Entertainment

You Can’t Argue That John Leguizamo Isn’t Doing The Work To Uplift The Latino Community Every Day

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Among the Latino celebrities that have made their political ideals crystal clear, we can certainly count actor John Leguizamo, who for more than two decades has been a force to be reckoned with both in Hollywood and independent cinema. John Alberto Leguizamo was born in Bogota, Colombia, on July 22, 1964. He is also a US citizen. Leguizamo has acted in small indie films such as Summer of Sam, but also in high profile franchises including John Wick and Ice Age. Leguizamo is as mainstream as it gets while retaining a humble personality. He has said: “I see the new Latin artist as a pioneer, opening up doors for others to follow.” He is proud of his language and his people. 

Leguizamo has worked with the likes of legendary filmmakers Spike Lee and George Romero while being unapologetic about his clear disdain for those in politics that incite division and perpetuate injustice. Here are some key moments of Leguizamo’s political activism and the never-ending fight for Latino rights. 

When he wrote an incendiary op-ed for The New York Times in 2016, right before the election.

Credit: Screenshot. The New York Times.

It was fantastic, and it was titled “Too Bad You’re Latin.” It was a real call to action. “We need a Latino Spring in this country,” he wrote. “We need to demand power and equal opportunity”. Of course, he aimed his guns at POTUS: “Donald J. Trump has done one good thing. He has galvanized a conflicted and diverse community. For years, activists and politicians have struggled to get Latinos to vote and show their power.”

When he narrated the HBO documentary The Latin Explosion: A New America.

Credit: The Latin Explosion: A New America / HBO

Latino culture in the United States has gone mainstream, and popular culture outside of Spanish-speaking circles is dictated by what celebrities such as Shakira, Sofía Vergara, and Ricky Martin do. Leguizamo celebrates the many accomplishments of Latinos in the entertainment industry by narrating this documentary feature. 

When he boycotted Saturday Night Live over a Donald Trump hosting gig.

Credit: john-leguizamo-donald-trump-yahoo. Digital image. Screener TV

In 2015, after Trump initially enraged the Latino community describing Mexican migrants as “rapists”, Leguizamo collected signatures opposing the then candidate’s appearance in the show. He said: “What he says doesn’t even fall into the category of (politically correct). It is hate mongering. I hope what I do in my work is not denigrating or belittling. I mean, I’m all for freedom of speech, don’t get me wrong. I believe in freedom of speech. This is different. If he had said those things about any other ethnic group, he would not be on SNL.” Preach, Johnny!

When he played Raymond Santana Sr., a proud father in When They See Us.

Credit: When They See Us / Netflix 

Leguizamo portrays the father of one of the Exonerated 5 with aplomb, and with Latino sass and pride. Leguizamo embodies any Latino father who believes in his kid while also acknowledging that racial politics are not always in favor of minorities. We love the rage, vulnerability, and love that Leguizamo is able to infuse his character with. 

When he decided to do his awesome Netflix special Latin History for Morons.

Credit: Latin History for Morons / Netflix

Leguizamo released an amazing Netflix special in which he basically unpacks the history of Latin America and Latinos in the United States in a brutal, yet humorous way. He talks about the savage Spanish rule in the continent, migration and the importance of preserving Spanish. The special is based, of course, on Leguizamo’s one-man Broadway show. Wanna see him? Visit  https://latinhistorybroadway.com/ for dates and tickets! Billboard raves about his show: “Latin History for Morons couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. It feels like the perfect complement to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. And it provides a security blanket for people of color in knowing their place and value in a world that’s constantly telling them they don’t matter.” You had us at “morons”. 

He supports Latino politicians to bring our community to power.

Credit: Instagram. @johnleguizamo

The 2020 election will be defined by the variety of voices among the Democratic presidential hopefuls, regardless of whether Donald Trump gets reelected or not. Leguizamo stands by his ideas and supports candidates like Julian Castro, a proud Latino!

He puts his money where his mouth is, supporting Latino talent.

Credit: Instagram. @johnleguizamo

Leguizamo owns NGL Collective, a media company that produces content for the Latino market. Their philosophy: is based on being a “company forged from a pioneering entrepreneurial spirit that today is a leading digital media and entertainment company super-serving the US Latinx marketplace”. Not many seasoned Hollywood actors would actually put manos a la obra, but Leguizamo is not just any celebrity. He says: “I like helping people achieve their dreams just like people helped me.”

He always speaks out against hate.

Credit: Instagram. @johnleguizamo

On his Instagram account, where he is very active by the way, he often shares heartbreaking stories of racial abuse against Latinos. For example, this terrible act of violence against a mother who was physically abused while picking up her son from school. 

Leguizamo has said basta to the way that authorities are treating kids at the border.

Credit: Instagram. @johnleguizamo

Leguizamo has been one of the most fierce critics of the zero tolerance position of the Trump administration. As a true connoisseur of US history, Leguizamo often points to the fact that this country was built on the shoulders of immigrants who arrived from all over the world seeking to build a better life. Leguizamo is also often attending marches and raising funds for just causes. He once said: “When you feel the world is against you or you give up hope, you look at your heroes and say, they were able to do it. They had hard times and a lot of opposition but they got through it. Then you feel, I can do it too”. We wonder how many young Latinos look up to him; we are guessing un chingo

He spreads his gospel of truth.

Credit: Instagram. @johnleguizamo

Amen to this great message on his Insta, where he encapsulates his believes. LGBTQ rights, immigration rights, women’s rights, Black lives mater, we should save the planet and treat each other kindly. If we all lived by these principles otro gallo nos cantaria and the world would be a much better place. Se vale soñar

We’ve all wished that some of his jokes were actually facts.

Credit: Instagram. @johnleguizamo

If 20 years ago someone had said that the host of a reality show in which the premise was to fire people and basically humiliate them for the sake of ratings would be sitting in the Oval Office, we would have laughed that suggestion off as pure silliness, right? And yet… So this suggestion by Leguizamo that he could run in 2020 is not totally nuts, is it?  By the way: did you see the awesome Mexican actress Kate Del Castillo liked this post? What about she runs for vice president?

READ: ‘To Wong Foo’ Is An Undeniable Gay Cult Classic And John Leguizamo’s Role As A Drag Queen Is Still One Of The Best Performances

This Iconic Actor Is One Of The Funniest Memes On Twitter And Here Are The Best That Make Us JAJAJAJA

Entertainment

This Iconic Actor Is One Of The Funniest Memes On Twitter And Here Are The Best That Make Us JAJAJAJA

@diecproducciones / Instagram

If you grew up in a Latino family, particularly a Mexican family, chances are that you either grew up watching or have heard of Chabelo. He is Mexican pop culture royalty due to the long run of his show En Familia con Chabelo in which he personified childhood silliness.

Yes, he was a grown man dressed as a boy and talking in a high pitched voice.

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For the rest of the world this might seem a bit weird and even uncanny, but for Chabelo is a symbol of childhood and a reliable presence throughout our lives. Imagine if your dad, your kids, and your grandpa all watched the same show when little! In addition to this super successful show in which he sang and organized fun competitions, he has appeared in more than thirty films and at his height recorded more than thirty albums with kids songs.

Because he has been around for so long, Chabelo has also become an Internet celebrity.

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Memes constantly pop up making fun of his longevity, but most do it in a very respectful manner BTW!  

So, yes, Chabelo was born in the United States, but he is currently a Mexican citizen.

Credit: canalestrellas / Instagram

Xavier López Rodríguez was born in Chicago, Illinois, from a couple who was originally from Leon, in the Mexican state of Guanajuato. Xavier was drafted by the U.S. Army when he turned 18 and was going to fight in the Korean War, but the conflict ended. He then moved to Mexico to study.

OK, let’s clarify something first: so how old is Chabelo? Really?

Credit: anapatriciacandiani / Instagram

He was born on February 17, 1935 (not at the beginning of time as the Internet claims!). He is only 84 years old, but his career as an actor has spanned over 60 years. Sure, there are actors and other celebrities that have worked for that long, but Chabelo has been a constant, weekly presence in Mexican television, so many viewers have actually grown up watching him. He says if his long presence in the public imagination: “My audience makes the difference, the one that participates, what has kept me viable, I thank the Mexican audience that has allowed me to do what I love and not have an actual job.”

He has been there for at least three generations of Latin American kids.

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Chabelo started his career in 1952 and established himself as a reliant comedic voice. However, his big breakthrough happened in 1967, when his weekly show En Familia con Chabelo started airing on Mexican free to air television. The show ran for a total of 48 seasons and ended in December 2015 after 2495 episodes. He says about children: “Children are honest, marvelous and beautiful beings, one hundred percent of what a person should be”. 

He almost became a medical doctor, but his true passion took over! Gracias a Dios, cuates!

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Just like any father, Chabelo’s puso el grito en el cielo when his son told him he wanted to become an actor, especially because he “When I quit med school in second year my father thought I was making a big mistake, a sinful mistake, in abandoning my med career to be an actor. I knew, however, that being an actor was just as noble, dignified and important as being a doctor, so I had the obligation to study and I keep learning every day.”

He even shared the screen with the great late Cantinflas.

Credit: mundocantinflas / Instagram

Just look at that image: if you have Mexican heritage this will bring tears of joy and nostalgia! What a moment! It comes from the 1962 film El extra and you can watch the scene here.

He was a union leader for actors and was therefore spied on by the Mexican government!

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Chabelo has always looked after his peers and was a union leader for years until he became disenchanted with the political side of showbiz. However, as recently opened files reveal, he was a person of interest for intelligence agencies in Mexico. As NF News Center reports: “Several reports contained in the file of Xavier López Rodríguez, Chabelo, then press secretary and dissemination of the acting union, account for the meetings of unionized at the headquarters of the ANDA, such as the dissidence, led by Enrique Lizalde, in theaters Fru-Frú, Jorge Negrete and Café Colón.”  

The great Vero Castro was an aide in Chabelo’s show!

Credit: soyretromx / Instagram

As CE Noticias Financieras reports: “The image shows a very young Verónica Castro with the friend of all the children, who has long hair and holds a microphone. In 1969, Cristian Castro’s mother became the first aide for the program En familia con Chabelo, which had its first broadcast in 1967, and came to an end in December 2015”. True Mexican pop culture royalty here, folks! 

Everything you read from here on is actually NOT FACTUAL, well, it is just true in the wonderful world of Internet memes.

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OMG, we would love to have this Loteria-themed T-shirt showcasing Chabelo as The Immortal.  Just look at that godlike, dignified look in his eyes! 

Two Mexi-Greek gods.

Credit: memexicoficial / Instagram

Chabelo is friends with generations of celebrities and politicians. Here, he is enjoying a drink at the beach with Luis Miguel. Is Chabelo the Father of Time? Is Luismi the Lord of The Sun? (his nickname is El Sol, remember?). 

Is Chabelo the true hero of the 1910 Mexican Revolution?

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He could have shared the battlefield with Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa, according to Internet conspiracy theories! 

Chabelo is epic, magical, biblical!

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Was he one of the first followers of Jesus back, back, back, back in the day? 

When we make any political choice, we gotta think of Chabelo’s future.

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This is a good one: “Before voting, think about the type of country we will leave behind for Chabelo”. Ha! 

Does Chabelo predate the mass dinosaur extinction?

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He could actually have been the inventor of selfies, when dinos were still roaming the Earth. 

Or perhaps he was born in the height of the Aztec Empire, before the Spanish made their fateful appearance on the coast of Veracruz?

Credit: yolacamontes / Instagram

We gotta admire the Photoshop skills on this one!

Nothing can stop the pop culture superteam of Chabelo and Luismi!

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Chabelo is also a constant feature in Mexican street art. Just look at this amazing obra de arte in the streets of Oaxaca. 

When Stan Lee was a kid, Chabelo was already a TV celebrity.

Rest in Peace, Stan Lee!

He will outlive anyone, according to the Internet.

Credit: elindiobrayan / Instagram

Translation: “I never had any pets, they once tried to gift me a turtle. But they only live for 300 years, you grow fond of them but then they died”. 

Sorry, we just had to! This image was just too bizarre for us to let it pass! 

Credit: aurisalgado / Instagram

In fact, Chabelo is just 11 years older than Donald J. Trump and looks better! We are sure that Chabelo wouldn’t laugh if he saw this, though!

READ: After 50 Years Of Telling Us What To Expect In Life, Walter Mercado Is Being Honored With An Exhibit

The World Is Not Ready For This Man’s Talent And Looks But Thank You Anyway

Entertainment

The World Is Not Ready For This Man’s Talent And Looks But Thank You Anyway

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It has been more than a decade since Mexican actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna established themselves as power players in the Hollywood game. Other Mexican actors like Kuno Becker have also broken into the United States mainstream, but they are few and far apart. The new kid on the block is actor Luis Gerardo Mendez, an actor that has done it all in a few years: he has made indie films, a highly successful Netflix show, one of the most successful Mexican movies of all time and now films with Jennifer Aniston, Adam Sandler and the new Charlie’s Angels team of kickass queens. 

He was born in the state of Aguascalientes, Mexico.

Credit: luisgerardom / Instagram

Contrary to what some might believe, not every Mexican actor comes from the capital Mexico City! Luis Gerardo was born in the city of Aguascalientes on March 8, 1982. 

Remember how Jude Law seemed to be on every single movie released in the early 2000s? Well, that is what the very prolific Luis Gerardo is for the Mexican film industry today.

Credit: luisgerardom / Instagram

From the beginning of his career, he has been willing to work with anyone who wants to tell a story. He has collaborated with first-time directors such as Ivan Morales, whose film Sincronia is available on YouTube (it is a delightful film about love and loss). He has taken on peculiar projects such as Camino a Marte, where he plays an alien trapped in a human body. He doesn’t shy away from challenges, ever. 

BTW, you just can’t miss his Netflix film Time Share (Tiempo compartido).

Credit: luisgerardom / Instagram

Time Share (2018) is a dark comedy that explores the sect-like practices of the tourism industry and how it lures clients to get lifelong commitments to spend holidays in particular all-inclusive resorts. Filmed in Acapulco, it starts as a comedy of errors and soon becomes a much darker film: a true indictment of capitalism and its deathly methods for controlling people through impossible dreams and promises of achieving a higher social status.

Fame and fortune no se la ha subido a la cabeza and he remains humble and con los pies bien puestos sobre la Tierra.

Credit: luisgerardom / Instagram

We love his Instagram account, where you can follow his daily life (how cool is this shot from a nightclub toilet in grungy Berlin?), from his trips to life behind the sets of his movies and TV shows. 

He is a true supporter of Mexican cinema.

Credit: luisgerardom / Instagram

Luis Gerardo had one of the leading roles in the super successful film Nosotros los Nobles (The Noble Family), which tells the story of an upper-class family that suddenly sees its fortune evaporate. Luis Gerardo often collaborates with new and emerging directors and often takes an active role in the production. He believes in and loves the industry which saw him become one of the most recognizable of Latino filmmaking. 

We will always remember his character in Club de Cuervos, Salvador Iglesias Jr, Chava pa los cuates.

Credit: luisgerardom / Instagram

Some actors are always linked to certain characters, and that is the case of Luis Gerardo, who played the extravagant and frankly kinda dumb Chava Iglesias in the Netflix show Club de Cuervos, which explored the world of Mexican professional soccer. Mendez revealed himself as a comedic genius, navigating the thin line that separates slapstick and high-quality comedy. He gave an apparently shallow character multiple layers of both dramatic and comedic depth. 

We mean, no one has worn a vest better.

Credit: luisgerardom / Instagram

Chava Iglesias was so ridiculously full of himself that it was uncomfortably fun to watch! He left us plenty of memorable moments, such as successfully hiring the best soccer player in the world out of pure necedad!

He is an animal lover.

Credit: luisgerardom / Instagram

The actor collaborates with PETA Latino, particularly in a campaign to treat domestic pets as they deserve: with care and respect. He particularly cares about dogs that are left alone in rooftops all day, a common practice in Mexico. 

He has his own collectible figurine!

Credit: luisgerardom / Instagram

Once you have a Funko POP! toy made a tu imagen y semejanza you know you have made it! 

You can’t miss Bayoneta either (it’s on Netflix).

Credit: luisgerardom / Instagram

The outstanding boxing drama Bayoneta is also available on Netflix. It tells the sad story of a has-been fighter from Tijuana that makes a living in Finland by training young boxers. He gives a deep, challenging performance that was physically tough.  

His movie Murder Mystery has been one of the most watched Netflix originals.

Credit: luisgerardom / Instagram

Yes, of course, it is mainly because of his costars Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, but Mendez’ film was watched by more than 30 million people in the first three days after its release. That is much more than what many theatrical releases get. Streaming services are truly revolutionizing how movies are produced, distributed and watched, and are giving actors like Mendez a platform in which they can explore different genres. Netflix is very fond of Luis Gerardo, and we are sure we will see more of him in the years to come. 

Next up, a crazy scientist in the girl-power action film Charlie’s Angels.

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He will play a minor role, but he will give comedic relief to the highly anticipated remake directed by Elizabeth Banks. We just can’t wait to see him in this! 

His next project deals with US-Mexico relationships: Half Brother sounds truly amazing.

Credit: luisgerardom / Instagram

In an exclusive interview for Mitú, the film’s producer and writer, Eduardo Cisneros (one of the leading Latino voices in the industry), said about the actor: “When Jason Shuman and I started fleshing out this story, I immediately thought of Luis Gerardo, because there aren’t many people out there with all the qualities the role required. First of all, he’s a gifted actor, capable of giving a layered dramatic performance, but at the same time, he’s immensely adroit at comedy. We needed a redoubtable leading performer, the kind people come to expect from a Focus movie, but also someone who had a great appeal within the Mexican and Latinx moviegoers. We approached him at the early stages of the project, and little did we know he had a personal, almost autobiographical, connection to the story. So it was almost kismet. He came on board not only as a star but as an executive producer, so we are lucky to have his input and artistry in this movie”. 

Cisneros explains what this movie is all about: “Luis Gerardo Méndez stars as Renato, a successful Mexican private aviation entrepreneur based in San Miguel De Allende, who is shocked to discover he has an American half-brother he never knew about, the free-spirited Asher, played by Connor Del Rio. The two very different half-brothers are forced on a road journey together masterminded by their ailing father, tracing the path their father took as an undocumented immigrant from Mexico to the US.  The central idea of the movie is the need for learning how to see things from your neighbor’s perspective, which is kind of an allegory for what we’re going today in our global society.”

READ: 8 Times Netflix’s ‘Club De Cuervos’ Reminded Us How Intense Sibling Rivalry Is

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