Navigating within a family and culture that is completely mixed can be beautiful, confusing and difficult because of all these intersecting identities.
Dealing with privilege becomes especially sensitive and important.
Dominican artist Crystal Rodriguez has made it her personal mission to deconstruct and decolonize her relationship with her hair and body.
Now, she wants to share that mission with others through beautiful and empowering works of art.
Her research and poetry has been published and widely shared.
You can find her performing spoken word at the Nuyorican or organizing in Bronx NY.
"I wanted to highlight the everyday struggle Afrolatinxs go through when developing their self worth," she told The Huffington Post in an email.
"This comic is for the Afrolatinxs [who] have kept childhood traumas locked away in our hearts because good children are supposed to be silent and beautiful with our straightened hair, faldas (girdles) y media panties (pantyhose).”Rodriguez has created two issues of the comics, so far.
Meanwhile you watch your brothers get dressed and combed quickly and you wish you could look and be just like them because it is much easier to be handsome then to be beautiful and everyone looks at them like a prize.
And you are jealous they are playing cars and you have to be punished with your hair being pulled and hot air turning your scalp red.
On special days you will wear your hair wild and free and on some days you might straighten your hair to then wear braids for a few weeks...whatever feels good to you🌼 #pajoncomic A photo posted by Crystal aka shadowbeast (@dominicanbrujaprincess) on Rodriguez’s second installment of the comic looks at how Latinas, often from a young age, are told they must flatten their natural curves and curls in an effort to conform to Eurocentric beauty standards.
Much like in the first installment, the protagonist challenges these beliefs.
The 23-year-old from Connecticut began creating illustrations in April, which depicted the ways Latinos, particularly Afro-Latinos and women, have been socialized to view their bodies and hair.