Entertainment

25 Latino TV And Movie Characters That Stole Your Niñez

If you grew up in the 90s, you’re aware of how different TV looks today vs. back in the day. In an era packed with so many Latina stars like Gina Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Selena Gomez, and Jennifer Lopez it’s kind of weird to look back and remember how absent such faces were almost two decades ago. Why? Because straight up: flipping on the TV and finding Latino TV and movie characters was quite a rarity in the 90s. Fortunately, there were a few characters around to shape our understanding of what it meant to be Latino in our youth.

Here’s to the trendy, geeky, rebellious Latino TV and movie characters who gave us strange new feelings, nuanced understandings of sexuality, and brought a bit more color to whitewashed screens.

1. Benny ‘The Jet’ Rodriguez  from “The Sandlot”

Latino TV
CREDIT: 20th Century Fox

Okay, hold up. First. Just look at those eyes^^^^^^^

There’s no denying that this brown-eyed heartthrob had a huge influence in the spark of your sexual awakening. Not only was Benny the cutest guy on the team, he also shined through as the team’s star player and went on to the Dodgers. All this despite the times and the white suburban neighborhood he lived in. 100% Benny is an inspiration and credit to Latinos who knock their dreams out of the park. Seriously, get yourself a major leaguer like this guy.

2. Sam Swoboda from “P.U.N.K.S.”

CREDIT: Disney

Jessica Alba’s character, Sam, was one mean girl in this flick about a group of bullied teens aiming to shut down a corrupted company. For those of us who had a limited view of the parameters of what Latina could be, Sam’s character was a massive wakeup call. Sure, makeup and dresses can be our thing, but Sam taught us that we could get down and dirty right next to the boys. Even better we could run the show and be leaders of the pack.

3. Rickie Vasquez  from “My So-Called Life”

CREDIT: ABC

It all seems like yesterday, but looking back at the 90s its hard not to flinch at the reminders of how rampant negative portrayals of Latino characters and homosexuals was. And yet, a positive representation of the LGBT community unexpectedly emerged on a little teen drama called “My So-Called Life.” Rickie Vasquez. He rocked a mean eyeliner, used the girls’ bathroom as a safe haven, and kept his friends in check while remaining fiercely loyal to them. Rickie was a massive launching pad for TV’s understanding of sexual fluidity that the 90s desperately needed.

4. Ruby from “Kids”

There’s no way Mima let you watch this film while you were a kid in the 90s. Bets are that you watched this with one eye on the door and a finger ready to hit “last.” Ruby (played by Cuban Puertorriqueña, Rosario Dawson) was the ringleader of a group of sexually active teenage girls doing quite a lot a little too soon. While Ruby didn’t always shine as a beacon of sexual responsibility, she did open our eyes to dark realities to come in our teen years.

5. A.C. Slater from “Saved by the Bell”

CREDIT: NBC

Muscles ― lo siento, Mario ― Mario Lopez portrayed U.S. Army Brat A.C. Slater and took things to a next level for us (sexuality wise) after Benny Rodriguez. One peck ripple from A.C. and there’s no questioning what stripped us of the remainder of our Latina youth. And still, despite A.C’s heritage never being a thing in the early days of SBTB (though, there is an entire episode dedicated to Slater discovering his Chicano identity in “The College Years”) we all knew what was up. Besides Lisa Turtle, A.C. was one of the few people of color portrayed on the show which was a big deal considering how massive the show was. It always felt good knowing that we could flip on the TV and see someone who looked like us. LBR, especially one that was so guapo.

6. Ashley Banks from “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”

CREDIT: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Ashley Banks herself might not have been a Latina character, but Tatyana M. Ali whose parents are Trinidadian and Panamanian identifies herself as Afro-Latina. As a non-Latina character on the show, there’s no doubt Ashely still had some influence on us as kids. She was a smart, beautiful and witty girl of color and TV was missing quite a bit of that. While initially young Ashley did her best to model her dope older cousin Will, it wasn’t long before she began to grow into her own. She developed her own taste in music and fashion all while pushing against the tight reins of father Phil. In short, she became ultimate #rebelforindepence goals.

7. Selena Quintanilla from “Selena”

CREDIT: Warner Bros.

Of course, Selena tops this list (she will never stop topping lists and don’t you ever forget that). Selena is, was, has, and always will be the ultimate on-screen big older sister for Latinas everywhere. Ask any Latina who grew up in the 90s which female character inspired her the most as a woman and find us a gal who doesn’t name Selena. That’s because she taught all about the washing machine, the power of will, grace, and how bras could moonlight as bustiers. For that, everyone should be incredibly grateful.

8. Taina Morales from “Taina”

CREDIT: Nickelodeon

“I know I can’t wait to see my name in lights. No one’s gonna stop me, you’ll see,” went the theme song to the Nickelodeon hit series Taina. The two-season show was about a young Latina, played by Puerto Rican actress Christina Vidal, growing up in Queens, New York who had dreams of becoming a star. With her determination and dedication, we watched her try to make it to the top and conquer her superstardom in high school. The Nuyorican teen showed us what growing up Latina was all about. In Taina, we saw a girl like us, someone hoping for the perfect quinceañera, gushing over crushes, struggling to write in Spanish, trying to understand the African, indigenous and Spaniard influence on Latinx culture and relatives who always worked to instill Boricua pride. She stayed true to her heritage while never giving up on her dreams, and we needed to see that.

9. Channel Simmons from “The Cheetah Girls”

CREDIT: Disney

Over on the Disney Channel, Channel “Chuchie” Simmons brought all the Latina flavor to the hit TV film “The Cheetah Girls.” The movie is about four New York teenagers who are trying to get their music group to go big time. Chuchie, played by Puerto Rican-Ecuadorian singer-actress-host Adrienne Bailon, particularly embraced her Latina culture in the second film, when the girls visited Spain, but she was relatable to all young viewers. While juggling friendship problems, her mom’s dating life and trying to make it to the top, she was never afraid to speak her mind, just like the Latinas we know and love in our real lives. Even through the Cheetahlicious breakups (because there were many), she remained strong and held the group together.

10. Miranda Sanchez from “Lizzie McGuire”

CREDIT: Disney

Lizzie McGuire’s right-hand girl was BFF goals: loyal, funny and always stylish — oh, and she’s mexicana. In the hit series, Miranda Sanchez, portrayed by Filipino-American actress Lalaine Vergara-Paras, celebrated Day of the Dead, a Mexican tradition showing her character getting in touch with her roots, and spoke Spanish. Miranda always had a unique fashion sense and bold hair styles in every episode, which is part of what made her character so interesting. She embraced sisterhood and friendship, making her the best friend many young girls wished to have in real life.

11. Alex Russo from “Wizards of Waverly Place”

CREDIT: Disney

Mexican-Italian Alex Russo, played by Selena Gomez, was the protagonist of Wizards of Waverly Place, a Disney Channel series about siblings whose parents were teaching them how to master their wizardry. Alex, a New York-based high schooler, had a very strong personality and bold attitude. The series was one of the first to portray a biracial Latina lead, showing the teen struggling to speak Spanish and embracing her mother’s traditions by having a quinceañera. As more Latinas intermarry, this representation is ever more imperative.

12. LaCienega Boulevardez from “The Proud Family”

CREDIT: Disney

Also on the Disney Channel was Lacienega Boulevardez, an Afro-Latina character on the cartoon The Proud Family. Voiced by dominicana Alisa Reyes, Boulevardez wasn’t always the nicest. She was the frenemy and neighbor of Penny Proud, the protagonist of the show. But with her name and bold personality, there is no forgetting her. She was vital because she was one of the first representations of a Black Latina, allowing many young viewers to be able to say, “she looks just like me.”

13. Carmen Cortez from “Spy Kids”

CREDIT: Dimension Films

Carmen Cortez was the definition of a badass Latina! The lead in ”Spy Kids,” a film about young siblings who become spies in attempt to save their parents, her strength and courage were important to display on-screen, not just for young Latinas but rather for girls everywhere. Played by colombiana Alexa PenaVega, Carmen was a strong, fearless and outspoken girl who cared immensely about her family and always fought for what she believed in. In 2001, when “Spy Kids” released, we didn’t see many females, let alone young girls, portrayed in media as brave leaders. It hasn’t been until recently, with shows and films like Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, ”Black Panther,” ”Hidden Figures” and, for the youngsters, Elena of Avalor, that we are beginning to see strong and intelligent women of color being represented in the media, so “Spy Kids” offering this representation was major.

14. Betty Suarez from “Ugly Betty”

CREDIT: “Ugly Betty” /ABC

Betty Suarez was not portrayed as the stereotypical Latina. Her character, played by Honduran-American actress America Ferrera, wasn’t seen as the ideal beauty standard. Typically, Latinas are depicted as sexy, curvy, spicy and sassy women. But Ugly Betty, an ABC series about a smart and hardworking Latina from Queens, New York who lands a job as an assistant for a major fashion magazine, showed young Latinas a different kind of beauty. Betty wasn’t just focused on her looks but was goal-driven and determined to break into media, which she did — even though she dealt with tons of ups and downs along the way. She was unapologetically herself, a trait that every young Latina needed to see.

15. Lorena Garcia from “The Brothers García”

CREDIT: Nickelodeon

The Brothers García, a Nickelodeon series about a Mexican-American family growing up in San Antonio, Texas, was centered on boys, but Lorena, the sole sister and a twin, stood out. Being the only girl in her family, she had a lot to prove. Played by Puerto Rican-German-Russian actress Vaneza Pitynski, she did just about everything to get her parents’ attention in a home filled with boys — something anyone of us who grew up with brothers knows all about.

16. Tori Vega from “Victorious”

CREDIT: Nickelodeon

“You don’t have to be afraid to put your dream in action. You’re never gonna fade. You’ll be the main attraction. Not a fantasy, just remember me, when it turns out right,” goes the score for Nickelodeon’s Victorious, a series about a Latina teen who attends a performing arts school. Tori Vega, played by the part-Puerto Rican Victoria Justice, was a character that many young girls could relate to — or aspire to be. She was determined, strong-minded and confident in chasing her dream of becoming a singer while helping her friends achieve their own goals along the way.

17. The entire cast from “East Los High”

Starring Danielle Vega, Gabriel Chavarria, Alicia Sixtos, and Vannessa Vasquez the storylines and characters from the show completely blow our minds every time we tune in.

18. Santana Lopez from “Glee”

CREDIT: Fox

Santa was always prepped with withering stank faces / gripe but the proud lesbian was undoubteldy one of the most exciting characters on the show. She was unapologetic about who she was and her love Brittany.

19.  Gina Torres from “Firefly”

CREDIT: Fox

The Afro-Latina dream had a huge play in the plot’s storyline and was undoubtedly the leader of the pack when it came to this cult show.

20. Dani from “Glee”

Demi Lovato’s character might have only been Introduced in series’ fifth season, but she was KEY to our love for the show. The waitress from NYC captures our love and attention from the get-go.

21. Marco from “Animorphs”

CREDIT: Nickelodeon

Anyone tuning into Nickelodeon back in the hey-day knows that Marco was the coolest guy on the show. He had a great sense of humor and chose to look at the world with a sense of ease.

22. Cassie from “Animorphs

CREDIT: Nickelodeon

The most compassionate of the Animorphs, CassieShe was kind and empathetic and often met conflict with a level head.

23. Boonie from “The Luck of the Irish”

CREDIT: Disney Channel

Sure Kyle was at the center of the show but Bonnie Lopez was the the true star of this hit. Bonnie had no issues calling Kyle out on his privilege and ability to coast through life with ease.

24. Gloria from “Cadet Kelly”

CREDIT: Cadet Kelly (2002)

Gloria Ramos, played by Aimee Garcia, might not have been the star of this Disney classic but she sure was the bones of it. Without her help, Kelly never would have been able to ensure that Kelly finishes her course.


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Family Sets Up GoFundMe To Help Paletero In Chicago Retire

Things That Matter

Family Sets Up GoFundMe To Help Paletero In Chicago Retire

Michaelangelo Mosqueda / GoFundMe

Every now and then there is a video or some news that bubbles up through the noise that makes you feel good. There’s another one of those stories coming out of Chicago thanks to a family helping a local paletero.

A viral video shows a family buying a paletero’s entire cooler of paletas.

The family wanted to help the paletero finish his work for the day because it was Father’s Day. After buying him out, the family decided to go one further for the older mand and set up a GoFundMe to help him retire for the life of selling paletas. Don Rosario, the paletero in the video, is 70 years old and is a staple of the East Side community in Chicago.

A GoFundMe for his retirement is raising a lot of money to help him out.

Selling paletas is exhausting work. Walking around all day long in the heat while trying to sell paletas is a demanding job. This family is taking it on themselves to help Rosario finally retire from the work so he can rest and enjoy his golden years.

There was so much love for Rosario that the fundraiser had to be closed and then reopened.

The family who set up the GoFundMe closed the fundraiser at one point, according to an update. This is because they were waiting to get his contact info and the fundraiser has exploded to more than $40,000. Then, after getting the info and enough interest to keep donating, the fundraiser was reopened. If you want to add to Rosario’s growing pot, you can click here.

The act of kindness that started on Father’s Day is still going and giving people hope.

These are dark times. We are still battling a virus. The U.S. is being forced to finally confront centuries of racial inequality. There are so many things happening that can make us mad. However, stories like these remind us that there is still so much good happening out there.

This is a ray of light in a world that is often so confusing right now.

“We’ve been left speechless, there were people from all over the states donating,” Michaelangelo Mosqueda, the GoFundMe creator, told Block Club Chicago. “It has been really eye-opening to see that when we all come together we do some great things for others.”

READ: Starbucks Barista Who Told A Karen To Wear A Mask Receives More Than $49k In Tips

Three Other Minneapolis Police Charged In George Floyd’s Murder, Chauvin’s Murder Charge Upgraded

Things That Matter

Three Other Minneapolis Police Charged In George Floyd’s Murder, Chauvin’s Murder Charge Upgraded

Stephen Maturen / Getty Images

Update June 3, 2020, 12:17 p.m. PST: Protests for justice for George Floyd have continued unabated for a week across the country. The protests are having an effect on the investigation into the murder of George Floyd and Attorney General Keith Ellison is pursuing more charges.

Senator Amy Klobuchar broke the news on Twitter about the new charges being filed in George Floyd’s death.

Sen. Klobuchar represents Minnesota and has received criticism over her tenure as the Hennepin County district attorney. Sen. Klobuchar did not seek charges against fired police officer Derek Chauvin in a 2006 police-involved shooting. Chauvin is the man seen in the video kneeling on George Floyd’s neck.

After a week of sustained and growing protests across the country, AG Ellison is upgrading Chauvin’s charges from third-degree murder to second-degree murder and the three other officers in the video will be charged with aiding and abating second-degree murder.

“This is a bittersweet moment for the family of George Floyd,” reads a statement by George Floyd’s family and their attorney Benjamin Crump in a joint statement. “We are deeply gratified that Attorney General Keith Ellison took decisive action in this case, arresting and charging all the officers involved in George Floyd’s death and upgrading the charge against Derek Chauvin to felony second-degree murder.”

Update June 1, 2020, 2:00 p.m. PST: An independent autopsy paid for by George Floyd’s family has found that he died as a result of asphyxiation. The announcement comes after days of unrest across the country that has attracted international attention and support.

An independent autopsy conducted at the request of George Floyd’s family claims that his death was a homicide.

According to multiple reports, an independent autopsy on George Floyd found that he died as a result of “homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain.”

According to the autopsy conducted by Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson, Floyd died at the scene from the weight of the officers on top of him. His being handcuffed and his positioning on the ground by the cops contributed to his death.

“What we found is consistent with what people saw,” Dr. Baden said in an emailed release, according to HuffPost. “There is no other health issue that could cause or contribute to the death. Police have this false impression that if you can talk, you can breathe. That’s not true.”

Minneapolis officials have not released a full report on the medical examiner’s autopsy. However, officials have made it a point to say that there was no evidence that Floyd died of asphyxiation from the officer kneeling on his back and neck.

The country has witnessed ongoing protests since the video of Floyd’s death circulated on social media. Derek Chauvin, the police officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck, has been arrested and charged with Floyd’s death. Protesters are demanding that the three other officers, who have been fired, be arrested for assisting and contributing to Floyd’s death.

Original: George Floyd is the latest Black man killed by the police. The Minneapolis resident was allegedly trying to pass a counterfeit $20 when police were called. The resulting arrest and death were captured on video and have gone viral on social media. Stephen Jackson, one of Floyd’s closest friends is rallying support against the police officers responsible.

Fired police officer Derek Chauvin has been arrested for George Floyd’s death.

The news broke on the morning of May 29 the fired police officer Chauvin was arrested for Floyd’s death. Black leaders gathered at Minneapolis City Hall and cautiously celebrated the news of justice. Organizers and community members are not satisfied with one arrest. Protesters and organizers are calling for all of the officers involved in Floyd’s death to be arrested. He is being charged with thrid-degree murder and manslaughter.

Floyd’s arrested sparked national outrage and reignited the “I Can’t Breathe” protests. The death of Floyd reminded people or Eric Garner who told police he couldn’t breathe when he was killed in 2014.

Minneapolis has faced mounting pressure from around the country as protests have sprung up demanding justice. The nation has been watching images of Minneapolis on social media and news channels.

Stephen Jackson, a former NBA player and Floyd’s best friend, has taken to social media to grieve and organize.

Jackson took to Instagram when he first learned about Floyd’s death. Jackson shared that Floyd had moved to Minnesota to get his life back on track. Floyd was working as a truck driver and was changing his life, according to Jackson.

“This is what I’ve got to wake up to. This is what I’ve got to wake up to, huh? Floyd was my brother, man,” Jackson says in the video. “We called each other twin, bro. Everybody knows that me and Floyd called each other twin.”

Jackson adds: “My boy was doing what he was supposed to do and y’all killed my brother, man. I’m on my way to Minnesota, man. Whatever I can do. I can’t let this ride, dawg. Y’all not going to be mad until this hits your front door. It’s bullshit.”

The sentiment has been echoed by supporters of Floyd who are seeking justice.

Surveillance footage released from a restaurant where the arrest took place shows a different story than what was originally reported by the police. The police officers at the scene claimed that Floyd was resisting arrest and that that was when the officers attacked. According to released surveillance video, Floyd was not resisting arrest.

The four officers involved in the death have been fired from the Minneapolis Police Department, but people are demanding justice.

Protests have popped up across the country as people demand justice for Floyd’s death. Derek Chauvin, the police officer identified as the man who knelt on Floyd’s neck till he died, has 18 complaints against him for excessive force. Protesters are demanding the Chauvin face charges for the death of Floyd.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who ran for the Democratic nomination, has been called out for not filing charges against Chauvin in the past.

Chauvin has a long record of excessive force and Sen. Klobuchar seemingly ignored it. According to The Guardian, Chauvin was involved in a police shooting of an unarmed man in 2006. Sen. Klobuchar was the Hennepin county attorney at the time and did not bring charges against Chauvin for his involvement in the 2006 shooting. Instead, the case went to a grand jury in 2008 where it was determined that no charges would be brought against the officers involved.

As of now, there are no plans from the police department to bring charges against the four former officers.

Mike Freeman, Hennepin County’s current attorney, told the press that there was evidence that supported the police officers. Freeman said that while the video is graphic, there is evidence supporting that the police did not commit a crime in the arrest.

The mayor of Minneapolis is pushing to Hennepin county attorney Mike Freeman to file charges.

“There are precedents and protocols sitting in the reserves of institutions just like this one that will give you about a thousand reasons not to do something,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey told the press. “Not to speak out. Not to act so quickly. And I’ve wrestled with, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, one fundamental question: ‘Why is the man who killed George Floyd, not in jail?’

Other Hennepin County officials have expressed a similar concern. The pressure is mounting on the Minneapolis Police Department to arrest the officers involved in Floyd’s death in the hope of seeking justice.

READ: Horrific Footage Shows Police Officers Shooting Teen In The Back Of The Head And His Partner’s Response Is Shocking