Throughout the last couple of years, Afro-Latino artists have discussed their identities as black people from Latin Caribbean nations and the colorism they faced as black people in their native countries. This conversation was highlighted when Amara La Negra shared her experiences on The Breakfast Club and on Love & Hip Hop: Miami. Additionally, Cardi B who’s of Dominican and Trinidadian descent, recently said she considers herself a black woman. Both of these artists have encountered backlash for their stance on their identity.
During a recent visit to Hot 97, Fat Joe echoed their sentiments and talked about Africa’s prominent influence on Caribbean music and its people. “All the music is African….let’s speak about Latinos not being black. Latinos are black. In Cuba, at one time, there were eight million Cubans,” he said. “Five million, unfortunately, were slaves. Three million were actual Cubans, and they integrated and had babies,” he continued. “Same thing with Puerto Rico when you go to Loíza. You talk about Santeria, that came from the motherland, Africa. Sometimes, Latinos may even identify themselves with African and black culture more than black people. This ain’t no crazy thing. Fat Joe ain’t on crack. He knows what he talkin’ ’bout.”
Joe also commented on Brazil’s colonization by the Portuguese and how they’re influenced by Africa. “The Portuguese colonized Brazil. Brazil is pretty much Africa but they speak Portuguese.”
Rosa Clemente, a Ph.D. candidate at UMass Amherst’s W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies shared her thoughts on black identity in Latin America with The Huffington Post.
“Afro-Latino is not about being black and Latino, Afro-Latina means to be a black Latina/Latino hence why the term Afro-Latino came about in the late ’70s,” she said. “Since Latino is not a race, it’s really not even an ethnic group, it is false to say that folks are black and Latino, we are racially black and then many refer to their ethnicity or i.e Afro-Boricua, Afro-Dominican.”
Watch the full interview on Hot 97 above.