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Guest post: The Afro-Latina natural hair experience

Avatar • Jul 2, 2010

I’ve received several emails from Afro-Latina women who are embracing their coily/curly hair in a culture that is often unsupportive of and uneducated about natural hair. 

Vickiana says:

I am so happy I came across your website. As a latina (dominican), there aren’t many women going natural around my neck of the woods. So, it was comforting to find this website and motivate me to stick through this…

And this email is from Vashti:

I wanted to send you this email to let u know that ur website is absolutely awesome! 11 years ago I got pregnant with my daughter and decided that i didn’t want to put anymore relaxers in my hair. Unfortunately i had no idea how to take care of my hair and after i gave birth i let my mother convince me to go to the salon and have a relaxer done. After that i tried on and off to go natural but always ran into the same problem I didn’t know how to take care of my natural hair.

Then Jan 2010 I decided that was it, I wasn’t going to try to go natural I was going to just do it. So I started researching online and stumbled onto your site… I’m half black and half puerto rican and grew up with my puerto rican mother who never did that kind of stuff to our hair so it was all foreign to me.

I’ve wanted to address this topic for a while, but felt I unqualified because I’m not Afro-Latina.

Then, at the Chicago naturals meetup, I met Dheena (pictured above) a GORGEOUS Panamanian natural. We started talking and she agreed to write a piece about her experience going natural as an Afro-Latina. Enjoy!

**********************************************

Mi gente!

Being Hispanic — “Afro-Latina” — and natural is a complete challenge. It amazes me that in America, where being different is interesting and studied, we as beautiful brown-skinned Latinas have to deal with the negativity that surrounds natural hair.

I was born in Brooklyn, New York the “Americanized” child of Panamanian parents. I have a keen understanding of where I’m from and the beauty of my cultural background BUT there is one BIIIIIIIGGGG problem — brown-skinned Latinas are extremely hesitant to embrace the African roots mixed with “el son, la cumbia, el congo, y la salsa” within us. The big question is ‘why’? Why are the majority of Latina women OBSESSED with the waves and soft curls, rollers, perms, and “el blower” wraps?

As a little girl I used to admire seeing my mom get her hair done. I thought it was magic whenever her tight coils turned into a bone straight mane.

Me and my cousin getting our hair combed.
Religiously, every six weeks, perms were scheduled for Sundays at the house; a Dominican avocado treatment, roller set, blow dry, and wrap. Take notice of all the heat involved. When she roller set it she looked like one of Charlie’s Angels.

As I got older I noticed how Latin women would go insane over having straight and wavy hair. No NAPS! As my mom would say back in the day “no kinky…ese estilo no me gusta”. “No kinks…I don’t like that style”. The Latina beauty standard was just like America’s; a woman with a small waist, hips, very fair skin (European decent) and with LOOOOONG wavy hair. The media, novellas, and the public considered it the beauty norm. In soap operas the Afro-Latina is ALWAYS the maid or mami caregiver.

La Rubia (Blonde)
My mother used to dye her hair blonde as soon as she saw those brown roots coming. When I became the militant HBCU attendee, I asked my mother why she would dye her hair blonde and cause all that damage over the years. She replied that blonde hair was what men found attractive and pretty — and that she was trying to look like Tina Turner.

My mother (left) with the Tina Turner look
I remember my father would make sure that my mother got her hair done just as he wanted; long, blonde and wavy.

As a child I was obsessed with getting a perm. My mother gave me my first “Just for me” Perm at the tender age of nine. My hair was thick, full, and flowing for about a year.

My mother and I after I got my first relaxer at age nine.
After that, the constant relaxing took it’s toll and my hair went downhill.

I decided to go natural in 2003 while I was attending Florida A&M University. Because of the negative remarks from family members acting like I had committed the worst sin, plus dealing with an unsupportive boyfriend, I relaxed it. I became victim to damage (again) and chopped my hair to an inch in 2006. When I went home to NYC for the holidays I got the “oh my God, you look like a little boy”, to “como vas a conseguir un novio con ese pelo?” (“How are you going to find a man?”) Thankfully I had enough confidence to say, “Well I like it and at least my hair is healthy”.

Newly natural and a proud Latina
It didn’t matter to them that I decided to go natural because my eczema was invading my hairline in the back of my neck or that I had scabs that sometimes BLED! YES BLED! All that mattered was that my damaged long chemically treated mane was no longer present.

Today I have aunts — whose hair is damaged from years of perms and light dyes — that are in awe of my mane and inspired by my hair, thinking that it’s a full wig.

Loving my curls
I am happy to see that more and more Latinas of obvious African decent are embracing their oingy-boingy kinks and curls. WE ARE BEAUTIFUL! The browns, yellows, whites, and blacks, purple! No one can define what beauty is, but I must admit… it’s better when it’s natural!!!!

Ciao Chicas xoxo,

Dheena Acuña-Doyle

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Anfaani
Anfaani
10 years ago

beautiful! keep rocking that hair and being yourself. you never know, your familia may come around.

Michelle
Michelle
10 years ago

Your hair is very cute. I get really tired of hearing about how “Afro”-Latinas don’t embrace their West African looks..I could care less if they acknowledge they are part of the diaspora and are looked at as black people too-that’s their problem. I love being who I am.

Lonitra
Lonitra
10 years ago

Absolutely love this blog. I completely understand where you are coming from with the Latina “norm” its so aggravating at times, because in some cases like at my university the Latin organizations are pretty particular in who they “accept” as far as looking like a Latina. I am Afro-Latina as well and most can tell i am of African decent however it bothers me to an extent when my fellow peers ask me my background and i say “I am African and Cuban American, and they say “no i mean your ancestry.” As if to say I cant possibly be… Read more »

b.
b.
10 years ago

Standing ovation!!!

JASMIN(NTRALBEAUTY)
JASMIN(NTRALBEAUTY)
10 years ago

OMG!! I can totally relate. It is a damn shame that the Latin culture is so negative about embracing their true roots. I am Dominican and people ask what my background is ALL the time. When I respond telling them I am Dominican, they are like “oh, guess you did not get the good hair” or “oh, your hair makes you look black”, SO IGNORANT!… I absolutely LOVE my hair! It is dark and FULL of coils and curls. My own family sees me and asks when am I going to get my hair done. All this to say WE… Read more »

Stephanie C. Tucker
Stephanie C. Tucker
10 years ago

I remember you from the meetup.I was right behind her and we are all a thing of beauty in our natural state, but that girl was gorgeous. very inspiring Chica

Nickie Dee
10 years ago

What a beautiful story! Gotta use “Oingy-Boingy”, lol that’s a cute phrase!

Candace
10 years ago

Thank you so much for this post. It is difficult for us latinas because people so often want you to draw a fine line and “choose” which side you are on. I also am Puerto Rican and black. My family can’t relate cause all they’ve known is relaxers but they NEVER made me feel like I had to choose. So why does the rest of the community want me to? Why should I have to choose between the two sides of me that I love… naturally.

Represent Mija! We are all beautiful!

Alisha
10 years ago

Loved this story and love her hair! I’m actually part Latina by way of my mother, but don’t know Spanish, lol. Anyway, I’m glad to see stories like this because I realized long ago the pressures many Afro- or curlier haired Latinas had to make themselves conform to the supposed beauty norm. I have to admit, some of the best salons I’ve visited over the years were the Dominican ones. But it made me sad how all of us felt we had to get our hair blown to silky straight perfection just to look “right”. 🙁 By the way, Jasmin,… Read more »

Sasha-Shae
10 years ago

She’s absolutely gorgeous! I love her hair in the curly afro. Just pretty!

trackback

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Alisha De Freitas, Black Girl Long Hair. Black Girl Long Hair said: Dheena talks about the challenge of being natural and Afro Latina http://bit.ly/conE9K #naturalhair […]

L.
L.
10 years ago

I agree with b. Standing ovation!

E*star
E*star
10 years ago

This post made my heart swell with pride and love. As a natural Latina (cuban/puerto rican), It’s hard not to occasionally feel isolated ‑like an island, if you will 😉 by lack of visibility on these sites from other naturals whose culture and ethnicity i can identify with.

MP
MP
10 years ago

Between this and the NFATW posts we see that culture is truly becoming globalized. Our experiences going natural are echoing each other no matter where we are in the world, no matter which dialect or language the people advising us to take up the flat iron/hot comb/relaxer are doing it in. It’s comforting to have so much company and scary at the same time.

And I think Dheena and her hair are gorgeous too 🙂

amber
10 years ago

I love this post! I am also a black person of Latin descent. We come in many shades and with many different hair textures. I love my kinks/curls and I am never looking back! Kudos on this post!

Black Married Momma
10 years ago

I get confused about the “Afro-Latina” thing, admittedly. Why? It seems that most of those whom I’ve met who may be characterized in this manner emphasize the Latin and downplay the “Afro,” when in fact, just like their brethren and sistren in North America, we are byproducts of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and all mixed up with other peoples, often by force. They speak Spanish and we speak English, but we are of primarily African descent with a shared heritage of capture, enslavement and assimilation.

Shukura
10 years ago

THANKYOU FOR SHARING YOUR STORY, its sooo sad, but im glad you realised that natural is better. and im gladu were the first to do it and continued through even though you didnt have the support of no one not even your familia

xx

its nice to here afro latina side of the hair stories as there are so many african americans on this site so its nice to hear it from a different perspective and a different part of the world
xx
Shukura

mynaturalhairrocks
mynaturalhairrocks
10 years ago

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR POSTING THAT! Ive been natural for one year and a half and considering moving to the Dominican Republic, and I always remember from past trips there, the whole obsession with good hair bad hair! i get so sick of people denying their african heritage. people are SO brain washed! its sickening sometimes. But i have to admit, i probably was for a while too.

At least we have the each other in the natural hair blog world.

Michelle
Michelle
10 years ago

I agree with Black Married Momma..it’s all almost the same story just in different languages..and I don’t consider the Dominican Republic “another part of the world”..it’s in the Northern Hemisphere, in the Americas..

Melissa
10 years ago

I’m really glad Afro-Latina’s are being represented on such a positive site. I could definitely relate.

justicefighter1913
justicefighter1913
10 years ago

This is a very powerful piece! Thanks D! Love your fierce hair and style!

vashti
vashti
10 years ago

Hi all vashti here I bc’d june 12th n the next day sent an email 2 leila n my email was part of this post as I said in my email I’m black n puerto rican n can definetly relate 2 dheenas story. When I told my granma from my moms side[puerto rican but wit hair nappier then spanish culture likes n at 80 still doin relaxers] she said what r u gonna do just walk around nappy? It just kills me that ppl even my own fam don’t understand their own hair. To make matters worse the day I… Read more »

Adriana
Adriana
10 years ago

@ Black Married Momma and Michelle: While the Afro-Latina/o and Afro-American experiences share some commonalities, I think it’s a vast oversimplification to say that the only difference between the way that race has played out in North America and they way that it has played out in Latin-America, is a matter of language. Even though racial differences are still an issue, Latin-American societies place a strong emphasis on shared culture and national identity irrespective of race. That may explain why so many of the Afro-Latinas represented on this site identity as being both Latina and of African descent. I say… Read more »

Adriana
Adriana
10 years ago

oops I should have said “Anglo-America” instead of North America!

MissyD
MissyD
10 years ago

I am really glad to see this article. It is very VERY rare to see a Latina embrace her natural roots. So this is very inpirational

Erika
10 years ago

I’m Afro Puerto Rican and I can totally understand where you’re coming from. As a child my mother grew frustrated with me squirming and crying when she would try to comb and tame my thick afro hair. At the very tender age of 4 she gave me a kiddie relaxer to make it easier to comb my hair. I hated going to the salon! I hated not having wash and go hair like my white and lighter Hispanic peers. I took the natural plunge at 15 (with locs)and reverted to the creamy crack after cutting off my locs at 19.… Read more »

brunettefury
brunettefury
10 years ago

Great was a great read!

LBell
LBell
10 years ago

Que linda! Thank you for your story.

Yes, our culture may be becomingly increasingly global, but not when it comes to celebrating anything that’s native to West Africa: skin color, hair texture, facial features. And the saddest thing is that it’s mostly US downplaying OURSELVES. We should ALL OF US be proud of what we’re given…and stop paying attention to a media that makes money off of our shame…

Black Married Momma
10 years ago

Adriana, I understand what you mean. However, it’s somewhat difficult for me to balance that with so much of what I have usually encountered with Blacks from Latin America. Yes, there is certainly a great sense of cultural allegiance/connectivity, in fact, they tend to be even more dysfunctionally color conscious than we are, but often at the expense of acknowledging the fact that they are (primarily) black/African-descended. For example, I recently enocuntered a guy who was from the Dominican Republic. He looked somewhat on the order of someone like T.J. Holmes from CNN; he absolutely would not acknowledge that he… Read more »

ReneekaRae
10 years ago

dheena, you are beautiful! i must admit, i am just now learning that many afro-latinas do not embrace their natural hair. i always that latinas wore their natural hair out all the time. it didn’t make it any better when snoop dogg noted, “hair long, black, and curly like you cuban” (beautiful ft. pharrell). so this is very new to me. i’m glad that the issue is being addressed, and must say that regardless of your heritage, your texture and curls are just beautiful! fascinating, even! i’m upset that i straightened my hair before national afro day, and am tempted to… Read more »

Monisola
Monisola
10 years ago

I don’t understand the distinctions people are making. I am a black American. Afro-latinas are just black people in latin america. Africans were taken from Africa and sent to many different places. We are the descendants of those Africans. So whether you are from Latin America or South America or North America, USA, Canada whatever.…you are black. Because we are all mixed up. The majority of black people in the USA are mixed with europeans and native americans too. But we don’t try to down play our African or black heritage. We just say we are black. Why do Afro-Latinas… Read more »

Maritza
Maritza
10 years ago

First off thank you so much for sharing your story. I am Hispanic of Mexican background my husband is African American and we have a beautiful little girl. I have searched high and low for a term I can use to describe my daughters background without making either one of our ethnicity’s seems less important than the other and absolutely love the term “Afro-Latina”. I was blessed to have a close African American friend who has natural hair. She has guided me, advised me, encouraged me on how to take care of my little ones hair. I have educated myself… Read more »

Daja
Daja
10 years ago

I agree with Adriana. Language definetly isn’t the main thing that separates us from Latinos of African descent. Even some West Africans cannot identify with us solely on our ancestral background. In South America and the Carribean, their racial history is different then ours in the US (One drop Rule, Miscegenation). Slavery was slavery but the structure of slavery was different depending where it happened. The British were always isolated so when they joined the slave trade they had deep repulsive attitudes against black people b/c they had never seen them before. This lead to a great separation between them… Read more »

iREALiZED
iREALiZED
10 years ago

Shout out to FAMU!

Adriana
Adriana
10 years ago

@ Married Black Momma and Monisola: How is the unwillingness of the Latinos of visible African descent to identify as being “black” any different from those African Americans who insist on pointing out their distant “Native American” or indigenous roots?? Like Daja said despite our differences black societies all over the world have a tendency of affirming traits associated with the “oppressor.” Other differences between Anglo-American slavery and Latin-American or slavery that may explain the tendency of Afro-Latino/as to identify with a national or cultural identity: - in latin-american slave colonies, black slaves were the majority rather than the minority… Read more »

Patrice
Patrice
10 years ago

Adriana There were many differences between slavery in the carribbean / latin american countries and the US. Black N. Americans are more generationally removed from Africa than are their carribbean / latin american cousins. And as mentioned before the American idea of race is much more rigid. I’m not sure if having more a minority population means that white slave owners would encourage or tolerate intermixing. In many southern states black slavers were in fact the majority. Although the situation in S. Africa about slavery-“blacks” were the majority and intermixing was not really encouraged or tolerated. I believe that what these… Read more »

Janique
Janique
10 years ago

I do agree that across the board, no matter what culture you grew up in, some black people have complexes and don’t want to be considered completely black. It annoys me sometimes when people are like are you mixed because I guess my hair is not “black” enough. When I tell people I’m just black, they’re like, “no, you must have some white in you.” Granted, my grandmother is actually Cherokee Indian and had wavy hair, but what I identify with is my black culture. I’ve also been asked if I was Dominican. I never understood that one either. It… Read more »

Cygnet
10 years ago

I am African-American, and I am astounded and appalled by what I see as arrogance from other African-Americans who think it is your place to re-identify African Latinas because you disagree with where they put the emphasis on their own identification of the various parts of the cultures that make them who they are. You may draw conclusions and have opinions about who they are and how they should identify based on any arbitrary thing you want to bring up, but the only one you can truly identify in the end is your own self. And let’s face it, some… Read more »

Black Married Momma
10 years ago

I’ve studied and read a lot about the differing manifestations of slavery in the Americas and the different racial classification systems. Franz Fanon and many, many others. It still reaks of an anti-African sentiment — pointing out the non-visible aspects of oneself that are not black while downplaying that which clearly is, referring to oneself as “brown-skinned” rather than black … all symptoms of at least a partially colonized mind, in my mind, anyway.

Danni
Danni
10 years ago

I can not express how excited I was to see the words “Afro-Latina” when I came to this site today. My lovely boyfriend is Panamanian with features that clearly show his African ancestry and I have been hard pressed to find ANYTHING, ANYTHING that had to do with the Afro-Panamanian experience. I truly want to understand his culture, experiences and perspective but for all intents and purposes, there isn’t much out there. He loves all my natural kinks, coils and curls but it is obvious that he has only come to love all of our African features after years of… Read more »

dheebella
dheebella
10 years ago

I thank you for the compliments ladies. Means a lot! I am elated that I have inspired some women and sparked a topic of discussion for others.

Much love and blessings,
Dheena

Adriana
Adriana
10 years ago

@ Patrice: In response to your statement about the “one drop rule” encouraging greater racial self-identification than the more fluid racial model characteristic of Latin-America, I would not disagree with you there. However, I don’t remember saying that the Latin-American model was superior to the Anglo-American racial model, I simply pointed out that there are differences and those differences should be appreciated and understood. While there may not be as strong racial self-identification in Latin America, Latin American nations often view themselves as being “mulatto” nations or “brown nations” where racial mixture is a part of the national character. The… Read more »

S
S
10 years ago

Dheena-

Your hair is beautiful and your story is inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

I agree wholeheartedly with Cygnet. Who are we to assign labels?? It is her hair, her life and her journey. She is sharing to educate us. She knows who and what she is.

Aisha
Aisha
10 years ago

@Cygnet
Word to your whole post, especially this part:

You may draw conclusions and have opinions about who they are and how they should identify based on any arbitrary thing you want to bring up, but the only one you can truly identify in the end is your own self.”

and this

Do you!” And mind your own identity!”

It’s very out of line for outsiders to try to tell others how to identify, or to try to oversimplify their unique experiences. I want to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth! Great topic BGLH.

Ivy
Ivy
10 years ago

I’m also concerned by this preoccupation with how other women self-identify. it’s like me as an African telling every Black person on this site that y’all are all Africans and it doesn’t matter where your immediate ancestry is from and how that has affected your life, you should all self-identify as AFRICAN! that doesn’t make sense. i think we all love this site because it has encouraged us in some way to embrace who we are instead of someone else’s definition. when you say that you “get confused about the ‘Afro-Latina’ thing” and then someone explains it, we should respect… Read more »

Anon
Anon
10 years ago

A different culture is a different culture, no matter WHAT color you are. White folks from Sweden may not have the same eating habits as white people from America. I’m also Panamanian, and I do NOT identify with African-American experience because my parent’s are NOT American (African, sure, we’re black, but American, no) so I would say my experience is latino, but also West Indian as well… but never American. That doesn’t make me better than my neighbor’s who can find slave graves in Tennessee, that’s just who I am. Since this is a hair board, I compleeeetely agree with the… Read more »

Seattle Slim
10 years ago

I LOVED THIS!!! To the author, what part of Panama are you from? I’m from Panama too. My family is Panamanian and my grandfather still lives there. I came up here in 1992. Anyway, I remember this happening to an extent. My grandmother and all of her friends were always on time for their presses. The one thing that saved me while in Panama, was my mom was fiercely natural. It actually came crashing down when I came to the states. The presure was on in Panama but it seemed irrelevant, background noise. Up here, it was hell. I’m a… Read more »

summer-daze
summer-daze
10 years ago

I agree with Black Married Momma & Monisola. The whole ’ ”brown-skinned” Latina’ statements caught me making this face: :- There are 3 races: Mongoloid, Negroid & Caucasoid. Where is Latinasoid? Doesn’t exist right? That’s because the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba are all NATIONS. There’s a difference between RACE & NATIONALITY & alot of BLACK PEOPLE from South America fail at understanding the difference. Why are we SO afraid to be Black? If you tell a Black person from Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic they’re Black, they’re just about ready to fight. I’ve never heard a white person from Puerto Rico… Read more »

Adriana
Adriana
10 years ago

@ Summer-daze:

We live in a multiracial and multicultural world… NO ONE is racially pure… I think you’re confusing biological and socio-political definitions of race…

Mizz Yaz
Mizz Yaz
10 years ago

I love this blog and yes I feel woman who do all natural thing and take care of their hair. It can come out looking so much prettier!

Efuru
Efuru
10 years ago

I’m a little confused by why people are giving the ‘brown-skinned’ comment a side-eye, maybe she is just describing her skintone as their are Latinos of all tones. Think about it, who told you you were ‘black’? Wasn’t it the same ‘oppressors’ we are all (still) trying to overcome? It’s funny how we hold onto certain things, the term ‘Black’ is political (its also something that we learn; if you ask a four year old kid what colour they are, chances are you’ll get something like ‘Brown’) commonly used to identify people of the diaspora (and encourage Pan-Africanism) but in… Read more »

Eve
Eve
10 years ago

I really, really enjoyed reading your article Dheena. God bless.

Cant Keep My Mouth Shut
Cant Keep My Mouth Shut
10 years ago

Those of you that said we cannot chose another’s identity are correct, but I am still going to take issue with a few points. One, when I studied Spanish my Panamanian teacher fed me the lie that racism does not exist within Latin America. Two, in college I also learned the difference between the British system of slavery versus the Spanish system, and their supposed inclusionary, singular national identity. However, if the Latin countries were as inclusionary as we are led to believe, its citizen with African/“black” ancestry would not be hard-pressed to deny that ancestry, as evidenced by some… Read more »

Laquisia
Laquisia
9 years ago

As a lifelong Texan of African American descent, I agree wholeheartedly. Well said! And I too have nothing but love for people who look like me (until they add the distance and I sense the rejection).

maria
10 years ago

Love to see articles about my afro-latina’s! Most people don’t even know we exist. I’m Dominican, all natural and oh so proud.

anon
anon
10 years ago

@ Can’t keep my mouth shut I love a lot of your points, and I respect that you feel Familial to the diaspora, but (and I really don’t want to be bombastic or start any confrontation so please please please try not to read into the comment as such) I refuse to feel as familial just because we are all black. White people do NOT do that so why should we? I have some Israeli friends, white in appearance, who can not STAND American whites, or Italian whites. I understand that at the end of the day we’re all black… Read more »

AnaNicholle
AnaNicholle
10 years ago

Soy Panamena tambien!!! Y tambien nacio en Brooklyn!!! 😀

dheebella
dheebella
10 years ago

@ Seattle Slim My mother is from Colon and my father is from Rio Abajo. Saludos AMOR! To all of you that have an opinion on my “brown-skin” comment, I am referencing my skin tone. I believe in this post that I show how I am PROUD of having African roots instilled in me. “BLACK” is a color. Not once have I mention that I had a problem with my AFRICAN roots. In my family we dance Congo in Panama which is an ode to african dance rituals. This story was to expose what Afro-Latinas, Latinas, Black Latinas, Black hispanics,… Read more »

Say
Say
9 years ago
Reply to  dheebella

@Dheena! Being Afro Latino/Carribean American, I grew up always being proud of my roots and my nation I live in which my grandparents worked hard to come to from Barbados too. My Great Grandpa worked in Panama too…my great abuela was Bajan and puerto rican. I read your comment/story I totally agree! Sometimes I still feel I am not enough latina for some people or black for others, but I am happy and proud of everything that makes me who I am. The only thing that is still annoying is when people say “Oh, you just look Black or West… Read more »

LoudMouth
LoudMouth
8 years ago
Reply to  dheebella

Thanks for sharing your perspective Dheena. I am also [genetically]Afro-Latina (my father’s family is Puerto Rican). I fully embrace an American lifestyle and actually do not know much about my Latina roots because that side of my family does not live here. In more recent years have dipped my toe into the Latina-American community to try and learn more and have felt a little off-put due to not only my complexion, but my tight natural curls. I know first hand how the Spanish-speaking community can respond to natural hair and a great deal of racism is present even amongst those who… Read more »

Daja
Daja
10 years ago

I think we need to realize that we all have the right to self identify with what we want to identify as. Also not every Latino of African ancestry denies that ancestry (I have met some who identify as Afro-Latino expressing their African identity). Trust I know plenty of African Americans who always say they have “Cherokee, Creole, Irish…” but I never hear AFRICAN. This is why I said that every country that has had slavery does have a superior/inferior complex. This isn’t exclusive to Latinos which is why I always get confused when a debate goes on about people… Read more »

Kasandra
Kasandra
10 years ago

@anon your post is umm.….a tad bit ignorant. Not all black Americans listem to Hip-Hop/Rap and eat fried chickien or soiuthern(soul food) like not all Latinas listen to salsa music. You generalized a whole race of people, which is disrespectful yet you want people to respect your Latina culture? Whether you like or don’t some aspects of what is percieved to be Black American culture is fine, but don’t lump all black Americans together or belittle us over your “culture”. PLease step out of your box.… & why are people arguing about being black. Whether your African, Black American, Afro Caribbean,… Read more »

Anon
Anon
10 years ago

I knew someone would say that and think what you want, but again it wasn’t meant to downplay American culture or put my own over others. it was simply MY personal preferences. But I mean, like i said I know I’m black, and I have to deal with that like every other black person does. I’d just rather do it with my preferences.

Maria
Maria
10 years ago

No sense in arguing over something that neither side will 100% agree on. I am Latina and almost everyone in my family has natural hair. Its nothing new, nobody talks about it, its not a big deal. I keep it straight sometimes.. I keep it curly and big sometimes.. nobody is coming after me with a relaxer LOL As far as the subjects that are off topic… I love my African roots, but I don’t necessarily identify with people that are African. I also love my Spanish roots, but I don’t identify with anyone from Spain at all either. Women… Read more »

Joy
Joy
10 years ago

The problem is black has become synonymous to some with African American. I personally don’t like that term. Ever hear of European Americans? No. So, personal rant is over!

I’m Black. I’m American. I’m naturally nappy and I love it! There’s definitely a complex about having natural hair among black women from many countries, but sites and stories like this are helping to change that.

Going Anon
Going Anon
10 years ago

@ Anon,

Your “Israeli” friends are not just white in appearance, they are white. Europeans are not the real Hebrews. Israelis are invaders.

Just had to get that out!

blkamerican
blkamerican
10 years ago

First time I have commented on website in years, yay! I am a black American (google Smokey Robinson’s black American poem, it sums up how I identify myself) and I think the problem with identity, esp amongst those of the African Diaspora, is the color lines all countries have drawn. I am an American so I am more familiar with the one drop rule but I read it worked in reverse in Latin America. NONE of my latino friends/co-workers of African descent will EVER say they’re black and I don’t think they should. I am too proud to ever try… Read more »

Memo26
Memo26
8 years ago
Reply to  blkamerican

With the one drop rule I hope you ladies know that, it was a white racists supremacists named Walter Ashby Plecker, that made that rule up, because he didn’t want colored people in which we are, we actually are not fully black, to identify with the white society or indian society, when most likely that is what we african americans/colored people really got along with african, if you don’t believe look it up! It is sad that people say they don’t heed to the white society, but they are heeding to their rules. We are still believing in that one… Read more »

blkamerican
blkamerican
10 years ago

One day I met a Domincan man who I thought was black. He spoke perfect English w/o an accent so of course I didn’t know his ethnicity. (He was born in America so his nationality is American) I can’t remember what my co-worker said but his reponse was “I am not black” That statement wasn’t the problem, it was the look of disgust he had on his face that made my blood boil. I know my history so if there is ANYTHING he wanted to say negative about American blacks, I could counter it with the positives/and tell him about… Read more »

Cindy
Cindy
10 years ago

Loved your story! I am Honduran — AfroLatina — and newly natural as well!!1

Cindy
Cindy
10 years ago

Loved your story! I am Honduran — AfroLatina — and newly natural as well!!

Celina
10 years ago

I absolutely LOVE your story! I too experienced the “y ese pelo tan feo…porque no te lo derizas?” It’s sad to say that my entire family (by the way my family on both sides is Dominican and Haitian) is addicted to the creamy crack and every time I see them, they try to convince me to cut my locs and get a relaxer.…NOT HAPPENING!!!
Thank you for speaking for us Afro-Latinas Quidate 😉

Luna
Luna
10 years ago

I am a Dominican woman I decided to go natural this year ur story reminds me alot of mine but my grandma is the one thts upset…

Thank you for this story it is truly inspiring

Juliette
Juliette
10 years ago

I just read this story and literally started shedding tears. I am afro-Venezuelan and have been longing to go natural for quite some time! It’s just so much pressure coming at me from every where to relax that I haven’t done it yet.
Inspiring article.

Heather
Heather
9 years ago

Thank you all for sharing your story. I have a 12 year old daughter that fits the mold so to speak. he has always been proud to wear her naturally curly sometimes kinky hair and she’s beautiful. She gives me strength just watching her soul power invading the 99% caucasian world called school that she attends everyday. You all are beautiful!!!!

Khadijah
Khadijah
9 years ago

Wow. Beautiful story sister! Afro- Latinas hardly get recognized, and I am glad you shared your story. You are gorgeous btw. Your mom looks ALOT like my mom, which is really freaky. Just goes to show that we are all related. There’s no beauty like a natural beauty. Take care =)

Anonym
Anonym
9 years ago

Wonderful article, I really enjoyed it. I too am Latina…I’m black and Cuban…and I am a proud alumnus of Florida A&M University! We are probably cousins, LOL!

dk
dk
9 years ago

I too am Afro Latina of Puerto Rican descent. I would not have identified myself that way until about a year ago when I shaved off all my relaxed hair. I’ve moved to a place where there is little-to-no diversity. The only Latinos are Mexican. I am an anomaly in my own world. Embracing my natural hair brought on criticism and anger from my own family — even from 1500 miles away! I was questioned about an emotional breakdown. “Que, eres tan baga que no quieres arreglarte el pelo mas? Tu eres muy joven para dejar de cuidarte.”, said my… Read more »

Lorraine
Lorraine
9 years ago

I’m also Dominican/afro-latina and its nice to see women also going natural. So many of us buy into the hype of stereotypical latina look. Its unfortunate. But! Your hair is beautiful. And I dont see what the problem is with being hispanic and identifying as being black is. I can and will because I am! Shoot! Lol it’s an insult for so many…smh. Anywaaay, <3 your hair ladies!!!

Inka
9 years ago

Finally! 🙂 I’ve been waiting to hear another story of an Afro-Latina like me (well, at least, 1/2 Afro-Latina like me [Viva Belize!]). I totally relate to this story; my mom used to take me to get my natural hair blowdried and flat ironed every couple of months when I was 11–14 years old. My mom used to get her hair relaxed too, because that’s what the majority of women in Belize would do, even though their hair is not “nappy”; they still desired bone-straight hair like the Mexican/Maya girls had. I’m proud to say that I inspired my mom… Read more »

BErmary
BErmary
9 years ago

Some people on here have to understand what it means to come from another country or who have families that were born in another country. My parents are Dominican and the beauty standard is straight hair or straight hair with a little loose curl at the end. It’s already hard being black but it’s especially hard if you come from a Latin country that only wants to embrace one color. For years I struggled with identity because I was the black one out of my step sisters. They’re the typical Latinas that you would expect. I call them the J‑Lo… Read more »

Ogo
Ogo
9 years ago
Reply to  BErmary

Thank you for sharing this! I am not Latina (and won’t reveal my ethnicity here) but I’ve read about the violence against Black skinned people in DR during the 20? / 40s? regime and I think people should educate themselves about it! Thank you!

amina
amina
9 years ago

Wow, very interesting! Education is the key, in the bible it say my people are destroy by the lack of knowledge. One love to everyone!

Lori
Lori
9 years ago

Dheena, I enjoyed your story sooo much. And I really dont get why so many persons made an issue out of what was not said and certainly not implied. I am a proud Jamaican, who lives in Europe now, but has lived in America as well. And to be honest, I found that being from a country whose national motto states Out of Many One People, I proudly accepts all parts of me. Several persons in some office somewhere, in some government building in the U.S.A has decided though to mix the word Black and African American interchangeably. The latter… Read more »

Isolina
7 years ago

Hair is a huge part of the Afro-Latina experience. I found Nutress Hair products and they have made that part of the experience all the more better. Whether I’m wearing my hair natural or straight, the products keep my hair healthy, moisturized, and looking great. Check them out!

Pinoy TV
7 years ago

A good way for you to learn more about screenplay writing
is to watch finished products in action. Interestingly most of the songs of
Hindi movies or albums are based on romantic themes or has relation with love related aspects of one’s life which in turn have many sub categories such as love at first sight, complaints, one sided love songs etc. ” The film went on to set several box office records, while Downey brought home a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his role as Holmes.

Beautycarehelp.Com
7 years ago

We’ve been a gaggle connected with volunteers along with cracking open a completely new system within our local community. Your website offered us all having handy facts to work with. You will have completed an outstanding procedure plus each of our complete neighborhood is often pleased to you personally.

youngin girl
youngin girl
6 years ago

The site exited out on me, now I have to type it all over. I decided to roam through the afro-hair forum and this thread caught my attention. I do get e.ated and interested at my expense when I see things that are catered to me or concerning me. I like to read things that are positive, uplifting, and adoring to my culture. Something that celebrates the way I look and who I am. I try not to run into threads that are negative. I did a good job at not being bitter/overly sensitive when it comes to articles like… Read more »

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