This Southeast Los Angeles Is Molding The Next Generation Of Rockeras

This past week, more than 45 southeast L.A. youth have been getting a crash course not just in making music, but in what it takes to be a musician.

Chicas Rockeras SELA has been hosting classes for the past three years, and this year’s batch of students learned how to play an instrument, compose a song, and form a band. They will be performing this Saturday in Lynwood, Calif.

Together We Rise ? Día 2 llenó de colaboración ??‍♂️?? #conchicasatulado #tacoxcore #crsela2017

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The one-week class pairs up students with volunteer mentor that teach alongside the students. Though the cost for one student is valued around $400, the program works with the parents to see what they feasibly can pay though no one is turned away for lack of funds, said Marin, co-founder, and co-director of Chicas Rockeras SELA.

The program is designed for girls between 8-17 years old who live in the southeast Los Angeles area, which includes cities like Huntington Park, Vernon, and Bell. This year’s students range from first-time musicians with little to no experience to returning students that have continued to practice their instruments or haven’t picked one up since prior year’s classes.

Even if a student gets some musical instruction throughout the year at school or from their families, they tend to be playing covers or other people’s music, Marin said. Creating a song, their own composition, becomes an empowering experience for the students. “Regardless of your level everyone is coming in fresh-faced and learning together,” said Marin. 

Día 4 – With a special lunch performance by @modpods_theband #tacoxcore #crsela2017 #conchicasatulado

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Accomplished musicians are common guest teachers and performers throughout the week. Martha Gonzalez, the lead singer of the Grammy award-winning band Quetzal, stopped by Monday to teach songwriting to the students. Gonzalez, Maya Jupiter and the ModPods also stopped by on different days for lunchtime performances.

The program is entirely volunteer-run, said Marin, and the fundraising throughout the year all go toward making one week of Chicas Rockeras SELA happen. While she is glad to see the program continue each year and grow each year, more donations and more volunteers are needed to handle to programs growth.

The stage is ready for magic ??? #tacoxcore #crsela2017

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Another way to help is also by going to Saturday’s showcase at the Glennon Club in Lynwood. All revenue from the $5-$10 admission and all Chicas Rockeras SELA merchandise sales the youth throughout the week also contribute in designing and creating their own merch go back to the program.

Southeast L.A. often gets overlooked in terms of arts and music, said Marin, making a program like Chicas Rockeras important to the area. “No one told me that I could be proud of where I came from,” said Marin, a native of Southeast L.A. But now she boasts: “I come from southeast L.A.”

WATCH: El Paso, Texas Rockers At The Drive-In Return To TV In ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ Performance

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Netflix’s ‘Gentefied’ Renewed For Season 2, Fans Overjoyed


Netflix’s ‘Gentefied’ Renewed For Season 2, Fans Overjoyed

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Any and all news is welcomed right now and Netflix came through this week. “Gentefied” is coming back for a second season and this is absolutely not a drill. Soon we will be back in Boyle Heights with Ana, Chris, Erik, and the rest of the cast we have come to love so much.

Netflix has confirmed “Gentefied” for a second season.

The show is a fan favorite for Netflix with praise and love pouring in for the groundbreaking show. “Gentefied” is set in Boyle Heights and it is all about the fight against gentrification. The show premiered this year to big fanfare and excitement from Latino Netflix users. The show, created by Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chávez, was picked up for an eight-episode run of the 30-minute show.

The show is one of the most relevant portrayals of the Latino experience in the 21st century.

The show highlights the plight of gentrification on communities across the U.S. Boyle Heights in Los Angeles has been the center of growing tension as the neighborhood slowly gentrifies. Rising rents have forced some residents and businesses to close and leave because of the changing demographic in the neighborhood.

Hearts are full as everyone celebrates the news of a whole new season.

The show originally premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival as a digital series. Lemus and Chávez debuted the show and it was an instant hit with festival-goers. After three years of waiting, the show was released by Netflix and became a national hit. The show has shone a light on the cost of gentrification for more Americans than knew about it before the show aired.

Low key, it has made for perfect binge-watching during this quarantine.

There isn’t a whole lot any of us can do at the moment. Most of us are at home because of self-isolation and social distancing guidelines designed to save lives during the pandemic. Might as well us some of your time to watch and support and very important moment in our community. This kind of representation is something that Latinos have been asking for.

While excited, some fans want more, like a cross-over with Starz’s “Vida.”

Now, just to be clear, we are not concerned with what it takes to make this happen. Netflix and Starz can come up with the actual plan. We are just going to be here waiting to be heard so we can all have the kind of cross-over the world deserves. Just imagine a chance for those two shows to collide in Latino excellence.

Now we wait for an air date.

We are patient. We will be here when you are ready. All you have to do is let us know when to tune in and you know we are coming through.

READ: I Watched ‘Gentefied’ On Netflix And These Are My Brutally Honest Thoughts

Latino Bookstore In North Carolina Faces Very Uncertain Future Just 6 Months After Opening

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Latino Bookstore In North Carolina Faces Very Uncertain Future Just 6 Months After Opening

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Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews is a relatively new bookstore in Chapel Hill, North Carolina that is facing a very uncertain future. The Latino-owned bookstore opened its doors to the Chapel Hill community six months ago and now COVID-19 is putting their future at risk.

Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews is a Latino-owned bookstore in North Carolina that is fighting to survive COVID-19.

Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews came from a need that the owners saw in downtown Chapel Hill. A bookshop had recently closed in the area so Jamie and Miranda Sanchez knew that it was time for them to help fill that sudden loss.

“We felt like there was a big hole in downtown,” Jaime told The Daily Tar Heel. “A bookshop creates this whole sense of community for the town so we decided to go forward and try to open our own bookstore.”

The bookstore was serving a community that needed a place to gather and discuss ideas after a former bookstore closed its doors.

“The core of our idea began years ago as the union of Jaime’s heritage and Miranda’s passion for writing and the transportive nature of reading. Wanderers and wonderers, our idea continued to grow in the plazuelas of Mexico and the chocolaterías of Spain, in the plazas of every country where such spaces form quasi-families for both the briefest of moments and the longest stretches of time,” reads the bookstore’s website. “In these spaces, people share everything from decadent chocolate to fried street food, to myth-like tales, to the memories of our own childhood selves chasing pigeons and sucking the sticky droplets from paletas off our hands.”

While the bookstore was well received by the community, the COVID-19 pandemic had other plans.

COVID-19 has swept through the U.S. and the number of cases continues to climb. While New York might be seeing fewer cases, the rest of the U.S. is in an uptick. The virus has forced businesses across the country to close or retool to be online only. That is what Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews did to make sure they can weather the storm.

The owners of the bookstore realized they needed to retool their business strategy when students stopped coming back from Spring Break.

“We started adjusting our plans in early March to accommodate for the new lack of traffic,” Jaime told NBC News. “Students weren’t coming back from spring break, so we had originally thought the locals would come out like they did during winter break to take advantage of the lack of downtown traffic, but that obviously didn’t happen because of coronavirus, so we started getting ready to adjust and pivot online for when we’d no longer be able to sustain brick and mortar operations.”

The Sanchezes are keeping their literary dream alive through the pandemic.

“Jaime’s always wanted to open a business and bring a piece of home to it,” Miranda, who is originally from Tijuana, told NBC News. “We felt that continuing that tradition of having a bookstore in the area would be a good mesh, not just of who we are as people but how we want to engage with our community. A community that works to sustain an independent bookshop has certain values.”

Independent bookstores are one of the hardest-hit businesses since readings and events in the spaces have been canceled.

Bookshop started to help struggling independent bookstores weather the storm. COVID-19 has left millions of people without jobs and businesses are having to close permanently because of the virus. Bookshop is giving independent bookstores a chance to survive the closures and social distancing.

Bookstores serve a vital role in communities. They give people a place to gather and share ideas. The easy access to literature can change the lives of children in underprivileged communities but allowing them to see themselves reflected in new lights. They also serve as a place to explore the world around you by flipping open a book cover.

If you have time on your hands and enjoy reading, check out Bookshop and build up that 2020 reading list.

READ: Celebrities Are Reading Children’s Books To Help Parents And Children Cope With COVID-19