Kendra Rosalie Hicks
Kendra Rosalie Hicks
Through owning her dual identity in Latinidad and Blackness, Kendra Rosalie Hicks shares her story with others and makes the space available for conversations around racial equity in Latin America and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean - one of the many ways she challenges and deconstructs the mainstream ideals of Latinas.
How does your identity translate through the way you dress?
I think my style honors the Latina proverb to always sparkle! I come from a line of Dominican women who are fashionistas, hair dressers, and make-up artists, so the women in my family never went anywhere if they weren't well dressed. My mother always wore the best looking outfits with the highest heels she could find and her signature dark lip. Naturally, my style mimics all my badass ancestors, as I'm proverbially over dressed, all the time. My style has evolved to be simplistic, but it includes lots of signature pieces. You can catch me in over sized cape, a fur vest or my favorite J. Crew statement necklace at any time.
If there is one thing you could change about the world, what would it be and why?
What a loaded question! I've spent most of my life doing what my papi calls "defending the defenseless" whether it be supporting and advocating for young people who are gang involved to working towards dismantling systemic oppression, I feel like I've had my hand lots of collective spaces where we try to create solutions for inequity. What I've noticed through the years is the toll that this work takes on the people who do it. So, If I could change anything in the world it would be many things, racial inequity, war, poverty, colonization, capitalism, sexism etc. etc. But what I would really like to channel my energy into is creating spaces for healing from the effects of navigating systemic oppression, a space where we can affirm each others humanity in which ever way we see fit, connect with ourselves and the world in a way that prepares us for the long fight ahead.
What is one thing you would like to share about your culture?
Bachata! This music up until the 80's was considered to be too vulgar or rustic to even be played on the radio in the Dominican Republic. It's themes rooted in a "campesino" and mostly Afro-Dominican struggle. It was the music of the poor, the lamentations and the naming of a struggle in our "campos." Bachata to me is resistance. Go find some old songs and listen to it with new ears.
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Photographs courtesy of Kendra Rosalie Hicks.