My goal is to shed light on the beauty and the magnitude of Afro Latinas, to create a space where we are acknowledged, and to celebrate our beautiful, diverse culture. We’ve been here and we’re not going anywhere. This is our time to shine.
The brand Yo Soy Afro Latina, which was created by Afro-Mexican Detroit native Bianca Kea, is not only a place to buy dope gear, but also a platform that celebrates Afro Latinidad and brings awareness to the often forgotten and disregarded Black diaspora. “My hope is to create a community with Yo Soy AfroLatina that promotes the visibility of the Black Diaspora within Latin America and the Caribbean, spreads love to fellow Afro Latinas and celebrates our beautifully diverse culture,” Kea notes on her website.
At Yo Soy Afro Latina, we are on a mission to empower Black women within the Latin community. Founded by a Black woman, YSAL celebrates Afro-Latinidad in the Americas and we’re here to validate our hermanas’ experience. This is more than a trend or a movement. This is a celebration of a culture that is just as diverse as it is rich in pride.
There are countless other Latino and Black small business owners out there, often of mixed ethnicity. Yo Soy Afro Latina puts a focus on celebrating this.
My mother did her best to educate me on my Mexican roots, yet I still felt a slight disconnect from the Latin community. Because I didn’t resemble Latinas who had European physical features, I felt I wasn’t Latina enough—even though I identified as such, even though my Latinidad was all I knew.
When I began taking trips to the tierra of Mexico ten years ago, I remember feeling overjoyed at the sight of people who looked like me. I felt seen. I felt recognized. From then on, a hunger to educate myself on the Black diaspora within the Latin American community grew exponentially. Once I moved to NYC in 2015, I was exposed to people of different backgrounds, cultural traditions, foods, and dialects. The more I started seeing different parts of the world—like Colombia, Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic—the more I was able to connect with those who have the same complexion as me.
With all of this new-found knowledge and experience, it felt like a new world was opening up for me and for many who look like me. That became a catalyst for me and the role I wanted to play: Fostering a community that celebrates and honors Afro-Latinidad.