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Archive for the ‘Dominican Republic’ Category

This is five minutes long, but well worth listening to all the way to the end. As a slam poet Chin always makes sure to save the best for last. The male voice you hear at the beginning is Howard Zinn, who just passed away.

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Afro-Latinos are those in the New World who are black by race, or at least mixed with black, and Latin by culture. Females are called Afro-Latinas. They mostly come from one of two places:

  • the Caribbean region, which has as many black and mixed people as America, about 40 million. Most live in Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
  • Brazil, which has half of all the black and mixed people in the New World.

There are other blacks here and there in Latin America, like in Uruguay.

A few well-known Afro-Latinos or those with Afro-Latino roots:

The blackest countries in Latin America which have at least a million black and mixed people:

  1. 98% Haiti: 9.8m
  2. 64% Dominican Republic: 8.5m
  3. 62% Cuba: 7.1m
  4. 49% Brazil: 91.2m
  5. 21% Colombia: 9.0m
  6. 10% Venezuela: 2.7m

Puerto Rico has almost a million. The western shore of the Caribbean has another million spread between different countries.

America – in very round numbers – has about 3 million (not counting Puerto Rico):

  • 0.5m Haitians
  • 0.6m black Hispanics, mainly from the Caribbean
  • 2.0m Creoles, whose roots go back to French New Orleans but now are pretty much Americanized

There are three times more Afro-Latinos than Afro-Americans – because sugar in the Caribbean and Brazil brought in way more slave labour from Africa than did cotton or tobacco in North America.

Some main points to keep in mind:

  • There is no One Drop Rule in Latin countries. So those who are mixed do not see themselves as black and look down on pure blacks. That means colourism runs deeper and yet there is more race mixing.
  • Like America, Latin countries kept black slaves and so have racist beliefs about blacks too. On the other hand, the law in Latin countries comes from Roman law where slaves had certain rights, like buying their freedom or taking their master to court. They were not mere property as in Anglo law.
  • They freed their slaves but never went through a civil rights movement. Note, though, that Haiti had a revolution.

Racism: just as in America, black and mixed people have lower reading scores, die younger and are twice as likely to live in poverty.

Languages: Portuguese, Spanish, French, Haitian Creole.

Religion: most are Roman Catholics, though often practised with African elements. Voodoo, Candomble and Santeria come from African beliefs. Most of the African Diaspora is Catholic – something you would never guess from living in North America or the West Indies.

Music: Afro-Latinos have given the world new kinds of music, like jazz, merengue, salsa, mambo and samba.

– Abagond, 2009.

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zoe-saldana-1-0509-lgZoe Yadira Zaldaña Nazario (1978- ), better known as just Zoe Saldana, is an American actress. She plays Uhura, miniskirt and all,  in the “Star Trek” film that just came out. She was also in “Drumline” (2002) and “Guess Who” (2005). She will be in James Cameron’s  “Avatar”, due out in December 2009.

In 2008 Maxim, the men’s magazine, said she was one of the hottest women in the world (#42) and People magazine the year before said she was one of the most beautiful. She says her beauty does not come from anything physical:

Look at me. I’m skinny, I have a big nose, no tits and no ass, but in a room full of beautiful women, I would still leave with the most gorgeous guy.

star-trek-uhura-poster

Saldana is no Trekkie: when she played one in “The Terminal” (2004), she got the Vulcan hand sign wrong. Before doing the “Star Trek” film she had never even seen the 1960s television show that it is based on. But she did get to meet Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura back then. Nichols gave Saldana her blessing. Saldana sees Uhura as being “very elegant and stoic”.

Saldana was born to Dominican parents in New Jersey. The Wikipedia says her mother is Puerto Rican, but her own website says she is Dominican.

She grew up in a mixed neighbourhood in  Queens in New York City, speaking both Spanish and English. At nine her father was killed in a car accident and a year later the family moved to the Dominican Republic. She won a scholarship to one of the top dance schools there and studied ballet, jazz and Latin dance. She came back to New York at 17 and studied theatre. Her stage acting in New York got her noticed by Hollywood.

ZoeSaldanaWhenever she goes to the Dominican Republic, the press asks her if she American or Dominican. She says she is a mujer negra, a black woman. When they tell her no, she is trigueñita, light brown, she answers, “I am a black woman.”

When Esquire magazine asked her “that fucking question”, as she puts it, the one about her ethnicity, she said, “I’m Dominican, Lebanese, Indian, Irish, Jamaican. But I hate going into that. I just say, ‘I’m from Queens.’ ”

Her name was put up for an NAACP Image Award for her part in “Guess Who”. She played the female lead, a black woman who brings home her white boyfriend, Ashton Kutcher,  in a reverse remake of the Sidney Poitier film,  “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (1967).

She played a female pirate, Annamaria,  in “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (2003), but she did not appear in any of the other “Pirates” films.

The actresses she looks up to are Salma Hayek, Whoopi Goldberg and Angelina Jolie.

She wants to win an Oscar: “I’m not going to be like, ‘I just want to be known for my work.’ No, I want that golden statue on my shelf.”

zoe04

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