Entertainment

Deanna From “Queer Eye” Was Harassed By Neighbors Who Told Her “The Mexicans Are Building Their Own Wall” But The Fab Five Helped Her Overcome Giving Us Another Reason To Love Them

Netflix

Netflix’s reboot of Queer Eye, featuring the Fab Five, has become a staple of America’s collective therapy. In the days since the fourth season has dropped, we’re all feeling more in touch with our feelings, but never have we been so attacked as when we met Chicana Deanna Muñoz. 

Deanna is a proud second generation Mexican-American who struggles with being “stuck” between two cultures. She doesn’t speak Spanish and can’t cook, making her feel like she’s “not Mexican enough”, and racism felt by her white neighbors makes her feel like she’s “not white enough.” Needless to say, that experience is so relatable for most of us second-generation Latino-Americans.

Meet Deanna Muñoz in all her J.Lo glory.

Credit: @annimal26 / Twitter

In fact, we call it brujería. Deanna had her first child when she was just 16 years old, and had to drop out of school. As her daughter started pouring her heart into creative writing, she wanted to find her a tutor. With none to be found, she founded the Latino Arts Festival non-profit foundation, to showcase and cultivate Latino culture in Kansas City.

We’re giving Queer Eye a 10/10 for shining a light on cultural Imposter Syndrome within the Latinx community.

Credit: @Imitate_this / Twitter

Why did Queer Eye do such a good job of this? They created space for Deanna, an actual Chicana, to share her experience to America. So many of us have faced the surprise of both Latinos and non-Latinos alike when we answer that “what are you?” question. In a place like the U.S., where we often come from mixed-culture families, seeing the emotional effects played out on screen is validating AF.

Karamo Brown took Deanna door to door to find neighbors that can counter the racism she experienced by other vecinos.

Credit: Netflix

Deanna’s family had to build a mini wall to reinforce water drainage on their yard, and a neighbor texted her husband saying, “The Mexicans are building their own wall.” 😡

Deanna’s family immediately felt uncomfortable in their own neighborhood. Our favorite Cubano, Karamo, made sure that Deanna went where the love is–and had her create her own welcome to the ‘hood.

And sons and daughters of immigrant parents everywhere sobbed to see the sacrifice.

Credit: @iiiitsandrea / Twitter

Deanna’s parents immigrated to the U.S. to give Deanna a better life. So many of our parents or abuelos left their culture and language behind to give their children a new start in life. Seeing Deanna get that is what it’s all about. #NoWall

Meanwhile, Bobbi created a safe space for Latino artists in Kansas City by gifting Deanna an office space.

Credit: Netflix

Deanna was working out of a tiny space in her home, with the third annual Latino Arts Festival upon her. Bobbi was able to create a studio space for Latinx artists, and made sure that Latinx artists influenced the design of the space. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

There was also this Latino lesson: never reject abuela’s food. She’ll bring it to you anyway.

Credit: Netflix

Twitter user Pamela Gocobachi shared, that “one of my fave moments from the new #QueerEye season was in  Deanna’s episode when @antoni learned the hard way that you never say no when abuelita asks you if you want to eat something– Martha’s face when he said “later”? Antoni’s face when she brought him food anyway? I DIED”

If you don’t speak Spanish but could relate to Deanna’s struggle to ask for help or take up any space at all, you inherited that from Latino culture.

Credit: @ccsaystoomuch / Twitter

Not one of us would question Deanna’s Latinidad, but we internalize so much shame for not living like we grew up in a Latin American country. Language and food are just two ways to define culture. 

Deanna relatably felt intimidated to be in the kitchen with the viejas.. Deanna felt like her Latin style was seen as “childish” in her board meetings and had trouble being taken seriously. These are the Latino-American experiences we have all experienced and they make us Latino.

If you’re feeling inspired, be like Chloe, and donate to the Latino Arts Foundation!

Credit: @festiefood / Twitter

It doesn’t matter if you don’t speak Spanish and couldn’t roast a poblano for your life–your Latinidad is bigger than that. It’s everything that gives us the birthright to claim that identity, especially in a foreign land. Whether your culture looks like the art of cafecito or appreciating Bad Bunny even though you don’t understand every word he’s saying, somos Latino.

What we do to celebrate that is what we pass on to the next generation. Donate to the Latino Arts Foundation hoy.

Hispanic Heritage Month Is Meant To Celebrate Spanish-Speaking Cultures, But What Does That Mean In The Age Of Trump?

Culture

Hispanic Heritage Month Is Meant To Celebrate Spanish-Speaking Cultures, But What Does That Mean In The Age Of Trump?

This week is the start of a month long commemoration of Latino culture as Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, kicks off across the U.S. Compared to Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Hispanic Heritage Month starts in the middle of a month. This is due to September 15 and 16 marking the independence days of Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador. 

The annual observance started back in in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson’s administration as a one-week celebration called Hispanic Heritage Week. It wouldn’t be until years later that President Ronald Reagan proposed extending this celebration into a month-long event. On Aug. 17, 1988, it was put into law officially designating the 30-day period starting on Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 as National Hispanic Heritage Month.

But in the age of Trump where anti-Latino sentiments run high, what does this month truly represent beyond just a marketing opportunity for companies to cash in on our culture?

Credit:@itseduardosolis/Twitter

For the next few weeks, Latinos will be at the forefront when it comes to “representation”. In other words, Latinos will be involved in marketing campaigns, corporate social media accounts will attempt to tweet in Spanish and sugar skulls will be all the rage at your local Target. That’s Hispanic Heritage Month in 2019 and something doesn’t seem right about that. 

The problem with Hispanic Heritage Month is that it represents almost everything that our culture isn’t about. That starts with the name itself, Hispanic, which came into use after the 1980 Census to refer to Spanish and Latin American descendants living in the U.S. It’s this lumping of all Latino people under the Hispanic umbrella, whether it applies to us or not, that is problematic. It leaves out countless of groups of people like those who identify as Afro-Latino or Indigenous that are constantly overlooked or never given any representation whatsoever. 

Beyond just the name, the question of it’s purpose and its meaning in this day and age also comes into play. In reality, most Latinos don’t need a month to be acknowledged or be at the forefront of a marketing campaign to feel accepted. Most celebrate their cultural pride every single day.

Hispanic Heritage Month was created by and promoted by the U.S. government to show that we “arrived” as people in this country. Yet in the 31 years since HHM started, Latinos have more than just arrived. We have made ourselves at home and have contributed to U.S. culture, science and art in ways that deserve more than just a month when brands pander to us. 

While some look at Hispanic Heritage Month as a time to celebrate maybe it can serve a better purpose by letting us tell our own narrative for once. 

Credit:@ric_galvan/Twitter

The purpose of Hispanic Heritage Month needs a reboot rather than some faux-celebration about ethnic representation. Instead, the month should focus on how to move our communities forward and how we can share our own narratives and stories. 

For a population group that makes up 18.1% of the total U.S. population, representation has been hard to come by in recent years. The majority of this visibility has been succumbed to President Trump’s antipathy towards Latinos and demonization of migrant groups coming from the Southern border. Then came Aug. 3, when a shooter inspired by the President Trump anti-Latino rhetoric killed 22 people in El Paso. The deadly shooting sent shock waves to Latino communities across the country and placing fear in the minds of many. While this isn’t the first time Latinos have been targeted, the attack represented divisiveness that has once again reared it’s ugly head. 

Yet instead of living in fear, the best response can only be one of visibility and solidarity. The truth of the matter is that Latinos never needed government validation or permission to share our heritage, no matter what month of the year it may be. 

Rather than waste a month grasping onto what others perceive us as, we should embrace our own stories and bring to light the issues we face everyday. In reality, no month long celebration will ever validate our experiences or our stories. But as long as we have the platform, let’s make the best use of it and share our own narratives for once. 

READ: Latinos Are Still Waiting For Their Own Movie Moment As Hollywood Tries Casting More Diverse Films

The Internet Is Cheering This Former Bus Boy Who Is Now Running His Own Sushi Restaurant

Things That Matter

The Internet Is Cheering This Former Bus Boy Who Is Now Running His Own Sushi Restaurant

mariscosysushitomateros / Instagram

For almost 15 years, Edgar Baca worked as a busser at Nobu Malibu, a high-end Japanese restaurant established by chef Nobu Matsuhisa, until he was finally able to open his own restaurant ⁠— Mariscos y Sushi Los Tomateros

Baca delivers high-quality seafood, making this a great spot for those who want to indulge in delicious sushi or Sinaloan mariscos.

Credit: Yelp.com

Baca worked in the same position as a busser for nearly 15 years, hoping to see the day when he would be able to open his restaurant. Those years gave him the necessary skills to create exquisite dishes that are satisfying, visually appetizing and most importantly – affordable. 

Inspired from the innovative cuisine at Nobu, Baca creates creative sushi dishes with a Mexican twist.

Credit: mariscosysushitomateros / Instagram

For example, the Guamuchilito roll that is stuffed with seafood and topped with avocado and tampico sauce is named after a town in Culiacán, Mexico. Another roll they have is the strawberry roll that has shrimp tempura, cucumber, strawberries, and tamarindo sauce. However, sushi isn’t the only item served at this restaurant. The menu at Los Tomateros also consists of traditional Mexican dishes, such as ceviche, tacos, molcajete, aguachile and so much more. 

As an immigrant from Culiacán, Baca pays homage to his hometown with his restaurant and food, dropping little hints of his home throughout.

For example, the logo of Los Tomateros is a tomato with chopsticks, as the tomato is a prominent vegetable grown in Sinaloa. Los Tomateros is also the name of a popular baseball team in Culiacán. Baca is proud to show off his roots and is unafraid to experiment with traditional and well-known recipes to create the items on his menu.  

Baca is also cooking for people like him as the average meal at Nobu costs about $30-$60.

Credit: Yelp.com

Although the menu at Mariscos y Sushi Los Tomateros doesn’t consist of Rosemary Panko Crusted New Zealand Lamb Chop’s or Scallop Truffle Chips, Los Tomateros brings a little taste of Sinaloa to Los Angeles.

However, Baca does carry Yellowtail Yusu in his restaurant.

Credit: mariscosysushitomateros / Instagram

The Yellowtail Yusu dish that Los Tomateros serves is similar to a popular item found on the Nobu Malibu menu that is approximately $30. The dish is expensive, but Baca is able to recreate it beautifully for less and introduce it to folks in the community that may never have the opportunity to dine at Nobu. Baca is establishing his own spin on sushi, proving that you don’t have to go an expensive restaurant to get delicious and high-quality seafood. 

Mariscos y Sushi Los Tomateros is the outcome of years of sacrifice, savings, and hard work. 

In the beginning, Baca worked two shifts at Nobu and faced sleepless nights to make his restaurant a reality. Baca started small, first cooking from his home for his coworkers at Nobu the traditional Mexican dishes they craved, then he began cooking for celebrities. His determination to make his business and delicious food did not go unnoticed as he has catered events for famous Mexican figures, such as soccer player Carlos Vela. 

At some points in his career, Baca struggled to keep his restaurant afloat and was left without electricity or the money to buy the proper ingredients to cook his dishes. He would call his relatives for help, asking for funds to maintain his business. All this to keep his dream alive. 

Baca’s goal to own his own restaurant and be the boss of his locale is a goal that is shared by many immigrants around the United States.

After all, it is the American dream to have your own business, but it is not easy to obtain. Baca demonstrated a lot of patience as he stayed at the same job for almost 15 years to make Mariscos y Sushi Los Tomateros happen. However, it’s more than just having the money to fund your business. Baca has the skill to mix traditional cuisines together to create something amazing. Moreover, the knowledge from working at Nobu allows him to cook exquisite meals. It was not easy for Baca to get to where he is today as it took years before he was able to see the fruits of his labor materialize, but it did eventually happen. Baca fought hard to keep his dream afloat and did not let the setbacks hinder his success as an entrepreneur.

If you find yourself in the Lynwood, California area, make sure to check out Mariscos y Sushi Los Tomateros and try some of their mariscos that are 100% Sinaloense!