Cinematographic Landscapes of Blackness in Mexico: (Re)Framing Afro-Mexican Lives & Futures

Talia Weltman-Cisneros


The legacy of historical invisibility and socio-cultural marginalization and rejection have marred contemporary Afro-Mexican lives, silencing their stories, customs, traditions, and cosmologies, while also denying them a sense of belonging and place within the visions of the present and futures of Mexican landscapes. Mexican films have often echoed this estranged relationship between blackness and Mexicanidad, portraying black characters as stereotyped figures who have most often been marked as exotic, primitive, and alien or anachronic in Mexico. However, these subaltern imaginaries of blackness and of Afro-Mexicanidad are challenged in the recent films La negrada (2018) and Artemio (2017). This article reflects on these films’ critique of Afro-Mexican real-life and cinematic inequality and subalternity through the lens of Afrofuturism and Black Speculative Arts, which I suggest offer counter-futures of black lives and foreground black protagonists as individuals and communities who can now “see their own” and stand as stakeholders in Mexico’s present and future.


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