Why I’m Hating on #BlackGirlMagic + #Formation

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For many years, (most of my life really) I have always felt I was a black girl born to Hispanic parents. My mentors are black, my best friends are black (or think they black), my boyfriends are usually black, but what about my roots? I have come to terms with the fact that Latinas aren't united in the same way that black women are, and for that reason alone, I’m jealous. I’m jealous of that sisterhood that could be, but doesn’t exist for Latinas.  Beyonce just dropped a very culturally relevant song and music video and this happens.

 

#BlackTwitter and #BlackLivesMatter erupts, but we don’t have a #SpanishTwitter that unites us. Shoot, we don’t have anything at all. There are many things that separate us as Latinas. For example, Dominicans and Puerto Ricans view themselves as very different from other nationalities like Ecuadorian and Mexicans. Although we are the same ethnicity, there are still some very obvious differences in the way we look, talk, think, eat and exist. Thus, we don't unite in the same way that African-American women do. For years, I’ve been searching for our version of Black Girl Magic. What are we doing different? I always wonder, and I never get the answers. Is it because we aren't our own heroes and our own cheerleaders? Is it because we truly do have different priorities in terms of raising families and being wives? Are we not as strong and powerful as we think? Or, do we simply just not give a fck? I really struggle with this. And honestly, I don't know what the answer really is.

[Tweet "Will Latinas ever have #BlackGirlMagic? "]

I started thinking a lot about this when the Essence Magazine covers dropped and shortly after, Teen Vogue's. There was such a momentum around the Black Girl Magic movement that it made me wonder where was the brown girl magic, latina magic movement. Where were we and why weren’t we being celebrated by our own people? I created the Melanin Magic Virtual Conference with this idea in mind. I wanted to create a place where we can unite around what it means to be a woman of color in the workplace and society. However, what was interesting to see was that most of the women that showed up to the virtual conference were black women. In the audience, that commradery that I hoped to create around Latinas and African-Americans didn't come to pass.  I'm not sure where I go from here, because I quite frankly just don't care to galvanize Latinas. We have to work on not tearing down the women who are stepping into shoes of roles models for us like Gina Rodriguez. Can you believe she won a Golden Globe and instead of being celebrated, she was criticized for not speaking perfect Spanish? While a woman like Taraji can give Viola Davis a standing ovation when she wins an award. Black girls truly do rock, and they will remind you in every moment. It is small but meaningful moments like those that set the tone for the dialogue we have in this country.

[Tweet "Black girls truly do rock, and they will remind you in every moment."]

We are so quick to judge and discredit what it means to be Latina and quicker to segment ourselves into subcategories by language, race, skin color and hair texture. Then we wonder why the universal stereotype of the Latina woman is that she is fiery. Our Latina icons in Hollywood come in the form of Adrienne Bailon, Sophia Vergara, Zoe Saldana, Gina Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez and Rosario Dawson etc. But are they really enough? The classic Hispanic icons are Spanish-speaking women on Spanish language networks that often times are irrelevant or ignored by young, urban, bicultural Latinas like me. I’ve found many of them don’t have much to say about race and gender anyway. Will we ever have our own movement? I'm not sure. I think there's a lot of mindset shifitng that needs to take place in order for us to be able to do that. We need to feel the same bonds of sisterhood and loyalty to one another that our African-American counterparts feel. There are a lot of complexities, but I know that there is a possibility of doing it right. Cheers to you #BlackGirlMagic and Mother Beyonce for showing us what could be.

Melanin Magic Mug mockup