Culture

Here’s Why An Afro-Latino Decided To Make A New Meditation App Just For People Of Color

Raise your hand if you’ve used a meditation app that works for you until the “teacher” tells you to let go of the idea you can change the world around you. Often, whether it’s your white, blonde yoga teacher or that app, it can be triggering to enter the safe space of your consciousness only to feel triggered by a tone-deaf mantra.

Julio Rivera was one of those people that tried the existing meditation apps only to feel discontent. Some people want to change the world and when your community is in crisis you have to believe that you can change the world. Thankfully, Rivera is an engineer and decided to go out and make his own app that would be a truly safe space for people of color.

Liberate Meditation is “dedicated to empowering the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color community on their journey to find inner peace.”

Credit: Liberate Meditation / Apple Store

“We want to help empower people, not only to meditate but to show them that there’s something you can do about your suffering,” Rivera said of the app. “We can help each other get free and be liberated.” The app is made by POC for POC.

It all started when he finally found the POC sangha at New York Insight Meditation Center. He finally found a spiritual home and wants “folks of color all over the world to know that they are not alone.” With that, he embarked on designing an app that would do just that.

You can scroll through different categories depending on your needs at that given moment.

Credit: Liberate Meditation / Apple Store

The topics range from Ancestors, The Body, Gratitude, Love, Micro Aggressions, LGBT Pride, Self Worth and more. Then, once you choose which topic you want to engage in within yourself, you can select from 5 to 20-minute meditation sessions. 

The app also offers non-meditative teachings, which sound more like empowering, resounding speeches from the Teachers. For example, Dr. Valerie Mason-John offers a talk on “Reconciling Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Non-Self.” Hearing non-POC talk about shedding attachment to identity and self can feel frustrating for POC. We spend so much of our lives wrestling with our identities and when we’re able to claim them with pride, its an act of defiance and self-love. I feel this especially around my gay identity–something that my parents tried to beat and pray out of me. Dr. Mason-John’s soft eye into “how the Dharma offers liberation from the suffering that comes from attachment with our identity” is much more palatable given her experience as a queer person of color (QPOC).

All of the voices you will hear on the app are from Teachers of Color.

Credit: Liberate Meditation / Apple Store

The User Interface (UI) is clever–allowing you to browse by topic and by teacher. If you find a teacher that resonates with your experience, you can immediately find a list of other teachings and meditations of their own making. When you click on their teacher card, you can read a biography of their experiences in culture, sexuality and more.

“It’s not unusual for people of color to survive by keeping parts of ourselves hidden,” Teacher Cara Lai describes her meditation on “The Power of Belonging.” “We learn to behave in certain ways when we have needs. We learn to hinder our creative expression for social acceptance. This meditation helps us open to the things we’ve locked away to regain our wholeness.”

Liberate Meditation is absolutely free to use.

Credit: Liberate Meditation / Apple Store

The reviews are in. People are finding refuge within themselves thanks to the app. It’s clear that Rivera has tapped into a market that has been widely ignored by the wellness industry. Instead of pretending that the harms of external racism and internalized racism don’t exist, the Teachers are acknowledging it, allowing an opportunity for healthy release.

“You will not just mediate, you will be found,” writes one reviewer.

Credit: Liberate Meditation / Apple Store

Another reviewer maintains that “This app is not just some icon you press in your phone to relieve some stress before getting out of bed in the morning.” It’s much more than that. For them, “it is a creation to help our kin heal, rebuild and liberate. You see yourself in this, you find yourself and you take in the words of those who have lived to speak wisdom to you through those guided meditations. You will not just meditate, you will be found.”

Liberation Meditation is available on iOS and Android devices.

READ: We Have Latinos To Thank For Some Of America’s Biggest And Strongest Businesses

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People Are Talking About What They Would Look Up On Their Phone 5 Years In The Future

Things That Matter

People Are Talking About What They Would Look Up On Their Phone 5 Years In The Future

Hasn’t everyone had a desire to see the future at some point in their life? During so much uncertainty at the moment, it’s no wonder that people are wishing they had a chance to type in a question to the future and see what it holds. Recently, a user on Reddit posted a prompt about the future that instantly went viral.

Writing to fellow Redditers the users asked “You can’t time travel, but your phone has the internet from 5 years in the future. What do you search for first?”

Check out the pretty wise and honest answers below!

“I’d try to be like Bill Murrays character by the end of Ground Hog day. Find out if there’s any needless deaths from preventable accidents that I may be able to change. Obviously I’d have won the lotto too, this would give me plenty of resources and free time to become a local superhero.”- Meglamore

“I would start a blog on my pc and then switch to my phone to check if it now has updates from the future. If so, my future self could talk to my present self. I could read about my mistakes and try to avoid them. If a post disappears, that would mean that I did it right.”- thezubek

“My son to make sure he’s still alive. He’s chronically suicidal and should be on his own by then. I worry about it.”- Gadgetownsme

“Queen elizabeth (if there were more searches available). Then probably see which countries still exist as they are now, See how covid-19 played out. Memes so I can make an accurate “this is a meme from the future” Then see what are the biggest breakthroughs of science in the last 5 years, probably at least medicine and energy. Also obviously lottery numbers or something.”- uhrilahja

“I would check my mails and message Apps to find out how I’m doing in the future. If the phone continuously updates, so that it always show the internet of in five years. Then I would probably look for scientific breakthroughs like fusion and also for catastrophes. Then I would start writing messages to myself like a diary so I can see them in the present. And also in 2025 I would start copying the messages from then in 5 years and send them to myself so I can see the messages of the next ~100 years assuming I live that long. Edit: I probably would write a script that copies the messages for me.” – Barti666

“Check if im still single.” –Beans_In_The_Dark

“My family member’s names, i Want to know who to call and go see every chance i get if they don’t have that much time left.” – EothainVSorcs

“Wars or terrorist attacks that have happened so that we can avoid them or prepare for stuff like pandemic and natural disasters early.”- themattv140

“Whether or not Donald Trump (or one of his allies) is President.”- Pepperspray24

“Besides the obvious (lottery, election, myself, etc) I would want to see if opera made a comeback after the pandemic or if the virus was the final nail in the coffin of this art form, which has been slowly headed towards its demise for decades now.

Edit: I should have said here that I’m a huge opera fan and I hope I’m wrong!

And I’m not talking about the web browser.” –IoSonCalaf

“Using this logic, I’d want to try to fight climate change. We’re approaching the point of no return, and unless we figure out how to change things quickly, we’re fucked. I’d use the first five years to learn the issue. Then, I’d right a big note to self online on what I studied, what was important, what wasn’t. I’d include things to avoid, things to try going for, a point of no return that scientists concluded, and that they should constantly update in case I get involved in an accident. This would lead to a long chain of studying, trying to find solutions, and ways to get involved into politics in order to actually have a chance of making anything change. The saddest part is, it might not even be possible, and so there would be an unlimited amount of me’s trying to prevent imminent doom, only to fail over and over and over again.”- Chicken_0n_Fire

“Trump conviction.”- micialicia

“I’d look up how my own writing has gone, because five years from now I would definitely have gotten past some of the things I was stuck on. I would save myself some time by just copying my finished story and posting it now. I could get a different perspective on my finished work, see all my new ideas. This could go many ways because I could be hella confused on how I got a certain headcanon about a character and just general confusion on a lot of stuff, and some of the journey of writing is the journey of figuring it all out, and I might not fully understand it all just reading my finished story and not having gone through the process of writing it, like not being able to get into my future self’s head to really understand it the way my future self does, but it could be really nice to save myself five years of time.

I’d look up reviews for future games, movies, and show to see if they are as good as the trailers suggest, and prevent myself from wasting time on unenjoyable content.

Basically after looking up all the general world-altering stuff, I’d surf the internet like I normally do, but this time I won’t have to wait for all the new content.

I would also see which celebrities have been accused and/or convicted of crimes; see who I should really support and who’s going to stay a good person and who’s going to be revealed as corrupted.

I’d see how the elections turn out and if things are better or worse with the new president, try to prepare for said problems, and depending on if I can convince other people to believe that I really have a future phone, maybe I could try and change who gets voted for if it turns out to be worse.

I’d look up recent science discoveries, see what has been revealed as myth and new health concerns. I’d see how bad global warming has got and if we’ve finally managed to start really doing something about it.

See all this stuff with Black Lives Matter and corporate greed and all the political stuff and how it all turned out and how we got there, and see if I was wrong and if I need to change my opinions on things and try to lead us down a different path if it ends badly.

Basically see how things turn out and if I should change my opinions on things.”- Ice_the_Irken

“Interesting to see how many people pick COVID as what they would search. I would search global warming-linked disasters to make sure I wasn’t living anywhere where they’d happen. And 2020 election results to see whether or not I need to move forward with moving to Canada.” –jabberingginger

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Netflix’s Newest Musical Teen Hit Series Stars a 16-Year-Old Afro-Latina Newcomer

Entertainment

Netflix’s Newest Musical Teen Hit Series Stars a 16-Year-Old Afro-Latina Newcomer

A new teen series has dropped on Netflix that the internet can’t stop talking about. The newest cultural phenomenon that has hit the juggernaut streaming service is a musical series called Julie and the Phantoms, based on the 2011 Brazilian show of the same name.

The series follows a 16-year-old insecure girl named Julie who has lost her love of music after the tragic death of her mother. But with the help of a (stay with us here) band of musical ghosts she stumbles across in her garage, she soon re-discovers her love of singing and performing. Backed by her band of “phantoms”, Julie confidently takes the stage again, blowing everyone away in the process. ,

But the wacky, heartfelt story-line isn’t the only reason people are excited about the show. The buzz around the show is building because its star, 16-year-old newcomer Madison Reyes, is an Afro-Latina singer-actress of Puerto Rican descent.

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Que Bonita bandera 🇵🇷

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Before landing the role of Julie, Reyes was just a regular shmegular Nuyorican girl going to high school in Brooklyn. Needless to say, the process of auditioning for Julie and the Phantoms was both a whirlwind and a game-changer.

“I found out about Julie and the Phantoms through my school. At first I was nervous to send my video in, but after talking to some friends, I sent it in and got a call back,” Reyes told Refinery 29. “From there it was just figuring out when I could fly to L.A. When I finally made it out there, the audition process lasted two days.”

Reyes, for one, understands the burden of her load. “[Julie] is Latin American, she’s got textured hair, she’s a strong and independent female character,” Reyes recently told the LA Times. “As a person of color who wants more diversity [on-screen], I’m kind of scared about the hate comments that I’ve seen other people have to go through, especially women.”

As if having an Afro-Latina actress at the center of a popular Netflix show wasn’t exciting enough, the series is also being helmed by Mexican-American director and all-around legend Kenny Ortega. For those of you unfamiliar with Ortega, he is the creative genius who directed bonafide classics like High School Musical and Hocus Pocus.

Ortega has been publicly effusive in his praise of Reyes. “She has this raw talent that can take on any genre of music, and this promise of greatness that excited everybody,” he told the LA Times. “And yet she’s so relatable and grounded.”

Fans are already calling for a second season after watching the cliffhanger season finale. Reyes, herself, can’t wait to get back in the shoes of Julie. When asked in an interview about where we’ll see her next, she responded: “Hopefully in the next season of Julie and the Phantoms!”. We second that wish.

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