identity

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

jlo / Instagram

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!

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

Identity

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

littlelizziev / gloriaestefan / Instagram

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.


READ:

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

Paid Promoted Stories