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.”

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Selena Vinyl Re-Release Tops Vinyl Billboard Charts

Entertainment

Selena Vinyl Re-Release Tops Vinyl Billboard Charts

Jana Birchum / Getty Images

Selena continues to make moves on the charts decades after her death. The late-singer landed a No. 1 position on the Billboard Vinyl charts again because of her “Ones” rerelease.

Selena is on top of the charts again with an album rerelease.

“Ones,” a collection of Selena’s top hits, was re-released on vinyl and the rapid sale of the vinyl set launched the album to No. 1 on the Billboards vinyl chart. The chart has only been around for 9 years and Selena is already dominating.

People are very lucky to have received their limited-edition vinyl.

Who doesn’t like to experience Selena’s music on vinyl with a new crop top? It is the only correct outfit to wear when you are feeling yourself to the sounds of Selena.

Selena fans are so happy to see their favorite still making news.

It doesn’t take much to make Selena fans excited. It is easy to argue that the late-singer has a very excited and mobilized base of fans. People have kept her legacy and her fame alive all these years.

Now Selena fans want to see the rest of her albums re-released.

Just picture it. A world where you can get all of Selena’s albums released again as vinyl. What a wonderful world that would be, huh? Nothing like having a chance to buy more Selena merch because, tbh, you can never have enough.

Let’s take one more moment to admire this beautiful vinyl.

It is beautiful and glorious. The vinyl set is something we will always remember. Honestly, it is what la reina deserves.

READ: 20 Forgotten Photos Showing Selena With Today’s Biggest Celebrities

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Family Sets Up GoFundMe To Help Paletero In Chicago Retire

Things That Matter

Family Sets Up GoFundMe To Help Paletero In Chicago Retire

Michaelangelo Mosqueda / GoFundMe

Every now and then there is a video or some news that bubbles up through the noise that makes you feel good. There’s another one of those stories coming out of Chicago thanks to a family helping a local paletero.

A viral video shows a family buying a paletero’s entire cooler of paletas.

The family wanted to help the paletero finish his work for the day because it was Father’s Day. After buying him out, the family decided to go one further for the older mand and set up a GoFundMe to help him retire for the life of selling paletas. Don Rosario, the paletero in the video, is 70 years old and is a staple of the East Side community in Chicago.

A GoFundMe for his retirement is raising a lot of money to help him out.

Selling paletas is exhausting work. Walking around all day long in the heat while trying to sell paletas is a demanding job. This family is taking it on themselves to help Rosario finally retire from the work so he can rest and enjoy his golden years.

There was so much love for Rosario that the fundraiser had to be closed and then reopened.

The family who set up the GoFundMe closed the fundraiser at one point, according to an update. This is because they were waiting to get his contact info and the fundraiser has exploded to more than $40,000. Then, after getting the info and enough interest to keep donating, the fundraiser was reopened. If you want to add to Rosario’s growing pot, you can click here.

The act of kindness that started on Father’s Day is still going and giving people hope.

These are dark times. We are still battling a virus. The U.S. is being forced to finally confront centuries of racial inequality. There are so many things happening that can make us mad. However, stories like these remind us that there is still so much good happening out there.

This is a ray of light in a world that is often so confusing right now.

“We’ve been left speechless, there were people from all over the states donating,” Michaelangelo Mosqueda, the GoFundMe creator, told Block Club Chicago. “It has been really eye-opening to see that when we all come together we do some great things for others.”

READ: Starbucks Barista Who Told A Karen To Wear A Mask Receives More Than $49k In Tips

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