Lauren Vélez

by ethnic on November 22, 2009

Place of Birth: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Birth: November 2, 1964

Ethnicity: Puerto Rican

Lauren Vélez, also credited as Luna Lauren Vélez, is an American actress.

She was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents moved there from Puerto Rico in the 1950s, and her father became an New York City police officer. Her twin sister is actress Lorraine Vélez.

Lauren is known for her roles in the television series New York Undercover and Dexter. She is considered one of the breakthrough Latina actresses who does not fit a European-Hispanic and/or Indigenous-Hispanic image. For this, Lauren has a large multi-ethnic following.

Helga Esteb /

{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

nnnnn April 25, 2013 at 1:39 am

Is this a pic from “plastic surgery victims”? In any case not very
advantageous pic

jaimarai May 23, 2013 at 11:53 am

lol!!!!!!!!! You are wrong on so many levels.

lademonia February 9, 2013 at 10:30 am

Lauren is one of the many examples of the diversity that exist in Puerto Rico and her people. being Boricua is not only being black just because you happen to have darker skin…being Boricua is being Taino, African, Spanish. meaning you cant just choose one thing because of your complexion. there are extra light skinned to extra dark skinned Boricuas. and all of them (even those ones that DO deny it) have all of those bloodlines streaming thru their veins. there is a town in Puerto Rico that has three statues…one of the Taino Ind.ian, the African, and the Spaniard. that makes a Boricua from the lightest to the darkest. we are not afro this or anything. WE ARE BORICUA…WE ARE TAINO, AFRICAN, SPANISH. I dont consider myself latina. i dont consider myself hispanic for many reasons. too many to list. especially with the issues that exist in the spanish speaking world against Boricuas. but one thing i am sure i am. BORICUA. stop choosing for us.

MCantu March 19, 2013 at 2:25 am

@lademonia I agree 100% Friend!!!
They need to stop trying to tell us Hispanic’s what we are and worry about their own people

jaimarai May 23, 2013 at 11:55 am

Your own people? When did you become in charge of allowing people to have an opinion. BTW Hispanic is not a race so you don’t have your own people.

MyOhMy January 2, 2013 at 9:43 am

Peurto Rican? That word is simply describes one’s nationality. She is one of many Blacks born in America (African Americans) with a parent(s) with what’s referred to as a ‘Latin’ background, which, by the way, is much deeper than it’s used today. “Latin” goes far beyond the often limited manner in which it is used today (even by Latins, who’ve been greatly misinformed). Hispanic (which only means “Spanish-Speaking,” a term created by President Richard Nixon) is often misused to describe Latins, many of whom have no ties to Spanish (Italians, Portuguese) Ms. Velez is one of those black people who’ve been duped into denying their African ties at all costs, which is common in so-called Latin countries and among many who reside here. African ties (ancestry) is greatly discouraged in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, etc. (They’ll take from and enjoy the richness of Africa by weaving them into their cultures while denying their ties and benefits.) Many people in the world are so very confused about Hispanic and Latin terms, because common chosen and non-chosen misuses and ignorance of them are accepted. Ms. Velez is only one of many in America (Alex Rodriguez is another) who have chosen to take advantage of what allows her to deny her blackness. “I’m a Latina,” she says, but it’s obvious she is black, born in America and with parent(s) of African descent. Accurately stated, she is an African American with African, American and Latin heritage. (One or both parents are from Puerto Rico.)

ConfusedBreed February 13, 2013 at 9:21 am

Please shut the fuck up! Latina’s are definitely of African descent, but they are not BLACK the same as African-Americans! You cannot claim them! Well for one, sure there are brown Latina’s, but you don’t typically see Latino’s with charcoal skin like you see so prevalent in the AA community.

First of all, I disagree with the fact that any person born in America of African descent becomes an African-American. Being an American-born Islander, why is it that we must become African-American. Why would we not take pride in the place that we come from? I don’t think African-Americans can understand the significance of being able to go out of the US to a place and call it home. We are proud people! But an AA could never understand this, because if you were to be born in Puerto Rico or Cuba or Jamaica or Haiti or D.R. you would immediately drop the AA title, because there is nothing significant about your culture. You’re just like any other immigrants, America is not your home. You have no pride. You constantly separate yourselves from typical white Americans. So you can never understand.

Plus, unlike African-Amercnans, Latino’s & West Indians for that matter are mixed with literally everything which in a way has caused us to evolve into our own “races”. African-Americans are not mixed like this!

You are probably just an American of African descent that wishes you were mixed! Why do most African-Americans think they are mixed? That’s really not true!

Only Caribbean “blacks” like Jamaicans, Bajans (Barbados), Guyanese people and Trinidadians, are really mixed due to their history.

I really don’t understand why Black people in America think so many of them are mixed. This is why MOST of you self haters are not mixed:


1. Some Blacks were free. Many reproduced with other Blacks.

2. A small number of White men, usually rich, had Black slaves. History books actually exaggerate how many whites could actually afford to own slaves.

3. Black slaves DID have children together and lots of them.

4. The white “masters” did not rape every woman on his plantation. And not every white “master” raped women. The English and British brought their wives to the Americas which is why they didn’t mix as much as the Spanish, so no Latinos aren’t black as compared to African-Americans.

5. Who knows how many Black women were actually raped during and after slavery? How can you be sure you have any white ancestors?

6. Who knows how many Black women actually had sex with white men?

7. Who knows how many white women were raped by or had sex with Black men?

8. Today only like 10% of Black men marry non-Black women and like 5% Black women marry non-Black men. I am sure nowhere near 30% of Black men are makng babies with white women and nowhere near 30% of Black women are making babies with white men. Considering that we are now “free” to reproduce with these people, I am sure we are reproducing with them more now than ever before. Thus, at least probably 70% of Black people are purely Black from this generation. It was probably an even larger number for years past.

Why is it that Black people tend to hold on to the idea that most of Black Americans are mixed “somewhere down the line?” Even if that were true, what is the relevance if that mixture happened more than four generations ago? I personally don’t believe any of you half of the time; African-Americans are NOT mixed.

Do you think it is a good idea to be mixed? Or do you just hate the fact that you have the highest level of African ancestry next to Haitians and Africans themselves?

She is a beautiful Latina.

MCantu March 19, 2013 at 2:28 am

They don’t Understand us Hispanic they don’t know about our culture and history @ConfusedBreed They Claim us but We don’t Claim them (I’m 1/2 Salvadorian)

TiaraRubyah August 25, 2013 at 12:09 pm

I am African American but I understand that. That’s kind of like telling someone who is African American and White that they’re just Black (putting them into a box and telling them they’re not really what/who they are)

I wouldn’t say Afro-Hispanic/Afro-Latin people are African American or just Black because of course that’s not true. I would say they are of African Decent as well as Latin/Hispanic Descent.

jquarles June 11, 2013 at 10:38 pm

That is not true that AA are not mixed. George Lopez did a DNA test on ppl with dark skin AA like snoop dog who had 20 percent of native american, etc. Halle Berry, Mariah Carey, j.cole, drake, the president of the united states would all be what you would all considered mulatto but they go by black because in American blacks have been taught to go by the one drop rule…

This means if I can see African Ancestry in you, you are black…It is actually kind of silly, but that was a tool back in the day to see how to relinquish resources.

only 400,000 of the slave came to america the rest of the 10 million went to latin america. Brazil has the second most blacks than any other country other than nigeria. Look it up, its a fact. So the reason alot of AA include many latinas as black is because the way american culture looks at race is by the one drop rule. All of the civil right greats are mulatto I mean look at pictures of dubois and laungston hughes are all mulattos, but in the country they would be considered black. Its just a culture difference on how AA look at race so the two dont understand eachother.

Walking down the street many ppl would assume tatiyana ali, zoe saldana, and this beautiful woman as black women even though i understand why you dnt want to be refereed as that. black doesnt mean AA by the way.

I have three friends that had genetic test done (well four but i am leaving the dominican out because he looks straight African lol) one was cuban, one was puerto rican and one was AA. They did this for some college project. The AA actually had less African than the Latinas. Her and the puerto rican were neck and neck though. Now the puerto rican looks mixed but my cuban friend is fairly dark and walking down the street other latinos assume she is black and my AA friend and I latina (when in NYC at least).

So at the end of the day its a culture difference on how AA and Latinas look at race….

Bottom line of it in my opinion is that both of your cultures have been taught that mixed and lighter complexions are better, etc. haha

fuzzybear44 June 12, 2013 at 4:02 am


(only 400,000 of the slave came to america the rest of the 10 million went to latin america.)

These amounts are far below what really arrived here.However i guess the only thing that’s really counts,is that many were brought here against their will.

Also this part here:
(Bottom line of it in my opinion is that both of your cultures have been taught that mixed and lighter complexions are better)

Sadly,can’t deny it

TiaraRubyah August 25, 2013 at 12:00 pm

“(Bottom line of it in my opinion is that both of your cultures have been taught that mixed and lighter complexions are better)”

If we’ve been taught that, I guess it was by the media. However, I’m African American & I don’t think it’s a fact that Mixed/Light Skin is better than any other. Being mixed with different cultures is interesting though, one reason is because I think things become more interesting when you mix different cultures together.

Mina B August 19, 2013 at 9:38 am

Charcoal skin? That’s a very ignorant description of a group that complexion ranges from very light to dark. Smh

irides October 5, 2013 at 3:55 pm

I’m very interested in your facts. Truth be told, quite a few AAs are less than 80% Subsaharan. If that were not the case, then we all would have as you said “charcoal skin”. I’ve done a DNA test on myself and my daughter, both of us are less than 75% with ancestors up to my great-great-great grandparents that self-identified as African American. In addition, Brazil, a Latin country, has over 15 million people who identify as black. There are more that 100,000 people in PR that identify themselves as black. These numbers do not include people who consider themselves mulatto or any other term for multi-racial. So, here I am, trying to make sense of your entire post.

fbwfeiwb December 12, 2013 at 4:32 am

DNA tests done on African-Americans proves the contrary. African-Americans are in fact mixed with European. On average they are about 20% European. Some African-Americans have mostly African ancestry, some look like they are more mixed – half and half. Whoopi Goldberg for example is 92 percent Sub-Saharan African. You can see some African-Americans that are very light. You should get your facts straight before posting ignorant comments.

fbwfeiwb December 12, 2013 at 4:44 am

Also, what makes you think that Latinos are the only mixed group in the Americas? How could that be? Countries that were settled by African slaves and Europeans usually have large populations of mixed-race people. Of course Latin-America was different, because the colonists didn’t bring wives with them, so they intermarried and mated with the African slaves and the Native Americans. And that’s why Latinos are so mixed today.

fbwfeiwb December 12, 2013 at 4:47 am

And what about Louisiana Creole people? Aren’t they African-American too since they are Americans of African descent?

Dogg November 26, 2014 at 10:33 pm

African-Americans have been shown on average to be around 20% European (and as much as 50% European in the North!), most of it paternal. A lot of black women did have children with white men. Yes, it was much more common in Latin America, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t common in the United States too. A lot of black slave women were raped or had relationships with white men so pretty much most African-Americans would have a little bit of European blood in them.

Dogg November 26, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Lauren Velez is likely more than 50% European. You can’t claim her as black.

marjanel October 23, 2015 at 12:32 pm

Hispanic was not invented by Nixon.It was invented by Romans.All this confusion of latino and hispanic was created in Usa.In Latín América nobody use the word latino or hispanic to call themselves in the street or a census.Here blacks call thenselves black and América is a, a black many from Brazil,Colombia Puerto can said that he is Afro_brazilian,Afro-colombian,etc,but also Afro-American.

Lisette December 31, 2012 at 4:16 pm

No doubt she’s Puerto Rican but have you seen her mom her and niece they look black to me

memphis January 24, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Her mom does have a Latino look as well as African.

marjanel October 23, 2015 at 12:26 pm

There is not something like latino look

GeorgeJeanPierre December 27, 2012 at 1:10 am

hope..shut the fuck up. l”atinos” ARE mixed just like I said so your comments are pointless. continue living in your denial. But just know this. In spain you guys ARE NOT considered spanish. You are considered american or mixed. build a bridge and get over it. YOU GUYS ARE OF AFRICAN DESECNT. maybe even more than spanish.

Pasqal October 14, 2012 at 3:13 am

She’s definitely of African descent too.

Tyrone October 22, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Everyone must be of African descent….

hii August 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm

hispanics in the united states like to talk about the white heritage when its not part of them. i do find it strange that whenever u see someone talk about the “latin” heritage they only talk about spain or European or anything thats related to white in the spanish culture. majority of “spanish” people r black or mix with black but do not want to claim it, they rather claim the white side of the heritage instead of black. like the ones from the caribbean islands that say their not but from puerto rico and DR ur black and caribbean first …DEAL WITH IT.

samira August 4, 2012 at 10:53 am

I’m sorry but why a mixed person would be more black than white ? they’re both, we are both (I’m mixed too). But the thing is americans are obsessed with the race issue, especially african americans.
For you amercians, a mixed person, even a quadroon will always be black but it’s only in the usa. Actually in Europe a mixed person is just MIXED, not black nor white just mixed, multiracial. Most so-called black people in america would be considered white in Africa.

Anyway, in Puerto Rico it is the opposite, mixed people were considered white and not black.

GeorgeJeanPierre December 11, 2012 at 4:39 am

I agree with hii, im so fucking sick and and tired of the “spanish” people in the us (Notice the ” ” around spanish becuase the so called spanish people in the u.s are NOT spanish they mixed and some look more black than anything *rolls eyes*) saying they are spanish when in reality they are mixed with BLACK WHITE AND SOMETIMES NATIVE. her puerto ricans ..yea you guys no different than you, im 1/2 white 1/4 black 1/8 native. Get it? we are the SAME you guys are NOT white you are MIXED.

Hope Moretti September 25, 2012 at 6:17 pm

You sir are retarded. Latino is not a race. There are Mestizos, Castizos, Caucasians, Blacks, Asians, and Indigenous Latinos. Yes, I agreed. Latino Americans are not Europeans if they weren’t born there. UGH! Latinos is nor a RACE!

anakaren November 14, 2012 at 10:22 pm

YOU need to travel DUMBASS!! Im sure you never travel out to USA!!!

and yeah the latinos we came from Spain and Indigenous from America, we are a mixed!!! in LatinAmerica are white, black, mestizos.!! YOU DEAL WITH IT FRIEND.

hii August 1, 2012 at 2:01 pm

puerto rican is not an ethnicity its a nationality. the sooner people realize it the better. stop the ignorance and except who you really are.

KEMET January 9, 2013 at 10:48 pm

you keep saying puerto rico is nationality

its a island

where all people have the same culture

unlike americans

where all people stick to their own


there no such thing as asian american afro merican

white american or mexican america


only puerto rican thats it

mixed with spanish taino african

Multiethnicchick April 29, 2012 at 5:26 am

Why does she need these stupid prefixes “afro” and what not. She just Puerto Rican. She didn’t say she was a mixed black, white or native american or whatever. It’s just Puerto Rican. And yes I know that’s broad but that’s her ethnicity.

chicks823 May 17, 2012 at 11:21 am

Why is it an issue if she defines herself as “Afro…”? Being Puerto Rican means you have ancestry from Africans, Spaniards, Taino and English. To omit any of these you would not be Puerto Rican. If she identifies more with her “Afro” side that is her peragotive. The real question Multiethnicchick, is why does it bother you so much???

Multiethnicchick July 12, 2012 at 1:03 am

Because no one needs prefixes, your probably the idiot who came up with that idea. Do people go around saying Euro American, Euro-Puerto Rican or Euro-Mexican. No. You know why? Because it sounds retarded and unnecessary. REad the goddamn paragraph under her description and tell me where it says that she is defining herself as Afro-puerto Rican. What you don’t see it? Oh that’s right, because she never did say that on this site. God, one day all stupid people should be crushed by gravity spontaneously. The only thing bothering me right now is your lack of understanding of pretty much anything in this world especially when it comes to ethnicities. The site says she’s Puerto Rican, no quote from herself on here denies that. End of story. And please before anyone comments back idiotically as I know they will, please read my comment first. *sigh* I do not suffer fools lightly

DaTruth July 12, 2012 at 10:49 am

Because Multiethnicchick is “pressed” like Sunday morning church clothes. It’s so funny to me! Everything bothers her.

Multiethnicchick July 12, 2012 at 11:16 am

How does everything bother me please tell me? It’s like this site is full of a bunch of immature middle school girls(maybe thats it)

samira August 4, 2012 at 10:56 am

mestizos don’t call themselves “native american puerto ricans” the prefix “afro” is a way to say she’s less puerto rican than a white or mestizo puertorican which is completely stupid.
She’s not black she’s a mulatta, she’s mixed.

KEMET January 9, 2013 at 10:49 pm

then why do mexican mestizo in usa call themselves native american

and say we were first here

we hear it all the time

Kriselette Chopin March 29, 2012 at 8:08 am


Kriselette Chopin March 29, 2012 at 8:01 am


I love you, Roger Scientist March 14, 2012 at 11:11 am


dvanilla March 8, 2012 at 10:00 am

Jasmine, you have taught me something today. I didn’t know the Puerto Rican history.

Jasmine February 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm

most cubans, puerto ricans, that look black are normally Afro-Purto Ricans or Afro-Cubans, and sometimes/ most of the time thay have african roots but were enslaved by the spanish and the african language was erased. So i really don’t like it when people try to mark off the AFRO part of a latina

Over9000 February 6, 2012 at 3:04 am

She probably is part African blah blah but that doesn’t mean she’s Black. She is Puerto Rican of a multi-ethnic background. Many Puerto Ricans can be White or mixed Native, White etc.

JC March 19, 2012 at 5:09 pm

Several years ago I saw an article in a Latin magazine that showed I believe her older sister (same mother, etc) who has very strong african features, someone of African decent. It’s strange that this actress tries to distance herself from her black heritage.

Rey January 28, 2012 at 12:46 am

Soy Boricua and I dont c mi gente as Black,White Mulatto bla bla bla We are BORICUA and thats how I c mi gente as BORICUA no matter how dark or light. Yes we have a beautiful blend of people but we are still BORICUA! PUERTO RICO!!!!!

sycogcx January 23, 2012 at 10:03 pm

I love her!

jasmin January 23, 2012 at 5:45 pm

she’s a great actress

monica August 5, 2011 at 11:15 am

i love her, she’s so pretty, she’s clearly a mixed puerto rican

melena February 22, 2011 at 6:11 am

she’s afro-puerto rican

mariela January 3, 2011 at 8:27 pm

she’s afro-rican

KEMET January 9, 2013 at 10:55 pm

no she is not a afro rican

pff she is a puerto rican

with african ancestry

lexi June 24, 2010 at 8:44 am

I love her on “Dexter” and she’s gorgeous.

ethnic June 24, 2010 at 8:46 am

She awesome and so is that series.

Dante' Chase May 24, 2010 at 12:34 pm

i know she’s latino descent because she knows her spanish to well not just that she passes as one and she’s one hell of an actress i remember ole tyme religion when she first came on the sceene i said that they needed her to become a cop and join the team which were j.c. williams,eddie torres, virgina cooper, and tommy mcnamarra shes beautiful and she’s got a bright future ahead of her. im her biggest fan.

clart kent January 4, 2010 at 10:48 pm

I think she is “black/mulatto” hispanic. She doesn’t look like the latina girls with white skin a la JLO. I think both look good.

Ashley January 25, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Just an educational lesson: Hispanic/Latina isn’t an ethnicity. Hispanics and latinos come in both “black” or white”. She looks the way she does because of the African disapora during the slave trade which many African slaves were routed to what we call today South America, Central America, North America, even the islands such as Puerto Rico, Cuba, etc. “White” latinas are those mainly of Spain, German, or Portuguese descent mixed with Native American. “Black” latinas are those mainly mixed of West African descent, European, and Native American. So of course no one can really classify latinos/hispanics as someone who looks a certain way. It’s the same for Creoles. Me being Creole, I do look like your average “black” woman, but many also say that I look Afro-Cuban or mixed with Chinese because of my West African, French, and Native American mix. Louisiana Creoles also have distinctive looks and you may say they do not look like the “blacks” you see everyday. Conclusion is hispanics/latinas are not an ethnic group per se. Just think of them as being mixed ethnic people because that’s exactly what they are.

Rey January 28, 2012 at 12:48 am

clart kent no offensive friend but not all of us look the same we come in all shades my friend.

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