Earlier this year, during an interview with Power 105.1 The Breakfast Club, Dascha Polanco and the show’s hosts discussed the controversial casting of Zoe Saldana in the Nina Simone biopic. Talks concerning Afro-Latinidad ensued, and Charlamagne Tha God became very confused about how someone could simultaneously be black and Latina. Soon thereafter, on the Brilliant Idiots podcast, a conversation—if you can call it that—about blackness outside of America (namely the Caribbean), aimed at further breaking down the concept, took place.
On Thursday (Aug. 25), Jim Jones and his partner of 11 years Chrissy Lampkin in a recent interview with Hip-Hop Wired was asked about Lampkin’s Afro-Cuban ancestry, to which the Harlem rapper quipped, “She’s Mexican.”
After a fleeting moment of awkward silence and chuckles were exchanged, Jim Jones, who is also Afro-Latino, of Aruban and Puerto Rican descent, added: “Where does Afro-Cuban come from. I never heard of Afro-Cuban. I heard of Afro-American. So does that mean there’s Afro-Asian?”
Lampkin finally interjected with “I am black and Cuban,” adding, “my Cuban side of the family makes fun of me because I don’t speak Spanish,” something that is often a source of insecurity or even shame for many U.S. Latinxs.
But guess what, Chrissy girl, you still #BrownGirlFly and #BlackGirlMagic and Afro-Cuban as all hell, because speaking Spanish doesn’t make you anymore Latino than speaking English makes you American, and blackness outside of the U.S. is—surprise—real. When the Transatlantic Slave Trade happened, most of the slaves were brought to the Caribbean, and of that region in the 19th century, Cuba itself absorbed a majority of the Africans forced to migrate.
Being Latino is an ethnicity in which any number of races can exist. And yes, Jimmy, there is such a thing as Afro-Asian.