By Isela Cerosa-Mendiola
For Hispanic/Latin@ Heritage Month, Esperanza United is celebrating inspiring Latina artists who carve a pathway for our beautiful heritage to continue to flourish. First up is Black Latina writer, poet, musician and speaker, Melania Luisa Marte. If you don’t know her already, Melania Luisa advocates, writes, and performs to insist upon our seat at literary and social tables.
Melania Luisa originates from New York and is currently living in the Dominican Republic. Her poetry ventures from her Caribbean roots, intersectionality, and the importance of self-love. Instagram featured Marte’s poem “Afro-Latina” for National Poetry Month, and it received over 9 million views. Marte’s work has also been featured in various social platforms such as mitú, Teen Vogue, and Telemundo.
Melania Luisa’s work serves as an important representation of our Latinx community, both within and outside of our communities. McDonald’s featured a poem of hers for their ‘Hacer Mas’ scholarship campaign and Facebook commissioned a work from Melania Luisa for their 2020 Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. Additionally, she co-wrote and starred in Instagram’s Somos Limitless campaign, where she had the opportunity to perform for the White House’s Virtual Celebration of Afro-Latino Heritage.
Melania Luisa is also a powerful advocate for our communities. She began the petition to include ‘Afro-Latina’ in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary and continues to create greater visibility for our communities.