The 2010 United States Census reported that 12.4% of Puerto Ricans self-identified as Black, while 3.3% identified themselves as multiracial (“two or more races”). Although Spanish ancestry is predominant among the inhabitants and citizens of Puerto Rico, overall most Boricuas (a term coined by Puerto Ricans in recognition of the island’s Taíno heritage) are mixed-race, and in their ancestry, it is common to find traces of African and Taíno genes.
Regardless of their racial, ethnic, political, or economic background, Puerto Ricans feel pride in their nationality although the entire Commonwealth is a U.S territory. Modern identity has helped them to be unapologetic when it comes to representing the island’s culture and diversity. By implementing such diversities in their everyday lifestyle, Puertorriqueños have kept alive their ancestors’ customs and their ancestral mixture.
As a way to keep highlighting the country’s profound influences and blend, Gloriann Sacha Antonetty Lebrón launched the island’s very first magazine tailored to Black women.
Antonetty Lebrón grew up enjoying magazines that during that time weren’t inclusive enough and rarely — or never — showed females and femmes that looked like her. After noticing the lack of deep, rich, brown girls gracing the covers and fashion spreads, the idea of launching her own publication started to marinate, and according to O, The Oprah Magazine, this inspired her to pursue a career in media and communications.
After earning a Master’s degree in journalism from Florida International University in 2003, Antonetty Lebrón used her free time to slowly develop Revista Étnica (Ethnic Magazine), a 60-plus page publication focused on Black Latinx life, beauty, and culture, plus “black and Afro-descendant men, Afro-Latin Americans and the LGBTQIA + community and other groups that are commonly excluded by racial and gender discrimination.”
“When I saw that this was possible, I said ‘I want to do a project like this. I want to have a space in the media where we have a representation, and our beauty is seen,’” she said according to O.
“I believe that our best resistance is through expressions of beauty,” Antonetty-Lebrón added. “It’s what gives us power. That’s why in each edition of the magazine, we present our natural beauty, our intellect — what makes us strong.”
“If what represents you is your afro hair, then wear it as big and as beautiful as possible! If it’s your turban, then wear the prettiest, most colorful one you have. If it’s fashion, use it. If it’s gold or jewelry, use it — that’s what made Africans royalty. We were kings and queens — so own it, and be proud,” she continued.
Just this past week, Antonetty Lebrón brought her power to the streets of Puerto Rico. Actively resisting police brutality at a protest in San Juan, she spoke at protest organized at the Colectiva Feminista. “Don’t tell us you don’t see racism here,” said Antonetty Lebrón, according to The New York Times. “Because we don’t only see it. We feel it in our skin.”
According to the Revista Étnica website, the magazine — available in print and digital format — is a multimedia publication (radio, podcast, social networks) that publishes “soulful” content with connection to the Afro-Latin community, its insights, and other content of interest.