Culture

Hispanic Heritage Month Is Over But These Latino Trailblazers Should Be Celebrated All Year Long

Hispanic Heritage Month ended on Oct. 15, but our appreciation for the activists and pioneers that came before us will last many lifetimes. Honoring these people, and celebrating them, especially with any young people you have in your life, makes the whole community feel valued, reflected, and rooted in our history, which is often missing from history books. Here are trailblazers that everyone in the Latino community should know about.

Cesar Chavez

CREDIT: @rhs_library11575 / Instagram

Thankfully, we learned about Cesar Chavez in our history books in like one paragraph. Chavez was a major change-maker for migrant farm workers in the U.S. in the 1960s. Chavez dropped out of school early on to help his family in the fields.

He organized a boycott so large, that it gave him leverage, as the co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association (today known as the United Farm Workers of America) to unionize.

Dolores Huerta

CREDIT: @txstbcat08 / Instagram

Here’s what that middle school paragraph left out. Dolores Huerta was Cesar Chavez’s equal partner and co-founder of UFW. She helped organize the 1965 grape strike and led all the negotiations that resulted in a more fair contract for the workers involved.

Huerta was the first Latina inducted into the National Woman’s Fall of Fame and is responsible for our widespread use of the phrase “si se puede.” Both Chavez and Huerta were early gay rights activists and feminists as well.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor

CREDIT: @wes_sherman1 / Instagram

Sonia Sotomayor sits as the Supreme Court of the United States’ first and only woman of color to achieve the highest court in the land. Appointed by President Obama in 2009, the bar was set incredibly higher than the recent Senate hearings.

Republican moderate Ana Navarro recently tweeted, “I am so old, I remember when a Supreme Court nominee calling herself a “wise Latina”, was considered a scandal.”

Berta Cáceres

CREDIT: @feminist_role_models / Instagram

Berta Cáceres was a Honduran award-winning Indigenous environmental activist who campaigned successfully to block the Gualcarque River from a dam construction. Her tribe, the Lencas, consider the river a sacred source of water, food and medicine.

Anti-Indigenous rights activists sent her death threats for years. On March 3, 2016, at least two attackers broke into her home and shot her to death. Her death sparked an outcry for the high rates of environmentalist deaths around the world.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

CREDIT: @gabriel_garcia_marquez_ / Instagram

Colombian author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez was one of the most lauded writers of our time. He won a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, best known for the magic realism he invoked in all his fiction, especially “One Hundred Years of Solitude.”

Sophie Cruz

CREDIT: @sharabkaufman / Instagram

That is an 8-year-old you’re looking at and she is already trailblazing. When she was just 5 years old, she gave Pope Francis a letter during his 2015 visit to the White House.

It read, “I want to tell you that my heart is very sad, because I’m scared that one day ICE is going to deport my parents. I have a right to live with my parents. I have a right to be happy.”

Today, she’s still fighting hard for her parents, who are undocumented immigrants. She was one of the keynotes at this year’s Women’s March.

Sylvia Mendez

CREDIT: @sylviamendez92 / Instagram

The daughter of a Puerto Rican and a Mexican immigrant, Mendez became a trailblazer while barely realizing it. Her parents sued the all-white Westminster School District after they forced her to go to a segregated school.

In the 1947 Mendez v. Westminster case, it was decided: California would integrate public schools. Today, Mendez is a major civil rights activist for Latino student rights in the U.S.

Lizzie Velásquez

CREDIT: @littlelizziev / Instagram

Lizzie Velásquez is a Latina motivational speaker and disabled advocate. She was born with a rare congenital condition, which makes it impossible for her to gain any weight. Years ago, you may have seen her face when her cyber-bulling reached despicable heights as a YouTube video started circulating called, “World’s Ugliest Woman.”

Today, she tours the globe to speak out against bullying and to advocate for disabled people. You can watch a film about her life, called “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velásquez Story” on Amazon Prime.

Frida Kahlo

CREDIT: @neongreece / Instagram

There’s no question that bisexual Mexican artist is the icon for queer Latinas everywhere. Kahlo channeled her gender expression (girl wore suits), sexuality, politics and mental and physical disabilities into her art, and we’re better because of it.

Sylvia Rivera

CREDIT: @glsen / Instagram

Gays, listen up. Sylvia Rivera was the trans woman of color who started the Stonewall uprising. She struggled within her own community to have her voice heard, but she demanded a seat at the table of the activists who first marched for gay rights in America.

Shane Ortega

CREDIT: @glsen / Instagram

Caption: “Shane Ortega is a #Latinx two-Spirit, disabled, retired American combat soldier who served three duty tours and became the first openly #trans man in the U.S. military. He fought for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and is still fighting for transgender rights in the military today. He co-founded the nonprofit SPARt*A for members of the #LGBTQ military community. He continues to advocate for people of color, athletes, LGBTQ health competency, veterans, woman, and disabled people.”

Orlando Cruz

CREDIT: @glsen / Instagram

Orlando Cruz is the first and only openly gay man to win a world title in boxing. GLSEN reports that Cruz said, “I have and will always be a proud Puerto Rican. I have always been and always will be a proud gay man.”

Side note: Puerto Rico ranks higher than the United States on Spartacus’ LGBTQ Travel Index.

Gloria Estefan

CREDIT: @gloriaestefan / Instagram

Gloria Estefan was born in Havana, but her family fled to Miami after the Cuban Revolution. She is the official Queen of Latin Pop, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama for her contributions to American music.

Last year, she became the first Cuban-American to be named as one of the Kennedy Center Honors.

Selena Quintanilla

CREDIT: @athena_vintage / Instagram

Behold, the Queen of Queens. Selena Quintanilla is probably the most celebrated Mexican-American artists of our time. She broke through a male-dominated Tejano genre and made it so much better.

Sammy Sosa

CREDIT: @live_it_up_973 / Instagram

Born in the Dominican Republic, Sammy Sosa is a major icon in Major League Baseball and in the Latino community. He is one of only nine players in MLB history to hit 600 career home runs.

Dr. Ellen Ochoa

CREDIT: @txstbcat08 / Instagram

In 1993, Dr. Ochoa became the first Latina woman in the world to go to space. She spent nine days aboard the shuttle Discovery. She then went on to become the first Latina director at Johnson Space Center.

Edward James Olmos

CREDIT: @v1rul1 / Instagram

Olmos is Mexican-American, raised in Los Angeles. He was made famous for portraying Jaime Escalante in “Stand and Deliver.” He was the first Mexican to win an Oscar nomination.

Gloria Evangelina Anzaldua

CREDIT: @glsen / Instagram

Gloria Evangelina Anzaldua is famous for co-editing the anthology “This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color.” Her work focuses on the language border used to mistreat women in Chicano and Latinx culture, lesbians in the straight world, and Chicanx in white American society.

Carlos Santana

CREDIT: @txstbcat08 / Instagram

Carlos Santana is the Mexican American who pioneered a whole new genre of music that we can only call Santana. He fused rock with Latin American jazz, integrates Latin and African rhythms in with his bluesy guitar sets. He is an icon, no question.

Rita Moreno

CREDIT: @theritamoreno / Instagram

The woman, the myth, the legend: Rita Moreno is the only Latinx person to ever become an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award winner). She was only the second Puerto Rican to win an Academy Award and rose to fame playing Anita in West Side Story.


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Mariah Carey’s ‘Save The Day’ Video Pays Homage To Black Lives Matter And Breonna Taylor

Fierce

Mariah Carey’s ‘Save The Day’ Video Pays Homage To Black Lives Matter And Breonna Taylor

Mariah Carey says it’s powerful to be Black.

The beloved singer-songwriter with a five-octave vocal range is calling for the use of that power with her latest music video for her new song “Save the Day.” The song which features Lauryn Hill summons her fans to take action this year and vote their hearts out. The new single comes from Carey’s new two-disc compilation album, The Rarities which is available now and is a reminder that when it comes to our future “it’s up to us.”

And while the message behind “Save the Day” is getting quite a bit of love for how powerful it is, really it’s its drive to elevate Black Stories that is getting attention.

The animated music video for “Save the Day” dropped on October 22 and rhapsodizes the song’s theme “of citizenship—more important than ever in a tumultuous era marked by a global pandemic, political and social uprisings, and a looming presidential election.”

To create the animated music video, Carey partnered with ​PushBlack​, a non-profit media organization that produces Black stories, to honor Black influencers. Kerry Washington, PushBlack’s Julian Black, and the agency Maestra’s De’Ara Balenger and Zara Rahim worked to produce the film. Throughout the animated video, portraits of important Black people and essential workers come across the screen.

The video pays tribute to Black Lives Matter inspiration Breonna Taylor, Congressman John Lewis, Sojourner Truth, Fredrick Douglass, and trans activist Raquel Willis with powerful animations. The video also features essential workers.

The beautifully drawn portraits are drawn by artist Molly Crabapple who also illustrated A Message from the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

A Message from the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a 2019 Emmy award-nominated video about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

This isn’t the first video created for “Save the Day.”

Carey issued another version of the video for the song at the opening ceremony for the Women’s U.S. Open. The animated version however works to illustrate the song’s themes in a way that works as a call to action to all watching to do their part in restoring our democracy.

“Our country is at a critical moment in history, and I felt compelled to do what I could using my platform of music to encourage us all to take action,” Carey said in a statement about the video. “My hope is that the ​’Save The Day’ video will serve as an inspiring message and spark meaningful dialogue and action across the country, for each of us to do our part to save the day.’ The lyrics of this song are all about doing your part to make a difference and highlighting the impact that each of us can make. Whether you’re an essential worker, a protestor, a student, a young parent making it work, or a first-time voter, we each have a duty to support our communities.”

Speaking about her daughter’s appearance in the video, Tamika Palmer issued a press announcement.

“Breonna’s life was tragically and wrongfully taken from her, but her death cannot be in vain,” Palmer stated. “There is so much at stake and we all must do our part. Having my beautiful daughter featured in the video is a testament to our people coming together in the face of tremendous adversity.”

Check out the Lyrics to “Save the Day” below

[Intro: Mariah Carey]
We’re all in this together
You’re my only hope
And it’s too divided, too deep to understand
But if we don’t do it, tell me, who will?
Oh, we always say these words that don’t mean too much
I wonder, where is the love?
It’s curious
The fear still holding us down
One day, will we look up?

[Verse 1: Mariah Carey]
You got a right to your own opinion
But when it comes to the world we live in
Isn’t it time that we start rebuilding
All of the things that have basically crumbled?
We all tend to forget that
We all cease to exist if
Wе all live for ourselves
If nobody bothеrs to find a solution

[Chorus: Mariah Carey]
If he won’t, and she won’t, and they won’t, then we won’t
We won’t ever learn to save the day, woah, oh
If he won’t, and she won’t, and they won’t, then we won’t
We won’t ever learn to save the day

[Verse 2: Mariah Carey]
We’re all in this together
You’re my only hope (Only hope)
And it’s too divided, too deep to understand
But if we don’t do it, tell me, who will? Yeah
Always say these words that don’t mean too much
I wonder, where is the love?
It’s curious
That fear still holding us back
One day, will we look up?
It’s up to us

[Chorus: Mariah Carey]
If he won’t, and she won’t, and they won’t, then we won’t
We won’t ever learn to save the day, woah, oh
(To save the day, to save the day)
If he won’t, and she won’t, and they won’t, then we won’t (Come on, come on)
(Will we?) We won’t ever learn to save the day
(Ever learn, no)

[Bridge: Mariah Carey & Lauryn Hill]
La-la-la, la, la-la, la
Woah, la
Woah, la (Ah, ah, ah)
La
If he won’t, and she won’t, and they won’t, then we won’t
We won’t ever learn to save the day, woah, oh (To save the day)
If he won’t, and she won’t, and they won’t, then we won’t (And she won’t)
We won’t ever learn to save the day, woah, oh (I’ma have to learn to save the day)
If he won’t, and she won’t, and they won’t, then we won’t (All God’s children, all God’s children)
We won’t ever learn to save the day (All God’s children, to save the day)

[Outro: Mariah Carey]
We gon’ learn, we gon’ learn
Said we gotta learn

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As A Latin Music Fan, Here Are My Picks For The 2020 Latin Grammys

Entertainment

As A Latin Music Fan, Here Are My Picks For The 2020 Latin Grammys

Edward Berthelot / Getty Images

Last year’s Latin Grammys caused an uproar on social media after the nominees list was released. Many fans and artists noticed the lack of representation of the Reggaeton music genre. “Sin reggaeton no hay Latin Grammy,” read many of the posts on social media, but this year seems to be different. 

This year’s nominees accurately represent the changing culture in Latin music as it shifts more towards the reggaeton genre. Here are my top picks for some of my favorite categories. 

Record of the Year

Record of the Year is always one of the toughest picks as many of my favorite songs are included in this category. This year it seems pretty competitive as Bad Bunny’s Vete competes with Karol G and Nicki Minaj’s Tusa. Karol G is competing against herself with the song China by Anuel AA, Daddy Yankee, Karol G, Featuring Ozuna and J Balvin. But at the end, Tusa by Karol G and Nicki Minaj should take the win as the overall production of the song is what makes it so great. From the rhythm to the lyrics, Tusa deserves the Grammy. 

Album of the Year

In 2019, we had a lack of reggaeton nominees in this category, but this year the list includes two reggaeton superstars: Bad Bunny and J Balvin. Both are nominated for their joint album OASIS and their solo albums, Colores and YHLQMDLG. To me, it’s clear that the winner of this category will be Bad Bunny with YHLQMDLG. The 20-song album delivered Latin trap with a variety of moods, whether it was a post-breakup heartbreak, our on-pause summer anthems, or the heartfelt thank you at the end. This album was highly anticipated and it delivered.

Best New Artist

The top contestants in this category are Anuel AA,  Rauw Alejandro, and Cazzu. While Rauw Alejandro has had some big hits this year, such as “El Efecto,” “Tattoo,” “Elegi,” and “TBT,” it is very likely that Anuel AA will take the Grammy home. Anuel AA was snubbed from a best new artist nomination last year, but he has been very successful since then which shows his growth as a new artist. 

Song of the Year

While there are many great songs nominated in this category, “ADMV” by Maluma stands out the most. The song was released during quarantine and was written by the artist as a dedication to all the people in his life that he loves. The song, which touches upon love and growing old with one’s significant other is a very heartfelt balada and one that gives us a whole new side to Maluma. The lyrics of the song and the overall composition gives us all the feels and reminds us to hug our loved ones a little tighter and tell them that we love them. 

Best Regional Song 

The top nominees in this genre include Christian Nodal with AYAYAY! and Natalia Lafourcade con MI RELIGIÓN. While I am a huge fan of Natalia Lafourcade, Christian Nodal will most likely take the win with this upbeat and modern song. What makes the song work for Nodal is that it is still rooted in the regional genre. 

Best Short Form Music Video

If you haven’t seen J.Balvin’s video for Rojo, please do yourself a favor and watch it now! But be prepared with tissues, this video delivers pain, acceptance, and even a message to its viewers. The video starts with Balvin receiving the news that his daughter was born, as he rushes to the hospital on the phone with his mom, he crashes and dies. But he is not conscious of his death and his spirit makes it to the hospital. The rest of the video shows Balvin following the life of his daughter as she grows up. This video delivers an exceptional story in less than 5 minutes and is a grammy-winning performance. 

To see who will win be sure to tune in! The 21st annual Latin Grammys will air on Univision, Nov. 19, 2020.

READ: Maluma Is Keeping Us Up To Date On His Life In Quarantine And I Couldn’t Be More Grateful

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