Culture

These Inspiring Puerto Ricans Are Spreading Their Culture And Light As Far And Wide As They Can

It wasn’t that long ago that there were hardly any Puerto Ricans in the spotlight, but today, we’re everywhere. We could not fit on one page the number of world famous Puerto Ricans and I’m talking about people coming from an island as big as Delaware and Rhode Island combined. When was the last time you heard of any proud Rhode Islander Renaissance Women or Genre Starters?

That’s because, like our mami’s always told us, we’re special. There’s mágico in our veins.

Rita Moreno

CREDIT: @theritamoreno / Instagram

Rita Moreno is the ultimate Boricua icon for every person on this list. Born in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Moreno is one of few people in history to become an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) winner. In fact, she is the first Latina with this honor.

Jennifer Lopez

CREDIT: @jlo / Instagram

It almost feels wrong to place J.Lo second to anyone, but we think she’d side with Rita Moreno being No. 1.

J.Lo rose to fame for portraying Selena Quintanilla in “Selena” and es la Reina in acting, music and even has her own production company, Nuyorican Productions.

Marc Anthony

CREDIT: @marcanthony / Instagram

Marc Anthony and J.Lo were basically the Puerto Rican royal family until their split. To this day, the two are good friends and share twins together.

Marc Anthony is top selling tropical salsa artist in history.

Bad Bunny

CREDIT: @bunbunnypr / Instagram

This has been Bad Bunny’s year. Born in Playa Vega Baja, Bad Bunny just released a single with Marc Anthony, “Está Rico.” He’s puro Boricua and has been outspoken in raising awareness for Puerto Rico’s continued state of emergency after Hurricane Maria. His own family is still running on generators.

Bruno Mars

CREDIT: @brunomars / Instagram

Born as Peter Hernandez in Hawaii, Bruno Mars is the son of a Puerto Rican Jewish father. Bruno Mars writes all his own songs, and even writes songs for other famous artists. We’re in high demand, what can I say?

Rosario Dawson

CREDIT: @rosariodawson / Instagram

If you’re Boricua, you were basically either born in Puerto Rico or New York. Rosario Dawson was born and raised in NYC to a Puerto Rican and Cuban mother. Today, she’s famous for her role in “Rent,” and all five of Netflix’s Marvel series.

She also co-founded Voto Latino, which encourages young Latinos to register to vote.

Ricky Martin

CREDIT: @ricky_martin / Instagram

Okay, so as kids we had Rita Moreno and a baby Ricky Martin to fangirl over when he was in Puerto Rican boy band Menudo. Martin is basically the King of Latin Pop. He’s one of the first Spanish language artists to transition into the English-language field, beginning with his song “Livin’ la Vida Loca.”

Luis Fonsi

CREDIT: @luisfonsi / Instagram

Fun fact: Luis Fonsi auditioned for Menudo when he was a kid. Fortunately, his life went exactly as is or else the world would be lost without “Despacito.” Luis Fonsi won four Latin Grammy Awards for that song alone.

Gina Rodriguez

CREDIT: @hereisgina / Instagram

Gina Rodriguez is made famous as Jane Villanueva in “Jane the Virgin,” where she plays Rita Moreno’s granddaughter. Apparently, when she was a kid, she asked her mom, “Ma, when did Puerto Ricans come about?” Confused mom said, “What do you mean, Gina?”

“Well I never see us on my favorite TV shows or movies. We must not have existed back then, right?” That’s when her mom introduced her to Rita Moreno and the rest was history. She was in love.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

CREDIT: @ScozzariFrank / Twitter

Lin-Manuel Miranda may be on his way to becoming the next EGOT. He’s won a Pulitzer Prize, several Tonys and a Grammy for “Hamilton.” He received an Oscar and Grammy nomination for his composing for “Moana.”

Princess Nokia

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

Princess Nokia and Bad Bunny share their SoundCloud fame in common. Born in NYC, Princess Nokia was orphaned at age 2 when her mother died of AIDS. She lived in an abusive foster care system, for which the statistics are against kids from even graduating high school.

Princess Nokia started releasing tracks on SoundCloud and her feminist, anti-colonial rhymes made her go viral. Today, she’s relentlessly fighting to raise funds for Puerto Rico.

Michelle Rodriguez

CREDIT: @mrodofficial / Instagram

M-Rod was born to a Dominican mother and Boricua father. It’s no wonder she’s frequently casted for tough characters.

Roberto Clemente

CREDIT: @lavidabaseball / Instagram

Baseball is everything for us, and Roberto Clemente is no doubt the most beloved sports star in Puerto Rican history. That’s why you see his jersey number, 21, all over el calle.

Carmelo Anthony

CREDIT: @carmeloanthony / Instagram

Carmelo Anthony is our modern day sports hero. He’s won three Olympic gold medals as part of Team USA, and he regularly goes back to Puerto Rico to help create and maintain sporting facilities for youth.

Laurie Hernandez

CREDIT: @lauriehernandez / Instagram

Laurie Hernandez won Gold for Team USA and silver on the balance beam. At the Olympics that year, she was very excited to represent Latinos and told People Magazine, “When I was a little kid, I don’t remember looking up and seeing so many Hispanic athletes out there. But look at this Olympics.”

Daddy Yankee

CREDIT: @daddyyankee / Instagram

Born in San Juan, Daddy Yankee is no question an icon in Puerto Rico. Known as the King of Reggaetón, Daddy Yankee has always been ahead of his time. when he first started rapping for DJ Playero’s mixtapes, the Puerto Rican government actually banned the music.

This marked the beginning of a whole new genre that I can’t imagine life without: Reggaetón.

Don Omar

CREDIT: @donomar / Instagram

Fun Fact: Don Omar, born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, actually spent several years delivering sermons at his local Protestant church. He left to launch his music career, Dios nos bendiga.

Farruko

CREDIT: @farrukoofficial / Instagram

Born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico, Farruko is another big name in Reggaeton. His collaboration with J Balvin earned their song “6 AM” a Latin Grammy! He’s still mixing tapes for Marc Anthony & Bad Bunny in their latest single “Está Rico.”

Ozuna

CREDIT: @ozuna / Instagram

Born in San Juan, Ozuna had a rough go of life. His father was shot and killed when he was just three years old. He started writing songs when he was 12 years old and this year, he won the Billboard Latin Music Award for Artist of the Year!

José Ferrer

CREDIT: “José Ferrer” Digital Image. The Famous People. 7 October 2018.

You might not know Ferrer, but you should. His nephew is George Clooney. Born in San Juan, Ferrer went on to go to Princeton (1933) and become a famous Broadway actor, symphony pianist and actor. He was the first Latino to win an Academy Award (1950).

Justice Sonia Sotomayor

CREDIT: @wes_sherman / Instagram

Last, but probably the most important of all, is Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Her parents both left Puerto Rico separately and met in the U.S. after her mother served in the Women’s Army Corps for WWII. That’s right. Sonia had her own mother as a feminist icon and now we have her.


READ: Rita Moreno And Gina Rodriguez Shared In Mutual Puerto Rican Love And We Should All Aim For This Kind Of Relationship

Share this story with all of your friends by tapping that little share button below!

‘Jane The Virgin’ Star Gets Hit With More Backlash After Using The N-Word On Instagram

Entertainment

‘Jane The Virgin’ Star Gets Hit With More Backlash After Using The N-Word On Instagram

Somebody get the shovel out of Gina Rodriguez’s hands because she officially went there with anti-black sentiments and said the N-word. Cue tear and the moment she dusts off her Afro-Latina card to excuse herself from backlash.

The former star of CW’s ‘Jane The Virgin’ has been ruffling feathers in the Black Twitter community for a while. Criticism of Rodriguez and her approach to speaking about and to the Black community goes all of the way back to 2017 when the actress criticized “Black Panther” for its lack of Latino inclusion. During a 2018 press junket, the Puerto Rican actress attempted to “All Lives Matter” actress Yara Shahidi when she was asked about being a role model for black girls When the actress tried once again to. Then, this year the actress was slammed not once by twice within a matter of months after she falsely stated that Latinas are paid less than any other race in Hollywood and then cried during a radio interview and essentially accused the Black community of being too hard on her while also using her father, who she claims is Afro-Latino, as an excuse for not being anti-Black.

Now the actress is facing backlash after posting a video of herself using the N-word while singing.

On Tuesday, Rodriguez posted a video of herself singing along to “Ready or Not” by the Fugees to her Instagram stories.

“Voodoo, I could do what you do, believe me,” Rodriguez sang in the video, “N***** give me heebie-jeebies.” The video stayed up on her stories for 3 hours before it was taken down. Later the actress apologized for her use of words saying in another story that she was sorry for singing along to the lyrics, which doesn’t really address the true issue.

“Hey what’s up everybody I just wanted to reach out and apologize. I am sorry. I am sorry if I offended anyone by singing along to the Fugees to a song that I love that I grew up on. I love Lauren Hill and I’m really sorry if I offended you,” she said.

Many have speculated that Rodriguez thought because she was singing a lyrics she could get away with using the derogatory term.

Others have accused the actress of being flip with her apology.

Nevertheless, Rodriguez’s reaction to backlash is pretty on-brand for her previous anti-Black sentiments.

Puerto Rican Art Groups Are Getting A Leg Up Thanks To This Foundation Created By The ‘Hamilton’ Family

Entertainment

Puerto Rican Art Groups Are Getting A Leg Up Thanks To This Foundation Created By The ‘Hamilton’ Family

Flamboyan Foundation / Facebook

Maintaining funding for the arts is a challenging enough task during the best of times. For Puerto Ricans, those “best of times” have long been gone. A backlog of corruption scandals coupled with the most devastating natural disaster in the island’s history has exacerbated the arts organizations resources. Two years after Hurricane Maria’s landfall on Puerto Rico, hope for maintaining the culture and arts of Boricuas has arrived.

“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeffrey Seller, the play’s producer, have partnered with the Flamboyan Foundation to establish an art fund for struggling arts organizations in Puerto Rico.

The Flamboyan Foundation was established just earlier this year, funded by ticket sales from “Hamilton.”

@theatermania / Twitter

Even better, the $14.7 million that was raised for the fund were all raised by Puerto Ricans. The “Hamilton” cast and crew up and went to Puerto Rico for a 17-day run. The Flamboyan Foundation, named after the flamboyán tree native to Puerto Rico, established the arts fund in 2018. “The Flamboyan Arts Fund is an extension of our deep commitment to ensuring that Puerto Rico is thriving economically and socially,” Flamboyan Puerto Rico Executive Director Carlos J. Rodríguez-Silvestre said in a statement. “We cannot be more excited to partners with our 12 inaugural grant recipients as well as the new grantees that we will welcome following this round of applications.  This is just the beginning!”

So far, at least 12 grant recipients have been named.

@ElNuevoDia / Twitter

“It’s the first time that we have funds guaranteed for the beginning of the year so it’s been very important, Lolita Villanúa, executive director of Andanza told NBC News. Andanza is a dance company and school that has been giving back to Puerto Rico since 1998, but not without struggles. “The search for funds has always been very difficult,” she said. One year, the government gave Andanza just $8,000 for a full year of operations.

Villanúa felt the grant “was like a big prize on our 20th anniversary because we [have been] working tirelessly and intensely for the country.”

The trickle-down effect goes to benefit young scholarship students.

@ynohabialuz / Twitter

One Andanza dance student, Paola Morales López is just 15 years old and wants to make a career out of dancing. “I feel super grateful because I see that they support me and that they believe in me,” Morales López told NBC News. “Andanza is like my second family.” Another 18-year-old ballet student, Gabriela Arroyo, said that, “Dance has helped me. It’s a form to escape reality, and it’s also a way to stay healthy.”

Of course, the “Hamilton” funds will also go to help local theaters stay open.

@ynohabialuz / Twitter

Another grant went to a collective of seven artists who started the San Juan theater company, Y No Había Luz (“And There Was No Light”) when they were just students at the University of Puerto Rico. For the last 15 years, the group has continued to stay open, using their literal theater platform to advocate for social change and to humanize Boricuas.

Without the grant, Puerto Ricans may have never witnessed a play centered around an ancient tree that fell during Hurricane Maria.

@ynohabialuz / Twitter

Y No Había Luz created the play “Centinela de Mangó,” which retells the experience of the town of Orocovis, which survived Hurricane Maria only to find the tree that symbolized the island’s identity had fallen. The company has been able to bring the play to New York City, as well, where many Hurricane Maria victims were directed by FEMA. The company wants to turn the story into a children’s book, forever immortalizing the tree’s meaning into words that will be passed down for generations.

With rent paid, the art grant recipients can dream even bigger.

@ynohabialuz / Twitter

“For three years I can plan and create a healthier structure for my team. I can make dreams more long-term,” Yari Helfeld of Y No Había Luz told NBC News. She added, “My dad always told us that we should do what we wanted and not let anyone tell you what to do.” Thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda and the “Hamilton” family, dreams are being made a reality for art directors and young children alike. The arts will have a safe home in Puerto Rico for the foreseeable future.

READ: Puerto Rico, Still Recovering From Hurricane Maria, Is Losing Recovery Dollars To Fund Part Of The Border Wall