Well, the response to this question would be: absolutely, but with caution. I will show you several examples of successful Afrospanish people.
Years ago, the Spanish Newspaper published a long report portraying what is like “ Being Black in Spain” (Ser negro en España, in Spanish). In that moment, I was doing my last of Communications’ Studies and did read the article and did find it very interesting. You can find a summary in English at Afro-Europe blog.
They interviewed many people of different backgrounds and professions: A doctor, an Activist, a Social Worker, a famous Journalist, a Policeman, a famous Writer and, of course, an illegal Immigrant. They come from a variety of countries: Primarily from Senegal, and Nigeria, but also from Equatorial Guinea, the former Spanish colony in Africa, Colombia or Dominican Republic, and finally from countries like Cameroon. I remember me printing out the article in the University for a further and deeper reading at home, I was touched in a certain way. Yes, we do exist and we do not necessarily live out of social aid, or are involved in crimes and so on. Just a few of the allegedly over 700.000 afrodescendants living in Spain, that’s to say, about 1.5 % of overall population (around 46 millions inhabitants). That was in 2009.
I liked it. Because it was one of the very few times I could see a multi-representation of us in the media, other that people arriving to Spain by the so-called pateras , poorly secured boats that some immigrants take to get to Europe via Spain. or people who were involved in crimes.
There you go some striking statements such as: “En el imaginario de los españoles un negro es sinónimo de trabajo doméstico. De pobreza e ilegalidad. En su inconsciente piensan que no puede existir una negra latina que les hable de Sartre” ( In the Spaniards’ collective imaginary, being black is a synonym of domestic work, poverty and illegality. They cannot conceive that a black latino woman may speak with them about Sartre.) Or the Writer Donato Ndongo-Bidyogo telling the story of when he came here as student in 1965 and some women from a village started shouting and running away when they saw him: “ un negre, un negre” ( a negro, a negro).
The article does identify that ‘subtle racism’ that some Spaniards show, despite not having clearly xenophobic and racist political parties — I disagree with this, unfortunately, especially now in 2013. And more, they also say that there is a major rejection against Arabs and Gypsies that Blacks, and this as a positive thing, well.. And the fact that an overwhelming number of immigrants from the world did arrive by plane, despite the media’s focus on the pateras.
Especially striking is the case of a Senegalese women who worked as a domestic servant in her beginnings, the treatment she got was terrible, she said. Horrifying.
This being said, these are some examples of Afrospanish people who are well-known here.
One of the protagonists of the Interview of Being Black in Spain, I mentioned before. Beauty aside, this young and talented journalist inspired me to do my internship at the Spanish Broadcast Television in my city.
Lucía Asué Mbomío, Españoles en el Mundo, TV Show
Maybe one of the few black figures I saw on TV when I arrived to this country. Basically involved in Celebrities and Sensationalist tv shows. She was born in Cameroon.
Francine Gálvez, TV Journalist.
Désirée is actually one the few Black people at the top-level. She also very popular for her knowledge on several sports, her professionalism and her attractiveness. She resisted the political changes made by the current conservative Government of Mariano Rajoy.
Désirée Djambo. Sport Journalist.
A well-known actress who appear on one of the most famous Spanish TV Series ever: Aqui no hay quien viva, where she plays a role o a single mother of a black kid of starts a relationship with the main actor. She is very well treated, in my opinion. She has done many Films.
Vicenta N’Dongo, Actress from Catalonia
My beloved Concha Buika, this passionate soul and voice has introduced me to a traditional Spanish Copla, with a touch of flamenco and African voice. I just love her work. I do strongly recommend her music, if you don’t listen to her yet.
Concha Buika, Singer.
This Valencian tv star raised to the light as breakdance teacher on a tv show, in which he won popularity among teenagers. For his humble way to treat his students and his fascinating moves, a great of Michael Jackson.
Sergio Alcover, TV star, artist.
I remember me listening to this man commenting of NBA matches on TV. He was so alive, his voice was so vivid and enthusiastic… Then he became very famous after commenting for Mainstream tv. Unfortunately, he died a few years ago, but we will keep on listening to his voice saying: “Porque la vida puede ser maravillosa” ( ‘Cause life may be wonderful)!
Andrés Montes, Sport Journalist or the man who boosted our fantasies.
This big man is famous for making engaged rap music, raising awareness over hot issues such as Racism, Immigration laws or harassment on women. One of his most famous hits is called: N.E.G.R.O. Strong and straight to heart.
El Chojín, Rap singer.
These are only a few, but I really see more and more everyday. And I hope that will help my small nieces that grow up black in this country to be able to look beyong the stereotypes.