Entertainment

People Are Freaking Out About The High-Pitched Character Danny Trejo, AKA Machete, Voices In The New “Dora The Explorer” Movie

Dora The Explorer / Nickelodeon

“Dora the Explorer” isn’t the same little bilingual cartoon girl anymore. In the live action sequel, “Dora and the Lost City of Gold,” we get to see Dora venture into high school and navigate life as a pretty eccentric, curious teenager. The latest trailer for the movie, which hits theaters in less than a month, just dropped and we all have opinions.

The cast looks incredible. Eva Longoria and Michael Peña play Dora’s parents. Danny Trejo will be playing the unnervingly high-pitched voice of Boots the Monkey. Benicio del Toro will play the voice of Swiper the Fox (“Swiper, no swiping!”). We also expect to see Eugenio Derbez offer his talents alongside new talents Isabela Moner and Jeff Wahlberg.

Peruvian actress Isabela Moner is taking on the role of Dora.

Credit: @isabelmoner / Instagram

At just 18 years old, Moner was born in Cleveland, Ohio. While her mom is from Lima, Peru, Moner didn’t start learning English until she reached grade school. By the time she was 15 years old, she was accepted into college. You might recognize her from Nickelodeon’s 100 Things to Do Before High School or Legends of the Hidden Temple. She was also cast in Transformers: The Last Night. Playing Dora will be her biggest role to date.

The trailer shows hilarious scenes of a young Dora at the family dinner table asking the screen, “Can you say delicioso?”

Credit: FilmIsNow Movie Trailers / YouTube

We all know Dora as the all-too-patient Spanish language teacher from our childhood who would pause for 10-15 seconds to let the audience practice saying words like “niño” and “delicioso.”

In the trailer, her parents look around the room, concerned, and brush the behavior off as just a phase.

Credit: FilmIsNow Movie Trailers / YouTube

Eva Longoria and Michael Peña characters look around the room, wondering who their daughter is talking to. Finally, Peña’s character comforts his wife saying, “she’ll grow out of it.” Thankfully, she does.

While Dora isn’t trying to teach us all Spanish anymore, she’s still as curious as her younger cartoon self.

Credit: FilmIsNow Movie Trailers / YouTube

After spending most of her life in the jungle with her parents, Dora’s parents send her to live with her cousin Diego, in the city. At first, Dora thinks she’s heading off on her greatest adventure yet: high school.

Of course, no girl can go off to high school without their best friend.

Credit: FilmIsNow Movie Trailers / YouTube

For Dora, that best friend is still a monkey she keeps in her backpack. Ultimately, high school isn’t her greatest adventure. Dora quickly becomes wrapped up in a mystery to find the Lost City of Gold, uncover truths about an ancient Incan civilization and save her parents.

Some fans are most excited just to see Eva Longoria back on the big screen.

Credit: @janefnoda / Twitter

We’re all shimmying, verdad, to see so many actually Latino actors play Latino characters in such a big production. We applaud the white director of this film adaptation for doing right by true cultural representation.

Some fans are praying to see the awkwardness of baby Dora in live action.

Credit: @DonZolidis / Twitter

You will see it, and thankfully, we’ll be fully emotionally supported by Eva Longoria and Michael Peña in the genuine disturbance it causes. We’re moving on from this strange character trait.

Meanwhile, other Spanish speakers are taking a moment to express some latent cringe from listening to grammatically correct Spanish.

Credit: @curlydash / Twitter

That Spanish is so overrated. Some might even say criminal. If you read that last word in Spanish, you probably can relate to what Curly Dash is saying. But we’re all showing out for the movie, dale?

Of course, the racists came out to play. 🙃

Credit: @HostisHumaniGen / Twitter

White folks are still upset that Disney chose to correct some blatant racism in the original screenplay of Little Mermaid by casting a black woman to play Ariel. If you’re using the term “reverse racism,” you’re already wrong. Basta. 

If you always wanted to see a school bus eat Dora’s backpack, show out August 9th.

Credit: FilmIsNow Movie Trailers / YouTube

We love seeing confident, capable young women stay true to their roots and strengths and lead a bunch of teenagers into a jungle to solve impossible Incan mysteries. Can you say, emocionado?

READ: The First Trailer For ‘Dora And The Lost City Of Gold’ Is Here And People Are Surprised And Ready

Disney Is Debuting Their First Jewish Princess And Surprise! She’s Also Latina

Entertainment

Disney Is Debuting Their First Jewish Princess And Surprise! She’s Also Latina

We all know by now that is no “one way” to be Latinx. Latinos come in a variety of forms, from Black to white, tall to short, descended from Indigenous, African, and European populations. And while Roman Catholicism may be the dominant religion in most of Latinidad, it goes without saying that Latino culture is not a monolith. Latinos practice a variety of religions, from Islam to Buddhism to, yes, Judaism. 

And while most people don’t necessarily think of Judaism when they think of Latin America, there is, in fact, a small but proud population of Jewish Latinos who keep their culture alive through tradition and a strong sense of community. But being a part of such a small community within an already-marginalized community can feel isolating at times. Especially when there are no public role models to see yourself reflected in.

That’s why Tuesday’s news that Disney is debuting a Jewish-Latinx princess sent shock-waves through the internet. 

Walt Disney Television Animation News announced via Twitter that an upcoming Elena of Avalon episode in December would be featuring a “visiting princess” from a “Latino Jewish kingdom”.The as-yet-unnamed princess will be voiced by Jamie-Lynn Sigler, the actress famous for her portrayal of Meadow Soprano on HBO’s seminal masterpiece, “The Sopranos”. 

The Tweet also revealed that the princess would also make an appearance in Elana’s “royal coronation special” next year. Although we do not know any further details of Sigler’s character or her storyline, “Elena of Avalor” writer Rachel Ruderman gave a small preview of what’s to come. “A little over a year ago, I had the honor of writing an Elena of Avalor episode featuring Disney’s first Jewish princess,” Ruderman said via Twitter. She continued: “Jamie Lynn Sigler knocks the role out of the park (wait ’till you hear her song!) Can’t wait to share this one”.

In a move of conscious-casting on Disney’s part, Jamie Lynn Sigler herself happens to be both Latina and Jewish–a giant step for a media giant that can sometimes miss the mark with casting.

Raised by a Jewish father and a Cuban mother, Sigler grew up in New York City as part of a multicultural family.In the past, Sigler has talked about being raised Jewish–attending Hebrew school, having a Bat Mitzvah, and even going on a Birth Right trip to Israel in 2008. 

This episode can serve as an educational experience for many people (including those of Latinx descent) who are unaware that Jewish Latinos even exist. In fact, what some people might not even know, is that the term “Sephardic” (a term used to describe Jewish people of European descent) literally means “of Spain or Portuguese descent” in old Hebrew. In other words, it’s not a stretch to imagine a character of both Latin and Jewish roots on our TV screens. In fact, it’s completely historically plausible!

Naturally, both the Latinx and Jewish Twitter population is super excited at this groundbreaking news.

As we mentioned before, the acknowledgment of Jewish Latinos in popular culture is such a rarity. When the media shines a spotlight on such a marginalized group of people, the advent is worth celebrating. And even though changes are slow in the making, any progress on the representation front is a step in the right direction.

Jamie Lynn Sigler herself expressed her excitement at the news, calling to attention the novelty of her position:

Yes, it’s exciting that the Jewish Latinx population has finally gotten some princess representation, but it’s still a little bit frustrating that we had to wait until 2019 for a Jewish princess. We have a long way to go.

This Latina Jew was incredibly excited at the prospect of having the chance to see her own unique lifestyle reflected onscreen:

The self-styled “Jewyorican” is one of many New York-based Puerto-Rican Jews who identify fully with both cultures. It’s not as rare as people think.

Some Latinx Jews took to Twitter to give some suggestions on how Disney could go about bringing the new character to life:

This Hispanic Linguistics Professor suggested incorporating the ancient Judeo-Spanish language of Ladino into the show. 

This multi-cultural woman celebrated the inclusion of multiple cultures in one character:

Families like hers are the way of the future–at least according to statistics. Although many media outlets still see American families in black and white, the rest of us living our lives know that our identities are increasingly a hodgepodge of cultures. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

An Incoming International Harvard Student Has Been Denied Entry To The United States

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An Incoming International Harvard Student Has Been Denied Entry To The United States

Cengiz Yar / Getty Images

The Trump administration’s immigration policies are criminalizing survivors, tearing families apart and emboldening racists and xenophobes throughout the country. But President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration agenda is also negatively impacting higher education in the US. According to multiple recent reports, it has become increasingly difficult for international students to receive their visas, also adding a greater workload on universities and their employees who try to help students work through the red tape and advocate on their behalf.

Those in higher education and immigration law say that the process for international students to attain their visas have become harder under Trump.

 According to government data, approval of student visas is down and many remain in limbo for longer periods. The latest available department data show that student visas declined by more than 100 thousand from 2016 to 2018. This has led to an overall decrease in the number of new international students enrolled at US colleges. For instance, survey data collected by the Institute of International Education during the 2016–17 school year found that enrollment of international students fell by 3 percent from the previous year. In the most recent data, which looks at the 2017–18 school year, it fell by close to 7 percent.

NAFSA: Association of International Educators reports that these visa obstacles started after Trump issued a memorandum in 2017 that called for the “heightened screening and vetting of applications for visas and other immigration benefits” as well as new or updated requirements for visa holders studying or working at US colleges. Additionally, the Atlantic reports that changes initiated by the Trump administration in 2018 made it even harder for recent graduates with student visas to continue living in the country legally. 

“I’ve been in the field for almost 20 years, and the amount of immigration changes during the last three years has been exponential,” Kristy Magner, who oversees Tulane University’s Office of International Students and Scholars, told the publication. 

One of the most high-profile cases was that of Ismail B. Ajjawi

In August of 2019, the incoming Harvard Palestinian freshman from Lebanon was detained by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a Boston airport. The 17-year-old was denied entry after CBO officers found social media posts from his friends that criticize the US. As a result, Ajjawi’s visa was canceled. However, because the teen was detained at an airport, sparing him from being officially deported, he was able to re-apply for a visa back home. Ten days later, Ajjawi returned to Boston and was able to start school.

Also in August, nine Chinese students who were returning to the US as undergraduate students at Arizona State University were detained at Los Angeles International Airport.

 According to the university, the students were in CBP custody for a week and were “denied admission to the U.S. to continue their studies.” They were ultimately forced to return to China, despite being “academically eligible to return to ASU and to the United States under their visas.”

“[I]t is beyond my comprehension how the U.S. government could establish and implement policies that bring about the outcomes we are now witnessing,” ASU president Michael Crow wrote in a letter addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan. 

While these cases are among the most extreme, they follow a growing pattern of increased difficulty for international students. 

Many institutions, including New York University, expressed seeing more students denied travel in advance of their trips.

NYU was one of the first schools to establish support for immigrant students upon the start of Trump’s presidency. In January 2017, just days after Trump’s inauguration, it created the Immigrant Defense Initiative, which offers “free, confidential advice and representation” to students and staff who could be at risk for deportation. Other universities, including Columbia University, the California State University system and George Washington University, now also offer free immigration-related legal services for students. 

But students, and now university employees who are tasked with new responsibilities in helping the international academics, need more help. Back in July, Harvard University president Lawrence Bacow sent a letter to Pompeo and McAleenan sharing his grievances. “Students report difficulties getting initial visas — from delays to denials,” he wrote. “Scholars have experienced postponements and disruptions for what have previously been routine immigra­tion processes such as family visas, renewals of status, or clearance for international travel.”

Dr. Hironao Okahana, associate vice president of policy and research analysis at the Council of Graduate Schools, told Teen Vogue the rise in incidents like Ajjawi’s are concerning and worth further investigation. 

“[W]e’ll be carefully observing to see if any additional incidents occur as quarter-system schools begin their term in a few weeks,” he said.

In addition to the denial of visas and slowed-down processes, universities face another problem: Trump’s anti-immigration agenda is stopping international students from applying to US institutions. 

“I think that both [the Trump administration’s] immigration policy and the messaging of the day are literally turning [international] students away … and making them less inclined to want to study in the United States,” Brian Rosenberg, the president of Macalester College, a liberal-arts institution in St. Paul, Minnesota, told the Atlantic.

As a result, some schools are doing additional work to ensure international students that they are welcome at their universities.

Philip A. Glotzbach, the president of Skidmore College, told the Atlantic that his staff has had to “work a lot harder” to recruit and retain international students. Additionally, Barbara K. Altmann, the president of Franklin & Marshall College, said that her school has been taking “extraordinary measures … so international students know [they’re welcome here].” For instance, because one in five students at the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, liberal-arts school is from outside of the US, mostly China, it has created a network of Chinese nationals that send reassuring messages to incoming students from the Asian country. 

“These incidents,” said Okahana, “as isolated as they may be, are troubling and have created chilling effects.”

Read: Migrants Are Dying In US Immigration Custody And Here’s What You Need To Know About The Victims