Monthly Archives: February 2012

Williams College Black and Latin@ Unity Symposium

New Afro-Latino Documentary

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As Black History month comes to an end, we wanted to reshift our focus back to the area of racial solidarity. I recently saw an article, advertising a new documentary about the lives of Afro-Latin@s living in the Americas. The article summary seemed very interesting and I cannot wait until the film is actually released next year. Through our collaborations with the Latino Student Union (VISTA) this year, we hope that we can further explore the regions of intersection that exist between our two communities and cultural heritages. For more information on the documentary, read the summary below:

Slaves came to Central and South America into a world with identity issues that still exist in the Hispanic community today. There are an estimated 200 million Afro-descendants in Latin America but the majority of them do not have political or economic power. This documentary takes you on a journey to meet Afrolatinos throughout Spanish and Portuguese speaking nations and an exploration and appreciation of their culture. It will also teach the uninformed and hopefully initiate social change throughout Latin America.

The documentary series will begin with the slave trade in the early 1500’s and touch on the Cimarron (Palenque) communities, as well as cover the controversial theory of the African presence in ancient America. The programs quest is to better understand the religious connections and distinctions between the Catholic Church and religious practices such as Yoruba and Voodoo. We learn about these religious and sacred ceremonies through dance and music. The drum is a very significant instrument used in Latin music today but do many people know its history? The documentary will have a segment on Afro-Latin gastronomy, which will show the many dishes with African influence as seen in Latino every day life.

Today, there still exists communities where African dialects were mixed with Spanish language found in places like San Basilio de Palenque and we’ve discovered a dictionary of Spanish words of African origin. Identity will be a special segment that affects millions of black Latinos worldwide. Of all the issues that are affecting their way of life the main issue is the exclusion of a community of people based on the color of their skin. We interview people from the U.S to Argentina about issues such as image (this idea of good hair, bad hair), interracial marriages, racism, oppression, exploitation and Afrolatinos consciousness plus much more.

One of the most important chapters in the documentary is the social issues segment as it is directly affecting ALL Afrolatinos communities. Our producers not only document the problems but also live and experience it firsthand. Consistent in most of the countries visited was the lack of local government support; from corruption to discrimination Afrolatinos endear many tribulations. We hope this documentary will empower its Afro brothers and sisters and encourage people to help one family at a time, give voice to the invisible, create awareness, start a dialogue and promote change.

Click the link below to see the trailer. Enjoy!

Also be sure to check out the tabs above about our upcoming Black and Latin@ Unity Symposium!

Free My N***A Boosie…..and Every Other Accused Rapper

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So you read the title. Free my  n***a Boosie. Free my n***a TI. Free my n***a OJ Simpson. Get where Im going? No? Okay, maybe not, but Im pretty sure many of you have heard at least one of these. The free so-and-so slogans that arise when a rapper or famous person is arrested for a crime. Im a firm supporter of the innocent-until-guilty right. On the other hand, these movements are bothersome to me for several reasons.

One: What if the person is actually guilty? By guilt, I mean they’re actually caught with drugs or an unregistered weapon on their person. Then what? Do we continue our free my n***a campaigns? What are we saying about ourselves if we support individuals who break the law in these campaigns?

Two: The use of the n-word. This is not a post about the merits of the term. Its not my place to judge anyone for using it, but I do want to address it. Why should I support any campaign that speaks about freeing your n***a so-and-so? Uhh…do we expect respectable leaders to do the same? Can you imagine Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton out chanting the slogan “free my n***a MLK during the 1960s? If you answered yes, stop reading here. For others, I would answer no. The use of the n-word in a legitimate campaign that’s supposed to gain sympathy from outside supporters is ineffective in so many ways.

Three: What do we do after the free my n***a campaigns have died out? Should I wear a t-shirt everyday? It seems like these slogans are just that…slogans. They dont actually push people to do anything of worthwhile value. Seems like people are just sitting around on twitter, chanting free so-and-so, without any actual action. Give me the facts and tell me why they should be free. If it seems compelling, then you have my support.

Fourth: Free my n***a so-and-so who’s being charged for murder. Say what? Hold up? Guilty of murder? Multiple murders? Hmm…once again, we should assume innocence until proven guilty. However, being charged for murder speaks magnitudes about a person. You may not actually be guilty, but this type of charge certainly follows a person for life. Look at OJ..

Last: Where do we, as young blacks, fit into this? Should we support the free my n***a so-and-so bandwagon solely because he or she is black? What does this say about individual blacks and groups like NAACP when the individual is actually guilty? Where do we draw the line for ourselves?

I dont have all of the answers for these questions, but its something that always interested me. BTW…I looove me some Lil Boosie. He’s on all of my gym playlists. For those of you who are not familiar with Lil Boosie and his case, check out the links below.

http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/news/id.11508/title.lil-boosie-indicted-for-murder

http://boosiejustice.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lil_Boosie

My favorite Lil Boosie joint!!

Song of The Day: BlackStar – Thieves in the Night

Found myself flipping through my I-Pod on shuffle today and I came across this old gem from none other than BlackStar (Mighty Mos Def and Talib Kweli). “Thieves in the Night” is a track off of their 1998 album, Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star.

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The lyrics are pretty deep and the instrumental is pretty mellow. Hope you enjoy. ^.^