Culture

Remembering Pedro Zamora, The HIV-Positive Man Who Changed Hearts And Minds While On ‘Real World: San Francisco’

Back in 1992, MTV first aired “The Real World,” which went on to define reality TV forever. The shows premise and tagline — “This is the true story…of seven strangers…picked to live in a house… and have their lives taped…to find out what happens…when people stop being polite…and start getting real… ” — seemed like a fresh concept. At the time, viewers were simply taking in how people from different backgrounds got along. A lot of the time, they didn’t. In the middle of all that TV drama, something unusual was taking place: viewers were meeting individuals that presented extraordinary stories. In the show’s 27-year span, only one person stood out among them all and is remembered for literally changing the world. 

In 1994, MTV’s “Real World” San Francisco featured a 22-year-old Cuban named Pedro Zamora. 

Credit: @dc408dxtr / Twitter

For those not familiar with Zamora, his life story is a remarkable one of survival. He was just 8-years-old when he and some of his family members left Cuba on the Mariel Boatlift and settled in Miami. Sadly, his mother died of cancer a couple of years later when he was 13. Zamora still excelled in school. It was around this time that he realized he was gay. While he did come out to his family, they mostly feared that Zamora would get discriminated against because of his sexuality. 

At 17, Zamora found out he contracted HIV and decided to bring awareness to his disease. 

Credit: @theadvocatemag / Twitter

While attending Miami Dade College, Zamora became a fierce AIDS educator. One of the most impressive traits that he possessed was that he could engage with people of different ages and backgrounds. He was a great speaker. It was his charming characteristics and profound knowledge that made him perfect for TV. He ventured into several famous talk shows of that time to speak about what it was like to be a young gay man living with AIDS. 

With the encouragement of friends, Zamora felt he could reach more people with his message of empathy and education about HIV and AIDS by auditioning to be on MTV’s “Real World.” Naturally, he was one of nine to be cast on the show. 

As a cast member on the show, Zamora helped to educate his housemates about living with AIDS. Those moments on MTV also informed millions of viewers. Zamora loved for people to learn about his Cuban culture. 

Credit: @simplymiatx23 / Twitter

Today with the lack of Latino representation in the arts and entertainment industry, we now see how rare it was to have two Cuban Americans on MTV talking about their culture and family. Another castmember that has continued to be in the limelight was Zamora’s housemate Rachel Campos Duffy. She was a young conservative back then, and she still is today as the wife of former GOP representative Sean Duffy (he too was a former cast member of the “Real World” Seattle). While Rachel and Zamora clashed on various topics, including his homosexuality, their bond broke through her closemindedness. 

While Zamora died shortly after the last episode of the “Real World” aired, his legacy continues to be inspiring 25 years later.

Zamora’s housemate and one of his loudest advocates today, Judd Winick, who wrote the 2000 book “Pedro and Me” said this on social media: 

“I’d ask that on this incredible milestone that we try to remember how he lived, and how he literally changed the world, rather than focusing on our loss of him. By appearing on The Real World in ‘94, he showed everyone what it was really like to be living with AIDS, to be living out, to love, to be loved by friends, supported by family—to have a full life. And it seems crazy that this was a lesson that needed to be taught. But it did.” 

Rachel echoed that sentiment on the 25th anniversary of his death on Twitter: “@RealWorldMTV changed many lives -including mine. #PedroZamora died 25 yrs ago today, but his impact lives on. I miss Pedro & the days when MTV respected young people enough to make shows like the Real World, San Francisco.”

For those of us who watched Zamora on the “Real World,” we learned about showing empathy and compassion for those that suffered AIDS and HIV and continue to live with it today. Zamora also taught viewers to always show kindness, respect, and love for one another.

Credit: nycaidsmemorial / Instagram

Click here for more information on the Pedro Zamora Young Leaders Scholarship and The Pedro Zamora Public Policy Fellowship

READ: A Single Mom On DACA Is One Of The Newest Cast Members On MTV’s New Season Of ‘The Real World

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Studies Say Women Are Struggling To Breastfeed For As Long As They Should, Fortunately, Latinas Are Sharing Their Best Tips

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Studies Say Women Are Struggling To Breastfeed For As Long As They Should, Fortunately, Latinas Are Sharing Their Best Tips

Jeff Topping / Getty

If there’s one thing mothers know to be true it’s that the difficulty of motherhood doesn’t end with childbirth. When it comes to motherhood, breastfeeding in particular often proves to be one of the most difficult early steps. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 57 percent of women who breastfeed continue to do so six months after giving birth. It’s a surprising number considering the fact that the CDC also recommends that women pursue the act of breastfeeding for six months at least and that the benefits of breastfeeding are extensive. Breastfeeding has long proven to aid in the prevention of diabetes in both mothers and children, as well as the prevention of childhood obesity, allergies, SIDS, and serious infections.

Still, the process can be trying and hard.

Fortunately, Latinas are sharing their tips and techniques for keeping up with breastfeeding.

If you’re at the start of your early breastfeeding days, check out some of the tips to help you make it through below.

“Don’t give up! It gets better! Seek out help from a lactation consultant at your OB/GYN’s office or hospital — some insurance plans cover the visit at no cost. Or contact your local La Leche League for free support from other nursing moms.” –mami.guevara

“Breastfed 5 babies…best advice is relax…and every baby is different…it’s okay to ask for help…” –mommy_dee55

“Breastfed for 2 1/2 years; first 5 months were the hardest! Take your time and be patient but MOST OF ALL do what’s best for you and your baby!!” –vida_de_maddrre

“Don’t be so hard on yourself, you are a great mom. No matter how your breastfeeding journey goes, your child will be loved. That is the best you can do for your child.” –noramia1

“I say just relax it takes time for some babies to latch on. But do what’s best for you, if you can’t breastfeed DON’T be ashamed, (and others need to stop the Mommy shaming!) you can use formula, it’s not the end of the world. I have two daughters the first one breastfeed til 19 months and my 9 month old is still breastfeeding. It’s not easy but all you new mom’s out there, just know you are great.” –angie17_lo

“Keep pumping and try milkmakers lactation cookies. They are delicious and helped me so much along with fenugreek vitamins. Be patient use formula when you need to. Do what works for you mama you know best for your baby, if it’s boob great if it’s formula great. Good luck.” –rosebuds00

“One👏🏽Day👏🏽At👏🏽A👏🏽Time… Breastfeeding is NOT easy! Do what best works for you.. Even if you can only pump….but don’t give up!”nursesandy_83

“Bruh yes I’m barely on 3 WEEKS and wondering how I’m going to make it to atleast my birthday (May).” –gabrielagnunez

“Don’t hesitate to switch to formula. I was unable to produce enough to feed my baby. Formula is a safe and nutritious alternative.” –partunicorn

“If you and your baby are not thriving, switch feeding tactics. You’re not a bad mom if breastfeeding doesn’t work for you.” –alexandriatrece

“Pump when needed. The bottle and formula are fine too. As long as your baby is getting nourishment. My kid was too lazy to take the boob. I ended up pumping and giving her a bottle. She got breast milk and I had so much milk for back up. It all works out. She ended up being weened of the bottle quickly. Sipping cups were her fave. She’s 28 and very healthy!” –mrsclny

“Patience is everything. If you plan on breastfeeding you must know it won’t be easy (or it will) but every baby is different. You’ll be nursing around the clock sometimes for hours on the couch or bed. But it’s doable and for me the best decision for my kids. Sometimes I wanted to stop, but I saw their little faces and bodies growing. It was empowering that I was nourishing them. Hang in their moms, again every journey is different. Some have to go back to work, pump.. other are at home. Whatever you decided is your choice. I nursed both my kids until 3 1/2.” –glendamurakami

“Hang in there mamis! It is so worth it. The pain, scabs, and unexpected let downs go away over a few weeks/months. It’s will be the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done.” –chicadel77

“this is why i pumped for a year, instead of direct nursing. there was a lot going on in my life and latching a baby to the breast at all hours of the day just seemed like too much. i’m still super happy that i was able to provide breastmilk for a year.” –damarysocana

“Every mom & every baby is different. Do what works for you & your baby. Ignore any & all negativity that goes your way. You brought a little human to this world; that’s your priority. Focus on your precious baby & enjoy your time with him/her, the time goes by so fast!” –glass.of.oj

“It’s hard. I tried and tried. My baby wouldn’t latch on and would not stop crying. Eventually I tried pumping but my supply gave out. My son is now 17 and he is a healthy, strong, kind young man. I’ll say this, try as hard as you can but if it doesn’t work, you know you did your best. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Normalize trying but finding a solution that works.” –adris_world220

“Value your own mental health too and switch to formula if you want to. It’s a safe, nutritious alternative.” –vivrami

“Seek a lactation consultant! Also, keep at it! More challenging than giving birth, according to my SO.” –sints.slrzno

“One day at a time. I breastfed all of my three children so I know how difficult and anxiety provoking it can sometimes be. No shame in fórmula at all. Do what works for you and be good to yourself.” –belkise.elena

“Just don’t give up! Keep offering it to baby and pump so you don’t get clogs. It takes a while to get into a rhythm but it will happen just have faith!5d1 likeReply

“Do whatever works for you. If it isn’t working that’s fine. No shame in formula and no shame in whipping your tittys out in public. Do whatever the fuck is best for you and your baby.” – stuffonstuff

“If you have the resources, seeing a lactation consultant is helpful. Pumping so you don’t become engorged if the baby is skipping feedings. I would say it took about three months to get a rhythm with my babies. Good luck.”- clarissava


“Nipple shield! Turns boob into bottle! Also pump the milk if they don’t latch and just bottle feed the breast milk. But mostly… Don’t sweat it! Sometimes babies just ween themselves off the booby, it’s natural!”- queen_of_my_castle_xx

“Keep pumping and try milkmakers lactation cookies. They are delicious and helped me so much along with fenugreek vitamins. Be patient use formula when you need to. Do what works for you mama you know best for your baby, if it’s boob great if it’s formula great. Good luck.”-rosebuds00

“Be patient and enjoy the moment. It seems like a long time but, time flies and you’ll miss it.” –galvanizestem


“Nursed each of my 4 kids for 2 years. Patience and perseverance are key. Listen to your body and your baby. There is no right or wing way to do it, only your way. What works for your family is it. Be open minded and flexible. Best of luck.” –dianapatricia_66


“I’ve breastfed 4 babies. One Set of Twins, one baby exclusively breastfed until 2yo and my last baby until 3.5yo. Each baby is different. They latch differently and your body will respond differently to each one. Best advice is to relax. I know it’s hard to hear, especially if you have so many other things to tend to. They feel it when you are tense. and find their favorite nursing position …try them all. You’ll find a sweet spot eventually. And feel free to allow yourself the option to supplement when needed.”-crdguzman

“I breastfeed exclusively for 2 years (no bottle, no formula, no pacifier)! Breastfeeding is the best you can do for yourself and your baby! There are so many resources out there and honestly misinformation is what causes a lot of women to never breastfeed or give up. If anyone needs help let me know!”- niraarin

“Yes, as many moms have said before don’t give up. I am currently breastfeeding exclusively to my 10month old son. I have breastfed my 2 children prior. He has definitely been the hardest! The first 5 months was filled with feelings of self doubt, guilt and pain. Now that he is 10 months, I can say i am more than glad to still be breastfeeding. It is so much easier to not worry about formula, bottles or anything. All I do is whip out my breast and that’s it. He is a happy happy baby! First few months you do have to be next to baby all day because of constant feedings and keep in mind your baby has been used to being in your womb for 9 months, it takes time lose that attachment. But keep going and you won’t regret it! Take time for yourself every once in a while and remember you created a little human who you have the ability to nourish. Our bodies have been blessed with that ability.”- vivalayumyums

“Pump when needed. The bottle and formula are fine too. As long as your baby is getting nourishment. My kid was too lazy to take the boob. I ended up pumping and giving her a bottle. She got breast milk and I had so much milk for back up. It all works out. She ended up being weened of the bottle quickly. Sipping cups were her fave. She’s 28 and very healthy!”- mrsclny



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Jada Pinkett Smith’s Mom Opened Up About Losing Someone To COVID-19 While On The ‘Red Table Talk’

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Jada Pinkett Smith’s Mom Opened Up About Losing Someone To COVID-19 While On The ‘Red Table Talk’

Jamie McCarthy / Getty

Updated December 19, 2020.

*Trigger Warning: this piece discusses domestic violence and rape and may be upsetting for some.*

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at1-800-656-4673. Or do an online chat.

If you’ve yet to have someone in your life personally affected by COVID-19 count yourself lucky. After all, since the outbreak, there have been 77,307,971 COVID-19 related deaths.

In a recent interview Gammy, AKA Adrienne Banfield-Norris, revealed that someone close to her passed away from COVID-19.

During a recent episode of “Red Table Talk” Adrienne her personal experiences with heartbreak.

“This year has really been the passing of my mother-in-law. It was [due to] COVID. It was very painful. And then not being able to gather and celebrate her life the way we ordinarily would,” Adrienne revealed. “I have had [a lot of romantic heartbreak in my life]. This one particular failure in one of my marriages that I really built up in my head that this was my one true love and I’ll never love like this again. It wasn’t a divorce that I wanted but at the end of the day when you really, really look at the relationship honestly it’s like, ‘This one’s going nowhere but to divorce.’ I really feel like you have to kind of take some time and be honest with yourself.”

Adrienne has been open about her relationship with her ex-husband in the past.

In an October episode of “The Red Table Talk,” Adrienne Banfield-Norris revealed that she had been raped in her marriage to Pinkett Smith’s father.

Rape by a spouse or a partner is an act of physical violence that is often overlooked and under talked about. While there’s been a growth in international attention regarding marital rape it is often widely considered a “gray area” subject even in the many countries where it is illegal. Actress Jada Pinkett Smith learned a hard truth about marital rape affected her parents’ marriage this week in an exclusive clip on the Red Table Talk. Speaking with her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and her daughter Willow Smith, the actress spoke about non-consensual sex with partners.

“So, Gam, you feel like nowhere in your history in regards to sexual intimacy have you felt like you had a sexual experience that was not necessarily consensual,” Pinkett Smith noted.

Banfield-Norris admitted “I have, I have, but it was also with my husband. Your dad, actually… So that’s really gray.”

Taking a moment to process, Pinkett Smith paused and that asked her mother to clarify “You’re basically saying you had non-consensual sex with my father,” she replied to her mother.

Banfield-Norris has noted how she became pregnant with Pinkett Smith in high school and married the actress’s father, Robsol Pinkett Jr soon after. After several months of marriage, the two divorced. In 2018, Pinkett Smith revealed in another episode of Red Table Talk that her mother had endured domestic violence from Robsol.

“I knew that my mother and my father had a very violent relationship early on,” Pinkett Smith explained. “She has a couple scars on her body that, as a child, I was just curious. I was like, ‘Oh, Mommy, what’s that? What’s that?’ … This will be the first time that Willow’s actually heard these stories about her grandfather who she knew.”

At the time, the three women talked about a scar on Banfield-Norris’s back which she received when Pinkett Smith’s father threw her over a banister.

“Not to make this like an excuse … but he was typically in an altered state when he was abusive like that,” Banfield-Norris said. “He was typically drunk… “I think women stay because they think that they’re in love. That’s what it was for me. I thought that it was love.”

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