These Photos Celebrate the Beauty of Panama's Afro-Latinx Community

All photographs by Kayla Reefer

All photographs by Kayla Reefer

VICE's #BlackLove series celebrates the bonds between Black people through intimate, powerful, and uplifting narratives of love in all its forms. Through these stories, we honor the art, activism, and beauty that grows from black love.

Black people are everywhere, my mother once told me. I was sharing my anxieties about studying abroad in Europe, of sticking out like a sore thumb. In my head, blackness was something that began and ended in America. My history classes only ever talked about the slaves stolen and taken to the Deep South. But my mother was right. The African diaspora reaches far and wide: the Afro-Caribbean communities of London, Black Canadians, Afro-Brazilians, and on and on. The problem is how rarely the wide, far-reaching spectrum of blackness is taught, shown, celebrated, and acknowledged.

Photographer Kayla Reefer grapples with the ramifications of this everyday. She is Afro-Latina, the daughter of Panamanian immigrants. Growing up in California, Reefer talks about feeling the need to prove her heritage and identity to her black and Latinx friends. To show them she is not simply one or the other, but an amalgamation of histories. “Eventually, I learned to embrace both worlds,” she says. “Because they’re both me. . .”

For the full article by André-Naquian Wheeler, follow the link below to vice.com.