WACO, TEXAS (FOX 44) — The blended backgrounds of Black and Hispanic culture is common throughout the Latin world and even here in Central Texas.
Owners Vivia and Aniceto Charles opened the doors to Tru Jamacia in 2019 for many visitors to enjoy true Carribean food.
However, behind the menu is family ties to Venezuela.
You can hear the reggae music inside the restaurant as customers eat foods made on the island.
“Our beans or our peas. Usually, it’s two different it’s kidney beans or pigeon peas,” said Tru Jamaica co-owner Vivia Charles.
Vivia married her Venezuelan husband Aniceto Charles in 1978.
He passed away nine years ago, but Vivia says their bond was a game changer.
“He was very interested in Jamaican cooking,, and I learned to do a little bit of his cooking so it was a good mix,” said Charles.
Having her son Aniceto 43 years ago, Vivia says his heritage speaks for itself.
“Some strange reason some will just start talking to him in Spanish without having any idea of his background,” said Charles.
Tru Jamaica co-owner Aniceto Charles picked up on his fathers recipes and has shared the cuisine to Venezuelan students in the area.
“What they do is they come up and they say, hey, I know you can make cuchapas, arepas, and stuff like that, and what I would do is I’ll make them those items,” said Aniceto Charles.
In Aniceto’s time, he’s even created festivals for Venezuelans from all walks of life to gather.
“We all kind of noticed like, hey, there’s not really a gathering of those people, and sometimes when they ask you what are you, there’s not that checkmark or you can’t check both,” said Aniceto Charles.
Vivia adds, “I think it’s a community that sometimes don’t necessarily come together as much as you think they would. I’m not sure what it is, but I’ve met so many people that fit into that group.”
For anyone struggling with their identity being Afro-Latino, Aniceto encourages you to embrace it.
“I think that people should be proud of all of their culture, and I think some of those people that are Afro-Latino, they might be a little bit quiet to say, hey, I’m Latino, too, and I think they should be proud and share it,” said Charles.
In Tru Jamaica’s future, Vivia and Aniceto are talking about adding Venezuelan foods like arepas and drinks to their menu to share more of their family’s history and culture.