In 1969, Nina Simone released “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black” – a song meant to uplift the black community. Nearly 50 years later, lyrics like “we must begin to tell our young / there’s a world waiting for you / this is a quest that’s just begun” resonate just as much as when Simone dedicated the song to A Raisin in the Sun author Lorraine Hansberry.
In the midst of Black History Month, African-Americans of the past and present are being acknowledged for their contributions. However – as Juliana Pache, the creator of the #BlackLatinxHistory hashtag came to realize – Afro-Latinos are often left out of the conversation, because black and Latino are incorrectly seen as mutually exclusive.
But with community groups like Mexico Negro fighting for formal recognition in Mexico or Marcha do Empoderamento Crespo proudly repping natural hair in Brazil, you can see the African diaspora is thriving in Latin America. Similarly, in the United States, there are people advocating for more visibility for Afro-Latinos.
Here are 15 young, emerging Afro-Latino voices in the United States and Latin America who are working to create more visibility for their communities and experiences. These are just a handful of the young people out there doing great work – if you’ve got other suggestions, leave them in the comments!