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Afro-Latino Movies to Watch for Black History Month

Updated: Feb 27, 2020

We try to teach Deion that Black History reaches across nations and cultures. We aren't limited to American History. In addition to celebrating Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington Carver and Rosa Parks, we introduce Deion to Arturo Schomburg, Marta Moreno-Vega and Modesto Cepeda. As parents of mixed-heritage children, we feel it is crucial to highlight intersectional identities. compiled a list of 15 films representing the Afro-Latino experience in all it's forms. Here are two we will definitely be watching as a family.

1. Pelo Malo- Available to stream on Amazon & YouTube. Junior is a young boy whose outward appearance just doesn’t match up with what he feels inside. He fervently hopes for “pelo bueno” instead of “pelo malo”– for him this means elusively straight, free flowing locks that he can only achieve by applying enormous amounts of effort and sometimes oil or mayonnaise to his naturally curly, kinky hair. As the darker-skinned older boy of his mother’s two children, it’s not just his more African features but also his more effeminate ways that make him the brunt of her anger. However, his grandmother understands and even encourages young Junior’s differences. She helps him blow out his hair and encourages him to sing and dance along to saucy 60s tunes.

2. Black in Latin America- Available to stream on PBS. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is a Harvard professor, an expert in African and African-American history, and the host of Black in Latin America. Gates has taken his knowledge of African history and racial dynamics in the U.S. and focused his attention on the rest of the Americas in this four-part PBS documentary series. He uncovers the hidden history that most Americans, African-Americans, and even Latinos don’t know about. In the series, Gates teaches us that that more than 11 million africanos were taken to Latin America as slaves. That is 25 times the number sent to the United States. He visits Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru. He discovers the similarities in religion, food, and music – tracing their common origin to Africa.

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