Talking Journeys of Belonging 2 Blackness- Podcast Episode 004: Alicia Anabel Santos- La Santera (part 1)
from the journeys of belonging to blackness digital it'll media project. I'm India Lorrie Wilmot and you're listening to the podcast talking journeys out belonging to blackness. IGNACE joining us today is at least Annabel. Santos also known as last I sent theta. alesia is an Upper Latina author playwright writing coach a fellow podcasters teaching artists and activists as well as a film director actor and producer. She is the founder of the New York City. Latino Writers Group and the National Book Award Faculty member for over a decade alesia has created and nurtured safe spaces spaces for emerging and established writers to nurture their creativity whether she's a frequent guest speaker and workshop facilitator for universities and nonprofits across the US or a guest on shows like NPR's tell me more at least us work focuses on topics that intersect identity religion sexuality quality feminism and Social Justice where people of Color and particularly women of Color in addition to her two thousand eleven memoir finding your force a journey to love and her play production production and one woman show entitled. I was born at least us. Work has been published in magazines such as Latina magazine Glamour Domino and BusinessWeek and most notably her essay two cultures marching to one drum appeared in urban Latino magazine in addition. At least you're Rowen produced the documentary entitled Afro Latinos An untucked history with the Renzo debut. which is a film that intense to build awareness and help give voice to large community of African descendants in the Caribbean being in Latin America who've been silenced and historically marginalized more recently alesia has launched a new business venture that allows for to blend her spiritual practice this with her writing and community empowerment work called last synthetic spiritual consulting and? I can't wait to learn more about that but right now. Let's welcome lasted. I sent that I got so much for inviting me on your show. I'm so humbled to be here. I'm so proud of the work that you're doing and elevating and celebrating our voices and our testimony and so yes. I'm thrilled to be here. Thank you thank you for taking the time out of your extremely extremely busy schedule to share a bit about your work with our listeners. You know what's so funny is that I'm always always intrigued by our guest who are also engaged in projects designed to educate in lift African descended communities. And so you seem to do it all so I appreciate your Kudos does to me too but chow. I think you're probably one of the longest Intros I've given to date. Like what is she. Not doing leaping pink. I guess but I in honesty your energy. That's infused throughout the work. Whether it's through Penn or you know really keyboard but at at this point but depend on the screen in your performance are is quite powerful and you cannot very well with people. And I'm I know I'm not I don I say this but your messages resonate deeply and I think it's because you are an effective storyteller and the care you take in the time you make when helping others feel empowered or to tell their stories. I mean it makes sense that you are considered by many in the community a writing midwife. I just think about the moment that I realized that I was the writer. Like all of this when we come when it comes to like how. How do I come to ask Dominican as an Africa Tina to the fullness of myself as the black woman how did I get there? Where did it come from the journey? It's been a journey of identity Self discovery and self awareness. And and so I'm a person who grew up in Brooklyn and seventies right and so there was no Latino like I start off with that like when you come in. Come up in a space. Well you're not even sure where you fit. You will either black or you're white. There was no Latino we were not even the census at that point and so so I wasn't light enough to be white and I wasn't dark enough to be black so I immediately come up in elementary school. Not Having a home not having a place place but I knew I was more black than white. I've always known that whatever that word minority meant then I was a part of that group I was a it was definitely definitely not in the Ingraham. I was always in this like space of lent me here because this is where I feel most safe emo scene and then you go through your you know your high school years and I went to predominantly whites and I grew up in a home where you're taught you marry white because it marrying white is right. And it's about a glut on the LAROSA. You're being told you being taught in programming happening conditioned to believe that okay. You don't want to identify as black because Y is where it's at and here's where you will excel and succeed and and and not be. Invisible is rain so you immediately. I immediately have this conflict. This inner conflict of will the WHO am I will do. I belong whereas my I place there was a long time from when I was even Latina when I was in even wanting to speak Spanish. You know and it's like I feel like I've had decades of transformation Shen and it wouldn't be until I came out as a writer in two thousand one right so after September eleventh that I begin to delve deeply into what my my identities are. What are the things that I'm connecting to? What are the things that make me me? What do I get to claim? And when I came out as a writer and I knew the first magazine I wanted to write for publishing was essence. I knew that that was the place for my voice. Because it's where I felt I. Most related wasn't even Latina magazine and there was an African Americans who said to me. How dare you WANNA write for SS magazine? You Ain't black. Latino is not your place and the words it's not notch replace or the things that were ringing in my head like Shit. It's top my. It's not my place than what is my place on. What does that even mean that I begin to look at but wait my mother's lactating? Mothers Caribbean I am black. And not only at so not only am I Latina I'm black and at my place but it's my responsibility to really look at what that means and why it is having this these conflicts so that story that you The tidal two cultures. There's March march into one drum was originally titled Real. Will the real black girl please stand up to essence. It's an essence. Rejected it. They they weren't with it. I'm sitting like the title and what I was trying to do his bridge. This black brown divide so that we really have a conversation Asian about race at but but mostly what we had in common as black people so when it got published. It really wasn't affirming because it allowed me to really continue to do this work. Because from that article is where I landed at Filipinos the story as their head writer and producer her and I'm interviewing lack Latinos all over Latin America rate countries. Later and this question about. Why aren't we talking about being being black? Why are we identifying as being black and what is what does this look like and not in America which is a completely different experience to the United States and are are African American history here because the racial project looks very different in the Caribbean and across Latin America in just articulation of racial ratio projects? And when I think about you and and when I'm talking to folks like yourself who who are really very unapologetically black because I met I I met you know I've known you for a while but I'm known you as this person who's like I'm I'm black and that this weird juxtaposition that you felt yourself sort of traversing in earlier on in life. There's a lot more clarity when I meet you in the present and so for me. It's just like I then wonder all right well. How do did a person like at least you get here right? And what was her journey like. Because as you were saying this is a process that moment when you are like embracing your identity as a writer but then and embracing your soul. As after Latin necks as a black person. As an African descendants there are so many people out in podcast land listening in who who are creative like yourself and who are who want to be able to tell their story in their journey that might be similar to yours and I'm like you know what this woman is powerful awful and so here's a platform to share a story so no when I think about the question what brought me here to my blackness to owning my blackness Nepal legit Jin unapologetically. The first thing that came to my mind like lips was religion. Sponge well God. So when you're on this journey and you're having these nervous breakdowns and life is just fucked up and you realize that you know you don't fit in this world you're not white you don't fit in this world people people don't see us back because you're too late. You got to begin to take your identity omit but also prove it in some ways. People WanNa see that I own my privilege also a black. They WANNA see that. I recognize that I've had some access to things that I might not have gotten if I was three shades darker Parker Or if my hair texture was a little bit different and I do remember early on before I wore my hair national natural curly when I was distributing it out weekly that people ooh respect me more when I walked into spaces so when you say `I stand my blackness unapologetically it has. It took a long time because I had to br dismantle a lot of misconceptions about process and my journey in particular I come to my blackness through religion and and spirituality and my connection to my ancestors and my roots and really honoring and recognizing where I come from that's where that's where my blackness act. Mrs warned the roots of me the history. You know when I think about my mother's father my mother's mother my mother's siblings and this line nine this lineage of African descendants that I come from how do I pay homage. How do I connect to them? So this is where the journey begins against for me truly to understand own it is I am I am entitled. I am entitled to this To this religious practice that is Sunday Dante via that is the that is Voodoo right. Because I'm Dominican. I share an island with Haiti. And so it makes sense. At all. Of these things coursing coursing through my body. I just wasn't taught how to access it right and so with age I I become someone who questions more and I investigate more and I love and it's funny when I went to visit my mother this summer and we were preparing all of my first last data spiritual bats. The first batch had her hands in her touch over it and I'm doing Tarot card readings and gun Ceuta's the entire month on there with her like she's a Mike Mom. I'll be right back. I have three readings tobacco. I'll be right back. And she looked at me at one point and said I cannot believe that you do these things because my grandmother used to do go on Sutras Consulting and readings things for folks who would come in the neighborhood in Dr. which for me was this is? This is my roots. This is of course I am who I am because of this this and then I look at where I am today. I'm an e Locher or more goon and or Ya and that in itself has been. We could talk about at that hour. Listen what you said. It's just a nice way for us to transition into our first segment Act One call to adventure. I think about your memoir finding your force and the ways you talked about your journey towards self love inhaling and and I think too about the work you do today. That's all about using your force in the ways drawn on your Inner Strang on how you use your voice and that must have a great influence in the work that you do today so please tell our listeners. How did you become interested in doing the work you do today? Then what motivated you or inspired you to become this writing midwife. See these are some oprah questions. I took from Oprah Big Oprah questions right. Now listen when you when you grow up as As far as I'm baby of color right you're you're young and you're in the fourth grade and nine years old and you have of this white teacher your first experience with With knowing that you're different and and knowing that you don't belong in your teacher is the one who makes fun of you and and I grew up in the seventy so I remember that I was wearing in the fourth grade. bell-bottoms I right and a lot of times. I was wearing clothes that were hand me downs from people from other folks. They weren't even like things that my parents could afford to buy because they had just come to the country in nineteen sixty eight and nineteen sixty nine so this teacher laughs at me in front of the class. Everyone's laughing at me. That's all I remember. Numbers everyone pointing and laughing at the clothes I was wearing because I was poor and I stood at the door of the room. And I'm like you think that's funny. You think that's funny business funny and I gave her and the entire class in the middle finger. You flipped them the birds since I ran to the bathroom and I was crying in hysterics and I knew I was going to get hit. I knew I was going to get beat when I got home for the at that incident. CENDANT but I didn't care because what I knew was that I had things to be ashamed of and you carry that into your adulthood and you're working for white bosses and you're working in corporate America because I've had incredible positions. I've worked with some of the top magazine publishing I've worked for some of the top Liquor companies in the country and the world like IPAD. I've worked corporations like big names. And so when you work for these places and they're beating you down these people beating you down. You understand that it's because you're black and they believe they can get to a place where you decide am. Am I this desperate to stay because I have to feed my daughter her as a single mom at the time or do I leave. Do I love myself enough to say F. IT I'm done with this. I'm done with being treated did badly. By these people who do not value me who do not see me who do not respect me and a lot of that was born when I came out as a writer in two thousand one so here I am and I'm just coming to WHO I am. I'm coming into myself. I'm coming into my power undecided. I'm going to. I'm going to take care of me. I work for my last corporation. I work for my last editor. It's two thousand five live. I left Florida in two thousand after two thousand one after September eleven. That's when I knew I was a writer I worked in publishing and then fast forward. I'm working for this editor in chief. Two thousand four have a nervous breakdown. I can't I can't take it anymore. I CAN'T I. Can't it beat up anymore and this is not why came to New York to New York to pursue writing and so the moment that I took. I'm not to that identity. I'm a writer I I was standing in the fullest with myself as a black woman. I said you know what I'm going to work for myself for the rest of my life I never going to allow myself to be in another position like that and the rest is history a truly because two thousand five. I left that job and I wasn't working for a little while and then two thousand six. I write the article two thousand eight. I begin the journey for Afro Latinos. I'm gone I'm traveling. All of Latin America fifteen countries. That's where I'm really delving into the religion where learning where I'm studying and all that time making a decision about whether or not I'm going to become initiated or part hartness religious practice because there was a lot of fear there was a lot of m I worthy of this It was a lot of having to build myself backup gop in this journey and it makes sense when I think about being a black woman and I think about our history the American also all right. We'll see very often but I was born here. There were things that I had to just deconstruct to build myself back up and so during the film. Yeah I me- women from all Latin America. Who in the fire first? Five minutes of meeting me WanNa tell me their life story or something about the exchange and makes them feel safe so like even scholars historians sociologists professors. Like I would sit with them and they wanted to tell. Tell me the testimony about their abuse while they're sexual whether was physical whether it's you know power struggles at work whether it's being invisible is like it was from one like Peru y Guba Dr when the Rico Argentina. You name the country as I'm traveling the world and it's a lot of the same thing and people at telecommute they're bringing it all to me to hold and help them Give voice to so you ask you like how my podcast right so I come back with all of that on my shoulders All of these women were with me how to why honor black woman after Latinos the untold story. Making sure that I'm doing justice. This two hundred and fifty million people of African descent and Latin America. How do I tell their story? How do I tell their story? How do I honor that truth? Even on that living there experience I write a one woman show fi right the documentary. I read a woman show. I was born where it's camano logs of seven different women that I met in their experiences and it was part of the the one festival right. Yes one festival in New York which is was an amazing experience in and it was performed. The one woman show is performed by on seven nights seven different women who had memorized the entire descript. Because I wanted it to be different voices. Different women different experiences telling these stories and was amazing all while facing eviction all while facing not working because remember I quit my job to say I'm working for myself and so a lot of the owning who I am has been. It has been hot. Do this on my terms. How do I do this on my terms in hold onto some software respects when people want to continue to be things Adamy I write finding your force two thousand and eleven. I wrote my memoir in a month at taking a month off from connecting to anyone anything to write this like my partner just suddenly says she says it's a thousand page Memoir Mike. No it's not. It's close devoted in Amman. That's it's amazing. It was crazy that this rate I should have you as my ghost rider. Because I'm like Yo I've tried to produce something that's like two hundred pages and it's taking like seven I that was on beasts mode but also me needing to purge all of this out so I write the memoir I I read it in a month. I publish it that same year at some point so that like I finished it I wrote it in. May I published in August of that. I self published my mouth and so after you write something that Major that's your entire life story. Your journey coming out as a lesbian in your failed marriage. You're being a single parent all the ways you damage her. You're being raped and violated. You like your whole journey of your whole journey of of life like this twenty year span. This memoir spent twenty years of my life. What's next Pizarro was asked me you still have you found force a Mike? I'm always finding it in different ways. It's never ending you. Never completely flying ended I recorded finding your force s an audio book. It's available for free on my soundcloud and from there. I decided that I needed needed to record these podcasts. These video blogs of just things that like with different topics and things that I be that that'd be going through and experiencing as a writer as a woman of color as a black woman as lesbian as a mom. Whatever came up that day that was the theme of the day and I suggests freestyle I would just free style and just go and until I really got? Got My niche right. 'cause I was then talking about the craft of writing and I was doing meditations and then I've come to a completely different place as has a healer as a fan they'd I as Yorkshire and I'm doing under the less data umbrella less unfit search for consulting on providing daily card readings. Amusing my social media to connect to people mostly are people right women of color black women and men who are really trying to connect spiritually and connect to the God. That lives in ma'am. So that's that's the truth of like where my work has taken me as I have I. I know that I went through all of this. And my journey to this place. Why get to share how I got there and what I know now so I'm appeal at a bit for audience because I think it's important? Go to really look to that pivotal moment where it's just like. I'm going to really embrace. Take on this identity of being a writer because because I think in many ways the choice that humane after September eleventh to say you know what I need a shift in my life and it's more than just oh I'm GonNa take writing and this is a hobby because I think for creatives. It doesn't necessarily matter so much the platform per se. But it's there's something that's in there being but what you did requires a set of courageous steps to take right to actually make a a professional shift from. I'm getting money. I'm doing well in this corporate environment and into pivoted something that honestly to be creative there is financial instability in that and often times. I'm sure there may be some of us Some of our listeners out there listening in and thinking like I want to be a writer. And they're kind of pussyfooting around it because this is like to make that leap. What you did is huge and so take take us back like what was some of the contextual things that was happening that was like you know what I need? I need to change and this is what I'm going to do and I'm going to do this full time. And this is definitely a part of my journey that I'm GonNa put forth because that's very intentional on your part and I'm sure it's more than just being an African the sending in these workspaces because a lot of us work with you know those others and we feel marginalized but we are still beholden to that Environment Armand but then still try to find creative patches elsewhere but you are just like screw it on love this something speaking to you right now in over two point Oh that is probably may have set it quickly in the interest of time but truly one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to snake right and so I like to tell stories and use dates so September eleventh two thousand one that Tuesday. We know that the towers come down when the towers come down. I'm living a Miami and a working for a major arm company Major Company and so I'm driving to the office that day and among the phone with my sister Josie and she's she does her good morning running America thing she's telling me she's catch me up on the news. She's washing the news in real time. I'm driving through Miami. And she's like Oh shit. A tower describe is crash. A plane just crashed into the tower and I was like what and I'm driving driving driving driving and I'm still driving to work to Miami. And she tells a second Plane Lands in Tower in the Twin Towers and shit were under attack. That's when I felt instinctively I was like Oh we attack. I get to the office office and I remember saying to my boss. Have One more thing happens amount. I WANNA go pick up. My daughter will be with my family after September eleven and all of the days that follow we. They are watching September eleventh on replay. All of us around the world just an on a loop ramp towers the people jumping out of windows all about that horrific moment right and I'm thinking damn what if I had died and one of those towers. What if I had died? What what? How will my daughter remember me? What significant contributions have I made in life what I believe her with? How will unhealthy remember me? And I decided that I was gonNA write her memoir. I did not know how to write a memoir. I didn't know how to begin to even tell a story at that point. I had had no inkling internally that I was a writer like I didn't know it and you wake up to it yet but I knew it was going to remember because I said if anyone's going to tell my daughter my my dirt about my life is going to be me and so I began to look around my book. Shell and I had all of these books on writing how to write how how to publish how to get a big editor so I have been collecting these books. Do you remember those little papers that you would buy a book for a penny. Yeah absolutely so I had all had been picking all these titles. It was preparing me but I had no idea till I said I should write her book. And then once you I mean I love that biological who quote from the alchemists when you want something badly enough the universe conspires in helping you achieve it. That's right it was the natch. There was the Miami Book Fair was happening and it was that following month in on Mike and it was like you know if submit thirty pages and you get to sit sit with a with an international editor and agent and I was like great thirty pay like it came out of nowhere I was GonNa took three days off of work mark. I was just like I'm going to tell my story and I was then I was writing a book called the coming me and I always say Michelle Obama stole my title title. I had that title many many many okay. My skin and I was reading about my parents love affair and I was was reading. The book called writing from personal experience And as I'm reading it the lines that were really everyone has a story at its fell. Everyone's experience France matters. And in that moment I looked at my daughter who was little at the time she was like nine and I was like. I'm I'm a writer and she's like I know mommy you're gonNA write me a book I said No. You don't understand I'm a writer she's like. I know you're going to buy a house house with a McDonald's in it and McDonald's are belly she was sitting get it but in that moment it was revealed to me that I am a writer and once I had that revelation I began to make moves to manifest that and I knew that I wanted to leave Florida and come back to to New York City because I felt like New York is where I needed to be to hone my skills to really master my craft and I want. I just knew that New York was where I needed to do that. And so I began to save money and I saved four thousand dollars. I had had a job lined up I. I had a school picked out for my daughter. She's going to be going to a private school. Everything was aligning perfectly until I made a huge. I mistake at my job. I was accused of embezzlement huge mistake that I had made so at the time I was an executive assistant to a marketing manager for this major on company and I was in charge of doing of of organizing. Is this huge sales meeting. People internationally coming in so old districts hotel food entertainment All the workshops everything and my boss to me but I want you to have fun. It was at the four seasons. I want you to have fun. Have Fun have fun. And I'm like absolutely. I had private yoga. I got a manicure. PEDICURE got a long story short two weeks before you're leaving because I had given my notice I was moving to New York. Everyone knew I was pursuing writing. I'm called in and they were like. Do you realize you spent four thousand dollars at the four seasons and I was like no they made me pay it back in twenty four hours. I was escorted it to my car. I was humiliated. I went home and I cried Davis. I was devastated. I was so ashamed. I had disappointing wanting my boss. I couldn't believe I had done that. I've always been an excellent employee right because we're trained that way too great excellent and I'm in the bathroom towels in my mouth crying. No one knew my parents had to know I had moved in with them to save money rate and the saving of the four worth thousands and went right back to them in so the universe is funny right the I will always remember this woman. The vice president in human resources at this farm company called me a few days after the incident and she wanted to check in and she wants to know how I was. This is a woman who had taken me to see. Wayne Dyer Fire. Plays like these are people who like really loved me and she was like okay. Tommy what's going going on with New York. What are you what are you doing and I wipe might wiped my tears? came out of my hysteria took a deep breath. And I said I'm still going. I'm still going I'm going to New York. I'm still going and she was like that's what I that's what I like to here. I said always be a woman. This is another woman of color. She's always be a woman of your commitment. A woman of your word and I've carried that all my life so I appreciate you knowing that sort it was important to share because it hasn't been easy to choose writing it has not comedians. Come a great costs in his. Come a great humiliation and devastation but it has been the very thing to help ground me and choose me because at any moment i Tony Talents that you know what writing isn't for me. I'm not GonNa do this but I have an. I still am choosing writing. I still am choosing me. I love of your story and even just as whole segment because it's that's the call to adventure right. And so when I when I was thinking about I'm just even as a sidebar thinking about how to organize this podcast. It's like any time we're embarking upon a particular journey. You can have a multitude of different journeys Ernie's journey for me in this context the journey of life but we have many journeys in trips along the way Kind of goads or triggers us to go on a particular pat. And I think it's so powerful in meaningful in the sense of just slight. They're all these things that are happening in your environment. Arment around buying books having these conversations but it's so interesting that there's certain clues around them a manifestation of Jim that you're you're having that sometimes you're not even cognitive that you're like Oh so to your point where you look up and you're like wow I have all these books that are about these things your your mind and with subconsciously doing something because it was trying to express a passion or a of yours and you don't even realize it until you just look everyone was like. Oh Oh and I think your story about. Just the MISSTEP in the corporate environment to where there are trappings. That are like that that we as people of Color. I've I've heard stories like that. Before before where you're thinking that you have a particular relationship with your manager or someone who is you know a little bit and has a little bit more influence in the organization. And you're thinking oh I have some latitude and then it comes to bite you in the behind in a harsh way. But I think it's just really a testament to our experiences experiences in which you are able to be resilient you know when I started the New York State Electricity Group in two thousand six came out of this Need to have space to tell us stories unapologetically without having to translate or explain ourselves or you know whitewash or whatever to make people feel comfortable it was we can come as we are with our stories And we could be amongst women that get it Like we get it and so from that from creating space right there. I started in two thousand six with six women meeting in my apartment Harlem to growing in one month thirty people from in six months one hundred people and now thirteen years later. The New York selecting rise group has over eight hundred members. Go from there. I began to create. You know for the past seven years now. The right it's writing from the womb workshops where I meet with writers. It's either a nine one session where we're writing for nine months and I'm helping them to give birth to a story from Mike inception to finish finish line. I'm helping them to dream it. I'm helping them to see the the story that they might be missing like asking them the right questions in the most loving nurturing supportive space because they're not getting that in other spaces so for me I love. I love that when I write it as the one who called called me the regio. The you're the writing midwife because she's like you know you you know with writing prompts and activities and just this space that that I've created. I'm really proud crowd of because I've seen so many writers complete things and gone to publish things. And they're actors and filmmakers and they're just taking their in writing to the next level which is really really don't And I even think what you start to talk about with your work in terms of being a writer and a producer for Afro Latinos the documentary. That's important in terms of you even coming into your fullness around embracing racing this you know yourself identity as a black person you know more than just saying on of African descent because I think a lot of folks within the lat next community do recognize like okay. It's slave Africans came to this region along with the indigenous people that were already there and and with the white colonizers so yeah of course. That's why we look this way or our hair. Has this particular curl pattern in my booty. Looks like this in my music music and my food. But that's about it right. That's very different to say. Oh yeah there's some African descended people somewhere in my lineage. That's different from saying no. I am an African descended person. Whether you are starting that as being afro hyphenated whatever like Afro Ecuadorian or for Afro Colombian versus like on black which in and of itself means different things in different contexts. Right that's a very clear identities that I've always always found interesting being you know with family. That's of the Caribbean and although we may all speak different languages across the region it's just like like you know there's this real tension around color ism there's a real tension around embracing that and that's deep for you to even come into your own with data and then to be on the other side of the Lens Hearing People's stories so you have your own story but then you're hearing other people tell their story to you. It's crazy to me. How Oh my journey of self discovery and identity in this you know coming into myself brought me to Africa Pinos okay? I intentionally wrote a story that was about bridging. The Black Brown divide so that I'm thinking black girls and brown girls. We realized that we all black. And we all come from this place and it was about this like this school of thought that the first woman came from Africa. Like all of this ece like this is all of the things that I was embracing studying learning and taking on as truth because we could know that Mongo is an African word and and our booties are African fine but there is something very distinct about saying. I'm a black woman within Dominican in culture. Many black women aren't identify plaque. And so I think it is interesting because they haven't arrived to a place of of being proud of that blackness that's heartbreaking right so like when I think about where we where we are as people here in the US and and where there are a lot of African Americans who feel like. Oh now you WANNA be black rain you WANNA be apart. Oh now because it's a trend. You identify where. I'm talking about Apple Latino for letting nothing that now you now. You WanNa be black because it's cool the truth of the matter is we've always been black. We just have never loved. It loved being black back because we were told not to. We were told to hate the skin that we were born in much. Like Everton Americans yesterday who have come come to not all African Americans but there we've had that struggle with an African American. See The community we would that is to WanNA light in your skin and cleanse. That's not just happening here in the US. It's happening all over anywhere anywhere where there are black folks. There's as someone who is suffering and identity crisis an uncertain about whether or not they should love the skin that they're in great. Ain't that the truth because wherever we are in the world I mean there is some sort of colonial and post colonial history. That's there I mean even on the continent you you know. Slavery look very different on this side of the world is the western hemisphere but still even the Cologne post colonial practice in how this discoveries were divided the way they were divided who came in colonize them plays a role in the ways in which that to me. You're like wow like it's big business in places like Nigeria and Ghana and along the western coast of the continent around Lightening of skin. It's it's it's devastating. You know what I what I do. Love is that there are more and more and more people who are standing in their blackness. All over La. In America there are a lot of movements. There are a lot of laws being passed. Finally you know To protect people against racism and discrimination. I mean it it still common practice in in Latin America to you. have in your your newspapers that they're looking for someone with went up at a sense. Yeah good presence and that reba reading between the lines that means that they really want someone who is light. WHO's White White Latino with straight hair light eyes? You know for this job and definitely. Don't be a black person. A black woman coming in here with kids they definitely are asking you the most inappropriate questions on an interview and so I feel like where I am. I love that you're asking about the film. It has been interesting to be across from the people. The p the Africa Filipinos after Colombian Dominican asking them about the experiences With identity and those who are like not having it right because there are people who are still like. I'm not black right dark arcus midnight lay. Okay then I black. They're brown damn well lateral and so. I know that my work here is to show people this where we come from. This is our history. This is the truth and I believe that I think that people need to have agency Over their identity. So I'm not here to like start this like Afro Latino Movement like you're either embracing your blackness or you're not if you're I'm not I'm sad for you you because you'll never be like a full. You're never going to be a whole person because there's a part of me that you're denying ashamed of because you haven't been taught the truth of of who you are where you come from and so we'll do. Our civil rights movement in our Black Power Movement and black is beautiful movement. Like you see it. You see it more. And more like there's a woman her she owns missy sauce. Our Honeymoon Caroline Cabrera's but she she has this movement where she started a salon and a school. So you know black girls and Dr could begin to embrace their hair and know how to take care of the hair and and so. It's really empowering that I've learned about myself and Incredible work that I'm I'm seeing happening there. You have it folks. This concludes park one of our conversation with with Annabel samples Lassen Thera stay tuned for the next episode. Part too as she talks about the road and where we land piece.