Whether it is an athlete, a singer, an actor, or even an activist or politician, it is extremely hard to put together a list of the people we like the most, especially when there are a lot of options and almost all of them embody the beauty of being Afro-Latinx.
Despite their different upbringings and beliefs, and the fact that Afro-Latin Americans have limited media appearances, the following celebrities not only have in common a successful career in the entertainment industry, but they also are Latinos and Latinas that are proud of their African ancestry.
Here are 14 of our favorite Afro-Latinx celebrities:
14 Zoe Saldana
Zoë Yadira Saldaña Nazario was born in Passaic, New Jersey, from a Dominican father and a Puerto Rican mother. The actress on several occasions has talked about her race and how she grew up speaking in Spanish and English. “There’s no one way to be black. I’m black the way I know how to be,” she shared with Allure Magazine.
As reported by the Box Office Mojo archives, as of 2019, Saldana is the second highest-grossing film actress of all time, following Scarlett Johansson who occupies the position number one.
13 Bruno Mars
A lot of people don’t know that Bruno Mars’s real name is Peter Gene Hernandez and that he is the son of a half Puerto Rican father and a Filipino mother. Mars was born on October 8, 1985, in Honolulu, Hawaii, and comes from a musical family.
In the past, Mars has accredited his musical influence to several black artists, including Babyface and Teddy Riley.
12 Mariah Carey
Named by Guinness World Records as the “Songbird Supreme,” Mariah Carey is undoubtedly one of the most recognized and successful singers of all time. Daughter of an African American and Afro-Venezuelan descended father, a mother of Irish-American descent, and granddaughter of Francisco Núñez, a Venezuelan immigrant, Carey grew up to make not only an impact in the industry but also to become a pop music living legend.
11 Stacey Dash
Known for portraying Dionne Marie Davenport on the 90s film and tv series Clueless, Stacey Dash was born in the Bronx borough of New York City. The actress is the daughter of a Mexican-American mother and an African-American father.
As reported by The Guardian, Dash, who is a Donald Trump supporter, filed to run as California’s congresswoman in the 2018 Congressional Election because according to her she wanted to “free people from the shackles of a plantation mentality.”
10 Tatyana Ali
Best known for her role as Ashley Banks on the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Tatyana Marisol Ali is of Afro-Panamanian and Indo-Trinidadian descent.
Ali started her acting career when she was 6 years old as a regular jazz performer on Sesame Street, making her breakthrough in 1990 alongside actor Will Smith.
Larissa de Macedo Machado A.K.A Anitta is one of the hottest Brazilian singers of this time. Born in Rio de Janeiro, Anitta is one of 14,517,961 Brazilians with African roots.
Anitta was the first Brazilian artist to win the Best Latin American Act award and according to Billboard, she is one of the most influential celebrities in social media of the world.
8 La La Anthony
As reported by Bossip, Alani Nicole Vázquez, commonly known as La La Anthony, describes herself as an Afro-Puerto Rican. “I embrace being a Black-Puerto Rican and think we are plentiful and do exist!” she said. “I am more “black” than people think. I would never shun that part of me and my marriage and the way I conduct MYSELF in public should speak volumes for what I stand for. I speak fluent Spanish as well, so why deny that intricacy of my makeup?”
La La started her career in radio when she was 15 years old and now we can enjoy her as Lakeisha Grant in the Starz original drama series Power.
7 Princess Nokia
Destiny Nicole Frasqueri, also known as Princess Nokia, is a 27-year-old rapper, singer, and songwriter from New York City. She is of Puerto Rican descent and according to Vibe, she uses Santería to stay close to her roots. “I like to honor my West African and Taíno ancestry, I consider it sacred and divine,” she said. “The indigenous woman is reflective of the modern, urbanized ghetto woman. I don’t like to lose sight of that. Because my people were oppressed, murdered, and their spirituality was taken away from them, I feel it’s my duty to exhibit it in my art,” she added. “Once we touch back into that tribal sh*t, we can understand our potential as fabulous women and break the stigma of the urban brown woman.”
6 Cardi B
Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar known by her stage name Cardi B is perhaps the most successful rapper, songwriter, television personality, and actress of modern history, and according to Forbes she is one of the most influential female rappers of all time.
After her single “Bodak Yellow,” Cardi B, who is the daughter of a Dominican father and Trinidadian mother, became the second female rapper to top the chart with a solo; subsequently, she became the only female rapper to attain multiple number-one songs on the charts.
Katrina Laverne Taylor was described by XXL Magazine as “the most consistent female rapper of all time” and according to Billboard is considered one of the “31 Female Rappers Who Changed Hip-Hop.”
The 45-year-old artist is the daughter of a Dominican father and her mother is from the Bahamas.
John David Jackson, known professionally as Fabolous, was born in Brooklyn, New York to Dominican and African-American parents. The rapper debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 charts right after releasing his first album.
In 2007 he was nominated for an American Music Awards as Favorite Rap/Hip Hop Male Artist and in 2008 he won an ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Music Awards as Top Rap Song with “Make Me Better.”
3 Amara La Negra
Singer, actress, and entertainer Amara La Negra was born as Diana Danelys De Los Santos in Miami, Florida to a mother from the Dominican Republic.
De Los Santos’ started her musical career at the age of 4 as a regular cast member of the iconic tv show Sabado Gigante and according to her, she was the only dark-skinned girl to ever appear on-air in over 50 years of transmission.
2 Gina Torres
Cuban-American actor Gina Torres has been a fixture in television for quite some time now, from her starring role as Captain Zoe on Firefly to her power position as attorney Jessica Pearson of Suits and the spin-off Pearson. But she hasn’t had many opportunities to live out her Latinidad on camera. “My view of myself doesn’t change. I know who I am,” said Torres, commenting on Hollywood’s proclivity to only consider white Latinas for their “Latina” roles. “I’m Cuban American; both my parents are Cuban — one was a little browner than the other one. That’s who I am. I feel sorry that it’s taken so long for the film industry to figure it out and to catch up.”
In any case, Torres is one of television’s biggest names today, and she’s using her platform to represent the diversity of Latinas; she recently had the honor of leading this past Rose Parade as one of its three Latina Grand Marshals.
1 Jharrel Jerome
Bronx-born Jharrel Jerome had his Hollywood breakout moment portraying the wrongfully convicted Korey Wise in director Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us, a role that earned him an Emmy win for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie, his first major award. Actually, there were a slew of other firsts associated with his win: He was the youngest ever winner for the category, the only person of Dominican descent to have ever won an Emmy, and also the only Afro-Latino to do so.
Jerome will star in the upcoming film Concrete Cowboys alongside Idris Elba, portraying a club of urban horseback riders in Philadelphia.