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Friday, December 9, 2011

NEGRO: Docu-Series on Latino Identity

Part I

by Britni Danielle 

The African diaspora is vast. Because of the slave trade and natural migration, African-descended people can be found living in and influencing cultures all over the world. A new series, ‘Negro,’ takes a look at another part of the diaspora and explores issues of culture, ethnicity, colorism and the media’s portrayal of Latinos. If we used the media as a guide, we’d think that all Latinos were the same: Fair-skinned, stereotypically “hot blooded,” catholic, and tending to come from a particular region. But the truth is far deeper.

Latinos are incredibly diverse, live all over the globe, and have a range of experiences that have yet to be shown in the mainstream media. Because of this, journalist and filmmaker Dash Harris has set out to tell her story, and those of other Latinos. Born to Panamanian parents, Harris says she wanted to make this documentary to show the world that Latinos are not a monolith. “We have a complex history that shows we come in all colors and hues and the denial of that history really upset me growing up,” Dash explained. In ‘Negro,’ Harris travels around the world chronicling the Latino experience and its historical roots.

Although the documentary takes a look at the ways in which African-descended people have influenced Latino culture (and how some Latinos self-identify), Harris finds the term “Afro-Latino” redundant. “I do not identify as ‘Afro-Latino’ because to me, it’s redundant,” Dash explained to me. “The definition of ‘Latino’ is African, indigenous and European. So to me it’s just repeating what we already are. I am Latina and I am a Black woman.” So far, Harris has traveled to the Dominican Republic and Colombia to interview people on the Latino experience, and she’s hoping to raise $5000 to visit Salvador, Brazil, Puerto Rico and Cuba to continue to tell the story. Whether you can or cannot relate to Harris’ background and experience, encouraging (and supporting) her to tell her life story helps other women do the same.

Watch the first part of Harris’ docu-series, ‘Negro’ and check out her GoFundMe page to learn how you can donate for future episodes.

by Dash Harris
InADash Media