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Must Watch: Angeley Crawford Explains Black Latino Identity in America


(Image: Angeley Crawford, Define: Black// Screenshot)

What exactly does it mean to be Black in America?

Video series, Define: BLACK, is exploring what it means to be Black in America in 2015. The series includes the personal stories of 15 people.  It’s where we meet Angeley Crawford.

Crawford, a Black woman of Costa Rican descent, shares her experiences growing up in the predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood of Bushwick in Brooklyn, New York.

“My understanding of being Black within the context of Costa Rica was never negative,” said Crawford, who mentions Limón, Costa Rica, which is known for its African and Caribbean presence. “Coming here, being in Bushwick, to be Black and to be Hispanic, or to be Latino, never the two shall meet. That’s when I realized, Oh wow, I am Black and I’m strange Black because I’m a Black person who speaks Spanish.”

See video, below:

What Was It Like to Grow Up Afro-Latino in Buschwick?

The belief that Black and Latino are mutually exclusive is a harsh, hurtful blanket assumption that blatantly dismisses the Afro-Latino identity. In this installment of #DefineBLACK, Angeley Crawford shares her experience growing up Costa Rican in pre-hipster Bushwick, BK and the otherness that came with it.

Posted by Define: BLACK. on Monday, November 9, 2015

For many Afro-Latinos, it’s a story they know all to well. One that reflects colorism, exclusion and pelo and identity politics. Crawford felt as though she didn’t belong, which led her to connect more to her Black heritage.

“I just didn’t fit anywhere in the context of a Puerto Rican/Dominican neighborhood. At that moment, I made the conscious decision to say, ‘Well, I’m just not going to be Latina anymore,'” she admitted in the video.

Crawford’s narrative is yet another reminder of the importance of discussing race and ethnicity not just in America, but also across the globe.

Have you watched Define: BLACK’s video feature with Angeley? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.


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