There are many Latinas who inspire me to be a better person, and to wholeheartedly love my roots, but there is one who I definitely look up to. Growing up, I had a difficult time grasping both race and culture. My family is so infused with so many colors and flavors, I wasn't really able to understand how differences were perceived in the world, particularity in the western world.
I began to look up to afro-latina stars, because they resembled me best. They wore their skin dark, and held their Latino roots very firmly. They struggled with colorism, and trying to find their place in a world were people saw Latinas as those with tanned skin, long straight hair, with a sharp Spanish tongue.
I wasn't any of those things.
Some of the Latina stars who I look up to include: Celia Cruz, Christina Milian, Tatyana Ali.
One celebrity who inspired me most is Zoe Saldana. I know she has been receiving a lot of criticism from all sorts of places because of her role as Nina Simone in the movie "Nina.'
However, I have known this star for a very long time. She was the first Afro-Latina actress I felt a connection or understanding with when I saw her on screen for the first time in Drumline, back in 2002.
When I saw her first appear in the movie, I had no idea what her background was, her cultural identity, or even her career history. But when I saw her appear in the film, I immediately remember going on my slow-as-hell internet, to find out more information on her. When I found out that her and I shared similar cultural backgrounds, I was swooning over the actress!
I think it's so important that we have people who we can identify with on-screen, and as much as the entertainment industry is going in the right direction in many areas, it still has a lot of work to do when it comes to diversifying their cast members.
With all of that said, I do feel very lucky that I grew up with the large part of my adult and teenage life, having idols I can relate to.
Zoe, you're amazing!
[It's not just equal in that you treat me equal for me — it's equal for them. [Men] are extraordinary creatures and sometimes we deprive them of their own battles. They are entitled to having their daddy issues. They were exposed to a certain life growing up. They have their own nightmares. Women, we have the power of the word, and we can make or break a man with just a sentence. To abuse that power makes you just as crippled as men who abuse women."]