Amiga, You Don’t Have to Prove Your Latinidad! – Jenay Wright

I have been asked lately, how are you so unapologetic about your Afro-Latinidad and how did you get there. I had to pause and reflect and ask myself the same question, seven years later this platform has been a safe space for individuals like myself to be proud of their roots and redefine what it means to be a Black Latina. It almost feels like my job to remind my amigas, they don’t have to choose a side or check themselves into a box. I have been wearing my culture so proudly that I almost ignore the brainwashed and internalized racism that still exists within Latin America.

I have truly come to a point in my life where I felt like I didn’t have to explain myself because I know exactly who I am and what I embody. At some point, I had to come to a place with peace in my heart where people identify me with Latindad because of my darker skin and because I don’t look eurocentric enough. I mean yeah in 2023 we still doing this. It’s not like I don’t care, I just don’t allow it to consume me anymore because half of my life I was told I wasn’t Latina enough. But at 29 I no longer need anyone’s validation because they don’t walk in my shoes and they never will so why should I spend my time giving them my energy if I can pour it into myself and enjoy my cultura.

I am going to blast my Toskicha and eat my pernil and no one can take that from me. It is more recent when people ask me my ethnicity and I say Afro-Latina they are immediately like do you speak Spanish and I’m like no I speak Spanglish and that’s enough. I don’t need to go into details that I did not grow up speaking Spanish and that I don’t have to. I don’t have to be myself on your time. I am who I am and if I don’t speak Spanish that does not take away my Latinidad. I am not a puppet or a clown I don’t have to put on a show for you to give me the Latinidad check mark.

I Am Enough and that literally is enough! Punto. I scroll through Tiktok and at times become triggered because people are so cruel that they will hide behind a phone and try and tell someone they aren’t who they are. It is sad that people still live in the mindset of their abuelitas and the mentality of denying people who they are. People chose to neglect and pay homage to the African Diaspora which contributed to everything we preserve in Latin America. I just want people to be better and do better and treat people with the same respect they deserve.

I want women to freely be in their energy and be proud of who they are. I don’t want the younger generation to have to go through the same struggles I went through. It hasn’t been an easy journey feeling like I wasn’t Latina enough. It took a lot of healing and therapy to get me to where I am and I am still doing the work it doesn’t end. I want to encourage my community not to be afraid to speak up and fight for visibility. There are so many individuals accepting colorism and still dealing with discrimination.

It is vital for us to create our own platforms and spaces for our comunidad to be acknowledged. It is up to us to amplify our own voices. It’s imperative for us to create our own representation and not wait on others to validate our experience. Although our voices have been silenced, it shakes rooms and use your voice to be the advocate for others that look like you.

Don’t be afraid to correct someone who isn’t coming correctly whether that is important or on social media. Many of us see things and let them slide. I am so protective over my Blackness that I wish someone would try my community.

If you aren’t fighting for yourself, who will!


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