Latinx Film and Media

Photography, Social Media and Self-Representation

May Day Check-in

How are you feeling? What’s on your mind? How can I help to facilitate a successful end of the semester?

How Does New York City’s Latinx Community See Itself?

According to the 2020 census, New York City is home to the largest Latinx population of any American city: almost two and a half million of its total 8.8 million inhabitants. Latinxs are the second-largest group in the city, almost equal in size to whites (28.3 per cent versus 31 per cent), and could become the largest group by the next census. If they once lived mostly in enclaves on the Lower East Side or in Washington Heights, they are now spread all over the city. The Bronx is almost fifty-five percent Latino; Queens is almost a third; Latinxs are about one out of five Brooklynites and Staten Islanders, and about one out of four Manhattanites. The Latinx population growth during the past decade has come not from migration but from births, and that trend has resulted in a very youthful population: Latinxs account for more than a third of New Yorkers under the age of eighteen.

The need for documentation

In that above mentioned context, Nuevayorkinos becomes more than just a way to showcase how Latinx New Yorkers see themselves—it is a take on the identity of the city itself. In their words:

NuevaYorkinos is a digital archival and multimedia project preserving NYC Latino and Caribbean culture and history through family photographs, videos, and stories. Established in February 2019, NuevaYorkinos seeks submissions from Latino and Caribbean New Yorkers taken within the five boroughs before 2010. For historically marginalized communities, storytelling is an act of decolonization. In a city whose Black, Brown, and immigrant communities find themselves in a constant fight against displacement, it is a way to combat gentrification. By showcasing stories from across the city, NuevaYorkinos celebrates the collective beauty, love, and resiliency of immigrant New York.

Expand on the NuevaYorkinos’ logic of photography and storytelling as acts of decolonization. What do you understand by these claims?

Class Activity


.In six groups, explore the following Instagram accounts:

Group 1 and 2: Nuevayorkinos

Group 3: Veteranas and Rucas

Group 4: Maximo Colon

Group 5: Rollie 6 x 6

Group 6: Jamel Shabazz

.Pay attention to the photographs, the types of posts, captions, hashtags, and overall visual aesthetics used.

.Report on your findings and analysis.

Discussion Questions

.Why most posts in Nuevayorkinos are celebrations—birthday parties, baptisms, trick-or-treating, dance parties, graduations, weddings, family reunions. What do you think is the purpose of this joyful narrative?

.Veterans and Rucas want to reframe and celebrate SoCal Chicana’s past by sharing their stories. How do their posts work toward achieving that?

.Why do you think Maximo Colón sheds light on artists, musicians, and public performances?

.How do you interpret Joseph Rodriguez’s interest in private spaces and intimacy in Latinx communities?

.What effect do Jamel Shabazz’s frontal pictures have? What type of conversation do they generate with the viewer?

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