Entertainment

HBO’s New Spanish-Language Series Is Exploring Another Widely-Held Love Within Our Culture

There are certain universal similarities throughout the Latinidad that binds us to one another. We don’t mean stereotypes, but things that we honest to goodness all love. For example, our appreciation for cafecito and a rhythmic beat are accurate clichés tied to Latinx folk. Similarly, HBO’s new Spanish-language series is exploring another widely-held love within our culture.

On July 14th, the television network debuted its new series “Los Espookys” and it’s “horror” theme is very close to our hearts.

Twitter / @HBO

“Los Espookys” is a mostly Spanish-language comedy that includes a healthy dose of horror and camp. Created by Julio Torres, Ana Fabrega and Fred Armisen, the series takes place in an undisclosed city in Latin America. It follows a group of friends —Renaldo, Andrés, Úrsula and Tati — as they turn their hobby of horror and special effects into a business of their very own creation.

While the show’s mix of comedy and horror is completely engaging, “Los Espookys” is also groundbreaking. As mentioned, the series is mostly in Spanish with English subtitles. The portions that aren’t in Español utilize slang and English with Spanish subtitles to communicate to its audience. For a large network like HBO to carry a Spanish language series and air it in primetime is a huge deal. Even more, it reflects how much confidence the “Game of Thrones” network has in the new show.

The premiere of “Los Espookys” opens with a super intense quinceanera. If you think you’ve been to some scary quinces before, just wait until you see this spook-tastic party. As it turns out, everything from the entrails cake to the mutilated waiters is the work of Renaldo and his crew. The party impresses everyone, including Renaldo’s uncle, Tio Tico (played by Armisen). Expressing his support, his uncle encourages the spooky connoisseur to pursue his passion — even if that passion is monsters and mayhem.

The friends get the chance to do just that when the local priest makes an unusual request of the group’s special skills.

Twitter / @HBOPR

Episode One also reveals more about the group of self-proclaimed “horror technicians.” The black-clad unofficial leader of the group is Renaldo and his life-long friend is Andrés. The electric blue-haired Andrés is the heir to a chocolate company. Called the “Prince of Chocolate,” he is a genuinely intriguing dude with dramatic past. (Note the intense telenovela music that plays whenever he gets contemplative.)

Rounding out the group is a pair of unusual sisters. Úrsula is a dental hygienist with the soul of an artist who is happiest when she’s making something terrifying. Her sister is the odd and unintentionally funny Tita. We first meet Tita when she is hand-spinning the blades of an electric fan to cool down her boss, the priest. Fortunately for us, she only gets more bizarre as the episode goes on.

The cast delivers some great lines but that’s not the only thing that makes “Los Espookys” so entertaining. Improbable situations, subtle humor, and references to popular Latinx culture all add to the series’s appeal, too.

However, it’s the focus on the characters’ love of horror that will really resonate with Latinx viewers — and for a valid reason.

Twitter / WigWurq

Whether it’s the scary legends of La Llarona y El Cucuy or the movies of Guermillo del Toro, the Latinidad loves horror. After all, we have an entire holiday completely devoted to honoring the dead. If you need additional proof of this love, look no further than our children — the future of our culture.

In early June 2019, 3-year-old Lucia Brown went viral for her very scary birthday theme. The birthday girl insisted on a party that included Valak, the satanic sister from “The Nun.” It wasn’t just Lucia that enjoyed the theme; her friends also painted their face in black and gave into the darkness.

Yet, a love of horror isn’t something we simply grow out of; it grows with us.

Twitter / @BlairGuild

When we become teens and start to explore our own independence, we strike out towards our own styles. This often means we explore music and clothing to find what best suits us. In these two subjects, we still see marked examples of our cultural love of horror.

The Emo and Goth subcultures have been notably popular with Latinx teens and young adults since its birth. Both categories are usually associated with teens who are not of color and can appear to be at odds with the colorful traditions of the Latinidad. However, there’s something about the Emo and Goth lifestyles that resonate with Latinx folk.

These categories are often hard to describe but most people can place the look when they see it. Both Emo and Goth subgroups focus on self-expression by embracing dark fashions and the mentality of “the individual.” These subcultures also incorporate a healthy dose of horror — using zombies, monsters and the occult in their fashion and art.

Music is the heart of the Emo and Goth subcultures and is what most links the Latinidad to the lifestyle.

Twitter / @missbreton
Twitter / @_smromero

Emo and Goth music often explore dark and emotional topics in their lyrics and evoke feeling with their music. Bands like Morrissey, Joy Division and The Cure led the way for this type of music in the 80’s and 90’s. Later, groups including AFI, My Chemical Romance and The Used became the modern voice of their genre.

For these bands, Morrissey especially has become beloved to Latinx Goths and Emos. Maria Hinojosa’s exploration of this love — entitled “Goths: Latinos on the Dark Side” is an interesting episode of Latino USA that explores this topic.

In it, a guest explains, “For whatever reason, Latinos love Morrissey and no one really knows why. I think it’s the melodrama.”

It could be argued that melodrama is also the reason the Latinidad loves horror.

Many have expressed a sense of community in finding these subgenres so maybe that’s the real reason Latinx folk feel so at home with them.

Twitter / @llavvves

Often times, Latinos and Latinas feel excluded from the larger communities we’re a part of. Sometimes we’re marginalized by income level. Sometimes it’s our nationality or citizen status that isolates us from others. We can even be excluded from others within our own Latinx community.

However, a shared appreciation of the Emo and Goth subgenres and all things horror unites us in a mutual love. In a world where we can feel so alone, we can go to a Guermillo del Toro film and feel connected. When feeling as though no one understands us, we can listen to Morrissey and hear our feelings in his words.

In this way, “Los Espookys” also has the potential to unite our Latinidad with something we’ll love. Though we’ve only seen one of the six episodes of this season, the response online has been more than positive. Obviously, the hilarious script combined with the characters’ love of horror makes for a combination that audiences relate to. We can’t wait to see what spooky surprises “Los Espookys” has in store for us still.

Here’s What My White Husband Has Learned About The Latino Culture One Day At A Time

relationships

Here’s What My White Husband Has Learned About The Latino Culture One Day At A Time

My husband and I have been married for a little over three years now and he is still learning so much about myself and what it means to be Latino. I’m not talking about me having a big Cuban family all stationed in Miami (3-0-5 🙌🏽) or the fact that the best jokes in Netflix’s “One Day At A Time” are in Spanish. I’m talking about the little things that to me have always been a normal part of life. This is what has continuously caught him off guard…

If you ask him, I’m already turning into my abuela because of the things he is finding out, which to me is a compliment. Here are just a few of the things that he is starting to understand about our future together.

1. Seasoning your beans is hard AF but abuela makes it look easy.

CREDIT: gifnik.com

No matter how many times I try or how many techniques I use, my bean always turn out bland AF. This wouldn’t have been a problem if he didn’t have my abuela’s frijoles negro because now he has a reference point as to what beans are supposed to taste like. Though, he doesn’t cook so my bland beans will have to do.

2. That whole personal space thing is a white construct.

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I missed my hot mess buddy!

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One of the first things he realized about being married to a Latino is that all that personal space he once had is gone. I even go into the bathroom to talk to him when he’s in the shower because that’s 👏🏾 how 👏🏾 I 👏🏾 was 👏🏾 raised. 👏🏾

3. Family obligations cannot and will not be avoided.

Even if it means that you have to spend $800 to travel 3,000 miles back home for a weekend for your nephew’s first birthday, there is no getting out of family events. #BasedOnTrueEvents

4. My family raised me to be super eco-friendly (and very frugal).

The first time my husband saw me washing a Ziploc bag he asked if we had run out and that he could get some from the store. My response: “But, like, why do you want to waste money like that?”

5. Selena was and will always be La Reina.

CREDIT: anything-for-selenaaas / Tumblr

I know. I know. How did he not know this before is what you’re thinking, right? But you can’t hold it against him. I don’t think Selena had a very big following in West Virginia. There was no way he could have known that she is more relevant now than ever. Not to mention that she still wins Latin Billboard awards and I play her music nonstop.

6. My abuela’s obsession with reusing containers has been passed down.

After he came down from the initial shock of thinking that I left the sour cream in the Tupperware cabinet overnight, he made a joke about me becoming my abuela. I’ve never been so proud.

7. Calling a loved one “gordo” is not offensive.

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@f_uanteik #migordo #iloveyou #happiness #happynights

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Because, you know, someone calling you “my little fatty” is not okay. Imagine his shock when he heard a family member call me “gordito” in front of him. He was shook.

8. Every chore I do is just an excuse to put on Celia Cruz and dance.

CREDIT: mitú

Sure, I can cook in silence but nothing makes my time in the kitchen more enjoyable than some “La Negra Tiene Tumbao” or “La Vida Es Un Carnaval” blaring in the background. Plus, he is starting to learn some of her greatest hits.

9. Seventy-five percent of Latino cooking is just making that sabor.

To quote my husband: “Oh. So ropa vieja is like making pot roast then you make the flavor (sofrito). Yeah. White people are too lazy to make all that flavor.”

10. Being extra and loud is just in our blood.

I still have that trophy on our desk in the living room and he has mentioned moving it a couple times. Then I stubbed my toe, fall to the floor in tears, and he remembers why it is so prominently displayed.

11. Hot Cheetos are life.

He didn’t know they were so versatile but he’s not upset that we get to eat them all the time.

READ: 14 Things That Happen When A Gringo Marries Into A Latino Family

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“Real Housewives of Dallas” Cast Members Expressed ‘Shame’ At the Reunion Over LeeAnne Locken’s Anti-Latino Tirades

Entertainment

“Real Housewives of Dallas” Cast Members Expressed ‘Shame’ At the Reunion Over LeeAnne Locken’s Anti-Latino Tirades

Bravo TV

In the spellbinding finale to the most recent season of Real Housewives of Dallas, the entiriy of the cast condemned the show’s villain, LeeAnn Locken, for her racist and xenophobic behavior throughout the season. 

As we reported before, earlier in the season, Locken had a total meltdown when fellow castmates D’Andra Simmons and Kary Brittingham (who is Mexican) poked fun at the entrepreneur venture she spent so much time and money on: the L’Infinity dress. At a group dinner, Simmons and Brittingham publicly criticized the dress, insinuating that it was shoddily made and too complicated to wear. While Locken originally tried to brush off the teasing, she eventually snapped, leaving the table in tears.

Later, when she was being comforted by housewife Stephanie Hollman, is when she began to insult Brittingham based off her heritage.

Locken began her insults by accusing Brittingham of thinking she was “all Mexican and strong,” while really, she “ain’t survived s—”. As the season progressed, Locken continued to harp on Brittingham’s heritage, calling her everything from a “chirpy Mexican” to saying that she should “quit using my English words against me” and “find your own Mexican words.”

Locken’s racist and xenophobic behavior made waves on social media, with people Tweeting out their outrage at Locken’s offensive words. Some fans even created a petition on MoveOn.org demanding that Locken be terminated from the show. “I will not watch Bravo moving forward because they are supporting racism by not terminating her,” said a viewer by the name of Lisa A. “Bravo is perpetuating racism by not dealing with her.”

And while Locken apologized for her behavior this past season via a public statement, fans and viewers were still not having it.

Even Locken’s castmates were visibly put-off, expressing their “shame”, “disgust”, and “disappointment” at her behavior at the reunion.

Cast-member Brandi Redmond was one of the most vocal detractors of Locken’s behavior. “I don’t want to be associated. I feel ashamed,” she said. “And it’s not OK, LeeAnne. It’s not OK.” 

Locken, for her part, vacillated between defending her actions and apologizing for them. When being interviewed by host Andy Cohen about her choice of words, Locken explained that she didn’t know what she was saying was offensive. 

“In Texas, I mean, we use that word all the time, like, for everything,” she said. “Chirpy Mexican?” Cohen further prodded, to which Locken conceded wasn’t true. “No, not that,” she said. “Okay, I apologize…I didn’t use my words well and I didn’t like it when I watched it, I can tell you that. Mentally, I was not present and I was not putting my words together well”.

Locken went on to insist that, despite her actions, she was not, in any way, racist. 

“I’ve spent a lot of hours crying over this and realizing how horrible this was,” she told Cohen. “I know every bone in my body, and I know I don’t have a single bone that believes in discrimination. I believe in inclusion. I believe in acceptance,” she said.

Previously, she had tried to explain her “free love” mindset by illustrating that she couldn’t be racist due to her sexual history. “I’ve slept with plenty of Mexicans, by the way. Hot, f—— lovers, okay? I’ve sat in Julio Iglesias’ lap,” she said in a problematic confessional interview during the course of the season. 

To make matters worse, Cohen revealed that most of the cast members assumed Locken’s behavior would never make it to air.

According to Cohen. most of the cast-members assumed that Bravo would edit out Locken’s racist tirades in order to protect not only Locken, but the larger Bravo brand. Because of that, the RHOD cast avoided talking to Brittingham about what was going on behind her back.

 Obviously, the entire situation left Brittingham feeling hurt and isolated. According to her, the experience was “very sad” and “disappointing” for her. We doubt these women will ever be able to mend their friendship. 

Like every Real Housewives reunion, Twitter was on fire with reactions to the explosive season finale. 

One thing’s for sure: The Real Housewives of Dallas has found a way to combine the intoxicating pull of reality television with the more serious issues of the day (namely, American discrimination against Latinos).

This person had no time for Locken’s labeling her behavior as a “mistake”

She has a good point here. Locken’s continuous behavior is proof of deeper discriminatory beliefs.

This person explained why continuously bringing up someone’s country of origin is, indeed, problematic.

It’s one thing not to get along with someone. It’s another to use their ethnicity as an insult. 

This person applauded Andy Cohen for refusing to let Locken’s behavior slide. 

Although Bravo could’ve handled the entire situation better, at least they’re holding Locken responsible for her words and actions.