Entertainment

A Mexican Neighborhood Was On The Verge Of Being Gentrified Until Selena Saved The Day

Latinos from all over town in are stopping by a family-owned carniceria in Chicago’s historically Mexican neighborhood, Pilsen, and it’s for more than just tacos. A new series of murals, all featuring Tejana musical icon Selena have been erected as a joint collaboration by three Latinx who wanted to beautify and drive business to the area and have since called the street La Calle Selena.

“In Latin America, you have streets and paseos dedicated to people whether it was culturally or historically,” said organizer of La Calle and creative strategist, Mateo Zapata. “I wanted to bring that tradition and practice as well.

Onlookers of all ages are stopping by to take photos with the freshly-painted murals.

@carniceria_maribel / Instagram

Quinceañeras, families and friends have stopped by the wall for their own picture with the singer-songwriter, lauding the art on social media with the natural geotag for Carnicera Maribel and the natural hashtag, #LaCalleSelena.

The art on the carniceria features Selena in her memorable Amor Prohibido cover outfit, sparkly purple jumpsuit and in her Grammy dress.

@__samanthaperez / Instagram

The paintings were all spray painted on brick.

Asend One, the artist, doesn’t typically work on pop culture icons, but when creative strategist Mateo Zapata approached him with the idea, he was all for it.

“What I wanted to bring with this mural is bring quality — not just a simple rendering of her,” said Asend, adding that he wanted spectators to “taste some Chicago Mexican food. Art is part of the culture and food is art too.”

Zapata used money from the nonprofit he founded, Inner City Culture, to commission the art in May and so began the process to complete five Selena murals across the street.

@ascend_one / Instagram

The mural was completed this August after about three months of work.

These Selena murals have attracted fans and created an influx of foot traffic and business for Carniceria Maribel.

@angmir / Instagram

Alejandro Banda, who is the incoming owner of the establishment and collaborated with Zapata on the inception of the project has noticed the increase of activity in this area since the mural was completed. His family business has been a part of the Pilsen community since the 1990s when his grandfather first opened the shop. The taqueria was a recent addition from just a few years back which Banda, who is in his mid-20s, has been managing.

“I grew up around the store,” Banda said. “It’s been the biggest part of my life and identity. You really get to get the sense of community at the store. Everyone comes around.

“At the heart of it, Carniceria Maribel really does know its meat and tacos. A taco al pastor y de asada and limonada you can get from the back is eaten at the no frills taqueria by the windows. (Photo Credit: Lyanne Alfaro)

Inside, you can purchase anything from your margarita mix to agua fresca to mouthwatering tacos al pastor.

@bigmichchicago / Instagram

Of course, the business would not be complete without a signature carniceria calendar hung on the wall as is typical to give to customers during the holiday season.

And while Carniceria Maribel may be receiving a healthy amount of business as of late, that is not the case for other small businesses in the area.

“We’ve been very fortunate,” Banda said. “But it’s still very disheartening to see a lot of friends and families I’ve known, move out of the neighborhood.”

The cost of living has risen in Pilsen, and the numbers for demographics show it. In the 1960s and 70s, Mexicans arrived in Pilsen in mass numbers. But in a decade alone from 2000 to 2010, the neighborhood lost more than 25 percent of its Latinx population, from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

There are also physical signs of Pilsen’s transformation like when a developer removed iconic cultural murals from the neighborhood’s historic Hispanic community center. Casa Aztlan was torn down to make room for new condos as reported by CityLab. Just last year, community members helped shut down a $52 tour spotlighting gentrification.

Zapata’s commissioned project is more than an art piece for the neighborhood, it’s a strategic way to combat gentrification, he says.

@angmir / Instagram

“Supporting your local business is a realistic (response to gentrification),” he said. “If people go to these corner stores instead of gentrified businesses, they will stay. I do think it could be an effective strategy to avoid displacement from our community.”

Meanwhile, Banda sees La Calle Selena as a way that Carniceria Maribel, an established family business is “adapting.”

A taco al pastor y de asada and limonada is served at the no frills taqueria by the windows.
Photo Credit: Lyanne Alfaro

He considers this crucial for small businesses to survive in addition to support from the local community.

“It gives us an opportunity to re-identify ourselves. It gives us an opportunity to change things up and make things better as a business,” he said.

Banda noted that having immigrants from Colombia and Venezuela as well as a Mexican family business participating in the project adds to the value of the project.

“The fulfillment I get from it has exceeded anything I could have imagined,” said Banda, “A project done by three Latinos of all different backgrounds.”

We Found The Perfect Gifts For Your Selena-Obsessed Friends And Created A Gift Guide

Entertainment

We Found The Perfect Gifts For Your Selena-Obsessed Friends And Created A Gift Guide

mitú shop

Congratulations! If you’re reading this, it means you keep very good company. Whether you know all about Selena or just need a little guidance from a trusted source, we’ve got all the necessary items to be a Selena fan club member in good standing. Before Selena’s untimely death, she paved the way for women to take the stage in Tejano music. During a time when Cosmopolitan was telling women with curves how to properly hide those curves, Selena, somehow, remained mentally unscathed and showed us all how to properly show off our Latina curves, and keep eating pizza. While nothing can bring her contagious smile and unforgettable voice back, we can be reminded of her empowered, easy-going spirit when we notice a pin on our backpack or pick up our keys and see an Apartamento 512 keychain. 

If you don’t understand what feeding your friend’s obsession is all about, trust that it’s pure female empowerment.

Apt. 512 Keychain

Be warned, if there is anything less than platonic about your ‘friendship’ with this Selena-obsessed person, this keychain may be taken as a hint that you want something more. Otherwise, compas, your friend will scream to carry this around on her keychain. If you know, you know.

Chico in Apt 512 Tee

Oh, so you know what you’re doing and trying to make that Selena-obsessed friend your Selena-obsessed novio or novia? The key is to wear this Chico in Apt 512 Tee under a hoodie, and as your “friend” is opening the keychain gift, unzip that hoodie and reveal yourself. You’re the dreamy guy next door.

Selena Pin Pack

Pins are one of the most popular gifts because there are no sizes and one little pin can tell you a lot about a person. These three exclusive pin designs include Selena’s iconic red Porsche, “El Busti-Caca”, and “I Could Fall In Love With You” Pizza. If you don’t get it, trust that they will.

The Life of Selena Lil Libros Book

As we all trailblaze into a new decade, and a new year, some self-empowerment may be on your friend’s mind. If that sounds like your friend, then what better way to empower that self-reflection than from the mind’s eye of the Selena? Buying someone a journal almost always feels passive-aggressive, but only tears of laughter can be produced by this gift.

Bidi Bidi Guau Guau Dog Bandana

If your friend is obsessed with Selena, she’s probably also obsessed with her dog. This makes the perfect two-for-one package present to show your friend you care about her dog’s solid fashion sense, and that they properly rep family values. Plus, it’s on sale right now!

Selena Plush & Bib Bundle

If your friend has become a new mom, this handmade gift, and it’s backstory, will have her weeping with joy. When Erika first got pregnant, she started making baby shoes for her soon-to-be newborn. By the time she gave birth to her third child, this hobby became a full-out passion project and company, now called Luna Impressions. Your new mama will appreciate that this gift is 100 percent handmade by a Latina mom who became a businesswoman while her children were still in diapers.

Bidi Bidi Baby Onesie

If a Bidi Bidi baby doesn’t tell you they’re a Bidi Bidi baby, are they even a Bidi Bidi baby? Complete the gift set with the most adorable baby onesie there ever lived, available in baby pink, white, and black as well.

Bidi Bidi Busti Youth Tee

When her baby is a full-grown child, we’ve still got the merch she’ll need. Growing up in a Selena-obsessed household is contagious. Before Selena, Tejanas were rare or ignored in Tejano music. After a childhood of rewatching the stunning Selena belt “Como La Flor” from Houston’s Astrodome, she’s going to want to do the very same. Make that kid’s dreams come true.

Bidi Bidi Guac Guac Plushie

The ultimate mitú x Selena gift is perfect for the friend who may also have an obsession with Guarcado or avocados in general. Guarcado is donning Selena’s iconic sparkling purple jumpsuit and even has a convenient keychain attachment, so your friend can hold onto it forever!

READ: ‘Selena: The Series’ Finally Has Their Chris Perez And Los Dinos And Fans Are Getting So Excited

If You’re Shopping For A ’90s Kid, Check Out These Super Nostalgic And Relevant Gifts

Culture

If You’re Shopping For A ’90s Kid, Check Out These Super Nostalgic And Relevant Gifts

Tee Republic / Amazon

Picture it, the year is 1996, you just got home from school and dropped your Power Rangers backpack on the floor. You’re drinking Squeezits while your mom makes you a snack to watch Pokemon. Life is good. Whether we’re watching reboots or wearing nineties-inspired fashion trends, millennials just can’t seem to let go of that nostalgia of being little kids in the 90s. What a time to be alive, huh? With that in mind, we tracked down 20 totally amazing ’90s gifts for adults that will bring your retro-loving friend, fond memories of late-night sleepovers and Go-Gurt binges.

NES Classic Edition

Credit: @digitaltrendes / Twitter

Pre-loaded with 30 classic Nintendo games from the ’90s like Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, and Mega Man, the NES classic edition is sure to make the ‘90s kid bug out. No cartridge blowing necessary.

Caboodles Cases

Credit: @realcaboodles / Twitter

You remember Caboodles? These pastel-colored, toolbox-looking makeup cases were everything. They were where you stored your most prized beauty possessions as a kid. Fill them up with your Dr. Pepper-flavored Lip Smackers and grape-scented nail polish, ’90s girl.

Tamagotchi

Credit: Amazon

Sure, we could download the Tamagotchi app on our smartphones, but we all know it’s not the same. Original Tamagotchis are back and we can’t think of a better stocking stuffer.

Roll-on body glitter

Credit: @hayybayl / Twitter

Luxury and on-trend makeup brands may make the most luxe ‘body glitter,’ but if you grew up in the ’90s, you know that nothing beats a good old sparkly, sticky and shiny roll-on glitter stick. 

Goosebumps Retro Box set

Credit: Amazon

This “Goosebumps” anniversary box set is packed with five fan-favorites, complete with original covers. They are guaranteed to help your horror-loving friends and family relive the terrifying thrill of cracking open a brand new Goosebumps book.

Butterfly Clips

Credit: Amazon

The quintessentially ‘90s hair accessories are back. According to Etsy’s trend experts, searches for “butterfly clips” have seen an almost 400 percent increase on the site. For the ‘90s-loving adult, a pack of nostalgic clips is a totally acceptable hair accessory for 2020.

Lisa Frank supplies

Credit: Walmart

Our favorite psychedelic ‘90s trapper-keeper designer is back, and now she’s serving up some seriously nostalgic office and school supplies. What better way to listen to keep your documents in order than with a lively Lisa Frank folder?

Selena t-shirt

Credit: Tee Republic

A tee, or basically anything featuring this ’90s and forever queen, Selena is a perfect gift for the Latino ’90s baby. 

Pokemon cards

Credit: @less_cute / Twitter

Pokemon cards took over school playgrounds in the ’90s. Kids were frantically collecting and swapping in a desperate bid to catch ’em all. Well, until the teachers banned them. Collect your cards freely now, without any teachers getting rid of the fun.

Britney Spears’ Baby One More Time on vinyl

Credit: Urban Outfitters

Get Britney Spears’s iconic debut album ‘Baby One More Time’ on vinyl because who has a CD player in 2019? Plus, opening this up as a gift will make any ’90s kid cry tears of joy.

Crash Bandicoot T-Shirt

Credit: Box Lunch

Fans of the Crash Bandicoot franchise can go straight back to the Wumpa Islands and show their love for the ’90s classic with this t-shirt featuring the genetically enhanced Crash. 

Sailor Moon Makeup Brushes

Credit: eBay

This magical makeup brush set comes with a pouch and cute sailor guardian designs. A perfect gift for any of your ’90s obsessed makeup enthusiast.

Game Boy Alarm Clock

Credit: Amazon

This Game Boy alarm clock will add a bit of the ’90s to any nightstand. We were all obsessed with this mobile game consols and now they can be yours for a completely different purpose.

’90s Paper cup T-shirt

Credit: Red Bubble

This stylish tee’s nostalgic design resembles the colorful and abstract painting printed on nearly every paper cup during that glorious decade we all miss the most.

Nickelodeon Subscription Box

Credit: The Nick Box

Every 3 months you’ll receive a box jam-packed with goodies featuring your favorite ’90s Nicktoons like The Rugrats and Hey Arnold.

“It Was All A Dream” Neon sign

Credit: Etsy

The opening line to Biggy’s 1994 debut single ‘Juicy,’ is the ultimate ’90s gift for anyone growing up in that decade. 

Vintage Treasure Troll Dolls

Credit: eBay

One of the many strange toys that were popular in the nineties. Confession: I still have a plastic box filled with trolls that I collected in the ’90s. (Related: This will not be the only weird thing you learn about me in this roundup.)

Vans Old Skool Sneakers 

Credit: Vans

Only the coolest kids came to class in Vans sneakers. These are a nice throwback with the checkers emblazoned on them.

Gelly Roll Metallic Pens

Credit: Amazon

These babies were essential for diaries and passing secret class notes. Just imagine the nostalgia when you use these for your work notes.

READ: 11 Gift Ideas To Give Your BFF This Christmas Featuring All Latino-Inspired Presents