Afro-Latinx’s has contributed tremendously to history. It is imperative that we recognize those who have paved the way for many of us to have the liberation and freedom that we do today. Many of what we learn today about Afro-Latinx history has been swept under the rug, erased and often never talked about especially in a school. It has been up to our community to amplify our narrative and preserve our own traditions and not importantly create conversations in surrounding who we are.
Our representation is one that we have had to fight for and as we continue to break barriers and bring visibility to the Afro-Latinx community, we start by shedding light on those doing the work. Gloria Malone utilizes her TikTok and Instagram reels to educate her community on the Afro-Latinx cultura. Whether that’s bringing your favorite musicians to the forefront and going in depth about their contribution to our history or hitting you with content you that will can reminisce to. She created a fact series that captured and encompassed who she is as a Black Latine. She redefined a space for herself and her community to feel represented.
Just within a few seconds of watching her videos, you get drawn in and vicariously able to live through her content. It wakes you up and you realize how much you missed out in your own history. Afro-Latinx facts makes me feel like I belong here, and you will feel that to. We highlight Gloria’s activism and encourage you to start your own personal expedition by learning more about your history.
Who is Gloria Malone and who does she encompass ?
Gloria Malone is a high energy, creative, type A, caring person who is clear in her boundaries and doesn’t make any mess. She is a sister to many, a mother, daughter, friend, and someone in growth – always. She is also loud, blunt, and will do anything for a delicious well prepared plate of food she doesn’t have to make.
What makes you most proud to be an Afro-Latina?
Being Black. Black people add culture to every place we land – historically and still today. From reassuring Black head nods with fellow Black people in public to running away when we laugh to not having to explain the Black Latin American and Caribbean experience to others because we just know. The knowledge and conversations – without words – that exist between Black people is amazing.
Have you always come to terms with your Afro-Latinidad?
I think so. I always knew I was Black. There was no mistaking myself for anything other than being a Black girl and later on a Black woman. What was hard to come to terms with was the lack of spaces that affirmed that and so slowly things like white supremacy and internalized ain’t Black sentiments and racism started to creep in. And when we live in a world that is constantly saying,expressing, showing that Blackness is something to not be proud of, it’s hard to continue to be affirmed in your Blackness as a child and young person without the constant truth that Blackness is one of the most beautiful things in this universe.
Have you ever struggled with your cultural identity?
Yes, of course. Again, the lack of spaces for Black people to be affirmed, celebrated, loved, cared for and given their flowers has an impact on Black people. This is very true in Latin American communities where Blackness is highly intentionally invisibilized. Still, today, there are people that do not know that Black people have been in all the Americas for literal centuries – like since the 1500s for sure. As a younger person I struggled with how different my Blackness seemed to be from other Black people around me. Not in an anti African American way but in a way that again, I wasn’t seeing Black people from Latin America in large numbers around me.
Do you feel often erased and underrepresented? If so, what are ways we can continue to amplify the community on who we are ?
Not anymore. Because I am so deeply affirmed in my life that I don’t feel erased. I create content that reflects me and my community.One way – of many – is to stop wanting to be allowed into white and non Black spaces that weren’t ever created for Black people. When we do this we opt into these institutions and institutional actors chipping away at the magic that makes us amazing and brilliant.
You can’t enter a space that was never made for you to be in it and change it all by yourself. More times than not you will leave feeling like what your contributions weren’t really appreciated or cared for. Then once they publish that article or you leave the job they have their “diversity and inclusions” box checked off on their list. Create your own lane, networks, spaces, and be so dope that they come to you and you draft the terms and conditions you need to feel good about working with them.
What started Afro-Latina facts and the concept behind it?
I started the Afro Latin facts series because I wanted to create content that reflected me, my culture, and the contributions of Black Latin Americans in history and today. Content, digital communications, and media are my profession. To be honest, I had to fight and damn near beg several outlets (Latino and not) to publish my work about Black Latin Americans. As I said before, I was fed up with trying to fit myself into a space that wasn’t created for me so I created my own. Plus I love sharing new information with other people, the series is the best way to do that.
How has the platform reels been beneficial in shedding light on Afro-Latinx artists and culture ?
Receiving messages or comments from people who really enjoy the content is amazing. I’ll get comments from non Black Latine people who say their partner is a Black Latine person and they want to share this with them and their children. I’ve heard from other amazing Afro Latinas like Dash Harris tell me that she has purchased certain books by Afro Latina authors because she saw them on my videos.
What do you want viewers to take away from your content ?
Respect and curiosity. Respect Blackness, period and to be curious enough to continue to research the person, place, or thing that I make content about. Curiosity is one of the best learning tools out there.
How do we improve the narrative of Latinx media portrayal for Afro-Latinos ?
Give money to Afro- Latinos. Literally give money, budgets, and paid opportunities to Afro Latine people. And I mean this for this beyond talking about race and anti-Black racism. Black Latine people like makeup, they like to bake, they like to skate. Provide the money and space for Black Latine people to be themselves so that the narrative can improve and expand beyond justifying our existence.
What’s next for Gloria Malone ?
I’m a creative and storyteller/speaker at heart and would LOVE my own show where I can expand my content more. I also really want to write a book. In short, I want to continue to create amazing content but on a larger scale so that I can share it with more and more people.