Documentary “Afro-Latinx Revolution: Puerto Rico” was released in January — which focused on journalist Natasha Alford, vice president of digital content and senior correspondent at TheGrio’s travels to Loiza, Puerto Rico, during the summer 2019 protests.
In the documentary, produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center, Alford sought to find answer her longstanding questions surrounding Black identity and inherent racism and inequality across Latin America.
“Blackness is not confined to an African-American space. Blackness exists across the world. I was yearning, hungry and craving more information about my own Boricua roots because I wasn’t getting it elsewhere,” Alford told Remezcla.
Alford wanted to find out why some Black Latinos call themselves “Afro-LatinX” and why others found the term offensive? Alford also explored the differences and similarities to the struggles of Afro-Puerto Ricans compared to their American counterparts.
Speaking to the publication, Alford explained that the lack of education surrounding her origins led to her search to dive deeper into her Afro-Latin roots.
“On a personal note, I know as a little girl when I was educated about Puerto Rican culture, I was always told the concept of three races: Black, Taino and Spaniards. But that was it. It didn’t go deeper than that. If I don’t live on the island, I may not have access to primary sources,” she shared.
“Because I am multicultural, my father is African American, I had a sense of investment in understanding Blackness, and I want to understand it in every context. Blackness is not confined to an African-American space. Blackness exists across the world. I was yearning, hungry and craving more information about my own Boricua roots because I wasn’t getting it elsewhere. So, between the professional and personal motivations, going there and creating this just made sense to me.”
According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Afro-descendent population accounts for 2.5% of the entire U.S. Hispanic population. The U.S. Census data reports that approximately 25% of U.S. Latinos identify as Afro-Latino, Afro-Caribbean, or Latino with African descent (Gonzalez-Barrera, 2016).
In Latin America, Afro-descendants make up 21.1% of the total population.
Watch the documentary in full below.