Jadiel came down with meningitis when he was four months old. I relieved his mom from the NICU so we could sing about stars uninterrupted. We talked about the moon, and said goodnight to everything. I stayed with Jadiel for a week after his release from the hospital.
That week I sang to him, in Spanish and English; I told him where our people came from; what our elders were like; how we were a blend of Africa, Europe and Tainos (the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean).
He had no idea what I was blabbering on about, but I felt an urge to share everything with him. I was eager to extend the moments we shared during that week. An easy way to do this would have been baby bodysuits that reflected our identity, but I couldn’t find any that did so respectfully.
I am the aunt that had traced our ancestry and peeled back the scars left by our history so that the next generation wouldn’t have to. But when I tried to buy him a onesie that would reflect that he is Dominican, American, Taino… my search results included a onesie with “bad hombre” across its chest.
Jadiel’s illness warped time for me. I became obsessed with how he would see himself. How the world would see him. What he would inherit from me. A year later he was wearing our first design. Well, his first design, Folklorico.
Each design is a piece of the mosaic that makes up our identity. Each makes it easier for the next generation to understand how complex and beautiful our history is.
I am sometimes overwhelmed by the trauma that birthed this company. But there is beauty in fear, in uncertainty… in being reminded of what truly matters.