Bianca Kea, ’14, is a Detroit-made creative, entrepreneur, and founder of Yo Soy AfroLatina, the first e-commerce store to highlight the people, culture, and experiences of Black women within the Latin community. Bianca juggles her 9-to-5 of working in social media marketing while managing her lifestyle brand that she launched back in 2017. With her passion, industry knowledge, and supportive social community, Bianca was able to turn her passion project into a scalable business with a variety of apparel and home good products. Her business was recently featured in Good Morning America’s Pitch Payday Challenge.
Q: What has been your proudest accomplishment and highlight of your career?
Bianca Kea: The proudest moment of my career has been landing my current gig at VH1 as the senior social media manager. I have always had a passion for social media, but when I graduated from U-M there were very few roles in this area available. I’ve spent the last six years hustling to build the career of my dreams, and although it’s been a challenging road, I’m very proud that all my hard work and dedication have paid off. Young Bianca would be proud, and college-me would be very impressed by my accomplishments.
Q: What is your best/worst U-M memory?
Kea: My best memory from undergrad would have to be homecoming. Everybody always comes into town that week, so it feels somewhat like a family reunion, seeing familiar faces and just enjoying the experience of being back on campus. I miss it!
Q: How did you become involved with U-M Latinx Alumni?
Kea: This is my first experience with U-M Latinx Alumni; I don’t believe this org was around while I was on campus. But, I’m happy to see that my community has a space to celebrate and represent our culture.
Q: What do you feel is the biggest challenge in education that faces the Latinx community? How do you think this challenge can be solved?
Kea: I think the biggest challenge that my community faces is the opportunity to pursue higher education. Speaking as a first-generation college student, trying to figure out how to afford undergrad was a struggle for myself and my family. I wish education, especially higher education, was more affordable, as I know Latino and Black communities are still behind our white counterparts when it comes to education. Although I don’t have all the answers, I feel like the most obvious solution is to vote in this year’s election. The only way we can change the system is by using our power to vote and elect people who actively want to work towards change and opportunity for all.
Q: What does Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month mean to you?
Kea: Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month is a time of year where the world and myself are able to celebrate and learn more about my culture. While I don’t view this period as the only opportunity to celebrate my culture, I think it’s important that we have time dedicated to our community to continue to spread awareness and representation on the Latino/x culture.
Q: How can alumni contribute to the Latinx community?
Kea: Similar to how they can contribute to the Black community or any other community that isn’t theirs — educate yourself on that community or said culture. Educate yourself, do your research, and talk to your Latinx friends.