Culture

After Walking Into The Wrong House Party, This Latino Show Promoter Fell In Love With Punk Rock

Underground indie music has a problem: inclusivity.

Indie rock has always felt like a scene dominated by those have the capital to make it — not necessarily wealthy people, but those who have enough income to pursue music seriously. It’s the same with punk: Some of the people you who first come to mind when you hear the four-letter word grew up in affluent neighborhoods (Black Flag’s Henry Rollins and Minor Threat’s Ian Mackaye, to name a few.)

CREDIT: Credit: Wayne Ballard

There’s a reason for it: it’s expensive. It’s expensive to acquire instruments, and if you want success outside of your given location, touring is expensive, recording is expensive, meeting the people who can further your career can be expensive (this is an issue of access.) Even in underground circles, where a do-it-yourself mentality dominates who can access what, issues of privilege come into play — if you have financial support from a family member or what have you, you can make a lot of things happen. Lots of poor Latinos don’t have that privilege.

“I remember being scared because I had never seen a punk before.”

Rogelio “Rogie” Hernandez is making great strides lessening the socioeconomic and racial divide in his music community. The 25-year-old Mexican-American is from Los Angeles, a Latino town where the majority of the indie rock musicians are white. For those involved in the L.A. underground music scene, Hernandez books concerts dedicated to celebrating the diversity and culture he loves so much, with a special focus on punk — from his hometown of Boyle Heights, to all over East L.A. and beyond.

And it almost didn’t happen.

“It was kind of an accident. I was only really listening to rap music, stuff you would listen to in my neighborhood, which is mostly gangster rap, West Coast, G-funk,” he says when asked how he learned about punk in the first place.

CREDIT: Wax Witches @ Backyard in Boyle Heights Photo: Yuki Kikuchi

When Hernandez was 13, a friend invited him to a hip hop show at someone’s house — a regular event in his neighborhood. They heard music in the distance and entered the wrong home to discover a punk show. But this wrong turn became Rogie’s first experience with the abrasive style of punk music. “I remember being scared because I had never seen a punk before. My friends kept trying to calm me down; I remember being so scared and not wanting to be there,” he recalls.

The music had an immediate effect on him. “I thought, ‘What is this? It’s still scary, but I fucking like it.’ I remember moshing for the first time and staying for the whole show. The next day I went home, got rid of my [Air] Jordan’s and decided ‘I’m a punk now.’ After that I was hooked.”

That show, unlike the mostly white shows that dominate Los Angeles (and beyond) now, was “all Latino punks,” Hernandez qualifies, which became a culture shock when he started exploring other realms of local music, namely, the indie/punk stuff he spends most of his time with nowadays. He thought Boyle Heights was the epicenter of underground LA music making until he branched out to neighborhoods like Echo Park to discover similiar music was being played by, in his words, “affluent white kids.” He says, “I remember walking into random shows downtown and the crowd was 90% white. I’d be the only brown kid there, and they’d make me notice it: they’d come up to me and ask ‘You’re into this kind of music?’ Maybe they were just curious but it makes a person of color uncomfortable.”

CREDIT: Show Me The Body @ International Java Co. Photo by: Bella Vallero

But he kept going — mostly out of necessity. Hernandez felt the need to leave his Boyle Heights/East L.A. scene because the violence in his neighborhood began to overshadow the sense of community being built during local shows. And the Los Angeles Police Department wasn’t helping. “When we were kids, going to Latino punk shows in backyards, our neighborhood wasn’t the safest. There were lots of gangs, sketchy people we had to worry about. We’d go to shows and walk home and cholos would stop us, call us ‘faggots’ and beat the shit out of us. The punks started getting tired of being beaten up so they started rolling in little crews to stay safe. Those little crews became almost like punk gangs. You couldn’t go to a show in East L.A. without worrying about maybe getting stabbed or shot and I’ve seen it all happen,” he explains. “Some of those things have happened to me. You’d go to a show and within a few songs there’d be a giant fight and it would be over. LAPD started catching on that this thing was becoming hyper-violent. When you’re 14, 15, you don’t need a criminal record.”

“You’re going to be the next FYF Fest.”

Rogelio was faced with a problem: He loved the Latino punk scene but the violence gave it an expiration date. In some ways, it became exclusive — only people who felt a certain level of safety could go and enjoy themselves. On the indie rock side of things, he felt othered by race, and grew unsettled with the continued success of similar projects, driven by white males, that ignored the colorful sounds of his own backyard. The solution? To start booking shows in East L.A., at his house on East Second, where anyone and everyone was welcome.

CREDIT: Show Me The Body @ International Java Co. Photo by: Bella Vallero

Soon, the shows at his house became a phenomenon — it was dubbed “E. Second” — with Hernandez organizing upwards of three shows a month. He had found his niche exploring the rawness of a house show in East L.A. while removing the violence. Moshing was welcome, as was “losing your shit,” but the key was to be courteous. “When I told people [in the indie rock scene] I was from East L.A., they were like ‘Isn’t it so dangerous over there?’ At the time my neighborhood was getting safer, and it’s always been a really warm neighborhood. It kind of killed me that they all think of us as murders and criminals and shit,” he explains. “I wanted to show everyone that we like the same music, we like live bands.” The goal was, and still is, to act as a bridge of different cultures, and it’s reflected in the kind of bills Rogie puts together — on any given night, you can expect to see a Cumbia band play before a hardcore band who opens for a noise goth project. “It’s all about choosing the good in everything and mixing it together,” he says.

“I really want to get to a point where I can help my neighborhood sustain its own cultural identity.” 

Three years later and E. Second has achieved real success — including a write-up in the New York Times. “When that happened, people in the scene were like ‘You’re going to be the next FYF Fest,’” he recalls, but things began to become unsustainable. Neighbors, once tolerant of the loud music, would get upset with its increasing frequency, demanding shows get shut down or end at a certain time. For now, Hernandez has his eyes set on taking his vision to proper venues like Highland Park’s Hi Hat. “I think it’s lost some of the magic of East Second,” Hernandez reveals. “But it’s always been DIY and punk, very informal. I started booking there because I thought it was the next step in doing this and being successful. I’ve never had the punk mentality of being like, ‘Money is bad,’ which I kind of hate about DIY/punk people. They think trying to make money is a terrible thing. For people like me, who are Latino and poor, we have to find some level of success or we can’t keep doing this kind of stuff.”

CREDIT: War of Icaza @ International Java Co. Photo by: Bella Vallero

Hernandez remains optimistic. He’s already managed to diversify his scene and the indie rock one at large, combining sounds and languages on bills that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. When asked about the future, his speech slows, “I have a vision. From the get-go, this has been a learning experience, something that’s constantly evolving.”

He pauses. Hernandez makes it clear he wants to find some personal success — but his definition of success isn’t about wealth. It’s about building respect for the art created in his community: “I want to find some personal success doing this. I don’t have the luxury of falling back on wealth. When you’re a poor Latino person, a lot of people don’t realize how necessary that is, especially in the arts. I really want to get to a point where I can help my neighborhood sustain its own cultural identity. We have a lot of great artists who, if were given a shot, could do really beautiful things for music and the world. The scene, right now, is just overly saturated with old white guys that it gets a little discouraging. You keep ignoring us but we’re here, and we’re not going to go away.”

READ: From Corridos To Punk, Chulita Vinyl Club Spins The Music We’re Dying To Hear

Recommend this story to a friend by clicking on the share button below.

Tens Of Thousands Of Puerto Ricans, Including Bad Bunny And Ricky Martin, Call For The Resignation Of Gov. Rosselló At Massive Old San Juan Protest

Things That Matter

Tens Of Thousands Of Puerto Ricans, Including Bad Bunny And Ricky Martin, Call For The Resignation Of Gov. Rosselló At Massive Old San Juan Protest

badbunnypr / Instagram

On Wednesday, tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans shouted “Ricky, renuncia!” as they marched through the streets of Old San Juan in its fifth and largest protest calling for the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló.

Early in the demonstration, Puerto Rican stars like Bad Bunny, Residente, Ricky Martin, PJ Sin Suela and more gathered in front of the Capitolio, where they held large Puerto Rican flags and signs that read “los enterraron sin saber que somos semillas,” and encouraged a roaring crowd to not abandon their fight. As the artists stood atop a white truck in the midst of protestors, activist Tito Kayak, who famously placed the Puerto Rican flag on the Statue of Liberty’s crown in 2000 in protest of the US’ presence in Vieques, scaled the flagpole in an attempt to remove the American flag. The crowd erupted in cheers, chanting “Tito, Tito,” showing that the protest in the US territory extends beyond the people’s grievances with their local government.

Bad Bunny took to the streets of Puerto Rico with his fellow Americans to protest a governor they want out of office.

Credit: badbunnypr / Instagram

Protests erupted on Saturday after Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism published 889 pages of a private Telegram chat between the governor and some of his officials. The messages included profanity-laced homophobic, transphobic and misogynistic comments about female politicians, celebrities and protestors and hard-hearted jokes about the victims of Hurricane María. For the people of Puerto Rico, who were just rocked by a money-laundering scheme by its education and health leaders and endured repeated neglect and abuse by both its local and federal governments following the devastating hurricane, the chats symbolized the final straw.

As darkness fell on Wednesday, some of the celebrities spoke out.

Credit: badbunnypr / Instagram

“This government has to begin respecting the people. We can’t stop protesting,” Residente, born René Pérez Joglar, said. Later, Puerto Rican singer iLe, Residente’s younger sister, sang the original, revolutionary version of La Borinqueña, with demonstrators, holding their flags and fists in the air, joining her in song, belting, “Vámonos, borinqueños, vámonos ya, que nos espera ansiosa, ansiosa la libertad.”

By la Fortaleza, the governor’s mansion, tension sparked in the mostly-peaceful protest in the late hours of the night. Demonstrators, some throwing bottles of water and fireworks, busted through a barricade. Police fired tear gas, dispersing the massive crowd and angering local residents who allege officers discharged on empty streets where elders and youth in their homes struggled to breathe as a result of the smoke.

Other areas of the old city looked like a war zone, with officers chasing and shooting rubber bullets at protestors, trash bags blazing on cobblestone streets and the windows of graffiti-laden establishments shattering.

According to authorities, at least seven protesters were arrested during the protests and four police officers were injured. There is also an investigation into an officer who forcefully grabbed a demonstrator alleging she was trying to jump over a barrier, though footage of the incident later revealed she was not.

Motorcycles also thundered through the city early Thursday morning, as a protest caravan of thousands of motorcyclists, led by El Rey Charlie and reggaetoneros Brytiago, Noriel, and Ñengo Flow, traveled from Trujilo Alto to Old San Juan in a journey that captivated the island.

People on the island are relentless in demanding that their voices be heard.

Credit: elreycharlie / Instagram

“We won’t stop. The oppression is over. The repression is over. Ricky, resign or we will take you out because the people put you there and we are ready to remove you. We want you out,” El Rey Charlie, a beloved motorist on the island, told Puerto Rican network WAPA-TV.

Outside of San Juan, groups around the island also took to the streets. In the States, the diaspora and their allies similarly demonstrated in Orlando, New York, Miami, Boston, Cleveland, San Antonio and more, while international actions occurred in the Dominican Republic and Spain as well.

Despite the massive uprising, Rosselló has contended that he would not resign. The governor, who previously apologized for his “improper act,” said that he believes he could win over the people of Puerto Rico.

“I recognize the challenge that I have before me because of the recent controversies, but I firmly believe that it is possible to restore confidence and that we will be able, after this painful process, to achieve reconciliation,” he said in Spanish. “I have the commitment, stronger than ever, to carry out the public policy.”

The governor is desperately trying to get people to forget about the unacceptable and offensive conversations he was involved.

Credit: @ricardorossello / Twitter

As Rosselló insists he would not step down, the president of Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives, Carlos Méndez Núñez, has already appointed three lawyers to investigate the contents of the leaked chats to determine whether an impeachment process can begin.

Additionally, Puerto Rico’s non-voting delegate to Congress Rep. Jenniffer González-Colón, who is a member of the governor’s pro-statehood New Progressive Party, has called for a meeting among her PNP colleagues.

There is no shortage of corruption that people want to get rid of right now.

Credit: @Jenniffer2012 / Twitter

“There must be an urgent meeting of the directory of @pnp_pr to discuss everything that is happening,” González-Colón said on Twitter.

President Donald Trump also took the opportunity to lambast the embattled governor as well as criticize the island, including the mayor of San Juan Carmen Yulín Cruz, for corruption.

President Trump weighed in on the matter and used it to attack an island still recovering from the hurricane and the mayor of San Juan.

Credit: @realDonaldTrump / Twitter

He continued: “This is more than twice the amount given to Texas & Florida combined. I know the people of Puerto Rico well, and they are great. But much of their leadership is corrupt, & robbing the U.S. Government blind!”

But for many protesters, the marches aren’t just about sending a message of indignation to Rosselló, but rather to all corrupt politicians on the archipelago as well as the colonial federal government. Protest posters illustrate Rosselló with Trump’s hair to compare the two abhorred leaders, while vandalism on concrete walls screams for the resignation of the governor, the fiscal control board and the island’s colonial ties to the U.S.

Today and tomorrow, the people say, the uprising continues, with demonstrations planned across Puerto Rico and its diaspora in the US and worldwide.

Read: Here’s What You Need To Know About The Puerto Rico Uprising

Chisme Says Javier Bardem Is Close To Landing The Role Of King Triton And People Have Some Thoughts

Entertainment

Chisme Says Javier Bardem Is Close To Landing The Role Of King Triton And People Have Some Thoughts

Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Staff

Disney just recently announced that Halle Bailey would be portraying Ariel in the live-action remake of ‘The Little Mermaid’ and finally we are starting to see better presentation of POC on the big screen.

The reaction to her casting was huge and, of course, came with it’s share of racist trolls.

But Disney is giving us another reason to celebrate ‘The Little Mermaid’ with word that Javier Bardem is in talks to start as Ariel’s father, King Triton.

Javier Bardem could possibly play King Triton in the live-action ‘Little Mermaid.’

Credit: @RottenTomatoes / Twitter

Big news from Disney — Spanish actor Javier Bardem is reportedly in talks to join the cast of Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of the ‘Little Mermaid.’

And the best part? He’s up for the role of Ariel’s dad and the ruler of Atlantica, the mighty King Triton. If the reports are true, Javier will be joining a star-studded cast for the highly-anticipated flick.

Although Javier is in talks to play King Triton, other actors have publicly said they’d want to be considered in the Rob Marshall-directed movie. Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor Terry Crews took to his social media and posted a selfie of himself as the underwater ruler.  “Ariel’s Dad!!!!,” he wrote alongside the image.

Reactions on Twitter have been mixed to the news but a lot of people love the idea of Javier Bardem as King Triton.

And you can count us among that group. He’s a very talented actor, who, in fact, has won an academy award. So we have faith that he’ll be an amazing King Triton.

And this user had a very beautiful way of looking at the possible casting.

Credit: @DEADLINE / Twitter

The sea is definitely a colorful place. Plus, also, mermaids aren’t real so Disney can cast whoever they want in which ever role they want.

While this person was excited for the possibility of something like Cinderella.

Credit: @DEALINE / Twitter

And we have to say that we agree. Brandy in Cinderella was everything and we would love to see Halle Bailey bring that same sort of energy to this role as Ariel – and we have faith that she will.

Though it looked like many on Twitter weren’t having any of it.

Credit: @IGN / Twitter

It looked like some were confused by the whole family tree while others just wanted the so called classic ‘Little Mermaid’ (read: white) that they grew up with and already know.

But more than one Twitter user easily shut down the haters.

Credit: @Spartan901 / Twitter

That’s right people. Mermaids aren’t real. They could cast this however they want to cast it.

While many others were totally stanning for Terry Crews.

Credit: @people / Twitter

Count us in on this as well. Who doesn’t love funny man Terry Crews?! Apparently, he also really wants the role. He even tweeted out a photo of the film with the caption #ArielsDad.

Whoever plays King Triton will be joining a star-studded cast.

A few weeks ago, the studio announced that R&B singer (and Beyoncé’s protégé) Halle Bailey would take on the role of Ariel, while Melissa McCarthy would play Ariel’s nemesis Ursula. Other castings include 12-year-old actor Jacob Tremblay as Ariel’s best friend Flounder and Crazy Rich Asians star Awkwafina playing Scuttle, the pair’s other friend that gives them access to objects from the human world. Harry Styles is also reportedly in talks to play Ariel’s love interest Prince Eric.

READ: Racist Twitter Is Coming For The Black Actress Recently Tapped To Be ‘The Little Mermaid’ And She Ain’t Batting An Eye

Paid Promoted Stories