Mexico is finally woke ya’ll.
For the first time in history, Afromexicans are counted on the Mexican census.
Maybe now my lovely Mexican compadres can stop looking at Black people weird when we utter “Hola, como estas?” with less of an accent than expected.
One step at a time.
I had the opportunity to view a film called “Invisible Roots: Afromexicans in Southern California”. What really drew me toward the film was the fact that it detailed the lives and experiences of Afromexicans IN the United States. It’s great to see documentaries about the abuelas in Costa Chica or to learn about Yanga, but I believe that learning about this history in a United States context adds another layer to el mundo complicado de la diaspora.
The film “pays homage to the “third root” of Mexico” and it puts a face to the Afro-descendent experiences. We follow the Herrera family in Pasadena, the Cisneros family in Santa Ana and a young college student at UC Santa Barbara. As we dive into specific stories, specific families and specific culture, we find that we can all relate to trying to find a sense of belonging, family and future.
Another cool thing about this film is that it takes the viewer into the intimate celebrations. One scene is at a neighborhood get-together where many of the attendees are interviewed about their stories.
Now, I have my qualms about coming into a personal space and conducting research. It can be very hard to the community to trust you. The people are there to enjoy themselves and be around their loved ones. However, with a little time talking to Tiffany Walton, the producer of this film, I found that she made sure to get the blessing of the people in charge of the party before invading their personal space. She also made sure to have people who identified as Afromexican in the center of creating this piece.
Invisible Roots is making quite the splash. Infact, it will be featured in the Pan African Film Festival this February!
Whether through film, social media or the theatre, Afromexican stories need to be told. There are still people out there who question the existence of Black Latin@s. I am so glad that the Invisible Roots team is doing the work to make sure that history is at the forefront.