From former Buzzfeed Pero Like correspondent Julissa Calderon to actress and America’s Next Top Model alumna Yaya DaCosta, Afro-Latinas have been putting on for the culture. And with the upcoming Steven Spielberg remake of West Side Story starring Ariana DeBose and Lin Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights, which was released today in theatres, starring Anthony Ramos, Dascha Polanco, and Leslie Grace, stories highlighting the Afro-Latinx experience from various regions, generations and eras are being brought to center stage more and more.
“To be Afro-Latinx is to be someone who comes from a Latin American country and has Black heritage. You experience the world as both a Latinx person and a Black person,” explained Refinery29’s Ariana Romero.
As a Senior TV Critic and interview correspondent for R29 Somos, the Latinx vertical of Refinery29, Romero further recognizes the importance of Afro-Latinx and racial duality representation on screen. “As with most arenas of pop culture, so much of Latinx representation on screen is centered around whiteness. Because you can be a Latinx person and a white person – in the same way you can be Afro-Latinx,” Romero explained to ESSENCE. “However, whiteness is not the only way to experience Latinidad or view our communities. There are Afro-Latinx people everywhere and Hollywood has consistently silenced them, marginalized them, and erased them from their own stories. Not only is it painful, oppressive, and racist — it’s simply ignorant towards reality.”
Whether Venezuelan, Panamanian or Boricua, these Afro-Latinas have been demonstrating what representation and diversity look like for young multiracial girls who may not have seen themselves on television or in commercial ads growing up. Below, check out a list of Afro-Latinx celebrities to follow on your TV screen, add to your playlist or support in your local movie theatre.
Born to Dominican parents, Leslie Grace has always expressed her passion for Afro-Latinx representation in the music and entertainment industry. You can catch her in ‘In The Heights’ on HBO Max and in theaters June 11.
The Bronx-bred Gen-Z actress can be seen on Peacock’s reboot of ‘Saved By The Bell’ and Netflix original movie ‘Moxie’.
Actress Jaylen Barron is half Mexican. She was best known for her role as Dominique Winslow in Showtime’s ‘Shameless’ and can be seen in STARZ’s ‘Blindspotting’ with Jasmine Cephas Jones and Candace Nicholas-Lippman.
Rodriguez was born in Fresno and raised in Victorville, California, to a Mexican dad and African-American mom. She can be seen starring in Netflix’s “Never Have I Ever” series.
The Dominican-bred, Harlem-raised rapper’s first single “Icey” was featured on Adidas and Beyoncé’s spot of the third collection of their collaborative partnership. Last year, she released her seven-track EP, ‘MOTIONS’.
The ‘Whole Lotta Money’ rapper, also known as the Perico Princess, is a multiracial Latina of Puerto Rican and Italian descent. She identifies as Afro-Latina and uses her platform to uplift other multicultural artists as well.
Capri, who can be seen on Netflix’s original series ‘On My Block’, identifies as Black but is of African-American and Dominican descent.
The rapper and singer-songwriter born Destiny Nicole Frasqueri is of Puerto Rican descent, but pays tribute to her West African and Taíno ancestry.
The Los Angeles-based Afro-Dominicana is a rising fashion blogger, YouTuber and influencer with nearly 400k subscribers and 362k Instagram followers.
The Afro-Latina starlet played Alyssa Green in Ryan Murphy’s film adaptation of Netflix’s musical ‘PROM’, and will play Anita in Steven Spielberg’s remake of ‘West Side Story’.
The Bronx-bred actress, whose parents are both immigrants from the Dominican Republic, is best known for her roles in ‘De Lo Mio’ and ‘Honorable Mike’.
Born Gloria Martinez, the singer, producer, and co-founder of Chocquibtown wasborn in Condoto – Chocó in the Colombian pacific coast.
Herizen F. Guardiola
The Afro-Cuban is best known for her roles in Netflix’s ‘Dare Me’ and ‘The Get Down’ alongside Shameik Moore, Jaden Smith and Justice Smith.
The Afro-Latina trans singer, actress and advocate can be seen on FX’s ‘Pose’ as Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista.
The 16-year-old Afro-Latina singer-actress of Puerto Rican descent can be seen on ‘Julie and the Phantoms’.