Often known by her alternative name, “Bad Dominicana,” Zahira Kelly is known for her candid tone, quick wit and creative persona.
Never one to mince words, Kelly has translated her direct style from the computer screen to the canvas in a series of prints that center black women in her art, from placing them as religious figures to your favorite villain.
“Depicting only white bodies is considered universally accessible, relatable art. Depicting Black bodies is considered niche, close-minded, even racist,” said Kelly in an interview for Fader magazine.
And with art so focused on black women and afro-latina experiences, a feminist blog, and a straightforward nature, Kelly has received a backlash both on and off the screen. But the highlight of her work stands on the critique and deconstruction of identities that tend to be marginalized in our communities.
Identifying as Afro-Latina, Kelly has strong views about what it means to truly identify with the term. “‘Afro-Latinx’ has now been co-opted by Latin Americans who do not get read as Black in daily life. To where they’re telling visibly Black Latinas they are too Black to be Afro-Latina. Somehow a term for Black pride became colorist and anti-Black.”
What is often a term that is both confusing to some and outright rejected by others, “afro-latinx,” as an identity is a crux of Kelly’s work and the cornerstone of her art.
To read an in-depth interview with Kelly, read the full interview on Fader.com.