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Dulce de Leche Brownie Recipe

Last week, we introduced you to Chef Leticia Moreinos Schwartz, in our post, The Best of Latin Baking. If after seeing the post, you were craving for one of those sweet treats, we have just the cure for you. Chef Leticia provided us with the scrumptious Dulce De Leche Brownie recipe, originally created by Pastry Chef David Lebowitz.  Enjoy!

Dulce de Leche Brownies

Yield: Serves 12

8 Tablespoons (120g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan
6 ounces (170g)  bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup (30g) unsweetened cocoa powder
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (120g) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (140g) flour
1 cup (250ml) dulce de leche

Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8-inch square pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the chocolate and stir constantly over low heat until melted. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Read more

Listen to Los Afro-Latinos on the Speaking to Harmony Radio Show

Did you miss the Speaking to Harmony Radio Show? Our founder Kim Haas was a part of a panel to discuss “The Other America – The Legacy and Struggle of Afro-Latin America” with the goal of widening the notion of the African Diaspora, and to discuss the cultural heritage of the Latin American region.

Don’t worry, the show has been archived and is available for you to listen to here.

The Panel
Melissa Valle- Columbia University
Kim Haas-
Maconya – Florida International University
Zarena Leblanc- Florida International University
Denika Mays- Florida International University



Los Afro-Latinos on the Speaking to Harmony Radio Show

We are very excited to announce that our founder, Kim Haas, will be a part of a panel on the Speaking to Harmony Radio Show, which is organized by the Sisters in Harmony. Kim will be joining four other panelists, hosted by Sister Calhoun and Dr. Walls, to discuss “The Other America – The Legacy and Struggle of Afro-Latin America” with the goal of widening the notion of the African Diaspora, and to discuss the cultural heritage of the Latin American region.

We hope you will be able to listen in to the discussion. Feel free to call in with any questions or comments you have.

The Panel
Melissa Valle- Columbia University
Kim Haas-
Maconya – Florida International University
Zarena Leblanc- Florida International University
Denika Mays- Florida International University

Date: Sunday February 16, 7-9 PM Eastern Standard Time
Bogota, and Cartagena, Colombia 7-9 PM
San Jose, Costa Rica 6-8 PM

Call-in Number:  917-889-7765

Find out more info on the Facebook event page and feel free to invite your friends. 

Chef David’s Sweet Potato Cornbread

In our recent post Welcome to Gullah Country! we interviewed Chef David Young, owner of Roastfish and Cornbread Restaurant in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Graciously, he agreed to share his recipe for sweet potato cornbread, one of the restaurant’s signature dishes. Enjoy!

If you make this wonderful recipe, tell us what you think and  share your photos with us on FacebookTwitter, or by linking to your own blog post in the comments section below.

Sweet Potato Corn bread
It took over a year to perfect this recipe. It is easier for me to make something just from feeling and tasting, rather than harnessing a flavor with words and writing them down, I had to test many different formulations and ingredients to find the perfect union of flavor and spice. After many taste tests, here it is. I wrote it just for you.

Dchefs’ Sweet Potato Corn bread™
I did not want to give you the same old corn bread, I was not satisfied with basic corn bread and I hated it because the flavor did not punch me in the taste buds. I wanted to make something that was unique so I took two traditional ingredients, corn meal and sweet potatoes and created a new taste sensation.

Read more

Hispanic Heritage Month: The African Contribution

by Kim Haas

One of my greatest pleasures is the study of Afro-Latino culture. In September, I had a wonderful opportunity to write about the African contribution to Hispanic Heritage for one of the oldest black newspapers in the United States, New York Amsterdam News. The newspaper, which was founded on a $10 investment more than a century ago, has a distinguished history of being at the forefront of covering major issues and events involving people of African descent.

What an honor to share the article with you!

Vicente Guerrero

Vicente Guerrero

Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 – Oct. 15, offers an opportunity to illuminate what is too often overlooked—the African influence and tradition in Hispanic culture. Today, approximately 150 million Latin Americans have some African ancestry.

For more than 500 years, Africans and their descendents richly contributed to the fabric of Latin American society. During the Middle Passage, an estimated 12 million enslaved Africans were shipped to the Americas. Of this group, less than 10 percent were brought to the United States. The overwhelming majority were transported to the Caribbean and Latin America, where they provided free labor under exceptionally brutal conditions. They worked on cattle ranches in Brazil, in mines in Colombia, on sugar plantations in Ecuador and in other areas throughout the region.

Read more

Los Afro-Latinos at LATISM 2013


We have very exciting news to share! Tomorrow (9/20), our founder, Kim Haas will be on the “Lets dare to talk about race in our Latino community” panel at this year’s Latinos In Social Media Conference in New York City. Along with Alicia Anabel, Dr. Georgina Falu, and Guesnerth Josue Perea, Kim will be discussing the following questions:

“Why is race such a taboo in our Latino community? Is there such a thing as racism among Latinos? Do we really really really treat each other equally? Are Afro-Latinos equally positioned in media or leadership? Let’s dare touch the core of the race issues with the help of experts in the field who are dedicating their lives to this issue.”

If you are in NYC and attending the conference, join the conversation from 10 – 11 a.m. in the Park Avenue Suite South. Even if you aren’t attending the conference, join in the conversation. Feel free to leave your thoughts on the above questions in the comments section below or join us on Facebook or Twitter.

Find out more info about the panel and conference.

1st Annual Afro Latino Festival of New York: Bringing People Together

by Kim Haas

Seeking to unite the diverse Afro-Latino populations, Tania Molina, a proud Garifuna, reached out to her friend Mai-Elka Prado, an Afro-Panamanian. Together, the two Afro-Latinas created the 1st Afro-Latino Festival of New York held Saturday, June 29 at Brooklyn’s Parkside Train Station Plaza.

In the United States, there are an estimated four million Afro-Latinos – the great majority of whom reside in the New York City area. From countries as different as Andean Peru and tropical Cuba, to the Garifuna population of Central America and to the innumerable descendents of Afro-Latinos who may have never set foot in their parents or grandparents homeland, this mega city of eight million is home to Latin America’s African Diaspora. 

Despite the diversity of Afro-Latinos in New York City, when there are gatherings and events, the focus is often on one particular group, nationality or concern like an Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba Performance or an Afro Colombian Land Rights Symposium. Rarely are there events focusing on Afro-Latinos as an entire group. Read more

Save the Date: An Afternoon with Dahlma Llanos Figueroa

Photo courtesy of Llanos-Figueroa

Photo courtesy of Llanos-Figueroa

Los Afro-Latinos Presents:
An Afternoon with Dahlma Llanos Figueroa, author of Daughters of the Stone

Date: Saturday, September 28 2013

Time: 12 – 2 p.m.

Location: Jersey CityFree Public Library
Biblioteca Criolla
472 Jersey Ave.
Jersey City, NJ 07302

Admission: FREE

Read more

Director Carlos Diegues: Bringing Brazil’s Black Culture to the Silver Screen

By Kim Haas

So much of Brazil’s dazzling culture, its personality, traditions and tenor, have roots steeped in the country’s African heritage. Brazil has been greatly endowed with a culture that shines due in large part to the nearly four million enslaved Africans brought to the country, beginning around 1500–until slavery officially ending in Brazil in 1888.

Samba originated among the country’s Afro-Brazilian population. Pele revolutionized soccer. Capoeira continues to amaze with its athleticism, power and grace and no other country comes close to putting on an annual party as spectacular as Carnival. Orfeu Movie Photo

Despite these remarkable contributions to the soul of a nation, seeing Afro-Brazilians on the silver screen was a rarity until Brazilian Director Carlos Diegues began his filmmaking career in 1959. Mr. Diegues’ reputation was advanced because he was one of the filmmakers of Cinema Novo, a 1960s and 1970s Latin American film movement. Using a documentary filmmaking style, Cinema Nova promoted human rights, specifically advocating social justice and racial equality.


Alagoas, Brazil

Originally from Alagoas (northeastern Brazil), Diegues grew up completely infatuated by cinema. As a child he loved going to the movies. He was mesmerized by films. As he told a Cannes Festival Website, “The first time I went to the cinema, I was six. I looked at the screen, and I was totally hooked. In fact I was simply astonished and I thought, “Don’t touch the screen or you’ll get stuck. But I’m still stuck!”

During his early childhood, Carlos Diegues learned about the value and significance of Afro-Brazilian culture through fantastical stories.

His Afro-Brazilian nanny vividly narrated for him the story of Zumbi (The last leader of the Quilombo do Palmares located near Pernambuco, Brazil. Quilombos were settlements of escaped slaves in Brazil.) Diegues remembers, “She used to tell me that he (Zumbi) was still alive and could fly.” From childhood, Carlos Diegues strongly believed history and mythology could go together. As a filmmaker, he often fuses the two.

And as the son of an anthropologist, his father “…always told me that the African influence in Brazilian culture was very important.” Mr. Diegues adds, “Undoubtedly I’ve always been interested in Afro Brazilian culture but I think that even if the Afro descendent people were the social, poor people in Brazil, they were very strong in terms of the culture. African people were slaves until 19th century and they became the poorest people in the country but at the same time their culture represents the Brazilian culture…you know the Samba, soccer, the carnival. I was very much interested, intrigued by the fact that those people who suffered so much, that had a lot of pain during centuries, they made a culture that was stronger, stronger than the European culture in Brazil.”

Xicade Silva Poster

In a career spanning five decades, Mr. Diegues was honored with a film retrospective at The Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York City from April 12 – April 18, 2013. This groundbreaking director is credited with being one of the first Brazilian filmmakers to tell the stories of the Afro-Brazilian experience on the silver screen.

Perhaps one of his most celebrated films is the 1976 “Xica da Silva,” the screen adaptation of the João Felicio dos Santos book, Memórias do Distrito de Diamantina. The story centers around the real life of Xica da Silva, a former 18th century slave from Minas Gerais, Brazil who becomes the wealthy mistress of Portuguese mine owner in Brazil, João Fernandes de Oliveira. Mr. Diegues shares his experience in the filmmaking process, “I didn’t know particular things about her, so I could mix myth and history about her.” After the film’s release, it would become Brazil’s 1977 entry for the Academy Award in Best Foreign Language Film but the process of making and distributing the film was very challenging.

He was told by a film distributor, “Black people doesn’t make money in the cinema.”  In response Diegues explains, “I felt like this wasn’t true, the process was very difficult. I had a producer who understood what I wanted to make, people always saying that ZeZe Mota (Xica da Silva actress) couldn’t make it. I always make things that people say can’t work… I was absolutely sure that I had to make this film. I gotta make this. I made it with a very happy kind of spirit. I thought that we needed this kind of film, someone who was a slave and became sort of a queen, but only by her virtues. It was something I was fascinated by.”

QuilomboEight years after the release of Xica da Silva, Mr. Diegues directed the 1984 film Quilombo, the story of Brazilian slaves who fled a sugar plantation to settle in the Quilombo dos Palmares in Northeastern Brazil. The film recounts the tale of the real life Quilombo dos Palmares, a structurally complex community of mostly former slaves which also welcomed Jews, Muslims, Indians and poor whites. At its pinnacle, the Quilombo dos Palmares had a population of 10,000 – 20,000 residents. It existed for nearly 100 years from 1600 – 1694. Led by it’s last leader Zumbi, a fearless soldier and exceptional military strategist, he led the Quilombo in a battle against the Portuguese for control of the settlement. In preparation for the film, Diegues says, “I was helped by a lot of professors and teachers, specialists in that kind of history. I tried to be very, very close to reality. For Quilombo we had many documents. Quilombo is not only a film about the past but also about future, it’s a utopia, what Brazil could be if we had a Zumbi today.”

Orfeu, Carlos Diegues 1999 production, is based on the book Orfeu da Conceição and also inspired by the 1959 Brazilian film Black Orpheus; both based on the legendary Greek tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice. Diegues’ version is set in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival.

Carlos Diegues’ work behind the camera as a director has created numerous roles for Afro-Brazilian actors in front of the camera.

When asked the state of opportunities for Afro-Brazilians in film and television, Mr. Diegues says things are changing. “It’s getting better. Brazilian cinema has a role in the progress of it. (Brazilian TV) finally understood that Afro-Brazilians could be good actors, not just the maids and butlers. It’s changed, really changed.”

As a young filmmaker, Carlos Diegues and the filmmakers of his generation had an expansive vision for moviemaking. We wanted to “change the history of cinema, change the history of Brazil, change the history of the planet.”

Carlos Diegues is a change maker whose imprint on film is helping to tell the Afro-Brazilian story.

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Afro-Uruguay: Forward Together

Our March article for Being Latino focuses on Afro-Uruguay: Forward Together, a documentary film dedicated to capturing the Afro-Uruguayan experience.

Through the lens of the video camera, two U.S. filmmakers immerse themselves and their family in Uruguay, capturing history as a small country tackles a big issue.

I have a deep fascination and profound interest in Afro-Uruguayan culture. Perhaps, this desire to know more is because I know so little about the country many call South America’s best kept secret – Uruguay.

Through pure serendipity, I stumbled across a beautifully written blog entry, “Uruguay, Mon Amor” by Carolina de Robertis. As a Californian of white Uruguayan parents, Carolina expressed her sorrow about the recent beating of an Afro-Uruguayan activist Tania Ramirez by a white Uruguayan. The violent exchange has sparked a national discussion in Uruguay regarding race.

Carolina, author of two critically acclaimed books and her spouse, African American filmmaker Pamela Harris, have relocated their family to Montevideo, Uruguay. The couple is dedicating 2013 to chronicling through the film the wide-ranging Afro-Uruguayan experience. The genesis of the film, Afro-Uruguay: Forward Together was sparked by the California couple’s 2004 honeymoon to Uruguay and an introduction to Candombe during a Llamada (The Call). Candombe is a musical experience originating from the Bantu people of Africa who were enslaved in Uruguay. Percussionists play three large curved, barrel shape drums (repique, chico and piano).

During a Llamada, percussionists, artists, dancers and people from the community drum rhythmically moving from one neighborhood to another, responding to “The Call.”

Read more


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