Monday, December 24, 2018

Negra! Y Yo Respondi….

Negra! Y Yo Respondi….

The piece, Negra! Y Yo Respondi, speaks for itself but I thought I would share how it came about. 

I was invited to speak at the Amplify Latina Conference. Prior to completely agreeing to present, we had a conference call to determine order of speakers and theme. In the call, I shared that I would only be comfortable presenting if the conference itself addressed the internal racism/colorism in the Latino community and that I would not be the only one naming it when I knew I would be in a room of Afro descendants and Afro Latinos.
The request was well received by conference planner Betty Francisco. I was then able to share the stage with a group of Latinos that spoke truth, one very dear to me, Maria Elena Letona. Maria Elena in her presentation spoke of it and identified herself as an Afro descendant woman.

This was a very emotional moment for me. For years I have been saying the same thing and finally this space of Latino leaders were ready to listen and take it in.

I was moved to tears as I combined a presentation with poetic moments. I received a standing ovation. That is not what I was looking for but to have this space Rise Up in such a way meant, I see you and you see me. Gracias Betty for this grounding and healing moment. A special thank you to Nurys Camargo for being a true hermana en la lucha.

Ana Masacote was at the Amplify Conference. While planning Yo Soy LOLA she approached me about presenting the piece as part of the performance. She shared her vision and message of the evening. During our second conversation she decided to name Act 2 – Africa Lives in Latin America. She was ready in a way that I have not seen in many years in Boston.
Act 2 opened with me performing an Egungun chant. Everything about the show spoke of an inclusion of all voices centering our Africanness in this celebration. I performed Negra and also closed out the play with a call for us to see each other.

This was a special night on many levels. My dear friend Anne joined me on the piece responding, Negra! When I put out the call. I also had my dear friends Marta and Michelle there with me. It was glorious. Ana Masacote will be unforgettable to me for she dared to put this truth front and center.

Following the success of Yo Soy LOLA I was then approached by Rosario Ubiera who was putting together El Bembe. Rosario saw me perform at Yo Soy LOLA and also wanted to include the piece. El Bembe was held at the Peabody Essex Museum. I was joined by fellow Yo Soy LOLA performers Sasi and Queen. El Bembe was special in its own way and once again the piece was well received.

So here it is. The piece that made 2018 a groundbreaking year in many ways.

in light and love,
Yvette 'Lepolata Aduke' Modestin

Learn more about Amplify Latina Circle and Yo Soy LOLA 

El tambor
La salsa
El Bembe
El Reggaeton.
Hector Lavoe y Willie Colon cantaron,
“Lo bailan en Venezuela
Lo bailan en Panamá
Este ritmo es africano
Y donde quiera va' acabar
Che che colé,”
That is Africa in Latin America and the Caribbean
The trans-Atlantic slave trade is OUR STORY
It is our HISTORY
We were dropped off everywhere
We are 150 plus in our region
Santo Domingo
Are the most populated places of African Warriors who continue to speak their truth and fight for their Freedom
It is time to embrace it
It is time to see ourselves in Black Lives Matter
Michael Brown, Treyvon Martin, Sandra Bland could be Latinos
Let us not get caught up with what the name is supposed to sound like
If you know the colonial history of the region, you can see that truth
I see a room full of African descendants
I see a room of Afro Latinos
I see a room of Afro descendientes
In all shades who speak Spanish, the imposed language of those who colonized us
Racism within our community is palpitating
It is ugly and it is sad
It is ugly and it is sad
The white supremacy
The colorism that exist amongst us needs to be addressed
Me Gritaron Negra!
Y yo respondi, si, Orgullosamente Negra.
If we want to build and move onward and forward then race has to be a part of the conversation.
Africa resides in US.
I was only invisible in Boston when I came here from Panama more so than anything when I stood before someone from Latin America and the Caribbean who would say, yo pensaba que tu eras Negra
Y yo respondia, Yo soy Negra y soy Panamena
I saw them but they did not see me
I questioned being here today
My years here I have walked into too many spaces like these.
Walked in a Latina came out as the only Black woman
Spoke to people in Spanish they spoke to me in English
Pero esta conferencia es para Latinos
Y porque me estas hablando en Ingles?
We are having black experiences.
Young people are living schizophrenic lives. They are told to not bring home a “black” girlfriend when they are also Black.
Latino is not a race folks. It is our ethnicity, it is our culture
Today I challenge you to ask this question, how I identify myself, and how do others identify and see me
What does solidarity truly look like?
The discomfort you are feeling is necessary for Change
When we embrace the truth then we can align ourselves with other people of African descent
It is time claim it, embrace it and rise up in love with it
Afro Latino power WOKE
Me Gritaron Negra!! Y yo respondi, si, Orgullosamente Negra nacida y criada en Colon,Panama pa que tu lo sepas
My name is Yvette Modestin Lepolata Aduke and this is how I RISE UP,  in my African Black light.


baba zayid said...

screaming for a symphony of percussion behind this!...
love it...blaze my queen...
'Black light'!...
I may have to poetically respond!

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