In 2015, the Mexican government finally recognized its 1.38 million citizens of African descent in a national survey signifying a tremendous victory for the Afro-Mexican community who had up to that moment largely gone unnoticed on the margins of Mexican society.
This long overdue recognition of the Afro-Mexican community will hopefully lead to an increased academic interest in their cultural history as well as subsequent cause to greater commemorate their legacy as part of the country's overall history. In addition, this new shift towards inclusion might finally provide a much needed impetus for improving the social services currently available to these communities.
Costa Chica, mostly famous for its beautiful beaches and surf spots, is also the home of many Afro-Mexicans.
Here, in the center of the national park of Chacahua, lies the small fishing village of El azure.
Ngola, an older gentlemen who has lived here all of his life says “I know that we came here from Africa, but that is all I know”. He fantasizes of what it might be like living there, if it’s dangerous or safe, if it’s rich or poor.
The history of the Afro-Mexican people is not taught in school and in this particular village, Afro-Mexican culture is close to nonexistent.
Connection to the outside world is limited. Though most people have mobile phones, the network is spotty at best, and the internet as well as even newspapers are things that have yet to make their debut in the daily lives of the inhabitants. The limited exposure to the outside world comes via television when families gather after dinner to watch the night time soap operas with mexican casts that look more like Californians than anyone from the region.
People of color are simply not represented in the mexican media landscape so the notion of dark skinned mexicans has no place in the present white washed pop-culture manifestations of what an authentic mainstream mexican society is thought to look like. In a country that idealizes the anything with a 'western aesthetic', Afro-Mexican's are often considered too black to be considered ‘real’ Mexicans.
Nicolasa, a generous and proud woman in her sixties, still dyes her greying hair black. She looks straight into the camera and says, “ We are not used to people thinking that we are beautiful”.
Diaspora is the start of a long-term photo project, focusing on the African Identity within Afro-communities in the Americas and Europe.
This project was made possible from the help of The National Park of Chacahua