Culture

The Legendary Cuban Baker Rosa Porta Died on Friday at the Age of 89

The Los Angeles community is grieving after learning the news that Rosa Porto, founder of the legendary Cuban bakery Porto’s, died on Friday. The news was announced via Porto’s Instagram page. Porto was 89.

According to the business’s Instagram page, Rosa Porto “passed peacefully” on Friday “surrounded by her loving husband and family”. The post went on to describe Porto as an “incredible woman” who began her illustrious career by “selling cakes and pastries to friends and family”.

Porto’s started off humbly enough, with Rosa started her business by baking cakes for her children before her neighbors started asking her to make cakes for them.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Porto and her family emigrated from Manzanillo, Cuba to Los Angeles in the early 1970s. Their story is a common one for Cuban emigres, with the family leaving Cuba to escape the oppressive Castro regime. “You lived in a little bit of fear,” Porto told the Los Angeles Times in October. “When you requested to leave, they fired you from your job.” In Cuba, Rosa and her husband struggled to thrive in the communist government. Rosa lost her job as a manager at a cigar distributor and her husband, Raul, was sent to work at a labor camp. 

According to the Portos, the relocation was difficult for the family, who came to the U.S. “flat broke”. While Raul took work as a janitor, Rosa baked and sold cakes to neighbors in her Cuban community. But as the demand for Rosa’s baked goods increased, the Portos saw an opportunity for growth. 

The Portos’ empire began in 1976 with a small bakery in a strip-mall in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Silver Lake.

And although the family-owned bakery sold Rosa’s famous Cuban cakes that originally made her popular, they also expanded their menu to reflect local demographics. “We made Mexican bread because that was the neighborhood. We started changing based on whatever the clientele demanded,” Porto’s daughter, Margarita Navarro told the LA Times. “We wanted to be welcoming to everyone,” said Antonio Salazar, Porto’s VP of production.

And evidently, their business plan worked. Anyone who’s ever visited one of the three locations scattered throughout Los Angeles is immediately struck by the seemingly never-ending influx of customers. The bakeries were notorious for their long lines and chaotic dining rooms. According to the Porto siblings, the bakeries would sell on average 520,000 potato balls and more than a million cheese rolls on a monthly basis. “If we didn’t have the volume, we’d have to raise the prices,” Rosa’s daughter, Betty Porto, told the LA Times in 2016. The Porto’s business plan is part of what makes it so great. In 2016, Yelp named Porto’s the “Best Restaurant in the Country” based off of positive reviews.

Although Rosa Porto will be missed by both her family and the LA community, her legacy will be remembered as that of a hardworking businesswoman and a loving mother and grandmother.

According to the company’s Instagram post, Porto retired from running the bakery in her late 60s to “focus her love and passion on raising her seven grandchildren”. The family concluded the announcing of her passing with this heartfelt statement: “To all of our family, friends, and guests from across our communities: though there are no words that can convey our sadness at this time, we would like to express our sincere gratitude for all the love and kindness you have shown us throughout the years”. 

Naturally, Angelenos have taken to Twitter to express their condolences over the loss of this legendary Latina matriarch.

One could say that Porto’s was integral in shaping the LA food scene into what it is today.

This person had massive praise for Rosa Porto and her legacy:

Not many restaurants can claim the same sort of cultural impact that Porto’s can.

This person shared how integral Porto’s has become in their personal life:

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that there is always a Porto’s box at an LA party.

This Latina shared how Porto’s helped rep Cubano culture in the best way:

Porto’s: saving Cuban mothers’ time since 1976.

This person summed up Rosa Porta’s legacy wonderfully in a single Tweet:

What better legacy to leave behind than pure happiness for thousands of people? Rest in peace, Rosa Porto.

Jennifer Lopez’s Longtime Partner Passes Away At 51

Entertainment

Jennifer Lopez’s Longtime Partner Passes Away At 51

jlo / Instagram

David Crus, the former boyfriend of Jennifer Lopez passed away on Saturday.

According to the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner former boyfriend of Lopez, whom she dated for 10 years died Saturday after succumbing to heart disease. He was fifty-one years old.

Lopez and her former flame began dating in high school.

E!/ Twitter

According to People Magazine, the two got together when Lopez was 15 years old and they dated through the mid-1990s and broke up just before she took up her role in “Selena.” During their time together, Cruz was often spotted accompanying Lopez to premieres and entertainment events including the premier of “Money Train” premiere in November 1995, which saw Lopez starring alongside Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson.

Cruz’s longtime partner spoke with TMZ about his death describing him as “kind” and a “devoted father.”

“He was kind and loving. He never held on to anything and was always very open. He was a devoted father, he helped raise his step-son who is now in the Marines,” Cruz’s partner, identified only as Isa by TMZ said in a statement. “He loved the Yankees and Knicks. He loved going to the theatre with me. My favorite moment was family date night, because it wasn’t just special for me but for the kids as well. He always made sure to end things with an ‘I love you.'”

Lopez has yet to make a statement about Cruz’s death.

You Can Still Watch Kobe And Gianna Bryant’s Tearful Memorial Service

Entertainment

You Can Still Watch Kobe And Gianna Bryant’s Tearful Memorial Service

CNN / Twitter

It was a sad and reflective day at the Staples Center today as fans and friends of the late basketball player Kobe Bryant gathered to celebrate his life as well as that of his daughter Gianna Bryant. The memorial held in their honor saw guests speak about their lives, passion for the game of basketball and love for the people they left behind.

Here’s a look at the top most emotional moments from the memorial today.

Christina Aguilera’s “Ave Maria” performance

The six-time Grammy Award-winning singer Christina Aguilera took the stage at Staples to perform “Ave Maria” for Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s memorial service.

Shaq reflected on his rivalry with Kobe.

Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant’s long time competitor, opened up about life as his teammate.

“We fought and we bantered back and forth with offhanded remarks, but make no mistakes, and you folks thought we were on bad terms, and when the cameras were turned off we would wink at each other and said, ‘let’s go whip some ass.'”

O’Neil also shared a sweet anecdote about their relationship as teammates. “Kobe and I always maintained a deep respect and love with one another. The day Kobe gained my respect was when the guys were complaining, and they said, Kobe’s not passing the ball. I said I will talk to him. I said, Kobe, there’s no “I” in team, and he said, I know, but there’s a “Me” in that m**********r.” Shaq recalled he returned back to his other teammates and said “Just get the rebound, he’s not passing.”26 min ago

Michael Jordan described Kobe’s death saying “a piece of me died.”

Michael Jordan had long been attributed to being Kobe Bryant’s inspiration for his successful basketball careers. Speaking about learning about Bryant’s death, Jordan said “When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died.”

Kobe’s wife Vanessa brought the stadium to tears with her speech.

Though Kobe’s wife Vanessa gave her speech early on during the memorial, her’s was by far the most sentimental and emotional. Speaking about her daughter Giana, Vanessa recalled how she was “very thoughtful and always kissed me good night and kissed me good morning. There were a few occasions where I was absolutely tired from being up with Bianka and Capri, and i thought she had left to school without saying goodbye. I text and say, ‘No kiss?’ And Gianna would reply with, ‘Mama, I kissed you. You were asleep and I didn’t want to wake you.’ She knew how much her morning and evening kisses meant to me, and she was so thoughtful to remember to kiss me every day. She was daddy’s girl, but I know she loved her mama, and she would always show me and tell me that she loved me. She was one of my very best friends.”

Speaking about her husband Kobe, Vanessa recalled how “A couple weeks before they passed Kobe sent me a sweet text and mentioned how he wanted to spend time together, just the two of us, without our kids, because I am his best friend first. We never got the chance to do it. We were busy taking care of our girls and just doing our regular everyday responsibilities. But I’m thankful I have that recent text. It means so much to me. Kobe wanted us to renew our vows. He wanted Natalia to take over his company and he wanted to travel the world together. We talked about how we would be the fun grandparents to our daughters’ children. He would have been the coolest grandpa..”