Office of Inclusive Excellence

Media Representation and Afro-Latino/a/x Identities

September 3, 2023

By Ryen Martinez 

It is essential for the Latinx community to be in solidarity with the Black community because the lack of representation of Black Latinx folks is harmful to the perception of Latinx people. 

The long history of Black representation falling below the representation of other groups has been proven time and time again. However, this lack of representation is something very apparent within the Latinx community to this day. When you look up the phrases “Latina” or “Latino” and you view the images under that google search, you often find yourself looking at the same image over and over again. This narrative of the perfect natural summer tan and beautiful wavy hair has been pushed in the media for a very long time. Now, it’s time to rewrite this narrative and redraw this picture. The Afro-Latino/a/x community is growing with more people embracing their identities as Latinx and Black people. It is also growing because of this changing narrative. In recent times, social movements calling for people to directly embrace their cultures, all of their cultures, have aided the spread of representation in the public eye. Within the media, in a recently released Disney movie, Encanto, we see so much diversity within just one family, not to mention the whole community imagined within the movie. Including these small, yet so impactful details, is us as a culture actively changing the narrative that has been stagnant for so long. This representation has been needed for a very long time, and to think we are just getting started! As a person part of the Latinx community who has a Black partner, I feel it is so important to redefine this for the future. I want the next generations to come into the world with the desire to fully embrace all aspects of their identities, not just the ones that are perceptible or deemed worthy.

Ryen Martinez is  currently a first-year student majoring in Humanities and Communications with a concentration in English Subject Matter Preparation. She is from Hesperia, CA.