The creative project AfroinSanJuan documents some of the most unique, organic and refreshing women living in Puerto Rico. Each Afro beauty has her own story or voice behind her image. The photography is so creatively intriguing you want to know more.
When Afro-Latina Vlogger Harmonicurls was featured I automatically clicked to her content because it was so down to earth and relatable. Her Instagram is so engaging and it draws you in. She includes anything and everything from music, culture, art, natural hair, beauty tips, and makeup but most of all from an Afro-Latinas standpoint. Embracing the AfroLatinidad and AfroLatinx experience is vital in raising awareness about our existence.
Think of this interview more of like a hangout because that’s the vibe you will get when watching Haromicurls Youtube channel.
What defines your Afro-Latinidad? When did you begin embracing it?
I think I am just confident in who I am [being] Afro-Latino is so many things and it has a story to tell. Growing up, I always looked different from the other Latino kids on my block. My father being dark skinned and me having curly hair we stood apart. I would always find myself being around the African-American community more, because I felt an acceptance, we would get odd comments from within the Latino community.
Cruel jokes about my hair and my dads skin tone, and it was almost like we didn’t know where to fit. When the term Afro-Latino finally became a word in people’s vocabulary and I did research on it (since your not taught about it in school) its almost like everything clicked. I felt like I belonged somewhere and I could finally identity with something. You can imagine how happy I was. I then had to school my family.
Have you ever faced any challenges while shaping your identity?
Of course, when people don’t understand something they become confused and lash out in the weirdest ways. In the time I was still understanding the term Afro-Latino, I was told I wasn’t black enough, I was also told I wasn’t Latino enough. I got hate messages where some would call me an ugly N***R with the hard R. And others who told me to stop pretending to be something I’m not. I would sit and just think. It was hard because since I was still learning it was pretty easy for those words to get to me. But researching and seeing the movement quickly growing I began to understand myself more and I’m STILL learning!
What inspired the Harmonicurls platform? What should your viewers take away from your vlogs?
I created the Harmonicurls platform in the process of me growing. I would get alot of questions about my hair and I would write long paragraphs to answer only to get the question asked again on another post. My boyfriend gave me the push to create the platform so there could be a place where you could watch me do everything. I decided to give it my own touch and incorporate some of my other passions like art.
How important was creating a platform for beauty, curls and lifestyle a necessity for women of our community?
That you too can get to the point where you love yourself and your flaws . That you’ll feel comfortable no matter what stage your hair is in frizzy or not petite or not. How you own it is the key.
That you can make your dreams become a reality. Its super important for me because often times we are told we cant do something. Im here to tell you you dont take no for an answer.
That because we “look” a certain way we cant.
Whether its singing acting modeling dancing whatever it is you can do it and its never too late. I hated my hair and I’m also short 5’2 and years later I’m getting all these opportunities because of my hair. And I am modeling for things even with my height because I began creating my own little empire and that’s what I want to prove. Even though I’m still working on it I’m crossing things off my bucket list!
Being an Afro-Dominicana from NYC and now living in San, Juan Puerto Rican? How was that transition?
The transition was pretty smooth. I know Spanish because my mom and dad don’t play that. But I still had that gringa accent like we call it. The heat is amazing because I hate snow so much. I felt comfortable coming in although my accent always gets me questions its a great!!! conversation starter.. Besides my hair of course!
How are Afro-descendants in San Juan treated?
They are actually treated great. Being in a place where everyone here is just Boricua no one says hey there goes that white girl or black girl. They just say hey there goes the neighbor. Skin color isn’t an issue. Now if you walk around with an Afro on your head people are actually very curious and Puerto Ricans are bold they aren’t afraid to yell from across the street or stop the car mid tracks *all which have happened to me* to say Me encanta tu pelo “I love your hair”. People overall are very accepting. I always get smiles for the most part.
The Afro-Beauty seen is powerful, we see this through the AfroinSanJuan project. How was your experience being a part of this movement?
I loved it. It was wonderful. She is so sweet and creative. And I absolutely love what her project stands for its what we needed. Shedding light that we exist! The project really has begun to get recognition which in turn I have shown up on Milk Media , The Huffington Post and even TeenVogue which to me that was incredible I almost died. I’m just happy to be a apart and to have been able to represent!
Afro-Latinas are often underrepresented in media, how do you utilized your platform to highlight our existence.
I’m writing my own story and I post about it. “A little Afro-Dominican, Bronx Born Afro Haired chick is showing up on yah TV screen and is starting her modeling career. I’m only in the beginning of my journey but I want to keep pushing to be that voice and representation, and to inspire other girls and boys like me that you can do what you put your mind to with the help of God no matter what.
Harmoni Curls has a very soulful voice, Can we expect a single or album in the future?
Say it louder!!! Ha! Oh that is another dream on my bucket list. I am always singing and I decided to share that. I’ve gotten such a positive response. It is however something I am working on so who knows what the future holds!!
Advice for a young Afro-Latina who is insecure about her identity?
Don’t let ANYONE tell you who you are. Even if that’s someone close to you. I had to educate my family on this matter. This generation is so woke and so devoted to what matters.
[Many] people weren’t taught these things because for example like in my parents time they grew up with a dictator who believed in the cleansing of the “race” they were taught they were everything else BUT black. So you need to search for your own answers. It’ll start feeling right. You will never fully know everything because even I am still learning but look to others who are in the community it can help when it comes to finding answers about certain things. But most importantly don’t rush it. Life has a crazy way of teaching you things about yourself.
What’s next for Harmoni Curls?
There are so many things. For one I’m competing in the Nyx Face awards Puerto Rico competition. With everything else there are a couple opportunities that are presenting themselves you might find out about soon. And of course continue making videos and working on my dreams
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