Culture

Latinos Have Mixed Feelings About America’s Obsession With Pumpkins

All you have to do is open your eyes to witness America’s obsession with pumpkins and flavored food, drinks and even overpriced candles at the start of fall. Even if it’s 90 degrees out and you’re on Miami Beach, someone is drinking a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Trader Joe’s is selling pumpkin flavored dog treats, pumpkin spiced pancake mix, pumpkin filled pop tarts, pumpkin flavored oatmeal. I could go on.

Americans love pumpkin. But what about us Latinx-Americans? Trust, I am already reconsidering how that stereotype is exclusionary when Latinos (and everyone for that matter) should be able to participate and be reflected in mainstream American culture. Perdóname.

Pumpkins in America: A History Beginning with Starbucks

@TheRealPSL / Twitter

It all started 15 years ago when Starbucks started developing the pumpkin spice flavor after seeing the flavor soar in consumer tests. Apparently, after fiddling with the recipe, they decided to not include pumpkin at all. This sparked the beginning of pumpkin spice product tidal wave in the market.

Starbucks has sold over 200 million PSL’s since it’s first release.

@TheRealPSL / Twitter

And, apparently, created a Twitter account for Pumpkin Spice Latte. It has over 110k followers. ????

Latinos be like, “can I have the squash coffee?”

@_trstz3 / Twitter

Pumpkins have no seasonal significance with us. We put squash in so many of our dishes year round, that we don’t get the obsession over a gourd.

In a way, the following statement feels like a restatement of our Latinidad.

@BaddieQue1 / Twitter

Anyone who is firmly against PSL’s or any other pumpkin spiced product is stubbornly proud that they aren’t participating in the trend. It makes you wonder: have they even tried it though?

Yes. We are willing to give PSL’s a try. Still, no.

@ASalas99

We’re used to our coffee tasting like coffee, not sugar syrup. That’s my theory for the anti-PSL community.

More proof that we’re open-minded people:

@marelyvs / Twitter

Even international visitors have given the PSL’s a shot and it’s just a solid, no gracias. I mean, context is everything. Don’t expect a PSL to give you energy.

We just have so many questions for you, pumpkin loving Americans.

@ArianaPlayzz / Twitter

I mean, it makes sense. Pumpkins are native to North America, especially in Canada and the United States. They’re planted in the summer and are ready to be carved and eaten right around October. 🙂

Because so many of us grew up with out top priority being keeping the house clean.

@nekuhlx / Twitter

Personally, my mom is a crafty mother. She entered pumpkin decorating contests annually, and put false eyelashes on every lady pumpkin she ever carved.

So we haven’t had that bonding, sensory overload memory of carving pumpkins.

@natalssofia / Twitter

The memories of doing something as scandalously messy y ‘peligroso’ as carving pumpkins stands out as a fun time. Goopy pumpkin seeds, silly faces, and toasted pumpkin seeds for days.

And some of us are afraid it’ll make us less Latino.

@ArashKaji / Twitter

I assure you, there is no food you could eat that will destroy the fuerza that is Latinx blood running through your veins.

The culture divide is so strong, it’s got trolls calling Latinxs “white latina”s.

@ouijass1 / Twitter

Did I or did I not say that this is a hot button issue in Latino America right now? Por favor, don’t let PSL’s tear us apart.

Pues, no te preocupes. You’ll always be Latino.

@EugeOrdaz / Twitter

Smell that candle. Try that pumpkin pasta sauce. Whateva. You’ll always be Latinx, and there will always be Latinxs that have your back.

Plot twist: there are those of us who lo amos.

@manicpxiedrmgrl / Twitter

Newsflash, if you’re a Latino living in the USA, támbien somos Americanos. So many of us grew up with our friends *needing* a PSL, especially given that the hype started happening right around high school.

So much so that @TheRealPSL will actually retweet this Hallmark statement.

@yeseniawittman / Twitter

There is something irrevocably comforting about the PSL, but only if you’ve spent the last ten years drinking it. As teenagers, it was basically just spicy sugar water, but it reminds us of cooler weather, Halloween and all the holiday foods.

Because let’s face it. We’re Latino and it’s made of coffee.

@CMGuille

There is something that is so Latino about drinking coffee. It connects us to our ancestors and puts us in the right mood for the rest of the day.

It might not be gourmet, but it is still delicious all the same..

@que_ugly / Twitter

But, again, we’re in it for the feels. Starbucks has incepted us. It barely even matters what it tastes like anymore. We’re paying for the emotions.

Ok, I mean, some people actually like the flavor.

@alyoovm / Twitter

But I would like to see a study on the psychological effects of the PSL on our brains. Why is it so good for some of us and so gross for others?

So much so they’ll marry you for your PSL delivery.

@HelenaVBeta / Twitter

Remember that I said it here first. Americans like pumpkin spice, but they love the feeling it gives them just once a year. If you could marry it, it may even lose its appeal.

It’s not even about the Starbucks brand.

@paulaGlezC / Twitter

Caption: “Me había sobrado un poco de calabaza y quería probar lo del pumpkin spice latte este casero. Ahora toda mi cocina huele a clavo, canela, jengibre, dátiles y café y soy un poco más feliz. ”

Most of us just live in the gray, como todo.

@vamp_akire / Twitter

For those of us who like pumpkin, it’s because it’s so closely associated with autumn feels of Día de los Muertos, dressing up like J-Lo for Halloween as a kid, and eating more arroz con leche than you can handle. Dash some pumpkin spice on that café if you want.


READ: It’s That Time Of Year Again. Are You A Basic PSL Or A Decadent Cafe De Olla? Take The Quiz And Find Out

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Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Entertainment

Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Luis Fonsi is kicking off 2021 with a new single. The Puerto Rican superstar premiered the music video for “Vacío” on Feb. 18 featuring rising Boricua singer Rauw Alejandro. The guys put a new spin on the classic “A Puro Dolor” by Son By Four.

Luis Fonsi throws it back to his románticas.

“I called Omar Alfanno, the writer of ‘A Puro Dolo,’ who is a dear friend,” Fonsi tells Latido Music. “I told him what my idea was [with ‘Vacío’] and he loved it. He gave me his blessing, so I wrote a new song around a few of those lines from ‘A Puro Dolor’ to bring back that nostalgia of those old romantic tunes that have been a part of my career as well. It’s a fresh production. It sounds like today, but it has that DNA of a true, old-school ballad.”

The world got to know Fonsi through his global smash hit “Despacito” with Daddy Yankee in 2017. The remix with Canadian pop star Justin Bieber took the song to new heights. That was a big moment in Fonsi’s music career that spans over 20 years.

There’s more to Fonsi than “Despacito.”

Fonsi released his first album, the fittingly-titled Comenzaré, in 1998. While he was on the come-up, he got the opportunity of a lifetime to feature on Christina Aguilera’s debut Latin album Mi Reflejo in 2000. The two collaborated on “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” Fonsi scored multiple Billboard Hot Latin Songs No. 1s in the years that followed and one of the biggest hits was “No Me Doy Por Vencido” in 2008. That was his career-defining romantic ballad.

“Despacito” remains the second most-viewed music video on YouTube with over 7.2 billion views. The hits did not stop there. Later in 2017, he teamed up with Demi Lovato for “Échame La Culpa,” which sits impressively with over 2 billion views.

He’s also appearing on The Voice next month.

Not only is Fonsi working on his new album, but also he’s giving advice to music hopefuls for the new season of The Voice that’s premiering on March 1. Kelly Clarkson tapped him as her Battle Advisor. In an exclusive interview, Fonsi talked with us about “Vacío,” The Voice, and a few of his greatest hits.

What was the experience like to work with Rauw Alejandro for “Vacío”?

Rauw is cool. He’s got that fresh sound. Great artist. Very talented. Amazing onstage. He’s got that great tone and delivery. I thought he had the perfect voice to fit with my voice in this song. We had talked about working together for awhile and I thought that this was the perfect song. He really is such a star. What he’s done in the last couple of years has been amazing. I love what he brought to the table on this song.

Now I want to go through some of your greatest hits. Do you remember working with Christina Aguilera for her Spanish album?

How could you not remember working with her? She’s amazing. That was awhile back. That was like 1999 or something like that. We were both starting out and she was putting out her first Spanish album. I got to sing a beautiful ballad called “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” I got to work with her in the studio and see her sing in front of the mic, which was awesome. She’s great. One of the best voices out there still to this day.

What’s one of your favorite memories of “No Me Doy Por Vencido”?

“No Me Doy Por Vencido” is one of the biggest songs in my career. I think it’s tough to narrow it down just to one memory. I think in general the message of the song is what sticks with me. The song started out as a love song, but it turned into an anthem of hope. We’ve used the song for different important events and campaigns. To me, that song has such a powerful message. It’s bigger than just a love song. It’s bringing hope to people. It’s about not giving up. To be able to kind of give [people] hope through a song is a lot more powerful than I would’ve ever imagined. It’s a very special song.

I feel the message is very relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic we’re living through.

Oh yeah! I wrote that song a long time ago with Claudia Brant, and during the first or second month of the lockdown when we were all stuck at home, we did a virtual writing session and we rewrote “No Me Doy Por Vencido.” Changing the lyrics, kind of adjusting them to this situation that we’re living now. I haven’t recorded it. I’ll do something with it eventually. It’s really cool. It still talks about love. It talks about reuniting. Like the light at the end of the tunnel. It has the hope and love backbone, but it has to do a lot with what we’re going through now.

What do you think of the impact “Despacito” made on the industry?

It’s a blessing to be a part of something so big. Again, it’s just another song. We write these songs and the moment you write them, you don’t really know what’s going to happen with them. Or sometimes you run into these surprises like “Despacito” where it becomes a global phenomenon. It goes No. 1 in places where Spanish songs had never been played. I’m proud. I’m blessed. I’m grateful to have worked with amazing people like Daddy Yankee. Like Justin Bieber for the remix and everyone else involved in the song. My co-writer Erika Ender. The producers Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres. It was really a team effort and it’s a song that obviously changed my career forever.

What was the experience like to work with Demi Lovato on “Echáme La Culpa”?

She’s awesome! One of the coolest recording sessions I’ve ever been a part of. She really wanted to sing in Spanish and she was so excited. We did the song in Spanish and English, but it was like she was more excited about the Spanish version. And she nailed it! She nailed it from the beginning. There was really not much for me to say to her. I probably corrected her once or twice in the pronunciation, but she came prepared and she brought it. She’s an amazing, amazing, amazing vocalist.

You’re going to be a battle advisor on The Voice. What was the experience like to work with Kelly Clarkson?

She’s awesome. What you see is what you get. She’s honest. She’s funny. She’s talented. She’s humble and she’s been very supportive of my career. She invited me to her show and it speaks a lot that she wanted me to be a part of her team as a Battle Advisor for the new season. She supports Latin music and I’m grateful for that. She’s everything you hope she would be. She’s the real deal, a true star, and just one of the coolest people on this planet.

What can we expect from you in 2021?

A lot of new music. Obviously, everything starts today with “Vacío.” This is literally the beginning of what this new album will be. I’ve done nothing but write and record during the last 10 months, so I have a bunch of songs. Great collaborations coming up. I really think the album will be out probably [in the] third or fourth quarter this year. The songs are there and I’m really eager for everybody to hear them.

Read: We Finally Have A Spanish-Language Song As The Most Streamed Song Of All Time

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Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

Things That Matter

Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

If you’ve ever wondered what someone with a bulletproof vest and an AR-15 would look like flossing — the dance, not the method of dental hygiene — apparently the answer to that question can be found on TikTok.

Unfortunately, it’s not as a part of some absurdist sketch comedy or surreal video art installation. Instead, it’s part of a growing trend of drug cartels in Mexico using TikTok as a marketing tool. Nevermind the fact that Mexico broke grim records last year for the number of homicides and cartel violence, the cartels have found an audience on TikTok and that’s a serious cause for concern.

Mexican cartels are using TikTok to gain power and new recruits.

Just a couple of months ago, a TikTok video showing a legit high-speed chase between police and drug traffickers went viral. Although it looked like a scene from Netflix’s Narcos series, this was a very real chase in the drug cartel wars and it was viewed by more than a million people.

Typing #CartelTikTok in the social media search bar brings up thousands of videos, most of them from people promoting a “cartel culture” – videos with narcocorridos, and presumed members bragging about money, fancy cars and a luxury lifestyle.

Viewers no longer see bodies hanging from bridges, disembodied heads on display, or highly produced videos with messages to their enemies. At least not on TikTok. The platform is being used mainly to promote a lifestyle and to generate a picture of luxury and glamour, to show the ‘benefits’ of joining the criminal activities.

According to security officials, the promotion of these videos is to entice young men who might be interested in joining the cartel with images of endless cash, parties, military-grade weapons and exotic pets like tiger cubs.

Cartels have long used social media to shock and intimidate their enemies.

And using social media to promote themselves has long been an effective strategy. But with Mexico yet again shattering murder records, experts on organized crime say Cartel TikTok is just the latest propaganda campaign designed to mask the blood bath and use the promise of infinite wealth to attract expendable young recruits.

“It’s narco-marketing,” said Alejandra León Olvera, an anthropologist at Spain’s University of Murcia, in a statement to the New York Times. The cartels “use these kinds of platforms for publicity, but of course it’s hedonistic publicity.”

Mexico used to be ground zero for this kind of activity, where researchers created a new discipline out of studying these narco posts. Now, gangs in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, and the United States are also involved.

A search of the #CartelTikTok community and its related accounts shows people are responding. Public comments from users such as “Y’all hiring?” “Yall let gringos join?” “I need an application,” or “can I be a mule? My kids need Christmas presents,” are on some of the videos.

One of the accounts related to this cartel community publicly answered: “Of course, hay trabajo para todos,” “I’ll send the application ASAP.” “How much is the pound in your city?” “Follow me on Instagram to talk.” The post, showing two men with $100 bills and alcohol, had more than a hundred comments.

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