12 Events Celebrating Afro-Latinos


The United Nations has declared 2015 to 2024 the International Decade for People of African Descent, and it looks like the National Puerto Rican Day Parade got the memo.

This year’s theme for the annual New York City event is all about celebrating Afro-Boricuas. As such, the board will be honoring a number of Puerto Ricans of African descent. Among them is Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, an author, filmmaker, academic and the founder of the Frank H. Williams Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute.

MORE: An Inside Look At NYC's Puerto Rican Day Parade

“Afro-descendants around Latin America and the Caribbean are a major population in the region, and that’s kind of swept under the table by the government and media. So the parade is paying attention to the decade and focusing on Afro-descendants,” Moreno Vega told Latina.

Honored to be recognized by her community, Moreno Vega hopes the conversations that transpire from this year’s parade expand beyond culture, music, dance and food. “Afro-descendants are contributors to Puerto Rican culture, not just music and dance, but thought, literature and institution-building as well,” Moreno Vega said.

Festivals and parades celebrating Latinos of African descent didn’t start, and surely won’t end, with the Puerto Rican Day Parade. Here are 12 events across the Americas commemorating and creating awareness around Afro-Latinos.

1. Afro-Latino Festival, NYC: The Afro-Latino Festival of New York is a multi-day cultural and musical event celebrating the contributions of people of African descent from Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as those of the diaspora. Founded in 2013 by Afro-Latina Mai-Elka Prado, this year’s festival takes place July 10 to July 12.

2. Afro-Latin Vegas, Las Vegas: In its eighth year, the Afro-Latin Vegas festival celebrates Afro-Latino music and dance, like that of salsa, bachata, kizomba and zouk. The next event will start January 23 and last until January 25.

3. Afro-Latino Parade, Pennsylvania: Afro/Latino Magazine Parade and Festival comes to Reading, Pa. every year, with the goal of bridging "the divide between ethnic and racial groups in Reading."

4. Afro Latino Festival, Los Angeles: The annual California Afro Latino Festival comes to the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in Los Angeles every February, to commerorate Latinos of African descent on Black History Month. Hundreds of people join in the day-long celebration of African heritage in the Latino diaspora, which features workshops, face paintings and live music and dance.

5. Afro-Latin Dance Fest, Houston: Though only in its first year, the Afro-Latin Dance Fest brings professional and amateur Texan dancers together to enjoy a weekend extravaganza filled with Afro-Latino music like samba, kizombaa, guaguancó and salsa suelta.

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About this author

Raquel Reichard, Politics & Culture Editor

Raquel is the Politics & Culture Editor atLatina.com and Latina magazine, writing on all things policy, social justice, cultura and health. Formerly at millennial news site Mic, Raquel's work can also be found at the New York TimesCosmo for Latinas, the Washington Post, the Independent and more. A proud NuyoFloRican chonga, when Raquel's not talking Latina feminism, racial justice, the "x" in Latinx or the prison industrial complex, she's going on and on about the Puerto Rican diaspora in Orlando, Fla. Follow her on TwitterInstagram and Snapchat at @RaquelReichard.


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