‘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.


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. 


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.






  1. says

    this is fantastic! i'm constantly trying to explain to friends what it means to be a black Latina and the look on their faces is always a perplexed, confused one. I'm out of answers and explanations, both statistical and historical on how black Latinos do exist!! I'll be sharing this with just about every one of them. 

    • says

      Completely agree with your comment! This docu-series seems like a must see. I have to admit I don't necessarily understand the concept of Black Latina, as in don't we all have African roots? Why do some women say they are Black Latina specifically? I consider myself Latina, Dominican more specifically, but I do acknowledge my African ancestry as well as the European and indigenous.

      • says

        Thanks for supporting!! To address your comment of a 'Black Latina' it's about how you identify, people of African ancestry will be considered Black no matter your ethnicity. Latino being the ethnicity, race something separate. So that's why I personally identify as a Black Latina, others may not, that's all fine, at the end of the day race is a social construct and consequently depending on that, that's how you will be "classified" in this worlds. DR is a country where  90%+ of the people are of African ancestry, consequently the native/indigenous people were all but exterminated within 50 years of the Spaniards reaching Hispanola. In terms of phenotype the world at large looks for those "physical attributes" to pinpoint a "race." "Black" is an identity people may or may not choose to identify with but as people of the African Diaspora, even with all of it's mixture and intermarrying, and reproducing with different 'races', our African roots do have a influence on that "physical appearance." 

  2. says

    Very interesting! Impeccable timing… just this past week I was explaining to someone I work with that in Mexico, people range in skin color just like in the U.S. and that not all people of Mexican descent are medium brown like the stereotypes dictate.

  3. Vianney says

    Thanks for sharing this great interview and video.  We come in all shades, sizes and statues.  The vid is wonderful,  truly talented, strong women open door to discussion. Good for you!! 

  4. Justice Jonesie says

    This docu sounds awesome. As a culturally mixed Latina I can relate to what many of the people in the video said.  My parents are Mexican and Haitian and I was raised to see this as an advantage but I  many people were confused by it.  Can't wait to see the rest of the documentary.

  5. peruvian food says

    This is such a great idea. When I lived in Spain nobody believed I was Peruvian because they thought Latin Americans were only like Andean people. They were even more shocked when blonde, blue-eyed friends of mine said they were Peruvian. It's about time people start learning about the diversity of cultures that make our countries so rich and interesting.

  6. LeBraun says

    Well people say that if you just say that you are Latina then you are negating you African heritage. You have to understand that people do associate white Latinas from either Spain or Southern European origin. The Spanish came from Spain and then when the natives were dying of illness they needed a new labor force so they brought African slaves from west Africa. This is why people who do not want to forget their roots of African ancestry use Afro Hispanic or Afro Latino/Latina. Many people already consider people of the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean countries like Puerto Rico and Cuba as Afro Hispanics.

    Look at this one girl on the documentary where the girl is talking about her identity. Negro: Finding Identity- Melissa. At 1:50 of the video she identifies as a U.S Latina. In Colombia people do not use the word Latino because most people that live in Columbia are Colombian. If she tells that to people in Colombia they will laugh at her or think she is crazy. Now what she is is really is an American citizen of Afro Colombian origin or Afro Colombian American.


    Negro: Finding Identity- Melissa

    youtube com/watch?v=8zA68AypURI

    Latina is like the word Asian. Their are many Asian countries. So she says she is a U.S Latina. Do you think people are stupid or dumb. They are smart in Latin American countries and know who is who. Now lets say that a Chinese American goes back to China and he identifies himself as U.S Asian. It does not happen. He would say he is a Chinese American or a U.S citizen of born of Chinese Ancestry.

    Here look at this ad in Colombia

    Censo afrocolombiano 2005/ AfroColombian Census

    youtube com/watch?v=PY4uf49dMqg&feature=related

  7. LeBraun says

    The difference between Colombia and Dominican Republic is that their are more White Latinos and Afro Latinos are a minority in the country where as Afro Dominicans are the majority in their country. When 90% of Dominicans have African ancestry it would be dumb of the Latinos or white ancestry to discriminate against Dominicans of African ancestry. Whether or not they are full African Negro which very few claim to be or Mulattoes. In fact Dominican Republic is 2nd most populated country of people with African Ancestryaround 90% & is behind Haiti 97% in Latin America. The next country would actually be Cuba 65% and then Brazil 55% and then Puerto Rico 40%. This are Afro Hispanic/Latin countries and in Brazil's case it is an Afro Latin country only.