‘Negro': Diaspora Docu-series to Shed Light on Latino Identity

Image Credit: In.A.Dash.Media

Dash Harris, Journalist

“Latinos are not a monolith. There is no one look or concept of race for us. We are as diverse as the colors of the rainbow and our experiences and identities reflect that.”

Journalist, Dash Harris, is on a mission to explore the dynamics of Latino identity in the U.S. and abroad.  Her upcoming docu-series, Negro, examines both history and present attitudes about skin color, social hierarchies and self-identification of Latinos of the African Diaspora.

Learn more about her project in part two of our interview below and be sure to visit Bicultural Mom for the first half of this interview, where Dash shares part of her personal story and what inspires her.

ABOUT DASH:

Dash Harris, born September 11, grew up in Panama, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn and the Poconos. She attended Temple University for broadcast journalism, business and French. Dash is the owner of In.A.Dash.Media, a Multi-media and video production studio and currently working on Negro, a docu-series about Latino identity and the African Diaspora. She is also a writer for Examiner.com and founder of Venus Genus, a website that empowers women while examining gender bias and female tropes.

Follow Dash on Twitter at @InADash, @InADashMedia, @VenusGenus and ‘Like’ Venus Genus on Facebook.

Q &A with Dash Harris, creator of “Negro”, a docu-series about Latino identity:

First off, it’s great to have the chance to interview you about your upcoming docu-series, “Negro”, a docu-series about Latino identity. Could you tell us what the film is about and what topics you might be addressing in the series?

The docu-series will be a series of video interviews in a medium form news format that addresses the global Latino identity. It will juxtapose the U.S. view from Latinos and non-Latinos in the U.S. with Latinos from their respective country.

Topics will range from media portrayals of Latinos, how Latinos identify, the history of the ethnicity, Africa’s role in the development of the ethnicity and its people, racism, colorism and eliticism among Latinos and perceptions and misconceptions of Latinos. Each video will be on a specific country and topic.

What are your goals for this film? What do you hope to achieve by producing it?

My overarching goal is to spread truth and awareness, annihilate ignorance, and foster a dialogue about the elephant in the room. The docu-series will present the perception, identity and the honest to God facts of what it means to be ‘Latino’.

What is your personal connection to the stories and voices that will make up this film and why is it important to Latinos in the U.S.?

My family is from Panama, an awesome place to visit by the way :-D  I have grown up explaining why being Black and Latino is not mutually exclusive. I have seldom seen diversity of Latinos in Latino media and have explored the nuances of a people who tout unity while many members of the culture feel isolation and disharmony. I see a lot of ignorance and gross misconceptions about the ethnicity.

The simple fact that ‘Latino’ is not a race, but is an ethnicity made up of European, African and Indigenous influences. I have seen Africa’s pivotal role in the ethnicity rejected in favor of a more Euro-centric view; the fallacies of uninformed and oftentimes a people ashamed of where their roots really lie. I see the complete and sometimes willful ignorance that someone who is blonde hair blue eyed, someone of indigenous ancestry and someone who is the color of a midnight sky can all be Latino. Latino history and social interaction is seldom taught anywhere, not in Latin American countries and definitely not in the U.S. It’s time to open up some eyes.

What are some of the countries and cities you have/will visit for filming? Why did you choose these specific locations?

To start, I wanted to visit the countries with the highest population of people of African ancestry, which are Colombia, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Brazil. I have already visited Dominican Republic and Colombia and hope to travel the last three in the winter. I felt these countries were imperative to create a well rounded theme of global identity of the European, African and indigenous populations that comprise the Latino identity.

Does this project have a non-profit status, like a 501c3?  How can our readers help and show their support for this project?

The project does not have a non-profit status. However, it still is important to support a project like this because there are very few narratives like this and even fewer told by Latinos themselves. It is time for Latinos to tell their own stories and give a voice to issues and topics that we have all experienced but have never been touched upon or covered in a medium like this.

We support companies who may or may not have our best interests at heart, we spend tons of money on countless items, things, products. Materials, goods and entertainment, why not spend money on sharing your very own stories? I quit my job of two and half years to pursue this because I believe in it. I have used all of my personal savings to do the travels and have had some support from family and friends, I would love to have the support of the community. 

FUND ‘NEGRO: A DOCU-SERIES ABOUT LATINO IDENTITY

Why do you think it’s important for people to see this series?

The doc-series is important because it will open some eyes, remove blinders, and expose the truth for exactly what it is, something to be learned, appreciated and celebrated. To quote Jeannie Zandi “The truth has eternity on its side. Your illusions have a shelf-life.” And this is what Negro the doc series aims to do, shorten that erroneous shelf-life. The doc-series sheds light on the experiences and history of Afro Latinos specifically.  There are some Latinos who identify as Afro Latino but those individuals still share some common Latino culture, as any other Latino.There are places that have a pronounced Afro Latino culture such as San Basilio de Palenque in Colombia that was established as maroon town by a runaway slave. Palenqueros have preserved their African culture and speak a language that is a mix of Spanish and African Languages.

However, Latino culture is Latino culture (with some amazing variations from country to country of course), whether you have a predominant African ancestry or not. I have observed Black Latinos/Afro Latinos say over and over again that Black Latinos or Afro Latinos are “invisible,” that they are not acknowledged that they are isolated and made to feel they are somehow not part of the larger culture. I found it puzzling because there were more slaves taken to Latin America than the United States of America itself, so for there to be any confusion on the existence of Black Latinos, and Latinos of African descent is absurd since most Latinos have African ancestry, whether they claim Afro Latino or not. Many prominent Black Latinos have described feelings of invisibility, racism, colorism, isolation and pain.

Hugo Chavez notably said, “When we were children, we were told that we have a motherland, and that motherland was Spain. However, we have discovered later, in our lives, that as a matter of fact, we have several motherlands. And one of the greatest motherlands of all is no doubt, Africa.” 

This history, is just not taught in schools in Latin American countries and it is such a rich and intricate history of Latino identity.

NEGRO: A DOCU-SERIES ABOUT LATINO IDENTITY {PART ONE}

FUND THIS PROJECT

 

 

Chantilly Patiño
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Chantilly Patiño

Chantilly is a multicultural blogger and the creator of several online platforms for mixed race / culture families.She is also a web designer and brand strategist who helps women to create their own culturally relevant websites and blogs.
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