The digital space has literally kicked opened doors and allowed groups of individuals to let their voices be heard. As an Afro-Latina, I’ve seen my own digital communities expand and catch the eye of those that have long ignored my demographic.
Google or search across social media and you’ll see various blogueras who are dedicated to embracing our culture. The conversations stemmed from the web are now taking shape on a new stage, South by Southwest (SXSW). Hosted on Saturday, March 14, “The Inspiring & Game-Changing Afro-Latina,” will bring this important conversation to popular music/film/interactive festival in Austin, Texas. Presenters—Omilani, founder and director of Latinegras; Rebecca Dailey-Wooley, brand strategist and co-creator of Boriqua Chicks; Paulina Artieda, creative director at Mercury Mambo, as well as creative strategist at Mando Rayo + Collective; and Lizette Williams, multicultural marketing leader, North America at Kimberly-Clark Corporation—will discuss what it means to be Afro-Latina, our presence within the digital space and how marketers and brands can communicate with our demographic.
“Growing up, there were very few examples,” says Rebecca on the media’s lack of representation of Afro-Latinas. “We [Rebecca and Raquel] would search through Latina Magazine and we’d get so excited when we saw someone that looked like us.”
Grammy-nominated artist Omilani echoes those sentiments, but knows that Saturday’s panel is a game-changer.
“When I think of a panel like this at SXSW, you remember when hip-hop wasn’t included in the award shows? It’s like that. We’re here and we’re waving a banner for our people…It’s an honor to be apart of a panel like this.”
Rebecca, who started well-known Afro-Latina blog, Boriqua Chicks, alongside her sister, Raquel Dailey-Parham, feels a sense of responsibility as a Black Latina. “ I have a responsibility. Now, I feel young people have access to examples [of Afro-Latinos]. They’re able to be empowered and proud of who they are. We’re black and we’re not ashamed. We’re black Latina and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
I closed my conversation with Omilani and Rebecca by asking what it means to be Afro-Latina in the 21st century—their answers created an impromptu CHURCH session (the quotes may nit do it justice, you had to be there).
“Thank goodness we’re in a time we can define it for ourselves, by ourselves,” says Omilani.
“I think it’s important whoever you, are as it pertains to identity, know what your truth is,” Rebecca responds. “Don’t put limitations on yourselves.”
And on that note, if you’re in Austin, Texas, “The Inspiring and Game-Changing Afro-Latina” is happening Saturday, March 14, 11am – 12pm in Room 10AB. You can follow the conversation via hashtags, #SXSW #AfroLatina.
What does it mean to be a game-changing Afro-Latina? Let us know what you think in the comments section.