Why should I hide my blackness? – Jenay Wright

I came home from school everyday and sat on the couch while my abuela watched her telenovelas. They are always very intriguing. I could never understand a thing they were saying. But hey, there was always fighting and passionate kissing. Other than me questioning my abuela every second on what they were saying.  I always questioned where were the darker people. I mean there wasn’t even fair skin looking people.

The actors looked like splitting images of white people who spoke Spanish. I saw blonde hair, blue eyes and white skinned individuals who were blatantly the only representation of Latinos. I asked my Abuela over and over where are the Panamanians in these shows or even the Dominicans. She would tell me these shows were predominately Mexicans. I immediately thought they don’t even look like the Mexicans I am used to seeing.

See! I was one persistent individual and I couldn’t understand why they only showed those type of Eurocentric Lations. Where is the representation? If this is all that is being displayed on media platforms how could anybody know who we are. There is no excuse for why blackness isn’t celebrated more often on Latin Americas mainstream media. I won’t stand for they aren’t  aware of Black Latinos because I am pretty sure many show up to these castings.

The problem is they are told no and forced to only play these negative images of Black people. The only time I seen a black person in a telenovela was as a maid, slave or criminal. Which isn’t any different to how Blacks were shown in films back in time. The perception of blackness is portrayed so negatively in various forms of media and this is why people often want to hide their blackness especially in Latin America. Even in school the only thing I learned about Black History was slavery, lynching and racism among my people.

Although this was an important time in history for Blacks. How about my Black inventors that created and crafted.  Where is there story? What about all the accomplishments of Black people? We utilize news and television to keep us informed on whats going on in the world and this is our only source. If your only portraying us negatively how will people perceive us? I have heard so many times growing up

“I don’t like black people”

“Black people are ghetto”

” I will never date a Black woman”

” Black women are ugly”

As a black woman this is what I would hear.

Sometimes I would even  hear this from people who are Black. Not even loving their own skin or their own people. The representation among Black people must change worldwide. This is why movies like Black Panther, are extremely prominent. It shows how beautiful and powerful the Black community is. It portrays us in the positive light and shows us uniting as communities. This movie didn’t show us as criminals and/or slaves. It portrays us as warriors. We need more representation like this.

My people do not hide your blackness. I urge you to celebrate it. No matter where you hail from. You are queens and kings. Know your worth and know that you are rich. Remember what Nas told us in the song ” I know I can.”

Baby, ‘fore we came to this country we were kings and queens
Never porch monkeys, there was empires and Africa called Kush
Timbuktu where every race came to get books
To learn from black teachers who taught Greeks and Romans
Asian, Arabs and gave them gold

When gold was converted to money it all changed
Money then became empowerment for Europeans
The Persian military invaded
They heard about the gold, the teachings and everything sacred

Africa was almost robbed naked, savery was money
So they began makin’ slave ships
Egypt was the place that Alexander the Great went
He was shocked at the mountains with black faces

We need to reclaim our blackness and take back what was stolen from us. Do not stop wearing your head wraps ladies and do not stop honoring your Black Queens men.  Hold your crowns up high and keep wearing your pride. This goes for all my people whether you hail from the Caribbean, Latin America and the United States. This is for all my people across all lands and seas. I encourage you to keep in touch with your heritage and know that being Black is golden. Treasure it!

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