Posts tagged with "black excellence"

Cardi B Illustration for 360 Mag

21 in 21

21 Afro-Latinxs to celebrate in 2021 and beyond! 

By: Javier Pedroza

It’s Black History Month, which gives the planet time to reflect on how African American achievements have contributed to US history and how African achievements have contributed to the world. Although, don’t forget it is important to highlight and celebrate Black accomplishments year around. Due to the current global climate, it’s important to become more knowledgeable and celebrate the Afro-Latinx population for its contributions to US history and the world.

After 2020, it is an especially important time to embolden the community to take part in the celebration of Black culture. This year, the Black History Month theme is “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” which explores the African diaspora and their contributions.

To really understand the African diaspora it is essential to acknowledge that there were more African slaves to Latin America than to the United States. “There were 11.2 million Africans who came to the New World in the slave trade and of that 11.2 million, only 450,000 came to the United States,” Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. said in a discussion about his PBS documentary series Black In Latin America. He added, “The real black experience, in terms of numbers, is all throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.”

Today, Latinx should understand their roots, which have an undoubtedly long history of African heritage. Hispanics & Latinx identities are beautifully complex, multifaceted and multidimensional. A Pew Research Center survey of Latinx, adults shows that one-quarter of all U.S. Latinx self-identify as Afro-Latinx, Afro-Caribbean, or of African descent with roots in Latin America. This is the first time a nationally representative survey in the U.S. has asked the Latinx population directly whether they considered themselves Afro-Latinx.

Many Latinos identify with their ancestral countries of origin – Puerto Rico, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba, Peru, the Dominican Republic, etc. Others may also identify with their Indigenous roots and all of these experiences made contributions to Black History. A goal to have moving forward is to celebrate global Black History and continue to recognize the contributions African-Americans have made to the world, including achievements made by Afro-Latinxs & Afro-Indigenous people. It’s imperative for Latinxs to acknowledge their African & Indigenous heritage given that history and cultures are inextricably linked to slave trade in the Americas, genocide and the African Diaspora. 

Here’s a growing list of amazing Afro-Latino (a,x) heroes and their contributions. 

1. Arturo Alfonso Schomburg

(January 24, 1874 – June 10, 1938)

Place of birth: Santurce, Puerto Rico 

Contributions: Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, born to a Black mother and father of German descent, was a historian. Mr. Schomburg is considered to be one of the Fathers of Black History & a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Schomburg’s lifework consisted of research and preservation—work that would lead him to become one of the world’s premier collectors of Black literature, slave narratives, artwork, and diasporic materials. 

2. Dr. Marta Moreno-Vega 

(January 3, 1942)

Place of birth: East Harlem, New York

Contributions: Dr. Marta Moreno-Vega is an Afro-Boricua who established the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI). Dr. Moreno Vega has been an advocate for cultural equity, cultural studies and education. As the second director of El Museo del Barrio, one of the founders of the Association of Hispanic Arts, Network of Centers of Color and the Roundtable of Institutions of Color, Dr. Moreno Vega has contributed to assuring that the contributions of African and African descendants are integral to the lives of civil society in the Americas. 

3. Celia Cruz 

(October 21, 1925 – July 16, 2003)

Place of birth: Havana, Cuba

Contributions: Celia Cruz was a singer & recording artist born and raised in Havana, Cuba. She was one of the most iconic artists of the 20th century. Her many honors included three Grammy Awards and four Latin Grammys for recordings such as Ritmo en el corazón (1988; with Ray Barretto) and Siempre viviré (2000).

4. Dr. José Celso Barbosa 

(July 27, 1857 – September 21, 1921)

Place of birth: Bayamón, Puerto Rico 

Contributions: Dr. José Celso Barbosa was a Physician, Sociologist and Politician.  Known as the father of the Statehood for Puerto Rico movement, Barbosa was the first Puerto Rican, and one of the first persons of African descent to earn a medical degree in the United States.

5. Ruth Fernández (Ruth Noemi Fernández Cortada) 

(May 23, 1919 – January 9, 2012)

Place of birth: Ponce, Puerto Rico

Contributions: Ruth Fernández, “El Alma de Puerto Rico Hecha Canción” (“The Soul of Puerto Rico Turned Song”) was a Puerto Rican contralto, actress, and a member of the Puerto Rican Senate. She was the first and only singer ever elected to the Senate of Puerto Rico. She was considered by many to be the Rosa Parks of Puerto Rico when she refused to enter the Vanderbilt Hotel in San Juan through its back entrance because she was a woman of color. The owners of the hotel stated that blacks had to enter through the rear of the building, but during one evening where she was set to perform at the hotel’s ballroom, she marched into the hotel via its front entrance. After this event, the hotel changed its policy.

6. Cardi B (Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar)

(October 11, 1992)

Place of birth: Manhattan, New York

Contributions: Afro-Latina Cardi B is a Dominican & Trinidadian rapper, songwriter, and actress raised in the Bronx, New York. Recognized by Forbes as one of the most influential female rappers of all time, Cardi B is known for her aggressive flow and candid lyrics, which have received widespread media coverage. She is the highest certified female rapper of all time on the RIAA’s Top Artists (Digital Singles) ranking, also appearing among the ten highest-certified female artists and having the two top-certified songs by a female rap artist.

She is the only female rapper with multiple billion-streams on Spotify and became the first artist to top the inaugural Billboard Global 200. Her accolades include a Grammy Award, eight Billboard Music Awards, five Guinness World Records, five American Music Awards, eleven BET Hip Hop Awards and two ASCAP Songwriter of the Year awards. In 2018 Time magazine included her on their annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, and in 2020, Billboard honored her as Woman of the Year. 

7. Rosa Alicia Clemente 

(April 18, 1972)

Place of birth: Bronx, New York

Contributions: Afro-Boricua Rosa Alicia Clemente is the 2008 United States Vice-Presidential Candidate, Producer, Journalist, Political Commentator & Scholar-Activist. Rosa is a graduate of the University of Albany and Cornell University. She is currently a doctoral student in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies of University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

8. Congressman Ritchie John Torres 

(March 12, 1988)

Place of birth: Bronx, New York

Contributions: Ritchie Torres is an Afro-Boricua politician who is a member of the Democratic party. He is the US representative for New York’s 15th congressional district. Torres was the first openly gay candidate to be elected to legislative office in the Bronx, and the youngest member of the city council. Torres won the November 2020 general election and assumed office on January 3, 2021. This makes him one of the first openly gay Black men elected to Congress (along with Mondaire Jones). This also made Torres the first openly gay Afro Latino elected to Congress. As such, he is one of the nine co-chairs of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus in the 117th United States Congress. 

9. Zoe Saldana (Zoë Yadira Saldaña Nazario) *Trending Now

(June 19, 1978)

Place of birth: Passaic, New Jersey

Contributions: Zoe Saldaña is of mixed ethnic heritage, with her mother being of Puerto Rican descent and her father hailing from the Dominican Republic. Zoe is the only performer to get star billing in more than one movie that grossed over $2 billion worldwide with Avatar and Avengers: Infinity War. 

10. Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos 

(September 12, 1891 – April 21, 1965)

Place of birth: Ponce, Puerto Rico 

Contributions: Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos was a Puerto Rican attorney, social activist, nationalist and the son of a mixed-race mother who was the daughter of slaves and a Basque father from a farming and landowning family. The latter not only provided no financial support but also did not legally recognize his son until he was 19, and Albizu Campos grew up in poverty. In 1912 he was awarded a scholarship to study chemistry and engineering at the University of Vermont. He transferred a year later to Harvard University, majoring in chemistry and literature and becoming the first Puerto Rican Harvard graduate. Many people in Puerto Rico consider Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos the father of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement. 

11. Carmelo Kyam Anthony

(May 29, 1984)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: Carmelo Anthony is an Afro-Latino professional basketball player. He has been named an NBA All-Star ten times and an All-NBA Team member six-time Anthony also played in the 2016 Olympic Games, his fourth straight stint in the Olympics, which was a record for a US male basketball player, breaking the old record of having played in three Olympiads he shared with James and Robinson. He has celebrated his roots by giving back to Puerto Rico, remodeling basketball courts in a poor neighborhood 3 years in a row now. 

12. La La Anthony (Alani Nicole Vázquez) 

(June 25, 1981)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: La La Anthony is an Afro-Puerto Rican actress, host, producer and New York Times best-selling author. La La Anthony has supported charities such as the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Gabrielle’s, Angel Foundation, GLAAD and Voto Latino. 

13. Rosie Perez (Rosa María Perez) 

(September 6, 1964)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: Rosie Perez is an Afro-Latina actress, choreographer and community activist. Rosie was appointed to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS by President Barack Obama in 2010. Among many honors, Rosie was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Fearless as well as three Emmy Awards for her work as a choreographer on In Living Color (1990–1994).

Perez has also performed in stage plays on Broadway, such as The Ritz, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, and Fish in the Dark. In addition, she was a co-host on the ABC talk show The View during the series’ 18th season. 

14. MJ Rodriguez (Michaela Antonia Jaé Rodriguez) 

(January 7, 1991)

Place of birth: Newark, New Jersey

Contributions: MJ Rodriguez is an African American and Puerto Rican actress who is among the largest cast of transgender actresses on the show Pose. MJ made history by becoming the first Trans woman to ever sign a beauty deal with Olay Body. MJ was awarded the Hispanic Heritage Special Trailblazer Award at the 31st Hispanic Heritage Awards in Washington D.C. 

15. Ramon E. Contreras 

(22-years-old)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: Ramon Contreras is a young political activist, advisor and filmmaker who is changing the nature of civic engagement by championing and encouraging minorities to participate in politics. Ramon is a fierce gun control enthusiast and founded YouthOverGuns, a platform advocating for change in underserved communities of color. He led a protest of thousands across the Brooklyn Bridge and is the National Strategist for the nation-wide organization, March for Our Lives. 

16. Laith Ashley De La Cruz 

(July 6, 1989)

Place of birth: Harlem, New York

Contributions:  Laith Ashley is a model, actor, singer-songwriter and entertainer of Dominican descent. He was the first transgender man to be featured in a Diesel campaign. Laith has been on the cover of countless magazines and has had featured stories published on countless others all around the world; ie, British GQ.

Laith was on the cast of the reality TV series, “Strut,” executive produced by Whoopi Goldberg, and raised the heart rates of viewers in his appearance on hit series, “Pose,” on FX. Ashley is also an activist, particularly in transgender issues. He worked with FLUX, a division of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which is dedicated to raising awareness and providing support to trans and gender-nonconforming people. 

17. Dianne Morales 

(June 21, 1967)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York 

Contributions: Double Ivy League graduate Dianne Morales is an Afro-Boricua with degrees from Harvard University and Columbia University. Dianne is the former CEO of several multi-million dollar social service nonprofits and is also the first Latina / Afro-Latina candidate for New York City Mayor. 

18. Johnny Pacheco 

(March 25, 1935 – February 15, 2021)

Place of birth: Santiago De Los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

Contributions: Johnny Pacheco was one of the most influential artists of Latin music. He was one of the creators of The Fania All-Stars and Fania Record (#latinmotown), the most successful record label in the history of Latin music. 

19. Aida Rodriguez (Aida Margarita Parada Rodriguez) 

(August 29, 1977)

Place of birth: Boston, Massachusetts

Contributions: Aida Rodriguez is a comedian, host, producer, actress and the first Latina / Afro-Latina (Puerto Rican & Dominican) to appear in two comedy specials airing in one month on both HBO and Showtime. Aida’s latest comedy special premiered on Netflix as part of the “They Ready” series hosted by Tiffany Haddish. Rodriguez has also appeared on Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar, The Nightly Show, five-time host of the PBS Imagen Awards, NBC Last Comic Standing’s finals, TRUtv’s Laff Tracks and is also a regular contributor for The Young Turks. 

20. Indya Moore 

(January 17, 1995)

Place of birth: Bronx, New York

Contributions: Indya Moore is of Haitian, Puerto Rican, and Dominican ancestry. They are an actor among the largest cast of transgender on the show Pose. Moore does not identify as a Latinx, and instead identifies as Afro-Taíno. In June 2020, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the first LGBTQ Pride parade, Queerty named them among the fifty heroes “leading the nation toward equality, acceptance, and dignity for all people.” 

21. Gina Torres 

(April 25th, 1969)

Place of birth: Manhattan, New York 

Contributions: Gina Torres is an actress and the first Afro-Latina to create, produce and star in her own show, ‘Pearson’. Torres won the ALMA Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Syndicated Drama Series for her role in Cleopatra 2525. Gina also received the Best Supporting Actress award by The Imagen Foundation (Spanish for “image”) Awards, the only premier Latino entertainment awards program dedicated to honoring the positive portrayal and creative excellence of Latinos and Latino cultures on screen. 

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Design and cleanliness story illustration by Gabrielle Archuleta for 360 magazine

COVID GUIDANCE: The importance of TOP-DOWN CLEANING

Robin Wilson launched Robin Wilson Home in 2000 and created a conglomerate that covers eco-design, licensed products, interior design, and real estate development. Her brand has generated over $82 million in wholesale revenue from sales of cabinetry and textiles. She became the first Black woman with a line of hypoallergenic textiles sold nationwide at Bed Bath & Beyond (now in Wal-Mart), among other retailers. Her book, CLEAN DESIGN: Wellness for your Lifestyle was #1 on Amazon and focused on eco-friendly designs and hypoallergenic products for consumers.

Recently, the lifestyle expert introduced the practical aspect of Top-Down Cleaning. In this era of quarantines and lock downs, the last thing anyone wants to do is add to our work load – and a few simple tips will help you maintain a clean and healthier living space!

The Statistics

Sixty million Americans – that is one in five of us – have asthma and allergies. We sneeze, sniffle, and itch. Expose us to a whiff of dust, a gust of pollen, a sniff of perfume, or an encounter with an inquisitive dog or cat, and before we know it, our airways start to close up, and we begin to cough, wheeze or struggle to breathe.

With COVID in the air, the last thing we need is an inflammatory response. So cleaning your space has never been more important. Remember that asthma and allergies cannot be cured, but they can be managed. We can reduce symptoms by avoiding the allergens that trigger them. Unfortunately, the average home is full of allergy and asthma triggers, which means the place that should be your sanctuary can be a major source of allergenic triggers.

What is Top-Down Cleaning?

Most people create twice the cleaning work by first cleaning the floor, softa, tabletop or countertop and then cleaning the lights, ceiling fan or cabinets – only to see dust drift downward.

Solution: Clean from the top-to-bottom. In fact, if you have a second level, start upstairs and then work your way downstairs. Start at the highest point and make sure you have the following tools: paper towels, microstatic dust mitt/cloth, microstatic duster/floor sweeper, HEPA vacuum and a non-toxic cleaning solution. Cleaning solutions should include: baking soda, vinegar, toothpaste and Coca Cola.

Starting at the Top

We forget that walls are one of the largest surfaces in our spaces. Use a microstatic duster cloth/mitt to rub gently along the walls starting at the ceiling line and let the dust fall. As well, make sure to swipe over light receptables, ceiling fans or chandeliers.

Surfaces

Then clean the surfaces, starting with the highest-level lamp, bookcase, window treatments, cabinet or closet shelf. Allow dust/dirt to fall. As you work you way down, you will find that you need to vacuum or wipe down surfaces.

As mentioned earlier, there are a few tricks that involve cleaning solutions that are non-toxic.

1.       Toilet Ring Solution: Pour Coca Cola into your toilet overnight, and use toilet brush in the morning and the stubborn ring will disappear (may have to be repeated dependent on the level of stain) by morning.

2.       Crayon Marks: Use toothpaste. Smear on the mark and let sit for about 20 minutes. Using light brush strokes, and the crayon should be removed, or at least diminished.

3.       Stained Baking Sheets: to make them look new, use vinegar and baking soda. Coat pan with baking soda. Pour a layer of white vinegar on top. You may see slight bubbling. Let sit for 4 hours. Use gloves and a brush in circular motion. Watch the surface start to look new.

Finish at the Floor

The last thing that you need to do in your space is clean the floor.

1.       Make sure to invest in a HEPA filter vacuum as the dust and dirt is stored in a chamber (unlike older vacuum units that sometimes-added dust back into the space), and the canister can be emptied outside.

2.       Before you clean, you might want to make sure that you remove rugs and shake them outside.

3.       Run a microstatic dust cloth over the floor before you vacuum so that you can ensure that minimal dust flies around.

One tech solution that many working from home families are investing is an electronic robot vacuum that can be programmed to work during the day in various rooms. Some floor robot vacuums have HEPA filters, and can be a great option if you have a pet and want to make sure to limit buildup of dander and hair on your floor.

[SIDE BAR] For a space that follows CLEAN DESIGN protocols, it is important to replace a few items:

1.       Change your older model vacuum to a HEPA vacuum to effectively limit dust in the space. Especially important if your home is near any location that had recent fires.

2.       Change your vinyl shower liner to a nylon shower liner to minimize mold.

3.       Review the window treatments and find options that can be laundered and are not ‘dust catchers’ or which can be easily vacuumed.

4.       Replace your pillow after 3 years if it has not been washed frequently or covered with a zippered liner.

5.       Think about using your window screens so that you can open your windows for 5 minutes daily.

SIDEBAR

Leading triggers include:

  • Dust mites in beds and pillows
  • Dander from pets
  • Mold growth in walls, bathrooms and basements
  • Pollen from outdoor trees and grasses in your hair that infiltrates your sleep space or living room sofa
  • Fumes from cooking and chemical cleaners
  • Toxic or environmentally unfriendly building materials that permeate indoor air

Remember, you can change that by using the strategies in the book, Clean Design: Wellness for your Lifestyle (Greenleaf, 2015). Create a healthy home environment that manages indoor air quality and protect your family from dust, mold, pollen, fumes, odors, airborne toxins, chemicals and other substances. Create a home environment that nurtures good health.

According to the American Lung Association, “poor indoor air quality can cause or contribute to the development of infections, lung cancer…headaches, dry eyes, nasal congestion, nausea, and fatigue” in anyone, not just those who suffer from asthma and allergies. We can all benefit from living in a more pure home environment.

More physicians are convinced that there is a link between environmental toxins, indoor air quality and allergies. Chemicals we are exposed to in our homes and offices have the power to make us sick, and we can improve our health and wellness using Clean Design principles.

Shopping for Hypoallergenic Options

The pandemic made both me and my clients realize that the CLEAN DESIGN HOME which sells our retail products is more important than ever – and that we should find non-toxic cleaning options and information for day-to-day living, especially since so many of us are working from home. I have pivoted to focus on building out the product line, and have just licensed our brand. So much information involves simple non-toxic options– the ideas are rooted in my bestselling book, Clean Design: Wellness for your Lifestyle.

About Robin Wilson

Her design projects including the White House Fellows office, a part of President Clinton’s Harlem office, and the rustic beach cottage of Robert DeNiro – each project had a very quick turnaround and exacting standards. She was named to the Top 100 Female Founders List in 2020 by INC magazine. Her eponymous licensed brands of textiles is sold at retail and hospitality. She is also in the process of creating Design+Build projects. She is author of two award-winning books: Clean Design She is the first woman with a branded line of custom cabinetry that was sold by over 400 independent kitchen dealers nationwide (2009-2018). First featured in Oprah’s magazines and extensive media coverage since 2005. In May 2013, her furniture line, Nest Home by Robin Wilson, premiered at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York. In 2014, she partnered with consumer products giant Panasonic to promote their latest line of cutting edge products for the home.She is an ambassador to the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America, and previously served on the board of the Sustainable Furnishings Council.

Kaelen Felix illustrates Chadwick Boseman of Black Panther for 360 magazine article

Chadwick Boseman

Although Chadwick Boseman passed earlier this year, his 44th birthday would be coming up on November 29. To commemorate Boseman, National Today has created Chadwick Boseman Day in his honor.

Boseman accomplished many things over his 44 years of life and has inspired people everywhere. He always encompassed black excellence and this shines through in each role he portrayed throughout his career.

As T’CHalla in Black Panther, Boseman gave young people of color a hero to look up to in the Marvel universe. This was a monumental role as the first black superhero for Marvel. He also represented the first African American Supreme Court Justice in the movie Marshall. In the famous film 42, Boseman took on the lead as Jackie Robinson, the first black MLB player. These roles only highlight Boseman’s wildly successful career. He took on powerful roles that gave representation to the African American community and will be remembered for these roles and many others.

Chadwick Boseman passed after a four year battle with colon cancer on Friday, August 28, 2020. In 2016, Boseman was diagnosed with stage three cancer which had progressed to stage four. Boseman was able to pass at home surrounded by family.

Boseman’s passing, whose struggle with cancer was not often in the public eye, came as a shock to a majority. Even Sarah Halley Finn, who casted Boseman for the role of King T’Challa in “Black Panther” did not know he was battling cancer.
According to Vulture, “Finn had no idea the actor had been diagnosed with stage three cancer when cameras rolled on Black Panther in 2017.”

Chadwick Boseman not only was an actor, but a pillar in the black community often playing roles of historical black men, such as Jackie Robinison in “42”. His latest role as King T’Challa in “Black Panther” and the Avengers series was a historical role itself.

The black community had never seen a super hero represent them before and Chadwick Boseman’s adaptation of T’Challa provided many young boys and girls a super hero that looked just like them.

Boseman’s humble spirit was always felt throughout Hollywood. CNN entertainment shared the story of Boseman praising fellow actor, Denzel Washington, for his charity that allowed Boseman to pursue acting.

From pulled quotes from Boseman’s speech at the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019, the story of how Washington paid for Boseman’s tuition at the British American Drama Academy’s Midsummer program after Boseman was accepted but could not attend because he could not afford it. Washington not only helped pay for this program, but helped pay for Boseman to attend Howard University.

 Boseman recounted how the sponsorship was “an offering from a sage and a king is more than silver and gold. It is a seed of hope, a bud of faith.”

“There is no Black Panther without Denzel Washington,” Boseman said. “And not just because of me, but my whole cast — that generation — stands on your shoulders.”

Boseman’s role as T’Challa was much more than that, a role. This role became a national symbol of black power and strength. The “Wakanda Forever” gesture of arms crossed over the chest, became a symbol itself of perseverance and pride. 

CBS New York spoke to people in New York about how Blank Panther made them feel. “Thirteen-year-old Brehima Gueye says watching Boseman in the 2018 Marvel film “Black Panther” gave him purpose and a sense of pride.”

According to CBS, “Family members say Boseman was a true fighter who continued to work while undergoing surgeries and chemotherapy for colon cancer that progressed to stage four.” 

On August 29, 2020 fans in Los Angeles attended a vigil at Leimert Park where they remembered the impact Boseman had within the black community. The Los Angeles Times stated, “Boseman’s death in the midst of so much racial tension in the country serves as reminder to keep fighting for racial justice like he did.”

Fans of the franchise worry about how it will continue on without Boseman but are hopeful that Wakanda and King T’Challa’s legacy will live on.

Boseman’s role in not only Hollywood, but within the black community and as a symbol of black strength will not be forgotten. While his role for the Avengers franchise brought monetary achievements, it brought much more than that. It brought a symbol of power, endurance and hope that will forever be immortalized on screen.