Updated: Jan 14
I am a product of strength and resilience. I am deeply rooted in the African diaspora that touched so many lands, souls, cultures, and traditions. From full lips to a curvy waist and dark brown eyes, through my lenses, I am royal and hold so much eminence. The beat of the salsa drums competes with my heartbeat every time my Abuelita blasts her tape every Sunday. Her sweet aroma of her maduros and arroz con pollo never leaves. The taste of her empanadas is one I can never forget.
I look in the mirror in her bright sunny living room and try to for the 100th time dance salsa. I will definitely get it someday. I loved being Latina, I loved my music, the food, the culture, and my heritage. Being a Panamanian I felt so untouchable. To me, I was Latina, my Abuelita was the definition of a true Latina. However, to the rest of the world, we weren’t Latina enough. Preferably in America, I didn’t fit into what it truly meant to be a Latina. For more than half of my life I had a cultural identity crisis. I tried to find myself and where I fit in. My darker-skinned and my tight coils and 4c hair weren’t acceptable.
I am sorry I wasn’t born Eurocentric enough for your tias and abuelitas. I didn’t inherit the blue eyes and blonde hair that evidently runs through many of your bloodlines.
Even though your madre is dark like me you still deny your Africana roots. I am sorry I am not enough for your "Who is Latina?” meter. At this point, I didn’t know what boxed I checked into. I wasn’t Latina but I also wasn’t Black enough because of my Latinidad roots. I mean where could I possibly fit in. If I didn’t exist, then why do I exist? How long can you possibly deny me of who I am? I had to create my own standards and try to break barriers for Black Latinas. There are so many beautiful and bold Black queens that have come from Latin America, that are products of the African Diaspora. Unfortunately because of the erasure and our community so many people do not acknowledge our voice or presence.
For a long time, it was really hard, I didn’t feel accepted anywhere and I lacked so much self-confidence and self-love. My identity plays a vital role in me not obtaining self - worth. The things I have heard from people growing up still replays in my ear. As a darker-skinned Latina, I have faced discrimination because of my skin complexion and my “pelo malo”. I can’t change the color I was born with. I only had one choice. To either continue allowing those negative comments to bring me down or work on self-fulfillment and find myself and my identity.
This meant me using my voice to bring awareness to my Afro-Latina identity and preserve our culture. This is why digital spaces like Aint I Latina? and Boriqua Chicks was the only place I felt embraced and celebrated. I felt confident in myself to be proud and stand in my skin. It influenced me to create www.hashtagiamenough.com, a platform dedicated to infusing self-assurance, pride, and confidence in the lives of Afro-Latinas.
It started out as just my narrative and then it has expanded to sharing hundreds of Afro-Latinas stories. Each blog submission is crafted with love and passion and most importantly authenticity. My end goal is to try and get voices from every single Latin American country where Afro-descendants exist. I want to shed light on my community because we were pushed under the rug for too long.
I believe in womanhood and most importantly unity. I want lighter-skinned Latinas to show up and show out for their darker-skinned Latinas. The racism many have endured is traumatizing, please use your privilege to support them and be apart of change and the solution. Black Latinas we are powerful and we do not have to prove our Latinidad to anyone because you should know who you are. You should know you are a product of royalty and power that no one can take away from you. Love yourself more and more each and every day. As you empower yourself make sure you continue to fix your sister’s crowns.
Mi Negrita Es Poderso!
My name is Jenay Wright, I was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. I am a
second-generation immigrant and proud Afro-Panamanian.
I hold my Bachelor of Arts in
Journalism with a concentration in Magazine Writing and Editing. I am the creator of
#IAMENOUGH blog. When I am not creating content I am recruiting for talent. It is my
passion to spread peace, joy, and love to others around me. It is also important to create
a safe space for Black and Brown women to feel celebrated.