La Negra Joins the Cast of ‘Love & Hip Hop Miami’
We’ve been huge fans of Amara La Negra since first hearing her song, “Asi,” in 2014. It’s why we included her in our 2015 roundup, but now la dominicana is reppin for Afro-Latinos on VH1’s reality series Love & Hip Hop. She revealed she’d be joining the cast in our interview with her:
We can’t wait to watch her on our screen!
4. Erica Buddington’s Geography Remix of ‘Bodak Yellow’ Goes Viral
Erica Buddington, a sixth-grade teacher at Capital Preparatory, Diddy’s school in Harlem, and her students went viral after she uploaded a clip to Twitter of her and her students rapping a Geography remix to Cardi B’s hit “Bodak Yellow.” “I was shocked that it went viral. I put it up before I went to sleep to get a few educator reactions, from folks that follow me, and woke up to it being viral,” said the poet, author and educator, who is of Cuban and Jamaican ancestry, to HuffPost Black Voices.
5. 4-year-old Daliyah Marie Arana Makes News for Reading More Than 1,000 Books
Daliyah Marie Arana, who is part-Mexican, part-African American, has read more than 1,000 books, including some college-level texts. “I like to check out books every day,” Daliyah told the Gainesville Times. You go, girl!
6. Ilia Calderón Becomes the First Afro-Latina to Anchor Major News Desk in U.S.
Journalist Ilia Calderón made history in November when she announced she will be taking the seat vacated by María Elena Salinas on Noticiero Univision in December. She’s the first Afro-Latina to anchor a news desk from Monday through Friday on a major network in the United States. “It’s a great responsibility knowing that I’m opening doors for other generations, not only for journalists, but for other girls and women who want to succeed at what they do,” said Calderón to People.com.