This Photographer Is Recreating Iconic Photos Of Afro-Latina Musicians

Linda Nieves-Powell is the woman behind the photos recreating iconic Latina photos and now she’s back with a brand new photo project focusing on Afro-Latina musicians. Nieves-Powell told mitú that the idea to recreate the photos of Latinas came when she was photographing some of her friends and realized that there aren’t many Latinas in the photography world. With that, she set out to do something positive with photography and social media and recreate some of the most iconic portraits of Afro-Latinas…

Irene Cara, the Grammy-winning singer of “What A Feeling.”

marz-thatsentertainment / BlogSpot / Linda Nieves-Powell
marz-thatsentertainment / BlogSpot / Linda Nieves-Powell

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“I had been thinking for some time of creating a photography project that features Latinas and by chance I came across an old photo of Rita Moreno on the cover of Life magazine, on my Facebook timeline,” Linda Nieves-Powell told mitú.. “That picture sparked the idea to create a tribute to trailblazers, but at the same time I knew this could be so much bigger than just re-creations.”

La India, the Princess of Salsa.

ElektroBeatz1 / YouTube / Linda Nieves-Powell
ElektroBeatz1 / YouTube / Linda Nieves-Powell

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“In my research, I noticed that Afro-Latina musicians, at least the ones that I had found, possessed an incredible sense of style and seemed to revel in their individuality,” Nieves-Powell explained to mitú. “Who doesn’t want to pose as Celia Cruz with those amazing hats and multi-colored wigs?”

La Lupe, the Queen of Latin Soul.

jordanvkifer / Tumblr / Linda Nieves-Powell
jordanvkifer / Tumblr / Linda Nieves-Powell

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“When I began doing the research for this series, I already knew I would be looking for models to pose as Celia Cruz, and La Lupe, as they are two of the most recognized Afro-Latinas in the entertainment industry,” Nieves-Powell told mitú. “It was when I came across the photos of Irene Cara and Esperanza Spalding that I noticed the pattern. I tend to like working in themes and decided that this series would feature Afro-Latinas in music.”

Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, late member of TLC.

@Melanin_World / Twitter / Linda Nieves-Powell
@Melanin_World / Twitter / Linda Nieves-Powell

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For Nieves-Powell, it is important now more than ever to own our brownness and celebrate our contributions to this country. “We find ourselves in 2017 with an administration determined to see brown people go back to where they came from. However, many Americans who endorse that idea ironically don’t know why cities and states are named San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Montana, Florida, Arizona, and Colorado,” Nieves-Powell told mitú. “These Spanish names merely hint at our contributions to this country. It’s important to remember and remind ourselves of that. Latina Icons allows me to do that in my way. I feel that artists often have to be the change they want to see. We can do it through many mediums. I chose photography.”

Esperanza Spalding, Grammy winner for Best New Artist in 2011.

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Powell also explained how she considers people as iconic. “For me the word iconic should not be limited to just those individuals who are considered trailblazers. I think the iconic in Latina Icons, can also include a single mother who is holding it down for the family while pursuing her dream job,” Nieves-Powell told mitú. “So what makes someone iconic to me is strength, determination, fearlessness, authenticity, cultural pride, vision, and above all a clear sense of self. Someone who doesn’t use societal standards as the gauge to measure her greatness but instead creates her own benchmark for excellence.”

Celia Cruz, Cuban-American salsa icon with 23 gold albums.

cosmosonic / Tumblr / Linda Nieves-Powell
cosmosonic / Tumblr / Linda Nieves-Powell

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“I see Latina Icons as a way of promoting Latina excellence, celebrating Latinidad, and documenting our evolution, as well as providing a reference to the past,” Nieves-Powell told mitú about her hopes for more photo series. “I see a series depicting Ivy League bound Latinas, Entrepreneurs who are working on their million dollar ideas, and yes, Latinas in aeronautics would be such an inspiring series.”

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READ: 13 Celebs You Probably Didn’t Know Were Afro-Latino

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