Films You Should Watch: ‘Negra, Yo Soy Bella’

Films You Should Watch: ‘Negra, Yo Soy Bella’

If you’re wondering what to watch next, we’ve got you covered. 

In your must-watch list, you must include “Negra, Yo Soy Bella,” which is a new documentary short film directed by Black Puerto Rican and Caribbean filmmaker, Vashni Korin, based in Los Angeles. Korin is also a journalist and an artist.  

The short film makes part of BET Media Group’s fourth season of “Queen Collective,” a series of short films told by women and non-binary filmmakers of color.  

According to an official press statement, the “Queen Collective” is Procter & Gamble’s signature talent and content development initiative created in partnership with GRAMMY®, Emmy and Golden Globe®-winning and Academy Award®-nominated artist, actress, producer, entrepreneur, and this year’s NAACP Image Awards host, Queen Latifah, Flavor Unit Entertainment and Tribeca Studios aimed at accelerating gender and racial equality behind the camera. 

This year, Queen Collective worked with six Black directors as part of their commitment to “Widen the Screen to widen our view.” They did this by producing five original documentaries, and a scripted short. “Negra, Yo Soy Bella,” makes part of this wonderful project. 

“Negra, Yo Soy Bella,” which translates to “Black, I’m Beautiful” in the Spanish-language, is a portrait of Mar Cruz. As per an official press release, Cruz is an Afro-Puerto Rican woman who sources strength, healing, and Black pride through the tradition of the folkloric dance, Bomba. 

In a previous “BELatina News” article, we wrote that Bomba, born in Loíza, Puerto Rico, was born as a way for ancestors to express themselves, share news and stories, and communicate with each other. It provided a source of political and spiritual expression for a group forced to uproot from their homes and was often a catalyst for rebellion.  

Why watching ‘Negra, Yo Soy Bella’ matters

In a recent interview with theGrio, Korin explained what this type of representation in film meant.  

“Growing up, I rarely saw a Black Puerto Rican woman on screen,” Korin told “theGrio” on “TheGrio Weekly.”  

“When we’re not represented, when you don’t see yourself on television, you don’t see yourself in the media, on billboards … You begin to lose what is possible for you, the magnitude of what is possible for you and your life and what you can do if it begins to disintegrate. So, I think it is so important that we begin to infiltrate certain images of ourselves on screen.” 

Films like this one are important in so many ways. For instance, by supporting projects such as “Negra, Yo Soy Bella,” more people will start to feel represented – and this is long overdue.  

“Negra, Yo Soy Bella,” premiered on March 24th, 2023 and it can now be streamed.  

Will you watch it? We hope you do.

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