You may know that the play that I wrote that was featured in the Austin Latino New Play Festival in 2015 was picked up by Teatro Vivo for their 2015-2016 season. And showtime is upon us! The show is directed by the fabulously talented Florinda Bryant (who slays at teatro is you ask me!) and brought to life by a beautiful ensemble of artists.
I wanted to take the time to connect with the members of the cast and crew to hear about their experiences and their stories. Today, the spotlight is on the talented ensemble member Krysta Gonzales!
via Krysta Gonzales
Krysta Gonzales is an actress, playwright, voiceover artist and chingona from El Paso, Texas. She graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of Arts and is a GenEnCo & VORTEX company member. Her recent acting credits include Bright Half Life (Theatre en Bloc) and El Nogalar (Teatro Vivo). Krysta has also written plays (Robin Hood: An Elegy and Más Cara) that have been produced by the Vortex and Teatro Vivo in Austin!Continue reading →
The Guzman Family: Shannon, Bernard, Matthew and Milagros
PHOTO CREDIT: Shannon Guzman
Every month, Black Girl, Latin World showcases awesome organizations that champion Afrolatinidad! This month’s addition to the Spotlight of the Month is none other than the social media space Raising Afrolatino Kids. I came across this facebook group some months ago and I enjoy the discussions, resources and insight that the communidad shares on intercultural families and Afrolatino culture. No, I am not a parent but I do share many of the things that I learn with my own family when we discuss intercultural families/dating and the like. Feel free to check out this interview where co-founder Shannon Guzman tells us why she is so passionate about Afro-Latino families, multicultural representation in the media and where she sees RALK going in the future.
A while ago, on the Afrolatinos facebook page, a member posted about her experience as an Afrolatina in the South. She pointed out that many people she comes in contact with don’t understand the concept of being both Black and Latina.
The conversation thread exploded. For two days, people commented with experiences, opinions and advice. Even I chimed in as an Afro-American Spanish speaking body in Texas. People are shocked when they find that I know Spanish. Where I am from a Black person speaking anything other than English is looked at as strange or interesting.
The main takeaways/experiences mentioned on the thread were:
—Frustrations around people not believing that they were Latin@
—People speak badly in Spanish about Black people around them not expecting them to understand
—Lack of Media attention for Afrolatin@ issues/figures
When someone doesn’t understand your identity, it can be easy to get upset. But I like to look at everything as a teaching moment. Telling them about your experience and identity might just be the seed that can help them grow into an ally.
Here is a list of fine folk whose work champions Afrolatinidad. And get this…they are all based (Although they are not all from) in the Lone Star State. You can share these with your students, teachers and families.
Dr. Frank Guridy, Professor at University of Texas at Austin, Author of Forging Diaspora: Afro-Cubans and African Americans in a World of Empire and Jim Crow
Ishia Lynette AKA Afromexico, Writer for Real Brown Girls.
Dr. Juilet Hooker, Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Faculty-Lead of Bluefields, Nicaragua Study Abroad Program.
Dr. Jossianna Arroyo-Martinez, Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Teaches Afrolatino Culture and Afro-Carribean Diaspora courses.
Let’s add to the list of resources
Part of me believes that these experinces noted in the Afrolatinos facebook page post happen due to lack of education and media representation. Yes, even in Texas there are Latinegr@ spaces. It may not be as prevalant as New York City or Miami but these spaces exist. And it’s up to us to have more discussions on this topic in our southern arts orgs, elementary schools and culture centers.
I invite you to add to the list of Texas-based Latinegr@s scholars, artists, allies, resources etc. Share these with your family. Educate ourselves and our community. Knowledge is Power.
This was originally published on The Latinegr@s Project website.
When Black Girl, Latin World took flight in 2011, it was purely a hobby. I was inspired by African American, Latino World, the LatiNegr@s Project and many other bloggers and Afrolatino advocates to share my stories dealing with the subject. Since 2013, this blog has been connecting me with beautiful readers who keep me inspired as I write about my experiences as an African American engaging in diaspora. Every email I get from a person who wants to know about Afrolatino theatre work or comment about your experiences keeps me writing.
I’ve taken a bit of the break from this blog because I needed to graduate. I did it! I’m now a University of Texas at Austin graduate! Now, as I seek employment, I plan to focus on my passions…writing and Afrolatinidad.
Black Girl, Latin World will be adding some new and awesome projects that I hope you all will love.
Spotlight of the Month-Monthly highlights, guest posts and interviews with organizations, artists, writers and everyday people passionate about Afrolatinidad and the diaspora.
#MultilingualBlackPeople – A movement, discussion and empowerment space for multilinguals in the Black Diaspora! Monthly posts on language learning, Spanish phrases and my own Portuguese learning journey.
Connections Across Diasporas: African Americans and Afrolatinos-More posts on the connections between Afrolatinos and African Americans in history, music and the arts.
Escribela Negra– A collection of blog posts focused on empowerment through writing for the African American and Afrolatina woman! Chock full of notes, advice and stories from and about writers of color.
I’m also working on a play centered around Afrolatinidad and I look forward to sharing that progress with you. And you can follow my work as a Her Campus writer too.
I am stoked about this new year and looking forward to connecting with you all.
Of course, if there is anything you would like to see featured on BGLW or if you’d like to be featured yourself drop me a line at at email@example.com.
Okay, you’ve heard my plans for this new year. What are your goals? Do you want to start a blog? A movement? Learn a new language? Gain a better spiritual relationship? Gain a healthy lifestyle? Share it below or tweet me with the hashtag #BLGWGoals.
Last month, I had the chance to connect with writer/creator James Jones about his amazing project “We Are Familia”. As a writer myself, I was really excited to connect with the creator of the show and get his insight, inspiration and story.
What is “WE ARE FAMILIA”?
In the style of A Different World and East Los High, “We are Familia” details the untold story of Latino students at historically Black colleges. One of the few television shows featuring the stories of Black Latino characters, “We are Familia” is set to expand our thoughts on race, ethnicity and culture.
“When a Historically Black College gives scholarships to twenty incoming Latino freshmen, the campus falls into a cultural uproar, as the African American and Latino students struggle to coexist. The campus is further disrupted when a Latino student of Afro descent is awarded a scholarship, which in turn challenges everyone’s thoughts on race, ethnicity, and culture. In the end, the students learn that what unites them is stronger than what separates them and that “family” extends past all color lines and language barriers.” (Synopsis from the blackbalancemedia.com website)
Check out the video of a Latino student at an HBCU sharing his story.
Talking with Writer James Jones, I was curious about his inspiration for the show. He wanted to explore the side of HBCUs that had not been touched on media. Jones brought out the example of A Different World and how there were characters of Latino descent. That got him thinking: What about the stories of Latino characters in this space? It’s an important question as we explore the relations between Latino/Black/Afro-Latino communities.
James Jones’s learned about the diaspora by chance in his ROTC group in grade school. He noticed certain students were being promoted to superior cadet and which according to Jones “largely had to do with them being bilingual”. One student who received the scholarship that Jones had known for many years was a Black young woman with the last name “McDonald”. Jones was surprised to learn that she was Panamanian and there was a community of students who identified as both Black and Latino in his school.
It’s obvious why a television show like this is needed. Jones noted that images of Latinidad on television very seldom include Black people. I agree and by supporting this show we can place more of the stories that matter on screen. Let’s be real. The images that we see on screen provide knowledge about the world and projects like this reflect diverse experiences. I am stoked to see this take fold!
Jones gave some great advice about writing for film and getting your work out there!
1. Get internships in the industry. If you want to work in the industry, get a job in the industry.
2. Keep a blog because you never know who is looking at you.
3. Submit to agents! Name Recognition is your friend. The more they see your name, the more likely they are to look at your work.
4. Take a writing class! You don’t need to get a degree in Film but you do need to hone your craft.
5. Become a script reader.
6. Work on multiple projects. If you submit something have another project that you are working on!
Check out this Social Media Skit by the We Are Familia Supporters!
This hilarious skit was created by supporters of the show for the social media fundraising campaign. Although it is not a preview for the show, it diffidently gets me pumped for “We are Familia”.
This skit reminded me of my experience growing up in Houston, Texas. In a few minutes, they touch on key issues between Black and Brown communities like who owns certain hairstyles, intercultural dating and diversity within communities. I liked the line “I’m China Latina” because not many people know about Latino communities of Asian descent. It’s awesome how a cute, funny and short skit can share a story in a creative way!
February 11, 2014—Two campus organizations came together during Black history month to celebrate Afro-Latinas and their stories on campus by hosting Negra! A Night of Afro-Latina Performance. Umoja and Latin American Network are two great organizations that uplift communities of color on campus and coming together for this event represented an ever growing bond between the African American and Latino community at UT Austin. Negra was a night like no other. There were interactive performances, visual artists, performers, singers and Texas Latin Dance workshop. Each and every performer or speaker shared a piece of their experience as an Afro-Latina or an ally.
The biggest surprise of the night was the impromptu dance party at the end. After a wonderful workshop led by Texas Latin Dance representatives, the audience took over the floor and danced for thirty minutes after the show ended. Negra! was not only fun but it shed light on the diversity within the Black community. People were coming together to celebrate, learn and support Afro-Latina stories. I hope that Latin America Network and Umoja continue this program next semester and for many years to come. I feel like it can be a tool to ignite unity between Black and Brown communities.
Maria Andrea Dos Santos performs an interactive Theatre piece.
Ishia Adams performs poetry.
Omaris Zamora performs poetry.
Tempeste Wallance talks about her artwork.
Irma Garcia shares her story!
Rebecca Avila performs a song.
Texas Latin dance merengue workshop!
Texas Latin Dance Leader Kassandra Cardenas teaches the crowd how to dance.
Our host Ashley Rivera (right) and Umoja member.
The Line Up!
Irma Garcia-Experience Sharing
Temptese Wallace-Visual Art Presentation
Jasmine Gramhn-Experience Sharing
Rebecca Avila -Performance
Rachel Lee – Experience Sharing
Andrea Dos Santos-Theatre Performance
Ishia Adams – Poetry Performance
Texas Latin Dance workshop
The organizers of the event: Jasmine G., Asia H. and Me.
I was extremely excited that this event finally happened because it was something I have been thinking about since 2010. With the help, assistance and guidance of wonderful leaders like Rocio Villalobos, Omaris Zamora, Asia Howard of Umoja and Ana Hernandez of Latin American Network, we were able come up with an event that would appeal to UT Austin’s students in a great way! I am really thankful to Ana for being so willing to take this project on and for Asia who connected Latin American Network to the Black community and to students who identified as both Black and Latino. There is truly strength in working together.