Amara La Negra, Christina Milian, and the great Celia Cruz all are beautiful Black women that are conversation starters in Hispanic/Latin culture. Their beautiful melanted skin was once a weapon used against them to gain their success. Each facing their own adversity when wanting to be accepted within their culture. But it seems the world is opening up and media is finally recognizing that Afro-Latinas are here and they are apart of the conversation. Brands are even making conversation when it comes to voicing their discontentment against the white-washing that happens in the Hispanic/Latin culture. Showcasing that Latinas are not just one image and how we need to shape the conversation to recognize this. One brand that stood out particularly to me is Blatina With the Good Hair.
The brand was founded in 2017 by Shomara Garcia and since its first debut, the brand has amassed a big following. With impactful slogans displaying the Black-Latina & Afro-Latina experience and pride to be apart of the culture. We had a chance to ask the founder about her identity struggles, the brand’s visions, and more.
TQS: Your brand was built from the lack of representation for Blatinas in the community, with more conversation happening around the community, do you feel like there is more awareness?
Shomara Garcia: I definitely feel like there is more awareness nowadays with Blatinas/Afro-Latinas. When followers and friends tag @shopblatina in articles on colorism in the Latinx community or see memes that pertain to my messages, I know what I’m doing is working. My brand and mission are being met when people see a certain topic and automatically think of me and my brand. We still have a lot of work to do, but we’ve come along with showcasing diversity in the Caribbean / Latin community.
TQS: Your brand has the popular “Born From an Immigrant” teeshirt, what drew inspiration from this?
SG: What inspired me to come up with “Born to an Immigrant” message on a t-shirt is my sister and father. My father had instilled deep roots of his Belizean culture into my sister and siblings that when after designing Latina Has No Skin Tone, my sister was like, “oh, you should make a shirt or bodysuit that says, Born to an Immigrant and share daddy’ crazy stories.”
Society never accepted such a brown-skin kissed by the sun,
curly-haired, non-fluent Spanish speaking person to consider herself Latina. I grew up being told I was “black” and told “I wasn’t black enough; I’m a mutt.” I’ve heard it all. – Shomara Garcia, via shopblatina.com
TQS: You discuss confused within their self-identity, when trying to find yourself in a mixture of cultures, what do you recommend for those going through that struggle?
SG: I recommend if someone who is going through the same struggle as I did to: learn your culture, ask your family members to share stories of their family/upbringing, do research of your own on the countries you and or family come from, etc. All of those have helped me shape me into embracing all of myself.
TQS: Lastly, your brand has been recognized by many, are we expecting more products, brand ambassadors, and more in 2020?
SG: For 2020, you can expect: more events hosted by us, affiliate brand ambassadors program, new bodysuits, bathing suits and more for the new year.