Culture

Shocked That Not Everyone In Puerto Rico Looks Like J.Lo, She Created An Account To Open Everyone Else’s Eyes

One Salvadorian-Canadian photographer is trying to change perceptions of the racial diversity on the island of Puerto Rico. Valerie Moreno moved to Puerto Rico four years ago and noticed that the racial makeup of the people there was vastly different from what she had experienced in popular media. She was surprised when everyone didn’t look like Jennifer Lopez and soon realized that the island was rich with racial diversity. In a Huffington Post article featuring Moreno, she says that she didn’t know much about Black Latinos and diversity in Puerto Rico. She says: “Why? Partly because of my ignorance but also because every Puerto Rican I saw in movies and pop culture looked very much like J. Lo ― culturally homogeneous.”

Photographer Valerie Moreno is hoping to shed light on Puerto Rico’s diversity and change preconceived notions about Puerto Ricans with her photography in her Instagram account Afros in San Juan.

She makes sure, that as someone who is not Afro-Latina, she is not exploiting or overtaking the conversation, but rather she aims to “lend whatever privilege” she has to benefit the people she captures.

She often includes her subjects’ words as captions and interviews them to get a better idea of how to represent them. In her interview with HuffPo she says:

“I simply want to document the people I’ve seen around me and their words, so that when people look back at this generation and our contributions, they remember some of the beautiful, real faces that were here at this point in time. Because, why should a black person be a hidden figure in their own country?”

The images feature the bright colors of Puerto Rico as backdrops for Afro-Latinas.

 The subjects come in all shapes, colors and sizes.

The photos also feature subjects holding fruit and foliage that is native to Puerto Rico.

Side by side, they seem to highlight one another and show all the natural beauty of the island.

Model Mominatu Boog is one of Morena’s muses and is featured often on the account.

A model of Liberian decent living in Puerto Rico at the time of the project, she is featured in some stunning photos in the series, again highlighting the diversity of those in Puerto Rico and the beauty of the island itself.

Puerto Ricans of all ages are included in the series.

The wisdom in those grays speak volumes.

The series really is a beautiful reminder of Puerto Rican diversity.

This Afro-Latina keeps Puerto Rico in her heart and pocket. ¡Ahí na ma!

[H/T] Dazzling Photos Capture The Beauty Of Afro-Latinas In Puerto Rico

READ: A Latina Photographer Recreated 6 Iconic Afro-Latina Portraits And The Results Are Stunning

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Legendary Astrologer Walter Mercado’s Home In Puerto Rico Is For Sale And At A Discount

Entertainment

Legendary Astrologer Walter Mercado’s Home In Puerto Rico Is For Sale And At A Discount

Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images

Prediction: You will want to check out Walter Mercado’s house in Puerto Rico, and maybe even buy it up and call it home. And what perfect timing, because the stars have aligned to bring you his Puerto Rico pad at an unbeatable price.

That’s right! Walter Mercado’s home in San Juan is up for sale!

Located in an “exclusive area” of San Juan, according to the property listing, the six-bedroom, five-bathroom estate is on sale for just $395,000.

Since you likely won’t fly to San Juan right now (thanks, COVID), you can check out the flamboyant cape aficionados sweet, two story tropical oasis on Realtor.com.

The listing photos show the home’s vibrant interior, which appears in the documentary, with yellow, red and green walls. The first floor boasts a large living room, kitchen and dining room. Tile-work leads up the stairs to the second level, where there’s yet another living room, dining room and a smaller kitchen — plus two balconies.

Outside, there’s a pool area with a gazebo and a patio, as well as a covered carport for at least four cars.

The home seems to be having trouble finding a buyer.

The estate originally hit the market for $495,000 in September 2020 but with no buyer in the cards, it then had its price slashed to $430,000 in December, according to Realtor.com. It’s now asking just $395,000.

Mercado already sold his Miami property in 2017 to cover financial difficulties.

While in Miami, Mercado maintained an apartment at The Grand in downtown for many years until 2017 when he decamped part time to New York.

Many in his family had hoped to turn his Puerto Rico home into a museum to the late icon, but due to zoning issues the family decided the best step forward was to list the home for sale. Regarding Mercado’s belongings that were contained within the home (so many of which we came to see in the Netflix documentary), one of his nieces told Pledge Times, that though family members have each kept some items, many were given to the Miami History Museum, and some items will go to Mexico. However, his cape with the Puerto Rican flag is being sent to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.

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Who Is Mari Pepin? Everything You Need to Know About the Puerto Rican Beauty Queen and ‘The Bachelor’ Frontrunner

Entertainment

Who Is Mari Pepin? Everything You Need to Know About the Puerto Rican Beauty Queen and ‘The Bachelor’ Frontrunner

As you probably know by now, a new season of the never-ending reality series “The Bachelor” has just started.

And this season is destined to be especially exciting–not just because of the promise of non-stop drama, but because the franchise has finally hired its first Black male lead, Matt James, after 18 years on the air.

And with the first Black “Bachelor” comes the most diverse group of contestants competing for the lead’s heart that they’ve ever had.

And one of the contestants that is capturing the hearts of both fans and Matt James alike is 24-year-old Puerto Rican-born pageant queen Mariela “Mari” Pepin.

On this season’s premiere episode of “The Bachelor”, Mari was immediately clocked by viewers as one of the front runners by the way that Matt reacted to meeting her. The former Wake Forest wide receiver was struck speechless by her beauty and couldn’t keep his eyes off her when she parted ways with him. It was obvious that Mari had made quite the first impression on him.

And because we love to see #representation on screen (and especially on reality TV), we decided to do our due diligence and find out as much as we could about this gorgeous and accomplished Latina. Here’s everything you need to know about Mari Pepin.

She’s Boricua–and proud of it!

Something that immediately endeared Mari to fans was the fact that she is so vocally proud of being Puerto Rican. In her first sit-down conversation with Matt, she opened up about how hard its been for her family to live through the relentless natural disasters that the island is going through.

She’s a military brat.

According to Mari’s personal blog, she spent the first few years of her life in PR before relocating to Germany because of her father’s military career. According to Mari, her unique childhood contributed to her love of traveling as an adult.

She was 2019’s Miss Maryland USA.

According to Mari’s official “Bachelor” bio, she began competing in pageants when she moved to Maryland as a teenager. She won Miss Teen Maryland and then went on to win the title of Miss Maryland. After that, she placed in the Top 10 of the Miss USA competition.

She’s wicked smart.

According to Mari’s LinkedIn page, she has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Towson University and she’s currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Marketing Intelligence from the same institution. It’s safe to say she values education.

She’s multilingual.

Not only does Mari speak both Spanish and English flawlessly, but she’s also fluent in French and American Sign Language.

Based on all this info alone, we can’t wait to see Mari Pepin crush this season of “The Bachelor”. Hopefully, this Boricua beauty will be popping up a lot on our screens for years to come!

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