by Talia Rodriguez
AhRiel Delgado is not currently living in El Bronx (home to my Tio Noelle and a lot of other people’s tios’) but was born there. Instead, every ounce of her taina stature and perfectly sculptured Spanish cheekbones have been gracing (though I suspect they are not worthy) the literally picturesque Pocono Mountains. I am not currently living in Manhattan, though my father was born there, instead I am living in Picturesque Buffalo, New York, and the story of what AhRiel Delgado means to me is profound.
When I began this project in Dec of 2019 I wrote about women in education. A shift came when I started “looking” for women to write about, that for, whatever reason, “needed” to be written about. AhRiel Delgado needs to be written about because she believes in herself enough to know the power of small-town girls who dream. Who Cares where you’re from? How many people in your town? Or how small or dark your future may look from the outside? Who cares how small your chance is, the only reason you got one is because you think you do.
GO FOR IT. That’s what her life models.
Positive affirmations are phrases that you say to yourself to affirm yourself and build yourself up specifically when your body is under stress. I wasn’t taught coping skills and self-esteem building rather my greatest insecurities were turned into nicknames. AhRiel has the eyes of someone who believes in themselves. 23, young, but wise enough to know her talents- which sometimes take people lifetimes to discover. Naturally, her entire family’s culture is built on music. Rightfully those who walk the journey before us inform our steps. Her great-grandfather was a writer- Spanish, she told me, he wrote a book of poems to her great grandmother, who was taina, to convince her to marry him or so the story goes.
Is it possible that when the pen hit the paper generations ago the universe knew about AhRiel? Knew that this man and this woman’s union and lineage would lead to a soul who would change my life? AhRiel made me brave enough to write about artists, and since I wanted to be one, even writing about them makes me feel – revolutionary. It’s like starting over after three years- AhRiel Delgado- artist and business woman number one.
What’s an artist? An artist is a soul that knows its gifts. They put their emphasis on building up that gift (to expensive of themselves and others at times) so they can share their gift with the world. (Sharing) that’s the most important part. Who is receiving your gift can mean so much about how you feel about it. That is why I write, to my invisible audience, my readers who I can’t see but I know. I know you are there and I want to share with you. Look for her in print in the Latino papers in your local Latino businesses. If your hometown isn’t getting a delivery but you are reading this and you want a paper – reach out to me. This entire project is based on people giving other people hope.
Join AhRiel’s audience, follow her, listen to her, comment on her, like her statuses, message her, “engage” as they would say, with someone who knows the power of positive thought. See yourself in her, the part of yourself that wanted to do or be something different than you are or you do now.
I created “Latinaherstory” to celebrate the life of my grandmother. As I was writing I recalled abuela was a singer- she loved to sing Mi Viejo San Juan. Telling my aunts she used to “sing” when she was younger for the farmworkers.
I see her in AhRiel I think. When the pen hit the paper for AhRiel first song, did God knows she would remind me, three years after my grandmother’s passing, about one of my grandmothers most private aspirations. To sing- to be an artist too?
Come back to read AhRiel’s full interview, follow her brand, see that we all can follow our passion and to know the power of small-town girls who dream.
Talia Rodriguez is a bi-racial, bi-cultural, and bi-lingual Latina from Buffalo. Ms. Rodriguez’s mission is to write about Latina’s, who have shaped the face of our city and our region. It is Ms. Rodriguez’s believes that our own people should inspire us and in telling our collective stories, we push our community forward. Ms. Rodriguez is a community advocate and organizer. She is a 5th generation West Sider, a graduate of SUNY Buffalo Law School, and an avid baseball fan. She lives on the West Side with her young son A.J… Ms. Rodriguez sits on the board of several organizations including the Belle Center, where she attended daycare. Ms. Rodriguez loves art, music, food, and her neighbors.