Jolín Miranda is the owner of the online Etsy shop, Boricubi. She was born in Glendale, California to a Puerto Rican mother and Afro-Cuban father. She is a self-taught artist who has been drawing all her life. She fell in love with acrylic painting at the age of 20, when she did her first fairy self-portrait. At the time, she had an obsession with mermaids and fairies but could never find any that represented her. It was then, that she had decided to paint her own paintings in which she could relate to.
As a child, growing up Afro-Latina in California was a real struggle for Jolín. She had so many questions and faced so much confusion. It was difficult for her to completely relate with her Central American friends, whose Aztec features represented the “traditional” Latino image in Los Angeles. She also couldn’t completely relate to her African American peers, with her first language being Spanish and her main household music being Salsa and Merengue. To make matters even more confusing, Jolín didn’t seem to understand why at school the US Race Census list had a category of “Black not of Hispanic Origin”.
As her peers began to label her as being mixed with Black and Mexican, she began to constantly asking her parents, “Are you sure I’m not Black?” She was never completely satisfied with their response of, "No, you're Latina. You are of African descent but you're not African American." Of course logically her friends made more sense to her than her parents. California has a high population of Mexican Latinos since it neighbors Mexico. Therefore many Californians have the ignorant mindset of, if you speak Spanish, then you must be Mexican. And if you look Black with kinky curly hair then you must be African American. There were so many times Jolín just wished she lived in the East Coast where she didn’t have to explain her culture and her Afro-Latina features would be accepted. But her wish never happened.
Read Issue 12