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

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‘Vintage Latinas’ Is Hyping Up WOC Entertainers Often Forgotten By Media

Fierce

‘Vintage Latinas’ Is Hyping Up WOC Entertainers Often Forgotten By Media

Amid a life-threatening pandemic, political upheaval and a dawning economic crisis, the future can feel frighteningly uncertain. We’ve all been coping in our own ways: from practicing meditation to trying out new recipes to starting creative projects. For me, joy has come in the form of history. Learning about women, particularly Latinas, who entertained audiences on the silver screen or at cabarets, fought for their countries and communities, and created beauty and fashion trends has brought me bliss at a time when I couldn’t even imagine happiness as a possibility. Realizing how healing the stories of our foremothers have been for me, I decided to create Vintage Latinas, an Instagram account dedicated to the Latina and Latin American women and femmes of yesterday.

Through the online community, I post daily photos and videos of women from the 1900s up until the early 2000s. I accompany each image with a lengthy caption that either introduces followers to former stars they’ve never heard of or shares little-known facts and stories about popular icons. Highlighting women and femmes across Latin America, the Spanish Caribbean and the U.S., the page is sprinkled with popular faces like Celia Cruz, Rita Moreno, Frida Kahlo and Bianca Jagger as well as radiant figures who aren’t as celebrated in popular media today like María Montez, Rosa Luna, Maribel Arrieta and Ajita Wilson. My goal is to commemorate the beauty, style, talent, brilliance and power of these women. To do so, I spotlight everyone from actresses, singers, dancers, models and showgirls to artists, designers, beauty queens, party czars, activists and trendsetters. 

It’s not surprising to me that at a time when I have limited control over the unpredictable future I decided to turn my attention to the past. A lover of history, I often find refuge in the narratives of people from yesterday who fought against powerful people, systems and countries to create change for their communities. This was no different. After losing my job in March and being locked up in quarantine for the months that followed, my mental and spiritual health took hard blows. While addressing the issues I was experiencing and developing a wellness routine, I decided to delve into literature about Julia de Burgos, Lolita Lebrón, Blanca Canales, Iris Morales and Denise Oliver-Velez — some of the Puerto Rican nationalists and revolutionaries I hold dear to my heart.

But unlike my experiences in the past, while rereading these works I began imagining the periods in which these women lived — the early- and mid-twentieth century — outside the political and social battles they were fighting.

Immediately, I found myself researching artists and actresses my heroines might have listened to and admired, expanding my interest in these eras beyond struggle and protests.

Soon, guarachas and boleros from artists like Myrta Silva, Carmen Delia Dipini, Lucecita Benitez and Toña la Negra were booming from my speakers more than my favorite reggaetoneros. I was spending my weekends happy that I was forced to stay home because that gave me the chance to search and watch Old Hollywood classics. Obsessed with the makeup and style of the women I was watching, I started repurposing the clothes in my closet to look like outfits inspired by some of my ‘60s and ‘70s fashion inspirations, like Lola Falana, Raquel Welch and Tina Aumont.

I was balancing news of a scary future with the stories and aesthetics of erstwhile powerful Latinas who resisted, lived and loved during similarly turbulent times.

When I started Vintage Latinas a month ago, I simply wanted to create a space where I could honor all the women who were positively influencing my life. For me, it was a hobby, something fun and joyful to do between freelance writing gigs and trying to land a full-time job amid a pandemic. But within days, the page grew into something more. Very quickly, people began following Vintage Latinas, commenting on the posts and sharing the content with their audiences. They even encouraged others to follow the page and called it their favorite account on Instagram. I knew that the dynamic personalities and enduring influence of these sensational women were as healing — or at least as captivating — to others as they were to me. By week one, the page went from a personal hobby to a creative project and online community where people from all over the world are remembering and discovering our Latina and Latin American heroines. 

As I embark on Vintage Latinas’ second month, I have several exciting plans I will begin executing. In addition to my daily posts about historic stars, I’ll be utilizing original and user-generated content to create a browsing experience I hope will excite followers. I’ll be creating activities, like trivia-style quizzes, polls and “Finish the Lyrics” games, featuring vintage images of the everyday matriarchs of the community and conducting interviews through Instagram Live with historians and modern-day Latinas who dress in vintage and pinup, among several other undertakings.

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Puerto Rican singer and politician Ruth Fernández is considered one of the most powerful women and barrier-breakers in Puerto Rican history. Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico in 1919, Fernández began singing publicly as a teenager, performing at age 14 on local radio stations for 50 cents a day. Heard by Mingo, a famous bandleader, she was invited to join the group in 1940, becoming the first woman to sing in a Puerto Rican orchestra. Performing in nightclubs, dances and casinos, Fernández became a star on the archipelago. However, celebrity didn't save her from experiencing anti-blackness. In 1944 when her band was contracted to perform at the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel for a benefit concert for the American Red Cross, she was told she had to enter the building through the kitchen door because of the color of her skin. But on the day of the show, Fernández ignored the racist protocol and entered through the main entrance. When asked years later about that night, she responded: "Me llamaron negra. ¿Negra? ¿Y qué?" From then on, she began referring to herself as "La Negra de Ponce." In 1972, Fernández was elected to Puerto Rico's Senate, representing the district of Ponce as a member of the Partido Popular Democrático de Puerto Rico until 1980. As a legislator, she sought reforms and better working conditions for artists and also considered the needs of Puerto Ricans living in the contiguous U.S. In her honor, a tenement in the Bronx — the Ruth Fernández Apartments — is named after her. Fernández has received awards from several countries in Latin America, while many cities in the U.S. — including Washington, D.C., New York and Los Angeles — have official "Ruth Fernández Days." She passed away in 2012 of a septic shock and pneumonia at the age of 92. Here she performs "Soy la que soy" in the 1960s. #ruthfernandez #puertorican #1960s #latinasdeayer #vintagelatina #vintage #vintagestyle #vintagefashion #vintagebeauty #retrostyle #blackbeauty #blackvintage

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The stories of our foremothers, who thrived or continued luchando despite racist systems, colonialism and state-instituted violence, are inspiring and must be preserved. Through Vintage Latinas, I aim to ensure their vibrant lives and contributions to culture and social justice aren’t forgotten. Instead, I want our barrier-breaking predecessors to be celebrated, and I hope you’ll join me in this digital rave that is equal parts history, culture, glam and community. 

Follow Vintage Latinas on Instagram.

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Blessed Be! Jennifer Lopez Is Finally Launching That Skincare Line

Fierce

Blessed Be! Jennifer Lopez Is Finally Launching That Skincare Line

Kevin Winter / Getty

Just about anyone with a pulse and a heart for makeup knows that Jennifer Lopez established herself as a beauty guru ages ago.

The actress, singer, and business entrepreneur has been an influential part of the beauty industry throughout her decades-long career. Having established dozens of fragrances (the worth sum of which clocks in at a cool a $2 billion), collaborated on a hit makeup line with Inglot and likely inspired hundreds of thousands of women to invest in countless bronzers, there’s no denying that Jennifer Lopez was a beauty influencer long before social media became a thing.

Now, after nearly two years of waiting, Lopez’s new skin-care line is finally about to pop off.

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Sunset glow… #JLoBeauty coming soon

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The “Hustlers” actress announced in December 2018, that she had been working on her own skin-care collection for quite some time. After years of holding our breath for the launch, it looks like we’ll only have to wait just a smidge longer.

In a post to her Instagram page, Lopez dropped the news that J.Lo Beauty is coming soon. In the post, the actress shared two selfies, both of which featured that infamous J.Lo glow, and topped off the look with a caption that teased “Sunset glow… #JLoBeauty coming soon.”

Fans on Instagram poured over the picture and expressed their excitement in the comments section. “Make-up line???” one fan commented. “Skin care products???? YESSSS YESS TO EVERYTHING JEN!!”

“Coming soon?! Need that glow!! Looking gorgeous mama,” another chimed in.

Sadly, Lopez did refrain from sharing the launch date of the products and has yet to reveal what to expect out of the new line.

Which isn’t so surprising since Lopez is the queen of teasers.

Earlier this month, Lopez hinted that she had something in the works related to her beauty brand when she posted a makeup-free video and challenged fans to guess what she was working on. “Woke up this morning feeling extra grateful and excited! 🤍 Want to know why? Comment below if you wanna know what I’m working on,” she wrote.

However, we might just have one hint! According to People a trademark filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office last December, JLo Beauty aims to provide cosmetics and skincare products.

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