Afro-Latina Feature: Martha Luna-Medina
Meet Martha Luna-Medina, Afro-Latina from, Caracas Venezuela now living in Jersey City, New Jersey.
What does being an afro-latina mean to you?
As a Venezuelan woman born and raised until I moved to Brooklyn New York specially living my high school years all I had to do was take a good look in the mirror to know that aside from being a Latina, I am also mixed race. I see it in my complexion, my beautiful eyes, my dark semi spanish waivy hair, my lips, my nose, and my hips for a petite person which I figure I inherited from my mother and aunts and I am a beautiful blend of Trini and Chinese and African ancestry.
Do you speak Spanish? Do you speak any other languages or dialects? If so, what?
Yes I do I speak fluent Spanish and English
When did you realize you were afro-latina?
When I move to the US because I don’t look like many Venezuelans from my country plus my mother is from Trinidad and Tobago and my great grandmother was Chinese.
Share an experience about being Afro-Latina.
When I was 6 years old I remember how much I was bullied in Venezuela the kids use to make fun of me for being negrita and even worst when my dad use to pick me up they use to tell me tu papa es un negro and many negative things. Thankfully I loved my dad so much I didn’t allow it to hurt me or dislike me. Once I move to the US by parents choice my middle school and high school year I was the prettiest girl and most popular in class I loved it and that’s when I learn to embrace my self more love me more and decided that one day I’ll inspire young girls to do the same. And now I have my blog, my voice and platform to do so. I am a proud Venezolana and I’m not afraid to say it to anyone.
What is something you would like to share with other afro-latinas?
For my latina sisters who are afraid to admit they are Afro-Latinas Sometimes it’s a denial of Blackness but sometimes Latinas feel like they’re simply not Black enough to identify as Afro-Latina because they have olive skin or their hair isn’t as textured. I identify as Afro-Latina because I know I have African ancestry. I see it my facial features, my mixed hair texture and in my family. I think it’s important for us to embrace this side of us because this is part of who we are. We need to see this as something beautiful, not something to be ashamed of.” It is so important for us to recognize that light skinned and dark-skinned Afro-descent women often, have very different experiences in public spaces and in our families. As a morena. I am aware that my experience in Venezuela, Puerto Rico Mexico, DR, Brazil, and other Latin American countries for example, are vastly different than my darker-skinned sisters.
What Latin traditions do you stick to (do you cook native meals, listen music, etc)?
I love to cook and eat my Venezuelan food for sure specially arepas and cachapas I listen and dance the music too Salsa is my favorite and Joropo.
What is Your Occupation or What Are You Best Known For:
Latina influencer and designer and ceo of mnycshop / founder of mdollnyc.com and sisterhood of faith volunteering organization
What is a beauty routine you could not go without?
Mascara and eyeliner is a must.
Anything else you would like to share?
Be proud of your language and where you come from, use your voice and culture to inspire others. Show love and give love to the world.
Connect with Martha Luna-Medina and support your fellow Afro-Latina by engaging with her website and following her on social:
Photo Credit to Elias Nuñez @eliasnunezphotography