Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

UPLIFTT | February 21, 2017

Scroll to top

Top

26 Comments

African American Exceptionalism and the Truth Behind the Rage over Zoe Saldaña Playing Nina Simone

African American Exceptionalism and the Truth Behind the Rage over Zoe Saldaña Playing Nina Simone

In a recent article from the Huffington Post, Zoe Saldaña talks about the Nina Simone biopic that has been controversial all over the Black blogospheres. Saldaña said: “the people behind the project weren’t my cup of tea.” She also said, “the director was fine but there was a lot of mismanagement.”

On June 11th 2015, during an InStyle magazine interview, Zoe Saldaña said: “I think I was right for the part, and I know a lot of people will agree, but then again I don’t think Elizabeth Taylor was right for Cleopatra either.” Those comments may seem, in a sense, post-racial, especially after defending African-American actor, Michael B. Jordan, for playing the Human Torch in the Fantastic Four Film.

The Black Movement in the United States has only paid a particular attention to blackness—leaving out Afro-Latinos as “not being really black.” Being Black in the U.S is equated with being African-American in a time where there is a continuous migration from Africa, the Caribbean and Afro-Latin America. The Black Movement in the U.S invisibilizes Afro-Latinos amongst other Afro-descendants in a time when ALL Black Lives Should Matter. Many African-Americans in the U.S created a controversy over Zoe Saldaña playing Nina Simone. There were several articles published infuriated with her allegedly “playing a blackface” and being a self-loathing Dominican–although most of these articles also forget she is half Puerto Rican. During a Hip-Hollywood.com interview, Zoe Saldaña clearly states she identifies as a Black woman, but that comment was omitted from many conversations.

According to Terry Swoope, Zoe Saldaña is not a Black woman; she is a Hispanic woman. This reveals the little knowledge that many have in Black America about blackness in the Americas. There is knowledge on the fact that most African slaves went to Latin America, that there is constant white privilege and racism among Latinos, that many Blacks resisted slavery and created maroon communities, have preserved African cultures, religious belief systems, and have been foundational for the development of African-American culture. Although many African-Americans acknowledge that there are Black people in Latin America, the problem arises when those same Black Latinos are in the United States. When black Latinos express their identity and blackness in ways that don’t translate into African-American culture and are curtailed as Latino culture, the problem arises.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.17.29 PM

It’s not simply about Dominicans or Afro-Puerto Ricans not identifying as Black, but it also has to do with if they are even allowed to be Black in the United States. There was a massive change.org urging to not allow Zoe Saldaña biopic of Nina Simone to come to the fore. Again, Black America has very little awareness of the history of blackface in Latin America and the hundreds of years of racial violence. To suggest that Zoe Saldaña is playing blackface by playing Nina Simone is outright foolhardy. It’s unclear as to who is doing the erasing because it seems like it’s Black America that has been doing all the efforts to keep Afro-Latinos from joining the ranks of Black unity. The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, also felt that Zoe Saldaña should not have played Nina Simone: “I did know Nina and I would have liked to see someone with a little more of a likeness and (who) hopefully played the piano.” But the question is more complicated than that. The problem with increasing diversity in Hollywood is not just due to overwhelming white actors, but who gets the thumbs up to play a Black role. Other Black actors have applied black makeup to look blacker: Forest Whitaker played Ugandan president and dictator, Idi Amin, and Kerry Washington playing Anita Hill, a famous and successful law professor who accused Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice of the supreme court, of sexual harassment. Of course, there was no controversy over either Kerry Washington or Forrest Whitaker darkening themselves for the roles. Meaning, that the only reason the controversy over Zoe Saldaña is not whether she represents the “soulfulness” of Nina Simone, but whether she is accepted as Black by African-American standards. Director and activist César Vargas comments: “I would like to ask the United League of Umbrage why did they not file complaints to Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr for Forest Whitakers’ darkening (as in blackface) for his role in the Last King of Scotland and, most recently, Kerry Washington’s playing Anita Hill. A woman who is obviously a few shades darker.”

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.17.40 PM

In this video, Reginald Jackson says:

“Zoe Saldaña is not even Black. She’s Dominican. Names like Mary J Blige, Jennnifer Hudson, Fantasia, were immediately mentioned to take over the role but for some reason I can only think it’s because Saldaña is a bigger name in Hollywood [and] is having open films such as Colombiana and Avatar that they decided to [cast her] for her box office appeal. But this is very upsetting, this is blackface. This is worst than blackface.”

This video conflates three arguments: 1) black figures need to be given good matches; 2) we need to eradicate colorism and stop assigning light-skin roles to darker black figures; 3) we need to stop using blackface at the expense of colorism. These arguments are well thought-out because they are constant problems that minimize the humanity and integrity of these figures. However, arguing that Zoe Saldaña is not Black is a completely different argument. Meaning, the big controversy behind Zoe Saldaña playing Nina Simone is actually a frustration with the false belief that a Latina (“because Latinas can’t be black”) who’s not Black is playing Nina Simone. And top of that, putting her in blackface with a prosthetic nose and teeth because of the colorism totem pole–going to great lengths to hire and choose Saldaña is a global problem.

What’s interesting and yet problematic with African-American activism against Dominicans of Haitian descent getting deported in the Dominican Republic, is that while they are for Haitian of Dominican descent (who aren’t asked if they identified as Black or not), continue to avoid tackling the bigger issue on the island, which is creating a Black consciousness both in the Dominican Republic and in the United States.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.17.51 PM

Many Dominicans of Haitian descent protesting in order to claim their Dominican identity and citizenship. http://www.ryot.org/5-things-know-cleaning-haitians-dominican-republic/935183

I mean, what’s going to happen when Dominicans of Haitian descent identify as Dominican in the United States? Are African-Americans going to ask: “Yeah, but what kind of Dominican?” Or “but you’re really Black because you’re of Haitian descent.” Is their blackness going to be denied or accepted based on the same divisions that we are supposed to be eradicating in the first place? Calling Zoe Saldaña a non-black woman is plainly hypocritical and divisive. One thing is for sure, the controversy of deportation and constant internalized racism in the United States demands a re-evaluation of what being Black is. If Black lives Matter, then All Black Lives should matter equally around the world.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.18.01 PM

Haitian-Dominican solidarity requires viewing the island and its boundaries as porous and fluid rather than advocating solely for Dominicans of Haitian descent by acknowledging the blackness of both countries.

The first step in removing the Haitian-Dominican divide begins by acknowledging that both countries share histories of slavery, colonial wounds and a need to come together. Acknowledging the blackness of Haitian but yet denying the blackness of Dominicans creates a problem for Haitian-Dominicans–the same way that it creates problems for Afro-Latinos in the United States. We should begin to uncover the issue of African-American exceptionalism as a barrier that impedes multiple black identities in the United States. In fact, when one analyzes the movie, The Last King of Scotland, Kerry Washington also has blackface in order to play the wife of Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker), and yet again there wasn’t a big outrage over that. If we are to condemn blackface then we have to include this as a global problem.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.18.11 PM

In the movie The Last King of Scotland (2006), Kerry Washington put Blackface in order to fit the role of the wife of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.

When we see actresses like Jennifer Hudson playing Winnie Mandela, instead of African actresses, there are little complaints. We begin to realize that there is, in fact, an issue that needs to be addressed.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 3.18.24 PM

Jennifer Hudson immersing herself in South African culture before playing Winnie Mandela. While it is acceptable for having African-Americans to play both African-American roles and other Black roles it becomes problematic when Afro-Latinos try to play African-American and Latino roles.

Afro-Cuban American singer, actress, and songwriter, Cristina Milian, had to change her name from Christine Flores to Cristina Milian in order to get acting roles. Other Afro-Latina artists, such as Tatyana Ali, Gina Torres, among others, all express their unpleasant experiences in Hollywood and other industries of show business dissatisfied with how difficult it is to get a Latina role for being Black. But what is also important is that they had to play African-American roles to the tee. While it’s easy to point fingers at Latinos and say “it’s you who denies your blackness,” the truth is that many African Americans believe that Latinos cannot be black and that Blackness could not also be inclusive of Latinos. In other words, Afro-Latinos, or those Latinos who are racially black, will never be recognized by them. The Nina Simone biopic will be released next year and we have yet to see what additional backlash or support it will receive. Zoe Saldaña playing this role is just one more case of the lack of “reading” the African Diaspora. The faster we understand that the African Diaspora is present in all of the Americas (read: not just the United States), the sooner we will be able to understand that blackness goes beyond African Americanness, even within the United States. Moreover, the faster we can come together in shared struggles that won’t end up propagating more divisions. Although there is a fear to mention internal conflicts, it is important for these conflicts to get addressed publicly and in unison.

10873348_809775349083984_6258502584498741089_o

William Garcia is an Afro-Nuyorican by way of Staten Island. He has a BA and a MA in History from the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras. His research interests are Afro-Latino history, hip-hop and reggaeton in the Caribbean and Puerto Rican transnational migration. He is currently an MA student in Curriculum and Teaching at the Teachers College of Columbia University in New York City. You can find him on Twitter @webdubois2014

 

 

Comments

  1. John Vista

    The question is, does Zoe Saldaña consider herself a black woman? If she does, there’s nothing to be argued here. If she doesn’t, then one could see why many would be bothered by her playing Nina Simone.

    Race is not a biological fact. For those who are of a “mixed” ancestry, it plays more into how they themselves identify. Where does Saldaña stand in regards to her black ancestry?

    • Isabel

      Take a look at her if you didn’t read in full, what was written on this article. Beign dominican doesn’t make her any less black than Her hypocritical double standard loving African American counterparts.

    • D. Brown

      i do not want to dishonor your comment. However, i would like to point out that when the lawyers of various ethnicity get together and decide to successfully sue for Afro-American reparations, 90% of americans will discover their African origins and consider themselves to be black.

    • I disagree is not about whether she consider herself black is about being physically right for the role. And she’s not right for the role because she doesn’t look like Nina. Nina’s physicality shaped her life immensely.

  2. Isabel

    Why do African Americans (why can’t they just be americans BTW?) believe that we need their permission to be black? And why are they in a witch hunt after biracial people asking them to identify as something only so they will feel more comfortable around us, because they refuse to understand other people’s culture and history as regular americans do.

    • Theresa

      It’s not about anyone needing our permission to be anything. The point is Nina Simone had a time getting jobs as a classical pianist because of her dark skin. She fought for Black liberation. She was discrimated against. Her skin tone was a major part of her life. It was everything actually. That should be recognized on the big screen. Not someone wearing makeup to portray it. That’s the point. No disrespect to anyone. We are looking honest portrayal.

    • Luis Rodriguez Cruz

      Well,let’s see.Is the late baseball great Roberto Clemente black?
      Can a African american answer this particular question?

  3. novisanoborder

    thank you, thank you, thank you, gracias, gracias, gracias

    I am a Caribbean fellow in EUA like you, and my African colleagues from work keep telling me they feel as rejected as myself by the African-Americans… unbelievable!!! … we just gave up and ignore their bullying

    it is an American thing… believe me, that’s what I think this is, “an American thing from the EUA Americans to others… to every single creature that is from the other Americas and other continents… all rooted in Narcissist Nationalist Imperialism and Segregation

  4. Agus

    I was under the impression that acting is just that, ACTING! Although I can understand castings to be close to the actual person. Acting is a craft, and we have seen how actors transform and give an Oscar performance. Zoe Saldaña is as capable an actress as any.

  5. Jonathan

    This is cool and all but the nose prosthesis….bro that invalidates your argument heavily.

    • Me

      I love her. BUT there are so many black musician/actors that could have played this role. I don’t think it was all about the race, but she just can’t portray the side of Nina Simone that we love. The voice, the piano. She will definitely act great but I guess we will see. Maybe her lip singing skills are sick!!

  6. Debora Johnson-Ross

    Not getting into the fray about being of African descent here. I believe that all peoples of African descent must stand together. Just want to point out the author’s mistake in naming Nelson Mandela’s wife, Winnie. He repeatedly identifies her as Minny. Her name was Winnie. Please correct.

  7. The key question to ask here is, how did Blacks in other regions of the world view African Americans? And, to be fair, we’d have to expand this to include other peoples of color who were either directly or indirectly affected by European and American imperialism in the 19

  8. Dennis Hampton

    I hear al the excuses but I is those who are mixed descent that try to run away from the american black experience. The first thing that cones out of their mouth is. Oh I am not black. Then they will define themselves with their nationality. Zoe defines herself as Latin. We can see she black. Every article that has been writin she has define herself as so.she uses it , the blackness when it suits her purpose. You ever seen her at a African american awards show. No. But she will go to a Latin one.what she can to suit her purpose.

    • Gloria

      This is where the term ‘intersectionality’ becomes so important. She is Latina. She is black. She is a woman. None of those identities outstrips the other. As an Afrolatina it was almost impossible for her to get a role as a Latina in Hollywood until Colombiana. Now it seems that she is not black enough either. There are more and more articles on this subject as a double marginalized group of people begin to reclaim visibility. Maybe some day it will be permissible within society for people like Zoe to be both Latina and black.

  9. Denise

    Well gosh, I didnt know my Black self, whose ancestors are buried in the bitter earth of the Southeastern US, was your oppressor. Should we stop telling our own stories and prioritize the telling of yours instead? You disparage African-Americans, yet you complain about not being allowed to tell our stories. We are just as fierce about telling our truths as you are
    about telling yours. Can Kerry Washington play Celia Cruz? That IS what you’re advocating, the interchangeability of Africanness. I did disagree with Jennifer Hudson playing Winnie Mandela. And if you
    recall the movie flopped. As for The Last King of Scotland, Forest Whitaker got an Academy Award for that. But how many African-Americans are involved in the Academy? If you’ve been paying any attention, #Oscarssowhite is a thing.
    I can count on one hand the number of Black folk I know who saw that movie. And as for other Africans playing African-Americans…didnt African-American director, Ava Duvernay, have African David Oyelowo play Martin Luther King? I didnt hear anybody complaining. And Lupita Nyongo as Patsy? Who wasnt loving that performance? See you must understand, Nina Simone is sacred to us. As sacred as Celia Cruz is to Latinx or Miriam Makeba is to Africans. We wont tolerate foolishness like blackened makeup and big-butt prosthetics. Our ancestors went through that shit with minstrelsy. Not here, not in 2016. And certainly not Nina Simone. If Zoe had just played the part without the enhancements and acted her ass off, that would have been fine by me. Skin color is ot indicatove of a great performancefactEnsWell gosh, I didnt know my Black ass, whose ancestors are buried in the bitter earth of the Southeastern US, was your oppressor. Should we stop telling our own stories and prioritize the telling of yours instead? You disparage African-Americans, yet you complain about not being allowed to tell our stories. We are just as fierce about telling our truths as you are about telling yours. Can Kerry Washington play Celia Cruz? That IS what you’re advocating, the interchangeability of Africanness. I did disagree with Jennifer Hudson playing Winnie Mandela. And if you recall the movie flopped. As for The Last King of Scotland, Forest Whitaker got an Academy Award for that. But how many African-Americans are involved in the Academy? If you’ve been paying any attention, #Oscarssowhite is a thing. I can count on one hand the number of Black folk I know who saw that movie. And as for other Africans playing Afrocan-Americans…didnt African-American director have African David Oyelowo play Martin Luther King? I didnt hear anybody complaining. And Lupita Nyongo as Patsy? Who wasnt all over that performance? See you must understand, Nina Simone is sacred to us. As sacred as Celia Cruz is to Latinx or Miriam Makeba is to Africans. We wont tolerate foolishness like blackened makeup and big-butt prosthetics. Our ancestors went through that shit with minstrelsy. Not here, not in 2016. And certainly not Nina Simone. I love Zoe actually, she’s one of my faves. If she had been allowed to forgo the makeup and just acted her ass off, that would’ve been fine by me. Matching skin tone is not requisite for a great performance; i.e., Denzel Washington as Malcolm X.

    My question is, what’s your point you’re making with this diatribe? Are you trying to promote pan-African
    understanding or are you coming for our collective African-American jugular? Because if we’re your enemy, why does the next POTUS, Donald Trump, have his knife in your back and his boot up your…you know.

  10. Francena M.

    Yeah, miss me with centering her right to bungee cord out in and out of Blackness over a an extremely clear disrespect of Nina Simone and everything that she is and was. Not this time. The conversation just doesn’t get hijacked THIS time. Nice try though.

  11. JJ

    It is important to acknowledge that one can be Latina and Black. But, it seems that the majority of people who think that Saldana “is not black enough” to play Simone, are commenting on Saldana’s color/complexion, not her race. Yes, Simone and Saldana are similar in that they are racially of African descent. But, that’s where the similarities end. Simone embraced herself as a dark-skinned beauty, when the world said she was ugly for her dark-skin. So, I understand why you would want somebody with Simone’s complexion and/or characteristics to play her role. The fact that such a light-skinned actress was picked to play Simone seems to reiterate the false notion that lighter is better, and that goes against everything Simone.

    Furthermore, when you look at the pictures of Saldana playing Simone, the make-up is so bad that it actually does look like black-face.

    I genuinely hope that Saldana slay’s the role, but when you see the pictures of Saldana as Simone with that awful make-up, it just seems disrespectful to Simone’s beautiful, yet nuanced and tragic legacy. Furthermore, it’s easy to understand why J.Lo was Selena, even thug they were different ethnicities and it is easy to understand why Foxx played Ray Charles. But, it’s extremely hard to understand why anybody would think that Saldana could play the brilliant singer, pianist, Civil Rights activist and Dark-Skineed beauty, NINA SIMONE.

  12. Reckless

    While you raise important points about how Afro-Latinos are perceived by African Americans you completely ignore the issue of colorism as it relates to the problematic portrayal of Nina Simone by Saldana. The issue isn’t about Saldana not being “black enough” it’s about Hollywood consistently preferring lighter-skinned black people – even to the point of being willing to take lighter-skinned black people artificially darken them, and apply a prosthetic nose.

    It’s also an insult to Simone because she talked extensively about colorism and how her life was shaped by being a dark-skinned black woman with traditional African features. To choose a light-skinned black woman and artificially apply those features to her is spitting on Simone’s legacy.

  13. D

    Its more the fact that Nina had features that was mostly regected in this society and that she was such a great pianist and singer. They could of used someone else like maybe India Arie if she can act. Zoe is an excellent actress but Nina’s features are absolutely apart of her story Those other black face black actors mentioned could have been replaced but their character played wasn’t that big of a deal compared to Nina’s features.. As far as Blacks throughout the Diaspora if you know world history you would know your mother could be brought to Puerto Rico and your father Alabama- your mother in Mexico father in Europe or Jamaica South Carolina we were spread all over and others still in Africa. It’s fools that like to big up their hometown of oppression that’s the problem and their are that like to say we are a mixture of 3 races not knowing that same mix occurred in the USA

  14. Moon

    The problem with the Nina project (as well as Last King of Scotland) is that these were projects helmed by white directors and writers. ANY person of color would have sounded the alarm that perhaps it is culturally and historically “problematic” to use darkened make-up and prosthetics to depict an actual non-fictional person. As a woman of color, Zoe should have had the courage to say “If I’m gonna do this, I’m going to do this with my acting chops…sans make-up.” (Denzel did it with Malcolm, Angela did it with Tina.) The reason that everyone in in the entire diaspora SHOULD be upset is because this is an afront to what Nina represented for all of us. Here is a woman who wrote and composed the song FOUR WOMEN a song dedicated to embracing the complexity and diversity of black womanhood, who was also very vocal about the struggles she faced as a dark skinned woman with African features. Zoe HAS to know this. So, the real issue is not the percieved lack of understanding that African Americans have with regards to diasporic expressions of blackness, but it’s really about Zoe’s commitment to the authenticity of our COMMUNAL narratives (and I’ll say ditto for Forrest and Kerri.) This is not about her being Afro-Latina this is about her being a typical ahistorical Hollywood negro.

    • fesah

      A latino directed it. Zoe didnt even audition

  15. Valencia

    Nope. Nope. And Nope. You’ve [author] missed the mark ENTIRELY. It’s NOT about Saldana being “Afro-Latina”. If you look at the pictures that YOU have posted, there are CLEARLY the SAME different shades of “black” in the Latino community as there are in the “African-American” community. The choice in actor did not HAVE to be an actress from the U.S.A. The choice could have been from U.S.A., actresses from the continent of Africa, OR an Afro-Latina. The problem is that the choice should have LOOKED like Nina Simone, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, the choice should not have PUBLICLY made comments expressing her personal sentiment that “I don’t see color, everybody is pink, and the concept of ethnicity is PREPOSTEROUS, and I don’t get out of bed everyday thinking about my blackness, and I literally RUN from people wanting to discuss it”. These are Saldana’s words [paraphrased], but I’m sure the exact quote can be googled. This is quite literally the ABOUT-FACE/POLAR OPPOSITE of Nina Simone’s personal and EXPRESSED sentiments. Any Afro-Latina actress that LOOKED in any way like Nina, as in MINUS all traces of the “european beauty standard” would have played that part from the depths of their SOUL, and the audience would be able to relate to, enjoy, and applaud such a performance. Instead, we get THIS, from someone who feels like THAT, and underneath the EXTREMELY DISTRACTING COSTUME MAKEUP, is yet another example of Hollywood choosing THEIR standard EVEN to portray OUR standard. TRUST AND BELIEVE that there are AFRO-LATINAS that do NOT like this choice of actress EITHER for the SAME reasons that I have explained. If the casting director just HAD TO HAVE a black LATINA actor play the part, he or she COULD HAVE chosen one that did NOT require a full-on TRANSFORMATION. She looks HORRIBLE in every clip that I’ve seen of this movie. It’s insulting, and for you or anybody else to attempt to make this about the divide that is “colorism” within ALL black communities is, again, MISSING THE POINT. ENTIRELY. I LIKE Saldana’s movies. She’s a very talented actress. The dissent isn’t about hating on Latino. It’s about hating on HOLLYWOOD that just REFUSES to keep it real and oppresses the standard BLACK BEAUTY STANDARD in ALL THINGS, movies, commercials (although things are getting better there), music videos, magazines. The BLACK BEAUTY STANDARD is extremely underrepresented and there should be NO MISSED OPPORTUNITIES, and this Nina Simone biopic is a HUGE missed opportunity, and at Nina Simone’s expense, at THAT.

  16. PONYBOY

    BLACK PEOPLE ALWAYS GOT A STUPID ISSUE.LIGHT SKIN DARK SKIN.
    MAN FUCK , THIS WHITE BLACK SHIT ! IM ME!
    JUST BE HAPPY TO BE ALIVE AND ENJOY !

    • Por Dios. YA!

      What you said.

      Everything else here is sounding real hard trying to defend “negritude”. My skin, my skin….. anyway, back to my skin again. Such hypocrisy coming out of a community that is only 5% of the African Diaspora. When they do anything, no one should say a word or these people will get upset and have a hissy fit.

      African Americans are well represented in Hollywood. Everyone else is not. Chris Rock gets up and disses basically everyone who is not African American in his sad attempt to bring attention (or force) into upping the African American presence. The very next day many of htese same people are online telling US that African Americans should not have to carry the weight of other people of African descent…. Latinos, in particular. When did we ever ask for you to “help us”, O Savior of all African people? When? I certainly did not. I would prefer you stick to solving your own problems for which solutions are not yet available. It is African Americans who talk about “diversity” as a front for their own issues. Not OUR issues, just theirs. The Oscars were not “so white”. Your complaints were not even justified when looking at the numbers. You want to be in EVERYTHING. But…. when it is up to YOU, no one else can be involved. And…. if they are, they have to go through this rigorous trial of fire just to prove something (namely our African-ness)…. to a people who segregate themselves when ever they get that chance. You’re becoming quite racist in your outlooks (peruse YouTube for some choice nonsense). No one can say a thing otherwise.

      They are caught in this victim mentality that they would love to project on anyone who does not claim they are “black”. Some of the loudest ones are freaking close to a European complexion (token Latinos included) and all they do is scream out their melanin for lack of. It’s actually to the point that perhaps Latinos should just worry about ourselves and go it alone.

      Newsflash. We do not have to prove “blackness” when we already live our African-ness with pride in our CULTURE; how WE see the world. I’m pretty much DONE with having to prove how “black” I am…. to ANYONE. I certainly don’t need a culture which DEFINES its very existence on slavery terms to tell me about mine. Insecurities are rampant in the African American community. Until you can rein in all the insanity that is occurring in YOUR OWN community, telling anyone else anything about “negro-ness” (including African people) is a moot point. Work out your COLORISM issues without dragging people across the coals just because you FEEL the need to lash out. I, also, do not need to be an “Afro-” anything to claim how much I love my heritage. We are MULTI-ETHNIC and “Latino” encompasses all of that. Please, take your over-the-top, mystic-tan having Latino tokens and go somewhere else with that BS. Mami don’t play that. It’s such a trite argument at this point. You can’t and won’t dictate how we perceive ourselves. If you choose to hate Europeans, that is SO on YOU. If you choose to harp on SOME people (the ones whom your pompous selves feel the need to constantly APPROVE) instead of ALL when it comes to character portrayal, it is YOUR double-standard that needs checking. We do not need to scream out our African-ness when there are other ethnicities within our Pan-Latino identity who don’t need to be muted because some people think THEIR “one-drop” nonsense applies to all of us. People who immigrate here and are of African heritage don’t need to adopt your insecurities. Camaraderie does not require me to give up my culture just to be “black” in order to relate, let alone PLEASE an angry mob of African Americans who don’t seem to know a lot about their own heritage.

      It does not matter if I am dark as coal. I am LATINA. That is enough proof that I am the world wrapped in one. Keep your one-drop ridiculousness to yourselves.

  17. Por Dios. YA!

    African Americans got some nerve considering all the BLACKFACE and WHITEFACE they themselves are doing. With weaves and plastic surgeries on some of your most cherished celebrities, you sure are pushing it when it comes to being authentic. Even India Arie uses skin lightener. So many of them do this. And, then you have these fake behind/plastic face-looking locas. You’re kidding, right? Let me not get started on the fake marriages to cover up for the gay rappers who are so damn shook to be who they truly are they need to pay talentless thots to shut up about their surrogacy.

    I am Cuban. Africa lives in me ALL DAY. I don’t need to be an Afro-Cubana when my own family is more than that.

Submit a Comment

Pin It