Entertainment

Gina Rodriguez To Speak At Black History Month Event? Apparent Fake Press Release Sets Off Social Media Firestorm

There seems to be yet another controversy that has found Gina Rodriguez being slammed on Twitter. However, the actress is the victim of a viral hoax created to anger people and cause injury to Rodriguez’s reputation. On Sunday evening, a fake press release was seen circulating on social media that apparently had the 35-year-old actress speaking on behalf of Black History Month. The false press release allegedly came from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Black History Month Committee and was originally tweeted out by journalist Yashar Ali, who was invited to cover the event.  

The odd press release set off a firestorm of criticism and confusion about how Rodriguez, who has previously found herself in hot water due to questionable comments on race, could be featured at an event focused on Black History Month. Again, the press release is false and the anger towards Rodriguez is misdirected.

Twitter was in disbelief about a false press release that stated Rodriguez, who hasn’t had the best history when it comes to comments about to Black community, would “take selfies with African American students.” 

The entire press release was odd altogether as it read that Rodriguez would “take selfies with African American students.” “Starting in 2020, the LAUSD will invite celebrities into classrooms to speak to students during this historic month. We thought that Ms. Rodriguez, who has both African and Latina ancestry, would be a great inaugural speaker,” the press release reads.

Twitter users reacted to the press release as if it was real and the attacks on Rodriguez began without users doing their own due diligence and researching the matter.

While there was no date attached to the press release or any mention of a Black History Month event on the LAUSD website or its calendar, the school district did acknowledge the month last year. The screenshot of the press release spread quickly on Twitter and by Monday morning there was still no statement or confirmation from LAUSD of its legitimacy. 

This isn’t the first time Rodriguez has been connected with controversy. In the last few years, she has made questionable comments about the Black community that has raised some eyebrows. This may be why so many people assumed the press release could have been real. 

The validity of the press release didn’t stop people from chiming in on what seemed to be another one of Rodriguez’s tone-deaf comments. She has previously made statements that her dad is “Afro-Latino,” which also raised some eyebrows. Social media users in return posted images that showed otherwise. 

Just last year, she faced some blowback after she posted an Instagram story in which she used the n-word while rapping along with the Fugees’ song “Ready or Not”. While the “Jane the Virgin” star apologized in a follow-up post, many dismissed as insincere. Many social media users used the incident as concrete evidence that Rodriguez has a less-than-respectful attitude toward black people. 

That incident followed another controversial moment from a 2018 panel discussion on pay equity where Rodriguez was criticized for comments that many perceived as anti-Black. She spoke about the pay gaps among women of different races, saying that Latina women made less than white and Black women, on average.

“I get so petrified in this space talking about equal pay especially when you look at the intersectional aspect of it, right? Where white women get paid more than Black women, Black women get paid more than Asian women, Asian women get paid more than Latina women, and it’s like a very scary space to step into,” she said. “Because I always feel like I fail when I speak about it because I can’t help but feel already so gracious to do what I do and I feel like, culturally, I feel like I was raised to just feel so appreciative of getting here.”

The Twitter account for the LAUSD Black History Month Committee has since deleted its tweet and its entire account. Yashar Ali, who originally shared the press release, also deleted her tweet. There has been no explanation of why from either side so far.

The apparent fake press release had social media users putting in their two cents on the issue despite knowing its validity. Public figure Jemele Hill chimed in on the press release as well simply saying “Make it make sense, y’all,” 

“Instead of giving Black women this space, you give it to Gina Rodriguez? The same Gina Rodriguez who has made it a point to discredit every experience a Black woman has spoken about? LAUSD, Fix this decision, Expeditiously.” another Twitter user wrote. 

While mitú has reached out to LAUSD, there has been no response yet verifying if there was ever going to be a Black History Month event featuring Rodriguez. It’s safe to say, from the reaction on social media, it might not be a good idea anyway. 

READ: Conservatives Are Calling For The FBI And CIA To Investigate George Lopez After He Made A Joke About President Trump

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

This Virgen de Guadalupe Mural Was Vandalized In Los Angeles And The Community Is Devastated

Things That Matter

This Virgen de Guadalupe Mural Was Vandalized In Los Angeles And The Community Is Devastated

Max Heredia / AP / Getty Images

La Virgen de Guadalupe means so much to so many. Especially the Latino community in Van Nuys, California, near Los Angeles, which is reeling after an important mural depicting La Virgen was vandalized overnight.

Although security cam footage captured an unknown man defacing the mural, the suspect is still at large and the community is asking for help in finding out who committed the vandalism.

A suspect was caught on camera destroying a mural with La Virgen de Guadalupe.

The community of Saint Elisabeth Church near Los Angeles is asking the community for prayers after a mural of Our Lady of Guadalupe was vandalized on church grounds. 

The parish’s security system recorded video footage of an unknown man dressed in black approaching the mural with a sledgehammer at 1:40 a.m. Wednesday morning. He can be seen smashing the tiles that make up Our Lady’s face several times before fleeing.

On Friday, April 23, Father Di Marzio led a prayer service, which was livestreamed on the parish Facebook page. Some 30 parishioners gathered to sing and pray a decade of the rosary in front of the mural, which is roped off with caution tape, while nearly 100 others joined online. In closing, Fr. Di Marzio encouraged parishioners to “continue to pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary to help us, and to touch the heart of the person who did this.” 

Also on Friday, a local artist, Geo Rhodes, was scheduled to visit the mural and discuss a plan for repair, arranged by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. “We hope that soon we will restore the image, or have a new one more beautiful than the one we had before,” Fr. Di Marzio said.  

La Virgen de Guadalupe is extremely important to the church.

The hand-painted tile mural stands between the church and the rectory. It was installed over 35 years ago as a “symbol of community unity,” said business manager Irma Ochoa. Each square tile was sponsored by a parish family. Overlooking a small altar, the mural has become a popular place for parishioners to pray and light candles, asking Our Lady for special blessings. 

“I feel an unspeakable sadness,” said Fr. Antonio Fiorenza, who is in residence at the parish. “But I feel pity for the one who made this sacrilegious gesture. I pray for his conversion and for all those who show contempt to the Virgin Mary.”

To donate to the restoration fund, visit stelisabethchurch.org

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Turns Out The First Owner Of Beverly Hills Was An Impressive Afro-Mexican Woman

Fierce

Turns Out The First Owner Of Beverly Hills Was An Impressive Afro-Mexican Woman

Frazer Harrison / Getty

Beverly Hills, one of the most well-known destinations in the country and world has long been a thriving and prime area for real-estate. Long before it was colonized by the Spanish, and was largely populated by rich white elites, the Indigenous people of California known as the Tongva, thrived there.

Hundreds of years later, in the 1830s, when the area was colonized, Maria Rita Valdez Villa, the granddaughter of Spanish colonists Luis and Maria Quintero and the great-granddaughter of an African slave was granted the original 4,500-acre of Beverly Hills, then known as El Rancho Rodeo de las Aguas.

Yes, as it turns out the foremother of Beverly Hills was a Black Latina!

During her ownership, Maria Rita oversaw cattle ranching and farming.

According to LA Magazine, Rita “was well known for holding a yearly celebratory rodeo under a famous eucalyptus tree at what is now Pico and Robertson boulevards.”

Sadly, after working the land for so much time, three Indigenous Californian outlaws attacked the ranch in 1852. The attack led to a shootout amongst “a grove of walnut trees at what is now Benedict Canyon and Chevy Chase drives” and eventually in 1854 Maria Rita decided to sell the area to investors Henry Hancock and Benjamin D. Wilson for $4,000.

Perhaps there’s a chance for justice for Maria Rita in the end.

Recently, Los Angeles County officials revealed that they were contemplating returning a beachfront property that was seized from a Black family nearly a century ago.

According to the Guardian, Manhattan Beach used “eminent domain” in 1924 to force Willa and Charles Bruce, the city’s first Black landowners, of the land where they lived. “The Bruces also ran a resort for Black families during a time when beaches in the strand were segregated,” explained the Guardian in a recent report. “Part of the land was developed into a city park. It is now owned by Los Angeles county and houses lifeguard headquarters and a training center.”

Manhattan Beach county Supervisor Janice Hahn announced that she was looking into ways to restore justice for Bruce family. Options include delivering the land back to the family, paying for losses, or potentially leasing the property from them

“I wanted the county of Los Angeles to be a part of righting this terrible wrong,” Hahn explained in a recent interview with KABC-TV.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com