Note: This post was originally published on September 3rd, 2018 as the Capicu Community mobilized to support families impacted by the Hurricanes in Puerto Rico. Tina Dominguez headlined an event to help Why Not Care’s efforts on the island. We also want to thank Albert “Taino Image: Areizaga and DJ Cocotaso for making the event epic.
As we enter our 12th season of Capicu Cultural Showcase we are enduring as a community one of the most difficult times since the Civil Rights Movement. Since Hurricanes Irma & Maria hit Puerto Rico the Diaspora has risen to the challenge of lending a hand to our people impacted by the storm from the mainland.
This September 7th, Capicu Culture partners once again with Why Not Care to address the needs of the families displaced by the storms.
Tina Marie Dominguez will be joining us along with Rebel Poet in an effort to raise money, resources and awareness in an attempt to care for these environmental refugees while they are here.
Capicu Co-Founder Juan Papo Santiago wants to introduce you to Tina, before she gets on stage.
Tina Marie Dominguez is a Puerto Rican Dominican womanist, writer, and fairy whose work is informed by her culture and passion for liberty in all forms. Her poetry can be found in the anthologies “Mujeres: The Magic, The Movement, And The Muse” and “Péinate”, as well as anywhere with a stage.
Papo –I’ve heard poems with themes ranging from Love, to Womanism, to cultural identity.
Who is your ideal audience… to whom do you “speak”?
Tina Marie – I don’t think I have a core audience in mind when I write, I’m talking myself through things on page. I’ve been really lucky that my messages have been received and that they have been with less anger than anticipated. I’ve had moms come up to me about my piece dealing with hair and just other women reacting to my love poems like “I’ve lived through that exact relationship”, I’ve had angry men attack me online based on my womanism piece. I guess I welcome any reaction, because it’s still surreal to be heard. It’s all based on my experiences whether it be a slight I personally was dealt or one that hurt someone close to me, especially when it comes to social justice. As a lighter skinned Latina we have to realize that while we’re not here to play oppression olympics there are things my sister and cousins might experience at a different degree than I ever will just based on them being more melanated. So I try to highlight what I’ve experienced, but to always point out who things are happening to at a more dangerous degree, to always remain mindful of what can be inferred based on omission.
Papo – Tell us a little bit about where you grew up. What from your experiences do you want to pass down to your children?
Tina Marie – My upbringing is a source of both pride and a kind of embarrassment. I was born in Miami, but moved to Brooklyn and then Woodhaven in Queens by the time I was in school. My dad is a Brooklyn born Dominican/Puerto Rican while my mom is from Miami and super Puerto Rican. I grew up with a silver spoon in my mouth because my father owns his own business, and it’s always been this thing I kind of learned to hide. My 2 siblings and I always knew at what cost though. I remember my dad going to night school and I remember always, even now, the 2-3 months out of the year where we didn’t really see him because he was so busy. I was really spoiled until about 18 when I was kicked out of the nest and learned what life and New York were really about. I want my kids to be raised as I was, but with more street smarts, never wanting for anything, but still knowing this beautiful life comes at the cost of a lot of hard work and sacrifice. They need to know how to navigate the MTA though because I didn’t learn until I was 20 and it was a huge culture shock.
Papo – You have a unique visual presentation. Who, or what, has inspired that?
Tina Marie – I have no idea why I’m so extravagant. I was always overweight and always made fun of in school for my big nose and wild curly hair. I wanted to dress like a final fantasy character or someone out of Inuyasha but none of those characters looked like me. I guess by high school I just figured I’d be teased no matter what I wore so I started to allow myself to be colorful, putting in hair extensions, dying my hair fantasy colors, experimenting with making my own clothes and jewelry. I always remember being about 20 and asking a guy I was seeing how I should dress for an event and he said “Always dress like you just came from somewhere great and as though you have somewhere even better to be afterwards” and I loved the excuse that gave me to be extra so I still live by it.
My name is George Torres...
I am a digital storyteller, serial entrepreneur and community builder who is very passionate about Latino Culture and how we show up in the media and marketing spaces.
I created the original "Sofrito For Your Soul" website in the dorm of SUNY Old Westbury in 1997 on the Geocities platform. Unfortunately, a series of malicious hacking events led to the site going offline. I created Daily Sofrito as the new reimagined place to amplify new generations of writers, poets, musicians, filmakers and other original content creators.
Let's work on 25 more years of legacy...