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25 Times Latino Roles Were Unforgivably Whitewashed In Hollywood

It’s been decades since the first films hit the screen and a lot has changed. Images are sharper, in color and the same goes to some of the most mainstream movie storylines. These days, we’re getting more stories about people of color and some of them have even come to truly speak to experiences that make up non-white cultures. Still, despite all of the advances, Hollywood isn’t quite there yet when it comes to accurate portrayals of Latinos and other people of color. Particularly when it comes to whitewashing on the screen.

Here are 25 times Latinos roles were unforgivably whitewashed in Hollywood.

1. “The Mask of Zorro”

Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones in The Mask of Zorro / TriStar Pictures

Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones was a completely unknown actress when she was first cast as Zorro’s love interest in “The Mask of Zorro.” Despite the promising box-office values of well known Latinas like Shakira and Salma Hayek, Zeta- Jones got the part. Zeta-Jones ultimately reprised her role as the Mexican beauty in the film’s sequel, “The Legend of Zorro.”

Shout out to Anthony Hopkins for appropriating another role as a person of color (we’re looking at you “The Human Stain”)

2. “West Side Story”

Natalie Wood in West Side Story / United Artists

When it comes to whitewashing, this cinematic classic is guilty of many offenses. The film, which tells the story of rival street gangs earned Latina icon Rita Moreno an Academy Award. Still, we’re gonna give this one an F  for it’s largely white casting when it came to its Latino characters. Not only was the role of Maria given to white American actress Natalie Wood, but the role of her brother Bernado, was given to Greek actor George Chakiris. Also, various members of the cast were put in brown face (including Moreno) to appear “more Hispanic”.

3. “Scarface”

Al Pacino in Scarface / Universal Pictures

Italian actor took on the role of a Cuban drug kingpin. The whitewashing is truly shamefull and embarrassing, but arguably not as bad as the actors horrible attempt at a Cuban accent.

4. “The Birdcage”

Hank Azaria in The Birdcage / United Artists

Hank Azaria has family on both sides come from Thessaloniki a Spanish Jewish community from Greece. Still, he doesn’t identify as Latino, but despite this he sure felt comfortable enough to portray one in the 1996 comedy “The Birdcage.” In the film, Azaria plays a gay, Guatemalan housekeeper named Agador Spartacus, its a role that earned him a Screen Actors Guilde Award nomination and quite a bit of acclaim.

5. “The House of Spirits “

Glen Close and Meryl Streep in “The House of Spirits ” / Miramax Films

The on-screen adaptation of Isabel Allende’s novel The House of the Spirits is also guilty of complete white washing. Even though the book’s characters are from Chile, the film’s creators chose to not only cast non-Latina actor Meryl Streep, they piled on actors Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close and Winona Ryder in the main roles too.

6. “Evita”

Madonna in Evita / Buena Vista Pictures

We love Madonna, but even we have to admit that casting her as First Lady of Argentina, Eva Perón, was blasphemy. Sorry Hollywood, casting Antonio Banderas in the film doesn’t make up for this.

7. “The Mambo Kings”

Armand Assante and Antonio Banderas in The Mambo Kings / Warner Bros.

Oscar Hijuelos book The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love earned the Cuban-American writer a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It had so much potential to be a hit film, then the adapters of the film tapped Armand Assante, another non-Latino, as the lead role. Once again, Spanish actor Antonio Banderas played second fiddle to a non-Latino lead.

8. “Alive”

Ethan Hawke in Alive / Buena Vista Pictures

The true story of an Uruguayan rugby team who had survived a plane crash in the Andes mountains was portrayed in the 1993 film “Alive.” In real life, soccer player Nando Parrado, relieved the team by going on a 10 day hike out of the mountains to get help. Ethan Hawke took on the role.

9. “Before Night Falls”

Johnny Depp in Before Night Falls / Fine Line Features

Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas’ memoir Before Night Falls, was made into a film adaption in 2000. Johnny Depp took on the role of two Cuban characters including as a drag queen.

10. “The Big Lebowski”

John Turturro in The Big Lebowski / Gramercy Pictures

In 1988, Italian-American actor John Turturro famously played Cuban-American Jesus Quintana in The Big Lebowski. Apparently, the actor wants to play Jesus in a spin-off focused on the Latino character.

11. “La Bamba”

Lou Diamond Phillips in La Bamba / Lou Diamond Phillips

Mexican-American musician Ritchie Valens is widely praised as is a pioneer of Chicano rock. The biopic on his life “La Bamba” chronicle his life, career, and death. Still, creators chose to pick Lou Diamond Phillips for the iconic role.

12. “Argo”

Ben Affleck in Argo / Warner Bros. Pictures

“Argo” is based on the true story and efforts of CIA operative and Mexican-American, Antonio J. Mendez. During a 1980s Iranian hostage situation, Mendez helped orchestrate the rescue of six American. The director, Ben Affleck, cast himself as Mendez and ultimately went on to win The Academy Award for Best Picture.

13. “A Beautiful Mind”

Jennifer Connelly in A Beautiful Mind / Universal Pictures

“A Beautiful Mind” is a movie based on mathematician John Nash’s life and career as well as his marriage to Alicia Lardé. In real life, Alicia was a Salvadorian MIT student. In the movie however, she was played by Jennifer Connelly who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film 2001.

14. “The 33”

Juliette Binoche in The 33 / Warner Bros. Pictures

“The 33” tells the true story of 33 Chilean miners who had been trapped underground for 69 days. It also portrays the efforts of Maria Segovia, a woman who had in real life, fought to keep Chilean family members informed about the status of their trapped family members. Segovia was Chilean but portrayed by French actress, Juliette Binoche.

15. “American Drug Lord”

Charlie Hunnam in Sons of Anarchy / 20th Television

British actor, Charlie Hunnam, got quite a bit of attention a couple of years ago when it had been announced that he had accepted a part  in the film “American Drug Lord” as Edgar Valdez Villarreal. The Mexican-American drug lord had been given the nick name “La Barbie” for his blue eyes and blonde hair, and he was Latino. Many believe Hunnam’s casting of the role was still a complete injustice.

16. “Drive”

Carey Mulligan in Drive / FilmDistrict

In the movie, Carey Mulligan plays a woman named Irene. In the book, character is based off of a Latina named Irina.

17. “Casa de Mi Padre”

Will Ferrell in Casa de Mi Padre / Pantelion Films

There’s no doubting the fact that Casa de Mi Padre  was meant to be a spoof. Still, watching Will Ferrel play Armando Álvarez with the manner of a Latino stereotype still killed us.

18. “Power Rangers”

Elizabeth Banks in Power Ranges / Lionsgate
Saban Films

Fans were pumped when they learned the “Power Rangers” film would include iconic villain, Rita Repulsa— a character typically portrayed by Japanese or Latina actresses. They were pretty bummed when they learned Elizabeth Banks had been given the role.

19. “Nacho Libre”

Jack Black in Nacho Libre / Paramount Pictures

So this was another spoof but its whitewashing still isn’t likely to be forgiven. In the film, Nacho is based off of Fray Tormenta, a Mexican Catholic priest who had a decades long career as a masked luchador. Shamefully it was played by Jack Black.

20. “Touch Of Evil”

Charles Heston in Touch of Evil / Universal International

This classic Orson Welles film has been harked as masterpiece for decades. Still, we’re hardly impressed by Charles Heston’s odd portrayal of Mexican DEA agent,  Miguel Vargas.

21. “Hell To Eternity”

Charles Heston in Hell to Eternity / Universal International

Actor Jeffrey Hunter took on the role of  Guy Gabaldon, who in real life was Mexican. Vom.

22. “A Mighty Heart”

Angelina Jolie in A Mighty Heart / Paramount Vantage

Of course we love Angelina Jolie. Still, her decision to take on the role of Mariane Pearl, a French-born woman whose Cuban mother was of Afro-Chinese descent was not good.

23. “Spotlight”

Mark Ruffalo in Spotlight / Open Road Films

The biographical film “Spotlight” starred Mark Ruffalo playing Michael Rezendes, a Boston Globe reporter. The film won an Academy Award for Best Picture as well as an award for  Best Original Screenplay.

24. “Fiesta”

Actress Esther Williams played Mexican bullfighter Maria Morales.

25. “The Godmother”

Catherine Zeta-Jones in The Godmother / Lifetime

Of course, we had to sneak in one more Catherine Zeta-Jones pic. Her role in the Lifetime biopic about drug lord Griselda Blanco had the internet troubled.


Read: Here’s Why The Women Of Costa Rica Dressed As Characters From ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

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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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