Welcome to a brand new episode of the ¿Quién Tú Eres? podcast, where we explore the conflict we often face between "professionalism" & being our authentic selves.
Joining us in this episode is Bianca Kea, a proud Afro Latina from Detroit and founder of Yo Soy AfroLatina, a lifestyle brand she launched in 2017 which celebrates the people, culture, and experiences of Afro Latinas.
Bianca uses her knowledge of social media to create products and content that resonates with her community and makes them feel connected, inspired, and empowered. And she does all of this while working as a Senior Social Media Manager at Viacom.
In this conversation, Bianca shares with us how as a biracial child, she grew up confused with her identity and felt out of place, and how she ultimately found her authentic self and began connecting with other Afro Latinas.
These are some of the episode highlights:
“I tried to assimilate, starting in middle school.” -Bianca Kea
As children, we get exposed to people and situations that are different from us, and we start to assimilate to feel part of the group and not be left out. It is part of our nature to have that desire to belong. And one of the earliest memories Bianca has of assimilation was in middle school.
On her first day of school, Bianca felt so good and cute, but many of the girls, who were predominately white, looked at her differently and judged the way she looked. They told her that her braids were ghetto, which made her feel out of place as herself. And because as children, we want to fit in and have our friends like us, she began to buy and dress as her friends did.
“They don't teach you how to navigate corporate America with micro-aggressions.” -Bianca Kea
Bianca wishes someone taught her how to navigate corporate America with micro-aggressions. Maybe if she had that awareness, she wouldn't have let others' perceptions make her decide to stop wearing something because it looked "ghetto" to someone.
Eventually, once she left advertising, Bianca decided to stop conforming and assimilating to show up as her authentic self no matter what.
"We don't need to lose ourselves when exploring other things." -Bianca Kea
The idea that we have to choose to do and be one thing or the other is ingrained in our culture. We think in terms of “either this or that”, but why can’t it be “this and that”?
We can do something that may seem opposite from who we are, like listening to country music for some people, for example, and still love listening to our favorite music genres. It comes down to the energetics of the action, whether we are trying something new to be liked and get something or we are genuinely doing it to expand our horizons and open ourselves up to other cultures and experiences.
Bianca feels empowered as she sees her community empowered!\
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