Photo Credit: Bresheena Baseel
How Bresheena Baseel Is Working To Break Down Stereotypes Of Afro-Latinx Culture
Bresheena Baseel is the 29-year-old Afro-Latinx woman, and co-owner and operator of Original Blackprint and Hella Healed. Originally from and still residing in Southern California, she was born to Salvadorian and Belizean parents who immigrated from Central America in hopes of a better life and more opportunities. Bresheena is fluent in both Spanish and English, and was heavily influenced by her Salvadorian culture through her mother.
With a bachelor’s in Business Administration, Bresheena launched Azúcar Negra Productions in 2019 to expose people to the diversity that exists among African/Black people through a variety of cultural events. She joined Original Blackprint, an inclusive event series and product line, to help fulfill the brand’s vision of encouraging and teaching Black people to learn holistic ways of healing in a collective space. Healers share multiple methods of nurturing their bodies, spirits, and minds, giving everyone the opportunity to find something that works for them.
Throughout her life as an Afro-latina, Bresheena has found there are a lot of assumptions made and a big lack of knowledge regarding Afro-latinx people. One misconception that she has personally experienced is people assuming that she is half Black and half Latina, when in reality being Afro-latina means that she is 100% Black and 100% Latina.
Another common misconception she has encountered is that Latinidad is an ethnicity/race, when it is actually a culture.
“The same way that there are Afro-latinx people that exist and experience oppression due to their African heritage, is the same way that white Latinxs exist and benefit from white privilege as a result of white supremacy. Just because we may both identify as Latinxs does not mean that we have the same experiences. The last misconception I would like to address is the notion that Afro-latinxs are ‘better’ than or ‘different’ from Black Americans. Oftentimes I’ve heard Americans say, ‘So you are not like the rest of them? You are a different type of Black.’ WRONG! I am just like Black Americans!”
“The way that African Americans’ ancestors experienced slavery and African Americans are still fighting systemic racism is the same way my ancestors experienced slavery and Afrolatinxs continue to be discriminated against due to their African phenotypes. The only thing that makes most of us different is where the boat stopped, which has contributed to the differences in our cultures. Black people are still fighting for liberation, for our right to exist, and our God-given right to prosper globally without constraints.”
This month, in celebration of El Salvador’s Black History Month, Bresheena plans to honor her heritage by using her business platform, Azúcar Negra to highlight Afro-Salvadorians and their works/projects. She also plans to continue spreading awareness about the presence of Africans that has existed in El Salvador for many generations.
“I still have a lot to learn about the history of African presence in El Salvador and I am always looking for ways to continue to learn more about our history. A great resource for me has been reading the work of Danielle Parada. She has studied and written many articles about the Afro-descendants in El Salvador, and I have learned so much from her writings.”
Under Hella Healed, a program of Original Blackprint, 100% natural products and holistic healing services are offered. All products are handmade by staff, featuring pure oils and organic plants that are rich in healing properties: elderberries, essential oils, arnica, shea butter, jojoba oil, argan oil, grapeseed oil, etc.
“When Original Blackprint was founded in 2018 by Xavion Freedom, it was created with the intention to heal and develop all African/Black people. Xavion saw Hella Healed as the physical manifestation of a safe space that helped to facilitate that goal, awakening the inner healer in all of us and doing so in community. I have been involved in Original Blackprint since its creation back in 2018 and was inspired to join and help develop this organization because I believe that Black liberation can only be obtained if we focus on the holistic health of our community and work towards long term solutions. Original Blackprint offers just that!”
Hella Healed also hosts events and workshops teaching people how to make their own healing products. Other services provided include breathwork and yoga, nutrition and meal planning, purpose and goal setting, and more.
One customer favorite has been the Hella Healed Hair & Body Oil; it is made up of shea butter along with six of the best oils for hair and skin: argan oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil, tea tree oil, and coconut oil. Another favorite is the brand’s Elderberry Syrup. Great for boosting the immune system, the syrup is concocted from spring water, elderberries, honey, ginger, cinnamon, and clove.