Afro-Latino is a deeply rooted identity among the Latino/Hispanic communities, but blackness as an identity has been overlooked in the Latino community. With Black History Month coming to an end, it is the perfect time to celebrate the Afro-Latinas of the Hollywood and the music industry.
Los Angeles-raised Tessa Lynn Thompson was born on October 3, 1983. Her Afro-Panamanian father Marc Anthony Thompson is a singer-songwriter, and her mother is Mexican and British. After graduating high school, she earned a degree in cultural anthropology at Santa Monica College. Her first performance as Juliet in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet earned her an NAACP Theatre nomination. Before hitting the big screen, she was in an indie electro-soul band, Caught a Ghost.
This isn’t the only time she’s done music. She co-wrote and performed a few songs on the soundtracks for Creed and Creed II. Some of her most notable roles in films include: Samantha White (Dear White People,) Diane Nash (Selma,) Bianca Taylor (Creed and Creed II,) Valkyrie (Thor: Ragnarok,) and Josie Radek (Annihilation.)
Camara DaCosta Johnson, born on November 15, 1982, was raised in Harlem, New York. She is of Afro-Brazilian and African-American ancestry. Her alma mater is Brown University where she majored in Africana Studies and International Relations.
She is best known for coming in second place on Cycle 3 of America’s Next Top Model. And her career has skyrocketed since then. She has done advertising for Sephora and Garnier Fructis. In 2005, her acting career began when she guest-starred on the sitcom, Eve. Also, DaCosta had a recurring role in the comedy series, Ugly Betty. However, she is most known for playing the iconic singer Whitney Houston in the Lifetime TV movie Whitney, directed by Angela Bassett. Her filmography also includes The Butler and Tron: Legacy.
New York-bred Rosario Isabel Dawson is an actress, singer, producer, political activist and comic book writer. She was born on May 9, 1979 to a Puerto Rican and Cuban mother. Her first acting role was in the independent film Kids in 1995.
Her career as skyrocketed since then: she won the Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture for her role in the musical, Rent. She was nominated for a Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Actress in a Comedy for her role in the comedy film, Top Five. Her most notable performances were as Gail in the neo-noir comic book adaptions of Sin City and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Dawson is also an avid supporter of charities. She is involved with the Lower East Side Girls Club, Operation USA, Oxfam, the ONE campaign, and other programs.
Born to Afro-Puerto Rican parents on June 25, 1979, Alani Nicole Vázquez is a television personality, producer, actress, businesswoman, and New York Times bestselling author. Her entertainment career took off at only 15 years old when she began hosting her own show, Future Flavas, with Ludacris. In 2001, Anthony was hired by MTV, despite not having on-screen experience. However, she still managed to rise to the top and become a talented TV personality, co-hosting two shows – Direct Effect and Total Request Live. That same year she starred in her first film, a romantic comedy called Two Can Play That Game.
Her subsequent film roles include Sonia (Think Like a Man and Think Like a Man Too) and Tanya (Baggage Claim.) Two years after joining MTV, she created her own production company, Krossover Productions, and produced Tyson, a documentary about Mike Tyson. She also hosted reality TV reunion shows on VH1, Flavor of Love, I Love New York, and Real Chance of Love.
Featured Image Credit: Yaya DaCosta via Instagram