SPOTLIGHT OF THE MONTH: Q&A with Black Chicana Writer Ishia Lynette

PHOTO CREDIT: Rebecca Avila

PHOTO CREDIT: Rebecca Avila

#spotlightofthemonth #escribelanegra

Every month, Black Girl, Latin World seeks to spotlight amazing Afrosendents and organizations that uplift the Black American, Latin@ and Afrolatin@ community.  For the month of March, we shine a light on the work of Afrolatina writer, Ishia Lynette aka Afromexico.  An El Paso native, Ishia’s artistry inspires, motivates and causes her audience to think.  I had the chance to see her in action on the stage at Negra! A Night of Afrolatina performance last year.  She also contributes to Real Brown Girls and hosts a blog space.  Check out what Afromexico has to say on her inspiration, background and her advice for women writers.

How has your background and identity influenced your work?

My background and identity has played a major part in my work. Growing up in El Paso, where the population is currently 92% “Hispanic”,  how could I not be influenced by the culture? Im half Mexican but I look fully “African American” or half Asian to most. As a child, I never understood why when I went to school, the Mexicans would refer to me as “Negra”.  As I got older, I began to shun away from my black side. It’s things like that that push me to speak about being proud of the connection between Latin and African people in general.

What advice would you give to women wanting to write?

The advice I’d give anyone who wants to write is…WRITE. Don’t be afraid of what people are going to say, and don’t be afraid that people aren’t going to like what you have to say. Everyone will not understand you, your story, or your words but it may not be for them. We as women have a connection to the world much different than men, and we are often left feeling as if being “in our feelings” or letting our guards down for the world is being too soft. But to me that’s the beauty in it.

What has been the most challenging thing about writing and performing?

Performing. Im still working on that one. Im very soft spoken, especially around those I dont know. So performing isn’t easy for me. Im very shy, and facing an audience is one of my biggest fears. It isn’t the people that scare me, its myself. Which leads to me to writing. Sometimes I dont feel like writing.  Sometimes I dont want to share what I have written, and sometimes I have so much to say that I cant find the words. When I write something it usually comes from a place of vulnerability.  Whether its about Love, my hair, or the diaspora of my people. By allowing strangers in, they get to know a piece of who I am or was.

Is there an Afrolatin@ community in Austin/El Paso?

No. In both places most see little to no connection between themselves or their fellow brother/sister along side them.

 What events, people and things inspire you? Why?

Everything is an inspiration to me. The way the sky looks.  The way the road catches the rain.  The trees that sway while others stand still, or even the old lady you see walking down the street. Theres beauty to be found in everything around us, its the finding it that’s up to you.The past and current struggle of my people is an inspiration to me. We have always lived under white supremacy.  If I go to the store and all I see is white supermodels on the ads, what does that do to my self-esteem or what does that say about my people? I can’t promise that I can change the world we live in but I can wake others up to the truth.

Where can we see more of your work?

At the moment, my blog site is down for some upgrading but it will be up and running again in about a week. It is afromexico.wordpress.com and you can find some of my short quotes or poems on my instagram page which is Afro_Mexico. I am also a featured writer for realbrowngirls.com where you can find my work and other great women writers.

 What is the message behind your work?

I believe the underlying message in most my work is that there is hope to be found no matter how tough the situation may be. As long as a person continues to grow and learn, there is always hope.

Thank you, Ishia for sharing your truth and inspiration with us!  Keep spreading your truth. We look forward to seeing more of your work soon!

Would you or your org like to be featured as a Spotlight of the Month?  Send BGLW a message in the contact me form.

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