Entertainment

These Pics Of Sweet Bodega Cats Are Proof That The United States Does Have A Royal Family

OK,  so you’re a sorry person you might be wondering what the heck a “bodega cat” is, right? Well, a bodega cat is a special and hard-working kind of kitty who often lives in a ship or has taken a stroll away from home to find comfort in strangers…. and by comfort we mean food, comida, la papa. If you want a longer def, then you can find one here (and of course, remember gatitos are the kings and queens of the Internet). These kitties are often found near delis, lonjas mercantiles or anywhere that sells food. As we said, sometimes bodega cats actually live in the shop and will do anything within their means to get some abracitos y mimos from the customers! They often become legendary dwellers of their hoods.

They will employ their best gatito de Shrek antics to get a slice of pastrami or a little bit of queso, or perhaps a little cuddle, and like any good cat, they will just ignore you once their feline cravings have been satisfied. Just so you are prepared next time you encounter one of these, this is what we mean by gatito de Shrek (yes, we know he is the Puss in Boots, but us Latinos call him differently):

Credit: Puss in Boots / Dreamworks

And without further ado, these are some of the most tiernos y descarados bodega cats on the web:

This New Yorker who has made the streets his paradise

Credit: Twitter. @literElly

Just look at the masterful way that this bodega cat seductively twists and turns around Elly Belle’s ankle. Hard to say no!

Mayor Tom, a sus ordenes

Credit: Instagram. @fernandothebodegacat

Tom is laying the law of the land straight away: if you want anything you will need to pay him some attention, and some respect. He will be by your ankle, tus tobillos, of course! Are we the only ones who think cats were put on this planet to be the stars of the Internet?

Want a B&J ice cream? Well, too bad, I am just cooling here!

Credit: Instagram. @fernandothebodegacat

Good luck to whoever wants to grab an helado in this shop. That bodega cat is not going anywhere. Do we blame him?

Just woke up from my long siesta

Credit: Instagram. @mrmatthoffman

Just look at that rico bostezo. This cat found the perfect nap spot behind the Premium crackers. Just be careful next time you visit the shop: you don’t want to unleash hell by waking him up!

This cat found an ally!

Credit: Instagram. @rob_banks

Very cute. These two seem to have hit it up. This animal defender will surely visit this bodega cat often, and perhaps bring some fishy treats with him. This kitty struck gold: a co-dependent lifelong friendship with a human.

Do not disturb, por el amor de Dios

Credit: Instagram. @catswhoroam

That bag of Book Chicka Pops seems to be the best pillow ever. This cat is just so comfy we even feel like peeping toms looking at this picture!

The guardian of the chelas

Credit: Instagram. @photon41

This minino knows that when new boxes of cerveza arrive, it is of the uttermost importance to guard them. Just look at the serious and committed expression on its face. Well done, chaparrito.

This is one aristocratic cat

Credit: Instagram. @bauerwines

Everything in the dweller of this bottle shop screams class: from the long whiskers to the furry chest to the aristocratic way in which he yawns. Perhaps some sherry, my lord?

Cats of anarchy! 

Credit: Instagram. @devilsreject13

According to common lore, if you cross a black cat you will face bad luck. But this one is just so cute on that motorbike. Or, is he part of a biker gang? Shall we call Ron Perlman and ask if he is part of Sons of Anarchy?

Ready to jump! Watch out!

Credit: Instagram. @klararob

This cat by the name of Max seems to be ready to jump on the first customer that walks in. We wonder what is going through his animal mind? Sardines, perhaps.

No, kid, no chocolate today!

Credit: Instagram. @izzy_sabbath

We love, and are terrified by, the judgmental look on this fluffy face. No chocolate for you today, escuincle. Or perhaps he is shaming an adult cliente for having a Kinder huevito every day.

Cat not for sale

Credit: Instagram. @laurasplan

Cats and boxes are like chicken and rice, peas and carrots… we just want to clarify that this cat was not being sold! He just loves to spread sus patitas open wide in this box.

Guardia de lujo

Credit: Instagram. @heyitsarongold

No, he is not a criminal. This cat is there as a customer service liaison for the shop and is ready to assist you if you have any questions in regards to the operation of the Automatic Teller Machine. Ha.

This gatito de bodega sure strikes a pose! 

Credit: Instagram. @brookejaconpetphotography

Just look at how professional this cat’s modeling is. It captures the golden hour perfectly, and that look towards el horizonte near the Yucateco sauce bottles and the Cholula sauce box would surely make a spreadsheet in a fashion magazine. Miau!

We want this on a t-shirt, like as of yesterday!

Credit: Instagram. @gerardoromo via @carmenmt347

What a cool design. It is influenced by pop art and yet captures the magnificence of bodega cats. Can we buy a t-shirt or poster now, please? Take our money

Florecita roquera

Credit: Instagram. @sellinggotham

Ohh la la! No bad luck at all bumping into this amazing New York scene, with fresh tulips and a gorgeous black cat. Can it get more urban chic than this?

Ask Nelson, if you can wake him up that is

Credit: Instagram. @elctwit

Nelson seems to have an appointed role in customer service, but he also seems to not give a damn. Good for him. Long, restful periods of sleep are important for any employee.

Come back soon, have a nice day!

Credit: Instagram. @lizbreeezy

We would totally come back to this shop if this awesome one-eyed cat was there to bid us goodbye. We love that he is having a happy life, as evidenced by his lovely panza. We just want to scratch his tummy!

Bodega cat in training

Credit: Instagram. @jolenesiana

This kitten has all the necessary attributes to become a great bodega cat: the posture, the intensity in his gaze and a very healthy dose of cuteness. We can’t wait to see where his career takes him!

Hipster bodega cats, of course, giving us all the High Fidelity vibes

Credit: Instagram. @castleblackpaw

This super hipster gatito lives in a record store that sells vinyl and of course wears a jeans vest. He has that Marlon Brando air about him and is plain awesome. Can someone sign a sponsorship deal with him already?

Last but not least: the smart cat who found summer relief in the fridge

Credit: Instagram. @fernandothebodegacat

New York can get pretty hot in the summer, and muy humid, so Fernando found the perfect spot inside the fridge. If it is beer o’clock he can just crack open a Red Stripe and feel the sweet flavors of Jamaica travel his furry body.

For The First Time Ever, A Black Girl Was Cast To Play Marie For The New York City Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’

Entertainment

For The First Time Ever, A Black Girl Was Cast To Play Marie For The New York City Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’

officialcharlottenebres / Instagram

Who doesn’t love the holiday season? From the food and decorations to the Christmas specials and “The Nutcracker,” the holidays usher in a fun season for everyone. The New York City Ballet is changing some traditions and cast the first Black girl to play Marie in the famous ballet.

The New York City Ballet’s rendition of “The Nutcracker” will have its very first Black ballet dancer in the lead role of Marie.

Credit: girls_with_confidence / Instagram

Playing Marie will be 11-year-old Charlotte Nebres, who attends the School of American Ballet. The New York Times reports that the New York City Ballet chooses its young dancers typically from that roster of children that attend that school. 

Danielle Nebres, Charlotte’s mother, recalled to The New York Times, the moment that her daughter informed her that she got the role. Charlotte casually told her mom that she won the part of Marie (out of 180 dancers) without making a big deal about it. 

“With that poker face of hers, she said, ‘Well, I’m Marie,’ And I just thought, oh my goodness — they really did it,” Danielle told The New York Times. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Charlotte was told that she would be the first Black Marie ever to be cast by The New York City Ballet, to which she responded, “Wow. That seems a little late.”

Credit: westindianamericans / Instagram

Yes, it is! For Charlotte, who’s only 11 years old, she isn’t as conditioned to witness white people in most lead roles and in general. She grew up watching another Black pioneer in ballet, Misty Copeland. 

“I saw her perform, and she was just so inspiring and so beautiful,” Charlotte told The New York Times. “When I saw someone who looked like me on stage, I thought, that’s amazing. She was representing me and all the people like me.”

Charlotte isn’t the only person of color in the year’s season of The Nutcracker. The cast also includes “Tanner Quirk, who is half-Chinese, as her prince; Sophia Thomopoulos, who is half-Korean and half-Greek as the other Marie; and Kai Misra-Stone, who is half-South Asian, as Sophia’s prince,” People magazine reports. Charlotte herself is half-Trinidad, half Filipino. 

A New York City Ballet official said Charlotte wasn’t chosen to diversify the cast, but rather because she embodied the role of Marie completely.

Credit: westindianamericans / Instagram

“When I’m looking for someone who can do Marie, I’m looking for someone primarily who has an ability to act on stage and to convey a story,” Dena Abergel, children’s ballet master at New York City Ballet, told CNN. “It has to be someone who can command the stage and who has enough confidence and spontaneity to handle whatever comes her way.”

The School of American Ballet has, however, made a point to diversify its students. They are, after all, the ones who teach future stage dancers. The New York Times reports that in the past seven years, only 62 students are of mixed race, 12 of them identify as Black, and of that group only four in total are women. Now, since the school is trying to diversify its class, the New York City Ballet has more diversity to choose from. 

“Because I have the diversity of students and the pool to choose from that is diverse, some of those students will end up being the leads, and it just happened to work out without my even realizing it that all four were of some mixed diversity,” Abergel said to CNN. “And that’s just mirroring what’s happening in New York City and around the world.”

We love seeing more inclusivity in fictional characters that have been typically portrayed by white people.

Credit: rachelzegler / Instagram

In recent years, we’ve seen several famous fictional characters, including Ariel from “The Little Mermaid,” Cinderella, and even Maria, from “The West Story,” which were all previously played by white women. These stories are now being revised and played by women of color in order to show where our society has always been and how it is growing. 

For Charlotte, however, while the inclusion of a black girl in The Nutcracker is a big deal for her, this is all about dancing. 

“To me, it just feels like when I dance I feel free, and I feel empowered,” Charlotte told the New York Times. “I feel like I can do anything when I dance. It makes me happy, and I’m going to do what makes me happy. You don’t need to think about anything else.”

Click here to try to score tickets to this show. 

READ: Elisa Carrillo Made History As The First Mexican Woman To Win This Prestigious Ballet Award And She Dedicated It To Her Home Country

The US Congress Has Passed A New Law That Will Finally Put An End To Cockfighting In Puerto Rico

Culture

The US Congress Has Passed A New Law That Will Finally Put An End To Cockfighting In Puerto Rico

lu_jcs / Instagram

Before Spain colonized what we now call Puerto Rico, cockfighting was virtually nonexistent on the island. Spanish culture has long celebrated the entertainment value of watching animals fight to their death, from animals as small as chickens to as large as bulls. When Spain colonized Puerto Rico in the 17th century, imperialists brought their love of cockfighting to the island. Whatever your opinions on cockfighting, today, it’s become part of Puerto Rican culture. In fact, Puerto Ricans refused to take orders from their subsequent ruler, the United States, during a 34-year prohibition of cockfighting. 

Still, Congress is once again flexing its arm to eradicate the blood sport on the island. Animal activists had lobbied to enact a complete ban, including the last remaining U.S. territories, which includes Puerto Rico. 

Puerto Ricans are calling the ban on cockfighting an attack on their culture.

Credit: @duckm4st3r / Twitter

Vice called cockfighting “Puerto Rico’s most resilient industry” in 2016, but the $100 million industry has been in decline. Since 1985, the number of licensed arenas has nearly halved from 132 arenas to just 64 regulated arenas remaining. Still, around one million Puerto Ricans attend fights every year, which contributes to the livelihood of the veterinarians and cockfighters who profit off the blood sport.

Then governor Ricardo Rosselló didn’t travel to Washington in time to fight the bill.

Credit: hernansphotos / Instagram

Many Puerto Ricans feel like their status as a “U.S. territory” remains a euphemism for the reality: that Puerto Rico remains the world’s oldest colony. While a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico has no voice in Congress, the legislative body that passed the bill into effect, as part of a sweeping measure to limit animal cruelty across the United States. 

Even Puerto Ricans who reject the sport as a celebration of animal cruelty, still find it paternalistic for culture to be policed. It could have been a celebration of decolonizing the island from Spain’s rule, but Puerto Rican’s voices were silenced in the decision-making process. That said, a Humane Society poll of 1,000 registered Puerto Rican voters found that the majority of respondents supported the ban.

In a natural environment, roosters only fight when forced.

Credit: @BLaw / Twitter

According to Paul Siegel, a fowl genetics expert, cockfights are a rarity in the natural world because the weaker bird usually flees. “If there’s a way to escape, they’ll just get the heck out,” Siegel told PETA. Cockfighters deliberately create an arena that they cannot escape from. 

Animal activists think profit is no excuse for the cruelty inflicted on the birds.

Credit: @MagnoliaNews / Twitter

Then, they hot glue razor spurs to the roosters’ sensitive feet, and allow the roosters to fight to the death. Often, cockfighters will amputate the bony spurs roosters are born with, in order to glue the more fatal weapons on. Before entering the ring, cockfighters will pluck the feathers off their thighs so that they won’t be weakened by the pain of it happening in the ring. Before those crucial moments, they spend the majority of their lives socially isolated behind chicken wire.

“It’s like taking care of a baby,” cockfighter Wilfredo Burgo told Vice. “You take care of it from the egg. But you get used to it when they die.”

While cockfighters are feeling attacked by the U.S. government, they plan to fight back.

Credit: @Newarkguy1973 / Twitter

In the weeks after Congress passed the cockfighting ban, cockfighters were admittedly depressed, and stayed home from the fights. Six weeks later, two thousand cockfighters rallied outside the capitol building, thrusting their prized roosters into the air. San Juan’s mayor, Carmen Yulín Cruz, vowed that her city police forces will enforce the law, and that, “if federal agents want to, they’ll have to do it alone!”

“I’m a sixth-generation cockfighter,” José Torres, a trainer of fighting roosters, told NPR. “This is how I support my family. But I also inherited this. I was going to pass this onto my children.” Torres already informed his family that if the police show up at his door to confiscate the 250 roosters living in cages in his backyard, they will have to kill him first. He claims that there are thousands of cockfighters who plan for bloodshed the moment the ban is enforced.

Many are predicting that cockfighting will become an underground sport once again.

Credit: @j_lion_the_best / Twitter

Cockfighters are estimating that there are probably around 1 million roosters raised to fight on the island. Federal agents will likely euthanize the majority of the birds, sparing them an otherwise violent death.

READ: Puerto Rico Was Purposefully Denied Disaster Relief They Were Guaranteed By The Federal Government