Entertainment

Pitbull Wants To Empower And Uplift The Latino Community By Leading By Example

pitbull / Getty Images

Pitbull is the honorary patron Saint of Miami and they’re so proud of it. Pitbull brings Miami class, Cuban swag to the music world, and has raised us all since his first album dropped almost 15 years ago.

We know him by his trademark style of a shaved head, suit, and those sunglasses he wears everywhere. He might be Mr. Worldwide but there are things that so many people don’t know about him. Here are a few facts that might surprise you.

Pitbull’s real name is Armando Christian Perez.

CREDIT: @pitbull / instagram

He was born in Miami to Cuban immigrants, making him a first-generation Cuban-American. His parents separated when he was young and he was mostly raised by his mother.

He chose the name “Pitbull” because of the breed’s ferocious reputation.

CREDIT: @pitbullsofinstagram / Instagram

Which makes many believe that he is actually a sweetie under that tough guy facade.

Pitbull spent his first music paycheck to buy his mom a car.

CREDIT: @pitbull / instagram

This was back in 1999, so the paycheck was about $1,500. He spent $1,200 to buy his mom a 1988 Mazda hatchback and put the $300 remaining in the bank. That’s the son all our mom’s raised us to be.

By the time he was 3 years old, he was reciting José Martí poetry at bars.

CREDIT: @veryspooky_ / Twitter

Pitbull’s father would take him to bars to recite the Cuban revolutionary philosopher’s poetry, he told Vanity Fair. That was the first time I saw how powerful words were,” Pitbull says. “We’re a culture that likes to talk a lot. We have a lot of sayings. Words mean a lot.”

He grew up wanting to become a basketball player.

CREDIT: @pitbull / instagram

He also went to Tae Kwon Do and jujitsu classes growing up, which he says gave him the discipline he needed in the music industry. His mom allegedly made him listen to Tony Robbins tracks in the car on the way to practice.

By the time he was 13, he was in love with music, thanks to hip-hop icons like N.W.A., Public Enemy and Jay Z.

CREDIT: @pitbull / instagram

He’s even been called “the Latino Jay Z” to his face during interviews and he doesn’t protest. When we first met Pitbull, he was wearing baggy jeans and had his hair in corn rows.

Some folks call him a “sellout” for his more polished look these days.

CREDIT: @pitbull / instagram

Have you ever seen this man in anything but a suit? When Vanity Fair points out the “sellout” label, he goes, “They’re right. I did sell out. I sell out arenas, I sell out stadiums. I sell out a bunch of things all around the world.” Dale.

Most of the suits that he wears are from his own line, After Dark.

CREDIT: @pitbull / instagram

Other rappers have been in awe of his commitment to the look. Usher has heaped respect on the guy for going out and performing a 3 hour show in an Armani suit, sweating like crazy.

His brand is very important to him.

CREDIT: @pitbull / instagram

He’s gone on the record telling Latina,  “I’m not here to exploit our culture – I’m here to empower it, and I want to build a brand like Jennifer Lopez.”

His collab with Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte served as the official theme of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

CREDIT: @FansPitbull / Twitter

“We Are One (Ole Ola)” became the tournament’s official song. Immediately after the World Cup, which took place in São Paulo, he was announced to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

He’s not just here for fame and money. He’s giving back.

In 2010, Pitbull protested the anti-immigration laws in Arizona by cancelling his concert.

CREDIT: @pitbull / instagram

After SB 1070 passed, which requires local authorities to act as ICE by racially profiling people and asking for papers, Pitbull refused to bring any economic revenue to the state.

In a tweet, he says, “How is the country we enjoy and love bcuz of its human rights, freedom, opportunity and that has been built by immigrants, now start 2 deny them? It is contradicting 2 everything the USA stands 4.”

Pitbull has launched the S.L.A.M. charter schools, including in Little Havana, Miami, and Arizona.

CREDIT: @slammiamiofficial / Instagram

The school is aimed towards kids who want to pursue a career in sports leadership and management. The school’s website quotes Pitbull as saying, “This is a dream come true. We can have endless number one records around the world, but it means nothing. To be able to perform in front of the world means nothing. It just gives us the avenue to be able to do these kind of things. This is priceless.”

How does he fund it all? Partnerships. Endless partnerships.

CREDIT: @pitbull / Twitter

He’s endorsed by Kodak, Dr. Pepper, Voli Vodka, Budweiser, Walmart, Pepsi, Dodge, Fiat and more. He grew his spokesperson status with Norwegian Cruise lines by launching a Pitbull backed Norwegian party cruise last year.

He even has a majority equity stake in Voli Vodka, hence that 305 worldwide logo you see there:

CREDIT: @pitbull / instagram

His brand: party guy. He famously told Vanity Fair earlier this year that he’s “single, bilingual, and ready to mingle.” In the meantime, this guy is hustling.

Of course he has a television production company named “Honey I’m Home.”

CREDIT: @SomeOldPhotos / Twitter

Of course, this is named after the first ever Cuban-American actor Desi Arnaz’s line in I Love Lucy. He even has his own SiriusXM radio channel called Pitbull’s Globalization Radio.

Most recently, he’s expected to play the voice of ‘Ugly Dog’ in Uglydolls, releasing in 2019.

CREDIT: @pitbull / Twitter

He also played the voice of Bufo in Epic (2013) and himself in Blood Money. So far, he hasn’t taken up acting in any way but he has played himself eight times on television and the big screen. #NeverForget his Dancing with the Stars era.

That’s not to say he hasn’t made enemies over the years…

CREDIT: @lelezack / Twitter

Lindsay Lohan tried to sue him in 2011 for defamation after he used the line “I got it locked up like Lindsay Lohan” in the track “Give Me Everything.” The judge dismissed the suit, ruling that Pitbull’s entire track is protected as a work of art under the First Amendment. 😘

Public Enemy No. 1? President Trump.

CREDIT: @jkarsh / Twitter

Trump literally flew Pitbull in a helicopter to meet with him and ultimately, Pitbull decided that Trump doesn’t understand the true unity and power of the Latino community.

Caption: “Everybody calm down, Donald Trump isn’t Pitbull. It’s not as if he has a plane he can just load up with stuff for Puerto … oh, right.”

Immediately and quietly after Hurricane Maria passed, Pitbull flew cancer patients from Puerto Rico to Miami to continue getting chemo.

CREDIT: @pitbull_updates / Twitter

He also told CNN that he clearly sees what Trump is about. “His true colors are real simple. It’s about money, it’s about power, and when you’re raised that way, it goes to show you what your true priorities are.” Burn.

Meanwhile, Pitbull joined J.Lo and Marc Anthony’s relief initiative “Somos Una Voz” to aid Puerto Rico.

CREDIT: @pitbull / instagram

They raised over $6 million dollars to bring aid to Puerto Rico.

Ultimately, Mr. Worldwide doesn’t just want to conquer the world. He wants to empower Latinos to do the same.

CREDIT: @pitbull / instagram

We’re calling it an uprising in the best possible way. He told “The Real” that “money does buy happiness, you just got to give it away.” There you have it. Pitbull is one of the most charitable rappers around and it’s all thanks to those Tony Robbins tapes.


READ: While People Pleaded For Trump To Send Relief To Puerto Rico, Pitbull Sent A Private Plane To Help Cancer Patients

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Here’s How Cuba’s Tumultuous History Forced A Cuban Diaspora That Changed The World

Things That Matter

Here’s How Cuba’s Tumultuous History Forced A Cuban Diaspora That Changed The World

Cuba Getty Images | Minube

One of the most complicated histories of any Latin American country has to be that of Cuba. From its colonization to its decades-long dictator, Cuba has endured a painful and passionate battle with leadership. The people of Cuba, however, have been and remain the adoring champion of their country, regardless of who was at the helm. Here’s a look back at how the Cuba we know now came to be.

The colonization of Cuba by Christopher Columbus.

CREDIT: Instagram/#ChristopherColumbus

The Ciboney are the first people to inhabit the island of Cuba, and they are part of the indigenous group named Taíno from the Caribbean. In 1492 Christopher Columbus arrived in Cuba and claimed the island for Spain. In 2014, a DNA study conducted on the people living in Cuba showed that their genetic ancestry is made up of 72 percent European, 20 percent African and 8 percent Native American.


The Spanish conquest of Cuba follows.

CREDIT: Unsplash

Now that Spain has taken over Cuba, in 1510 the Spanish conquest begins under the leadership of Diego de Velazquez, who establishes Baracoa and other settlements.

The first African slaves arrive in Cuba in the 1520s.

CREDIT: Unsplash

Between 1526-1527, more than 600,000 Africans were forcibly taken to Cuba and thousands of them did not survive the journey over the Atlantic. According to Traces of the Trade, between the 1780s and the 1860s, the slave population increased from 39,000 to 400,000. The primary source of labor for the slaves was sugarcane and coffee crops.

British interference.

CREDIT: Unsplash

In 1763, a British force took hold of the Havana port and for a ten-month period brought in thousands of more slaves that would work the sugarcanes. The Brits eventually conceded and gave up Havana back to Spain.

The Ten Years War and end of slavery.

CREDIT: Instagram/@irector_2015

Cuban-born planters and other wealthy natives fought to gain control of Cuba from Spain between 1868–1878. The war ended when Spain promised that the natives would have more control over the land, which never honestly took shape. Those actions, however, led to the end of Slavery in 1886.

Author and activist Jose Marti started second fight for independence.

CREDIT: Instagram/@espoir_dina

Cuban activist Jose Marti led the second war of independence in 1895. Despite being killed during the battle with Spanish troops, Marti left behind volumes of writings. In one such piece titled “The Spanish Republic and the Cuban Revolution,” he wrote that Cubans had to be independent of Spain because Cuban people have a different culture than the Spanish. “Cubans do not live as Spaniards live…They are nourished by a different system of trade, have links with different countries, and express their happiness through quite contrary customs. There are no common aspirations or identical goals linking the two peoples, or beloved memories to unite them…Peoples are only united by ties of fraternity and love.”

The birth of the Communist Party quickly changed the political landscape of Cuba.

CREDIT: Wikipedia: Sergeant Fulgencio Batista

Diego Vicente Tejer founded the Socialist Party in Cuba in 1899, and would later join the Cuban National Party. This movement in Havana led to the formation of the Communist Party in 1925, which in turn led to Sergeant Fulgencio Batista leading a coup to overthrow the General and President of Cuba Gerardo Machado.

The rise of Fidel Castro marks a troubling change.

CREDIT: Wikipedia: Fidel Castro

In 1953, activist and law student Fidel Castro had one central target in mind. He teamed up with rebellion groups with the sole purpose to overthrow the Batista regime. His first attempt, however, would be unsuccessful.


Fidel and Che start plotting a bloody coup.

CREDIT: @CdVinEnglish / Twitter

After Castro’s failed attempt at overthrowing the government, he fled to Mexico. That is when he first met Argentine Marxist-Leninist Che Guevara in 1956. Castro liked Guevara’s approach and his duality as a doctor and a solider. In the book titled “Fidel: A Biography of Fidel Castro,” Castro said Guevara was more of an advanced revolutionary than he. Together they plotted to overthrow Batista, but this time with a small group and strategy.

Castro successfully overthrows the Batista regime.

CREDIT: Unsplash

In 1959, together with a 9,000-strong guerrilla army, Castro, Guevara and Castro’s brother Raúl, force Batista to not only give up his reign in Cuba but to flee. Castro then declares himself prime minister, his brother, Raúl, becomes his deputy and Guevara becomes third in command.

The ’60s usher in a trying time for the Cuban people.

CREDIT: Unsplashed

Cuba’s chaotic climate within its government led the U.S. to stop providing military aid, which certainly didn’t help Batista during Castro’s coup. These occurrences gave way to an unsettled relationship between the U.S. and Cuba. In 1961, the U.S. ended all diplomatic relations with Havana. The Bay of Pigs only made matters worse. Castro then proclaimed Cuba a communist state and began an allied relationship with Russia.

Cuba’s new leader cracks down on the country.

CREDIT: Unsplash

With Castro as the new leader, the lives of the Cuban people changed drastically and with devastating results.

The mass exodus.

CREDIT: Unsplash

On April 20, 1980, Castro directed anyone that wishes to leave the island, free to do so and can aboard the Mariel Boatlift. More than 125,000 Cubans left to the U.S., however, many of those on board were also prisoners who were released. According to History.com, of those 125,000 “more than 1,700 were jailed, and another 587 were detained until they could find sponsors.” Decades before, shortly after Castro took power, thousands of Cubans fled across the globe to escape a regime responsible for countless deaths and disappearances.

The capture, and international crisis, of Elian Gonzalez.

CREDIT: Wikipedia: Elian Gonzalez

In 1999, Elizabeth Brotons Rodríguez, her child Elian, and a few others fled Cuba on a boat to the U.S. The boat capsized, and she drowned. Elián and two others survived after fishers had rescued them. They arrived on U.S. soil where U.S. officials handed Elián over to his relatives in Miami. Elián’s father in Cuba, who was divorced from his mother, wanted his son back. U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno ordered Elián to return to his father, but the relatives in Miami did not give him up. Federal agents had to enter their home and forcefully get Elián away from his relatives. Elián became a symbol of Cubans wishing to leave Cuba and Castro’s dictatorship to force his people to live under his rule. Years later, as an adult, Elián said in an interview that he never regretted leaving the U.S. for Cuba, but that one day he would like to return “to give my love to the American people”.

Cuban exiles and immigrants take their culture to free socities around the world.

CREDIT: Instagram/@gloriaestefan

Aside from Cuba’s infamous leaders such as Marti and Castro, Cuba has many other famous Cubans including artist Gloria Estefan, her husband Emilio Estefan. Also, singer Celia Cruz, actor Andy García, baseball player Jose Canseco, and artist Pitbull. There are many Cubans responsible for taking their culture and introducing the sounds of salsa and the taste of sofrito far and wide in the world.

Cuban cuisine makes a splash internationally.

CREDIT: Instagram/@cuballama

Cuban sandwiches are probably the most instantly recognized of Cuban foods, but have you ever tried ropa vieja? Shredded beef, white rice, green olives, avocados, and tostones, it’s the best.

Fidel hands the country over to his brother Raúl continuing the Castro dynasty on the island.

CREDIT: Unsplash

In 2006, Fidel’s brother Raúl Castro takes over presidential duties of Cuba after Fidel recovers from his medical issues. It wasn’t for another two years that Fidel officially resigned and that his brother took over as appointed President by the National Assembly.

Obama visits Cuba opening relations after decades of strained relations.

CREDIT: Unsplash

In 2014, the U.S. and Cuba began diplomatic talks and re-established their new relationship. Two years later, for the first time in 88 years, a U.S. president visited Cuba. President Barack Obama visited the country for three days.

Cuba re-opens its door to the U.S.

CREDIT: Unsplash

While some travel restrictions initially applied between the U.S. and Cuba, the country opened its door to American tourists for the first time in decades.

The death of Fidel Castro was celebrated by Cuban exiles around the world.

CREDIT: Instagram/@federico.miceli.9

On No. 25, 2016, Fidel Castro succumbed to his death at the age of 90. In 2018, a new era began in Cuba with the announcement of new president Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, who was hand-picked by Raúl Castro, furthering the Castro regime. Fidel’s death was welcomed news in Cuabn exile communities aroud the world hoping for a return to democracy and freedom in Cuba.


READ: 25 Odd Facts About Cuba To Know Before You Visit

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The Fake Fruit On The Kitchen Table Was The Cruelest Thing To A Cuban Child Growing Up

Culture

The Fake Fruit On The Kitchen Table Was The Cruelest Thing To A Cuban Child Growing Up

Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez / @BananaCubana / Twitter

Cuban culture is very food heavy. From the delectable dish called ropa vieja to the delicious and mouth-watering moros. Since food is one of the most important parts of Cuban culture, it makes sense that we’d spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It also makes sense that some of the most iconic things we think of about our childhoods has to do with the kitchen. Here are 15 things you are guaranteed to find in a Cuban kitchen.

1. An old, beat up pressure cooker that is used to cook everything.

Legit, this thing looks so old that you think your abuela snuck it out of Cuba and even at 5 years old you questioned the safety of cooking with this thing. However, those moros always came out bomb af. ?

2. The fly swatter.

We all know it. We’ve all seen it. It was always the same fly swatter that hung there near the kitchen sink and was rarely used to discipline the flies. It was used to discipline you instead.

3. Mojo by ?? the ?? gallon. ??

CREDIT: amazon.com

Nothing made you more excited as a little Cuban kid than coming home (or going to abuela’s) and smelling the strong and distinct scent of this garlic, citrus marinade washing over all of your senses. To this day you probably have a gallon or two in the pantry and you put this stuff on everything.

4. More Jupiña sodas than you’d need to satisfy the army.

These were crack and we could never say no to them, especially on a hot summer day while listening to salsa music in the kitchen.

5. Guava paste for days.

CREDIT: Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez / mitú

This was something that was always stock-piled if you were a Cuban living outside of Miami because it was not easy to come by. It was so precious that when you did manage to find some, you’d clear out the shelf and hide it in the pantry.

*Note: This is actual footage from my present-day kitchen.

6. First Communion photos on the fridge.

CREDIT: mitú

Doesn’t matter if it was one month ago or 30 years ago. Mami y abuelita love showing all of their friends how preciosa you were when you took First Communion.

7. Keebler Export soda crackers and the big green tin that lived on the counter.

It lived on the counter because it was so bulky and big that it literally didn’t fit anywhere else in the house. But that was fine because you and your hermanos would clear a tin in two days tops. And, yes, they had to be Keebler or else they were trash.

And all those empty containers quickly became Tupperware for all the bulk items that needed storage like rice or beans.

CREDIT: mitú

And sometimes they would just be used to hold precious muñecas from your childhood that mami just couldn’t bear getting rid of.

8. You’d always see some freshly washed Ziploc bags drying out in the sink.

It wasn’t because you were #goingbroke, your family just believed in not wasting things that can be used again. Don’t lie. You’ve done this.

9. Random bottles of pickled fruits and vegetables that you were never going to eat.

CREDIT: beautifulhouse.com / Pinterest

To this day, I have no idea who created this little fade and how long it’ll last. One thing was for sure, though. These were strictly decoration and they would be cycled out every year for the “newer” models.

10. An old-school cafetera that lived on the stove.

Much like the Mexican comal, this bad boy never left the stove unless it was either serving you cafecito or being washed.

11. Black beans on black beans on black beans.

It was never really clear if abuela just forgot that she already had 30 bags of black beans before going to the store or if she was preparing for a national state of emergency. Either way, she is the only person in the family that knows how to properly season the beans. It’s like she had some special santeria that made them taste so good.

12. There was always a map of Cuba.

Why? Who knows, but by the time you were 7 years old you knew the exact shape of the motherland.

13. A bowl of fake fruit that usually hung out on the kitchen counter.

It is a fact that the trust issue of many Cuban children stems from the first time they took a bit of an apple only to get a mouthful of wax or styrofoam. Then they’d get yelled at for trying to eat it. Who does that?

14. Pik-Nik shoestring potatoes were always on deck in case you got a hankering for salt.

You ate so many of these as a kid that you can still smell the cardboard used to make the packaging. Tbh, you just thought about buying some more right now.

15. A radio that blasts Celia Cruz all day and night because, why not?!

CREDIT: Christina Henderson / mitú

Only the queen of salsa can get a Cuban grooving and jiving in the kitchen. ?


READ: 21 Smells that Perfectly Sum Up Your Cuban Childhood

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