Last night’s 71st Primetime Emmy Awards was clearly underrepresented. With only four Latino actors up for awards — and no Latinas — the community was beyond shut out. However, thanks to Jharrel Jerome’s historic win for Afro-Latinos, and Indya Moore‘s important dialogue about identity on the red carpet, Latinos still stood up there on stage and represented their communities.
Moore got into a much-needed conversation about identity, Latinidad, and what all of that means to them. The Pose actor said in an interview with Remezcla that they are choosing to identify with a term that feels more authentic to them and their experience. “I think we definitely need to come to a place where the African diaspora needs to understand that the African diaspora is the African diaspora,” they told Remezcla. “Black Latinos don’t necessarily have the same experience as Latinos who are not Black. I, personally, do not identify as Latino because Latino means Latin and Latin, it means white. And I’m not white, so I just call myself Afro-Taíno ’cause that’s what I am.”
Taíno were an indigenous people of the Caribbean and Florida, which includes people from Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti), and Puerto Rico.
Moore elaborated about the Latinx representation on television and said, “When I watch Telemundo, yes, I’m here for Spanish content. But I just see only White Spanish people on Telemundo. I don’t really see Black Hispanic people because Black people are also Hispanic. I think Intersectional inclusivity is important because inclusivity affirms that you belong, and I think that’s something we should be pushing for in the media that we create, in all forms. For Afro-Taínos, for everybody. Everybody that’s marginalized.”
Miguel Salazar wrote an excellent piece for The Nation about the conflicting ideology behind the “Hispanic Heritage Month” term, which excludes a lot of people who don’t necessarily feel included as Hispanic or Latinx. The article speaks to a growing number of people who are opting out of the Hispanic or Latino umbrella and choosing a label that feels right to them.
Journalist Amanda Alcántara said, “The word I’ve been using to identify is ‘Afro-Caribbean’ because it is regional and specific to places that are often excluded in our perception of who Latin America represents. I still use the word ‘Latina,’ but because it’s used in the U.S. As a journalist, I cover Latino issues, specifically Afro-Latinx issues and Dominican issues, so I still rely on the term even if I don’t want to identify with it.”
Whatever label feels right to you, use it, it’s your right.