Salma Hayek is ‘la mera mera’ as Ajak, leader of Marvel’s Eternals

Marvel Entertainment, a mega-billion dollar company that brought iconic superheroes like the Avengers to the big screen, has summoned Salma Hayek to portray its latest ‘Sheroe.’

This casting decision is an epic step in the right direction for more Latinxs to portray larger-than-life heroes. Salma will play Ajak, leader of the Eternals, the new generation of Marvel superheroes.

Salma Hayek’s Instagram announcement about her supersheroe role. 

Our Salma couldn’t contain her enjoyment as she shared on Instagram that she is “muy emocionada” about the role. She explained that the comic book character was originally male, but Marvel’s decision to create a matriarch instead shows a shift in a traditionally male-dominated mindset. “But girls … this is OUR time!!!,” she wrote.

“The Eternals” are a group of immortals who have been on earth for 35,000 years and sent to protect humanity. Their leader Ajak is worshipped by the Inca as the god Tecumotzin, who wore a suit inspired by indigenous mesoamerican culture, and is able to fly, teleport and seems immune to physical injury. 

We applaud Marvel for embracing actors of color as of late, including movies centering around Black and Latinx heroes like “Black Panther” and the Miles Morales version of “Spiderman.” 

We can’t wait to see Salma’s ‘Ajek’ on the big screen in 2020, and to watch how she inspires the next generation of Latinx heroes!

All-Latinx cast of stars in ‘Dora’ comes at the perfect time

“Dora and the Lost City of Gold” stars Michael Peña, Isabela Moner, Eva Longoria, Danny Trejo, and Eugenio Derbez./ Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

In 2019 it’s still rare to see a Hollywood summer flick targeted at Latinx families, let alone with an all-Latinx ensemble cast. But that disheartening trend may be changing now that Dora and the Lost City of Gold hit theatres nationwide 🍿

Madelyn Miranda and Eva Longoria in July. Rachel Murray/ Images for Paramount Pictures

Based on the near 20-year-old animated Nickelodeon show, Dora the Explorer, the movie brings to life a show that centered around empowering preschool Latinx kids and normalizing bilingualism. The big screen production re-imagines young adventurer Dora as a teenager, but keeps her signature bob haircut, pink shirt and purple backpack. 

Isabela Moner as Dora in “Dora and the Lost City of Gold”. Courtesy of Paramount Pictures.

Dora, played by Isabela Moner, is on a mission to find lost treasure in the fictional lost Inca city of Parapata, located in the Amazon rainforest. Eva Longoria and Michael Peña portray her parents, Danny Trejo voices Boots and Benicio Del Toro voices the main antagonist Swiper the Fox. Mexican actor Eugenio Derbez serves as executive producer and actor. 

Eugenio says Dora is an icon for kids, especially now that Latinxs are being “harassed by President Donald Trump’s administration.” Isabela said the movie is an action-packed mix of Tomb Raider meets Indiana Jones. This family-friendly movie is breaking the mold and encouraging Hollywood to keep giving our children positive role models who look like them on the big screen.

VIDA is unapologetically Latinx, queer and female

The stars of VIDA served as panelists for a Create and Cultivate panel./Courtesy photo.

Since “Vida” arrived on small screens nationwide via the Starz channel in 2018, it has tackled important issues ranging from gender identity to social justice activism. it is groundbreaking in telling stories that resonate with Latinx audiences, and has been critically-acclaimed 😎

Tanya Saracho, the Mexican-American playwright and actress who created the show, said she wanted to bring authentic representation to television that she never had growing up.

The stars of Starz’ channel’s hit show VIDA attend SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas./Getty Images

The show centers on two vastly different Mexican-American sisters who return to their old East Los Angeles neighborhood to deal with their mother Vidalia’s death. Upon returning, they have to come to terms with their mother’s true identity, including her marriage to Eddy, another woman. Their chaotic lives deal with grief, sexual identity and gentrification.

Tanya Saracho with members of the cast and crew of the Starz show, “Vida.”

Tanya wanted to inject a level of authenticity into “Vida”, and she’s been able to achieve that by hiring mostly LGBTQ women of color to work on the project. “My writer’s room is all Latinx,” she said. And she’s very proud that all of the directors, editors and department heads are “all women, all brown, all Latinas.”

At right, Ser Anzoategui portrays ‘Eddy’ on Starz groundbreaking show VIDA. /qvoicenews.com

Eddy, played by Ser Anzoategui, fights to keep Vida’s bar a safe space for queer women to congregate, and steers away from queer Latinx stereotypes. This show is revolutionary. It provides healing and validation to its audience, a powerful and welcome impact. 

Guess who’s making a documentary about our queen, Rita Moreno?

Rita Moreno on One Day at a Time./vulture.com

When it comes to Latinx role models in Hollywood, no star shines brighter than Puerto Rican actress Rita Moreno. The legendary EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) winner continues to transport us to worlds where anything is possible Rita is set to portray an original character in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming West Side Story remake, the film that earned her the coveted Oscar statuette. 🎬

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Rita Moreno perform on stage./J. Countless/getty images

Rita oozes with talent, joy, energy and is a fierce symbol of the Latinx spirit. Now, fellow Puerto Rican legend Lin-Manuel Miranda, best known for creating and starring in Broadway musicals In the Heights and Hamilton, is executive producing a PBS documentary that will tell Rita’s story from her humble beginnings 🇵🇷 to the height of her 70-year career. 

Rita Moreno in West Side Story

The film will explore how Rita overcame obstacles as she climbed the career ladder and faced prejudice, sexual harassment, abuse, a toxic relationship with Marlon Brando, and a suicide attempt a year before she earned her Oscar. Despite the odds, Rita has not allowed anything to get in her way, and she continues to display a larger-than-life personality that has enchanted and inspired new generations of Latinx artists like Gina Rodriguez, Justina Machado, Eva Longoria and Gloria Estefan 🙌🏽

Gina Rodriguez thanks Rita Moreno for her career

We can’t think of a better way to honor Rita than through a documentary. All hail the mighty Latina queen 👑 as Lin-Manuel fondly calls her!

Rita Moreno: A Memoir will premiere in 2020.

Gina set to inspire first Latina POTUS!

Gina Rodriguez posed for a photo, sitting on a ledge against a fence
Gina Rodriguez

When Barack Obama was elected U.S. president in 2008, he inspired an entire generation of young people to dream limitlessly. Now, Gina Rodriguez, star of The CW’s Jane the Virgin, is planting the seed for a future Latina POTUS, as she defines a Disney character that a new generation of Latinxs can identify with. 

Gina Rodriguez's instagram photo featuring her wearing a black t-shirt which reads "Phenomenally Latina"
Screengrab of Gina Rodriguez’s Instagram post.

Gina is the executive producer of “Diary of a Female President,” an upcoming series about a 12-year-old Cuban-American girl whose journal entries illustrate her life in middle school on the road to becoming U.S. president. It’s a single-camera, half-hour comedy told over the course of 10 episodes on Disney’s new streaming service, Disney+.

 

Illana Peña holding a child
Illana Peña on Twitter.

Cuban American writer Illana Peña is creating and scripting the show. She previously worked on The CW’s The Crazy Ex-Girlfriend which was a hoot and inspiring to women in its own right. 

Gina Rodriguez./movieplayer.it

Échale ganas, Gina! We can hear the excitement 👏🏽 from moms and their niñas already! It’s about time our girls will get some much-needed inspiration straight from the comfort of their living rooms. We’ll be thanking your for this show at the inauguration of our first Latina POTUS! 

These Latinx books ‘get’ you

There is something essential about reading a book 📚 that resonates with your own life experiences. Some, like these, are written by autores who understand the nuances often ignored by mainstream literature.

 

Let’s start with “The Rhythm of Success” 📖 where Emilio Estefan shares details about how he left Cuba and used his immigrant experience to help him create a mega-successful music career in the U.S.

He and his wife Gloria Estefan built a music empire and are a source of inspiration for all immigrants.

 

In “Signs Preceding the End of the World”  Yuri Herrera dives into the back-and-forth transition between homeland and new country, and how a person transforms as a result. This is a familiar experience for many immigrant and first-generation Latinxs in the U.S.

If Cuba is your interest, we recommend you read “Take Me With You” 📖 a memoir by Carlos Frías about a Cuban-American who gets in touch with his roots after going on assignment to cover Fidel Castro’s illness.

 

Reading enriches your life, but getting a hold of a book that ‘gets’ your experience is like having someone enter your mind and read your thoughts.

Visit your nearest bookstore or library for one of these inspirational reads.

 

Why the Latinx punk scene needs to promote safer spaces

Latinx punk has been disrupting the status quo in the U.S. since the 1970s. Mainstays like the Brooklyn-based Latinx Punk Festival give brown punk fans something to look forward to every year and are proof that there is a large fanbase for this music genre.

Analia Remezcla

Recently, though, a number of fans have raised concerns that punk is whitewashed, and that events like Latinx Punk Festival are necessary to give our gente the space to listen to punk music in a welcoming and inclusive environment. They praise the festival’s name change from ‘Latino’ to ‘Latinx’ because it promotes inclusivity and actively welcomes queer audiences.

File photo from 2018 Latinx Punk Festival Facebook

But there is still work to be done. In a recent interview Analia, a New York-based punk fan, pointed out that Latino machismo is a huge problem that’s been normalized not just by our cultura, but by our punk music.

File from 2014 Latinx Punk Festival Facebook

How to put an end to this? Fans say it’s as simple as realizing that punk music isn’t an excuse for artists or their fans to act aggressively toward one another. Normalizing better behavior can go a long way in evolving the way people think and act at punk music-related events.

Let’s all do our part to make sure we’re promoting fun and safe music spaces.

Check out these lyrical social disruptors, aka Latin Punk artists

Latinx Punk artists have risen to fame not only for creating music that speaks to our souls, but for being social disruptors and fighting for our gente’s rights through their lyrics. Here are some rising Latinx punk artists you’ve got to add to your playlist ahora mismo because their verses are magic to our ears and hearts.  

Generación Suicida YouTube

Generación Suicida is a Los Angeles punk band that has stayed true to its sounds since its origins during the 1992 L.A. riots. The group’s music is unorthodox but innovative, mixing melodies with fast-paced drum beats. Lyrics like those from 2013’s ‘Metralleta’ simulate the sound of machine guns, and fight systemic oppression.

Choked Up Fierce by Mitu

We are big fans of queer Latina Cristina Carrera, who is singer/guitarist of the Brooklyn-based band Choked Up. This punk artist has taken her música on tour before and is an inspiration to LGBTQ Latinxs in New York and beyond.

Finally, there’s Victoria Ruiz, a bilingual singer and lyricist for ‘Downtown Boys’, keeping punk alive in Providence, Rhode Island. The band was key in convincing major music festival South by Southwest in Austin to remove a clause in contracts that threatened deportation of undocumented musicians. Arriba, Downtown Boys, for standing up for our gente’s rights!

Tell us, what Latinx punk bands should we check out next?

Uncensored and unafraid, Latinx poets tell it like it is

We are in a rich era of poetry where diverse audiences are encouraged to write from their unique perspectives to connect with audiences in tangible ways. Rising and veteran Latinx poets alike have risen to the occasion and have written beautiful and noteworthy work in recent years.

Elizabeth Acevedo Neon Entertainment

Though this list is by no means exhaustive, we want to highlight three poets at the top of their game who have published work that gives us all the feels. ??

Let’s start with Elizabeth Acevedo, a Brooklyn-based Dominicana who is unafraid to tackle important yet controversial issues like eurocentric beauty standards, violence against women and mixed cultures. Her debut novel “Poet X” came out in 2018.

Denice Frohman DeniceFrohman.com

Next is queer Latina Denice Frohman, who challenges gender norms through her poetry. She’s performed at The White House and several colleges, been on tour and called out people who are prejudiced against the queer community in “Dear White People.”

Denise Frohman performs “Dear White People”

Alan Pelaez Lopez The Feminist Wire

Alan Pelaez Lopez is another queer poetic talent who organized United We Dream’s Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project and the UCLA Dream Center. The undocumented Afro-Latino’s personal experiences inform his poetry and are also a tool for activism. ¡Qué Padre!

Lopez’s “Zapotec Crossers”

Please excuse us as we go soak in more powerful palabras from these Latinxs.

 

Fighting oppression with music: How societal injustices ushered in wave of Latinx punk bands

Punk music is traditionally synonymous with white teenage angst and a way to disrupt the status quo. In the 1970s, however, the genre began embracing different styles and instruments such as reggae, giving rise to the formation of Latino and Chicano punk bands.

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The Plugz Facebook page

Latinx-led groups like The Plugz, The Bags, The Zeros, Los Illegals, The Stains and The Brat began organizing gigs in their own East Los Angeles communities. This resulted in The East Side Renaissance movement, which helped promote fellow punk bands.

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Colorlines

By the 1990s, Latinx punk bands had a larger societal role to play than just rebellious brown muchachos creating groundbreaking music. They used their lyrics to protest politics that negatively impacted Latinxs, thereby raising the profile of brown punk bands in New York City, Chicago, El Paso, Los Angeles and Santa Fe.

Past Daily

Unlike their white counterparts, these Latinx were ostracized for speaking about the struggles of minorities, especially the abuse of immigrant workers. It’s the same issues that today’s brown punk bands still tackle in their lyrics at major U.S. music festivals like Lollapalooza or South by Southwest.

Wikipedia (Le Butcherettes, a Mexican punk band, performing at Lollapalooza 2011 in Chicago, Illinois)

That’s why it’s vital we show up to their concerts and show discriminatory authority that, together, Latinxs can create real, lasting change for our gente.