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22 Strong Latinos On TV Who Awesomely Defy Stereotypes

It’s no secret that representation of Latinos on TV is, to put it mildly, not great.  Very few are present in mainstream TV and movies and, more often than not, we’re cast to play stereotypes and/or minor roles. The world needs to see more realistic Latinos reflected back into their living rooms. You know, the awkward Latinos. The smart Latinos. The downright weird Latinos. So let’s take a moment to celebrate the awesomely odd Latinos on TV we DO get to see (and hope that soon we’ll get to see many, many more):

1. April Ludgate

Parks And Recreation / NBC

April was not here to entertain you, be the sassy best friend or be reduced to just another pretty face. In fact, she’d rather you not be happy at all, because super happy people are kind of annoying. It was pretty great (and different) to have a Latina on TV who was smart, sarcastic and flawlessly flawed.

2. Amy Santiago

NBC

We say this with love: Amy’s a dork. Like, the dorkiest dork who ever dorked. But her dorky weirdness is just so endearing! She’s a people pleaser, an overachiever and truly, incredibly, hopelessly awkward. Just like a lot of us are, tbh.

3. Rosa Diaz

Brooklyn Nine-Nine / FOX

Rosa is a badass to the core, but don’t let her tough exterior fool you: she is layered and is half of the greatest current-day sitcom friendships we’ve seen in a while. Her toughness is balanced by the fact that she’s… kind of weird. Like, owns-an-ax-and-doesn’t-let-her-coworkers-know-where-she-lives level weird.

4. Cristela Hernandez

Cristela / ABC

Cristela was a combination of incredibly ambitious and kiiiind of prone to complaining, which is realistic af to most of us. Sure, she wasn’t always the nicest sister or best employee in the whole world, but she was always smart, loyal, funny as hell and HUMAN.

5. Carmen Peña

Que Pasa USA / PBS

Carmen was, in a word, awkward. Especially around dudes. She was the good kid while her brother, Joe, was the troublemaker of the family. It’s a dynamic a lot of girls growing up in Latino families, especially immigrant and exile families, can really relate to. Cheers to the weird, nerdy girls!

6. Jane Villanueva of Jane the Virgin

CREDIT:  Jane the Virgin / CW

The beloved Jane is a Latina character who doesn’t rely on heavy accents or maid costumes. Gina Rodriguez plays a witty Latina who is focused on her goals. But, she’s got to grapple with bringing to full term a baby that she was accidentally inseminated with. Yea, wrap your head around that last sentence. #AsiEslaVida

7. Laurel Castillo of How to Get Away with Murder (Karla Souza)

CREDIT: How to Get Away With Murder / ABC

Mexican actress Karla Souza plays the sharp and intrepid Laurel Castillo, who has both the wits to aide her law professor in solving court cases, as well as an under-the-radar darkness that keeps viewers on their toes. Laurel’s last name made us question if she had Latina roots, and the show answered our hypothesis when she was shown in a flashback with her Spanish-speaking Florida family.

8. Rodrigo de Souza of Mozart in the Jungle (Gael García Bernal)

CREDIT: Mozart in the Jungle / Amazon Studios

Gael Garcia Bernal’s character Rodrigo De Souza, an eccentric conductor trying to keep the magic of symphony orchestra alive, is based off the real-life Latino conductor who is bringing the joy of classical music to thousands: Gustavo Dudamel.  So it was a double ? ? that Gael won a Golden Globe for his performance! A real “si se puede” moment.

9. Alonzo Gutierrez of American Crime (Benito Martinez)

CREDIT: American Crime / ABC

The first season of this ABC network show featured several Latino characters. However, we couldn’t be particularly proud of them since they were having run-ins with the law. Benito Martinez’s character, Alonzo Gutiérrez, stood out from the bunch though as the hardworking and dedicated father of character Tony.

10. Daya of Orange is the New Black (Dascha Polanco)

CREDIT: Orange is the New Black / Netflix

Dascha’s character Dayanara “Daya” Diaz has an intriguing backstory and storyline in OITNB. Although drugs are involved with her character’s history, the circumstances surrounding her story still make us proud. And of course, OITNB has brought a whole host of Latinas – Diane Guerrero, Jackie Cruz among them – into the spotlight. We applaud that!

11. Chava of Club de Cuervos (Luis Gerardo Méndez)

CREDIT: Club de Cuervos / Netflix US & Canada

Netflix made the push into Latin America by premiering its first Spanish-language series, Club de Cuervos. The comedy stars Luis Gerardo Méndez as Chava, a spoiled party boy who inherits his late father’s club soccer team. Despite having more experience partying with players than managing a huge corporation, Chava swears he has ALL the right answers (spoilers: he doesn’t). Futbol and #Netflixandchill? We’re in!

12. Harlee Santos of Shades of Blue (Jennifer Lopez)

CREDIT: Shades of Blue / NBC

J.Lo is back on the small screen, everyone!!!  This time, as tough NY detective Harlee Santos. After years of doing not-quite-by-the-book police work, Santos has to do whatever it takes to protect her family. We know Jenny from the Block kicks ass in real life (fashion, live dance routines, being a fierce #cougar), and now we’re excited to see her do it on TV.

13. Manny

Modern Family / ABC

Manny is basically an old man trapped in a kid’s body. He takes his coffee black, values good old-fashioned manners and dresses like your dad at a family BBQ. He’s weird in the most awesome way, especially because he doesn’t compromise who he is to fit in. Do you, Manny.

14. Flaca

Orange Is The New Black / Netflix

How often do we get to see emo/goth/alt Latinos on TV? Flaca, besides having impeccable taste in music, is an example of taking a character that could very easily have been reduced to a stereotype, and making her complex, complicated and someone we’ll always want to know more about it.

15. Betty Suarez

Ugly Betty / ABC

Betty started off as a fish out of water in the fashion world, her quirkiness and awkwardness confusing many of those around her. She didn’t really fit in with the beauty standards of her peers and she knew it. Eventually, she developed a sense of confidence and independence that we couldn’t help but root for. Stay awk, Betty.

16. Rickie Vasquez  from “My So-Called Life”

CREDIT: ABC
CREDIT: ABC

It all seems like yesterday, but looking back at the 90s its hard not to flinch at the reminders of how rampant negative portrayals of Latino characters and homosexuals was. And yet, a positive representation of the LGBT community unexpectedly emerged on a little teen drama called “My So-Called Life.” Rickie Vasquez. He rocked a mean eyeliner, used the girls’ bathroom as a safe haven, and kept his friends in check while remaining fiercely loyal to them. Rickie was a massive launching pad for TV’s understanding of sexual fluidity that the 90s desperately needed.

17. A.C. Slater from “Saved by the Bell”

CREDIT: NBC Enterprises/NBCUniversal Television Distribution

Muscles ― lo siento, Mario ― Mario Lopez portrayed U.S. Army Brat A.C. Slater and took things to a next level for us (sexuality wise) after Benny Rodriguez. One peck ripple from A.C. and there’s no questioning what stripped us of the remainder of our Latina youth. And still, despite A.C’s heritage never being a thing in the early days of SBTB (though, there is an entire episode dedicated to Slater discovering his Chicano identity in “The College Years”) we all knew what was up. Besides Lisa Turtle, A.C. was one of the few people of color portrayed on the show which was a big deal considering how massive the show was. It always felt good knowing that we could flip on the TV and see someone who looked like us. LBR, especially one that was so guapo.

18. Ashley Banks from “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”

CREDIT: Warner Bros. Television Distribution
CREDIT: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Ashley Banks herself might not have been a Latina character, but Tatyana M. Ali whose parents are Trinidadian and Panamanian identifies herself as Afro-Latina. As a non-Latina character on the show, there’s no doubt Ashely still had some influence on us as kids. She was a smart, beautiful and witty girl of color and TV was missing quite a bit of that. While initially, young Ashley did her best to model her dope older cousin Will, it wasn’t long before she began to grow into her own. She developed her own taste in music and fashion all while pushing against the tight reins of father Phil. In short, she became ultimate #rebelforindepence goals.

19. Valencia Perez from “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend / CW

Valencia Perez is the kind of girl we love to hate; beautiful, a yoga instructor, and the apple of almost everyone’s eye. The great thing about “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” is that they don’t just make her a bitch because she was dating Josh (Rebecca’s old flame) – she’s a character that feels like a real person, and Gabrielle Ruiz plays her perfectly. 

20. Rosita Espinosa from “The Walking Dead”

Walking Dead / AMC

Hey, if you’re still alive during the Zombie Apocalypse, you automatically get so many badass points. Rosita Espinosa is still kicking it (but with this show, who knows for how long), and she’s become one of the show’s most central characters. Whether it’s her friendship with Eugene, or her kickass fighting, walker-killing skills, she’s definitely someone that sticks out in the series.

21. Dr. Callie Torres in “Grey’s Anatomy”

“Grey’s Anatomy” / ABC

Dr. Callie Torres appeared in 240 episodes of the mega hit “Grey’s Anatomy.” That’s pretty damn impressive. She was strong, loved dancing, and an orthopedic queen. You better believe that on a show like “Grey”‘sthis character has gone through some major ups and downs, which only makes her an amazing multi-dimensional character.

22. Penelope from “One Day At A Time”

One Day At A Time / Netflix

Let’s be real, Penelope Alvarez is the Cubana American television has been deprived of for way too long. From addressing her PTSD to learning how to be an accepting mother of a queer Latina, Penelope is a Latina with a life filled with joys and obstacles. 

23. And finally this kid, who just wants to be hardcore

ChiledeCulto / Youtube.com

Iconic.

READ: 6 Myths Latinas Can’t Live Down Thanks to Stereotypes on TV

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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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