The experiences and struggles of American black women and Afro-Latina women are very different and should not be blurred together haphazardly.

When Evelyn Lozada, a proud Puerto Rican female, was involved in a domestic dispute with her 40-day-old husband Chad Johnson (Ochocinco) I heard more than a few people say something to the effect of "ughh, those black women!"

Errr excuse me? Since when does Evelyn Lozada or any of the millions of women of Hispanic heritage in the United States suddenly qualify as black women in the traditional sense? Oh right, only when they act "ratchet" or trifling right? In any other case they are called (and clearly call themselves) Latinas.

The experience of black women and Latina women in America are different. We come from a different culture, though they are sometimes intertwined. If you've ever been to a Dominican beauty salon you know this reality all too well.

While I have love for my Afro-Latina sisters, some gladly take advantage of black culture while not actually experiencing the nuances of black culture. Evelyn Lozada is one such example. Rocsi Diaz of BET's 106 & Park fame is another. But when you put the situation in reverse, you'll be hard pressed to find a black American woman taking a Latina woman's role in anything. How about Mary J. Blige as Selena? I think not.

Jimmy Iovine & Cynthia Mort: Replace Zoe Saldana with an actress who actually looks like Nina Simone .
Nina Simone
Now in more recent news, a biopic on Nina Simone, a proud regal beautiful dark-skinned black woman, has been planned. Lo and behold they've decided to cast a Latina woman, Zoe Saldana, for the role. She is the lovely actress who starred in the movie Columbiana.

I think it's time we stand up and clarify this reality. The fact that a director felt it appropriate to cast a lighter-skinned Latina woman to play a very dark-skinned black woman from the American South is a problem. 

The experience of Afro-Latina women is simply not the same as black American women in this country. When people bash black women as a whole, Latina women don't usually feel personally offended by it. We should not be made to "accept" someone who cannot relate to our unique culture, struggles and experiences to play an important black historical role.

A petition is making it's rounds, which I have gladly signed. True to my promise, I am happy to make a stand and show support when my sisters (and brothers) stand up on important social issues. I hope you'll feel the same and add your signature to the quickly growing list (currently at 941 supporters):

Jimmy Iovine & Cynthia Mort: Replace Zoe Saldana with an actress who actually looks like Nina Simon



  1. Anonymous On August 16, 2012 at 8:00 PM

    But the reality of it is that hollywood has a long standing history of casting people for roles as the see fit regardless of whether or not they fit the criteria of the character or person they're playing. I'm African-American but I'm a huge fan of anime and Asian music. So it hurt to see that in the hollywood version of "Dragon Ball Z" they had casted a white man to play one of the main characters although he was originally Asian. I love Zoe as an actress and I will always support her but honestly, there isn't much you can do because hollywood film execs will continue to do as they please with their movies.

      CB Lady On August 16, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    @Anonymous1 Still there is value in making your voice heard. Thanks for your comment!


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