Entertainment

Latinx Businesses To Support This Holiday Gifting Season

Latinos are some of the biggest spenders. We are also the demographic that is starting small businesses at a faster rate than the rest of the startup population in the United States. This holiday season we could put our money where our mouth is and invest it back into businesses in our community that were founded by people like our parents, tíos, tías or primos who we know made incredible sacrifices for their shot at The American Dream.

With the internet so accessible and tools like Instagram Shop and Facebook Marketplace it is now easier than ever to transact with these businesses that hit so close to home. Plus, we made it even easier by compiling a list of some of our favorite Latinx owned businesses (in no particular order) for you to shop at this holiday season.

Oh Comadre Candles

Marcella Gomez is a nurse and founded Oh Comadre as a way to self-care and escape the seriousness of her nursing job. After testing different waxes and wicks for 16 months, she came up with her version of the perfect organic veggie soy wax candle with a cotton wick. She hand pours every candle herself in Downey, Calif. She wants her candles to represent her culture and evoke emotion, comfort and lovely memories.

Mercedes Salazar

Mercedes Salazar has always been fascinated by jewelry. As a child, she was drawn to sparkly gems and intrigued by the intricate stylings of indigenous artisans in her homeland of Colombia. Yet, it was the stories behind her mother’s favorite trinkets that inspired the jewelry designer to turn her passion for pretty stones and threads into a career and also preserve stories and culture through her medium. Nearly two decades after Mercedes Salazar first launched, the brand grew beyond the founder’s wildest dreams now selling at high-end stores like Nordstrom, Revolve and Bloomingdales to name a few.

Tragos Card Game

Tragos is the party game para Latinos. Made with pure Latino pride, Tragos is the drinking card game that your abuela will not approve of. Each box holds 110 ridiculously true Latino reference cards, designed with unique game rules to get the fiesta started.

Lil Libros

In a world with a shortage of bilingual books for children, Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein began their mission to introduce bilingualism and Latin American culture through picture board books. Lil Libros was created to inspire parents to read to their children and encourage them to do so in two languages.

Fuchila Fresheners

Founded by husband and wife and after noticing that everyone had the same “little green trees” freshener hanging from their rear-view mirror, this couple set out to design a line of air fresheners that not only smell great but you can hang with pride from your mirror.

Luna Impressions

Mother of three, Erika, was inspired to come up with these adorable dolls after walking into a baby boutique and falling in love with their accessories… that were out of her price range. She always loved crafts but having three boys made her more conscious of her spend. One day she decided to make her own baby shoes. She loves making things for little ones and seeing pictures of happy customers. If you purchase something from her line, be sure to tag her!

Taco Gear

This brand was created by Gerald Flores from his love for both Graphic Design and of course tacos. Like many Latinos, tacos are a huge part of Gerald’s life. They represent his culture and bring people together. At the time of the launch of his brand, he couldn’t really find any shirts or hats about tacos that he liked, so he decided to launch his own.

Jose Pulido

Jose Pulido has been drawing as long as he can remember. Some of his earliest memories involve notebooks and doodles. After receiving his Bachelor’s in Fine Arts, he started a small t-shirt company with his brother, called Mis Nopales. They strive to celebrate Mexican culture through various projects.

Loquita Bath & Body

Loquita Bath and Body is a California-based company that specializes in Latinx and 90’s nostalgia bath products. They’re the company that gave us the famous concha bath bomb. Their concha bath bomb comes in a variety of scents like a chocolate concha, a unicorn concha, a pink concha, and a zombia concha. Drop one of these in your tub and your bathroom will soon smell like the local pandería. 

Raggedytiff

Raffedytiff is kown for its eclectic fok-cultural style with an eccentric personality and unique feel. Specializing in statement apparel and accessories, Raggedytiff is known for its unique textile prints. Founder Jessica Resendiz was born in Queretaro, Mexico but was raised in San Diego most of her childhood. She began creating hair accessories as young as 8 years old. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise in Los Angeles and launched her business shortly after.

Millennial Lotería

Millennial Lotería is a hilarious and insightful parody of the classic Latinx game Lotería, but this time, it’s like way more millennial. Born from the viral Instagram account, this game reimagines La Dama as La Feminist, El Catrín as El Hipster, and El Mundo as La Student Debt. Filled with nostalgia and ironic humor, it’s guaranteed to make your next fiesta lit AF.

Salvadoran Lotería

The Salvadoran version of Lotería uses the images and names of Salvadoran items, foods and characters instead of the original Don Clemente Gallo version. Many of the items found in the game are not just specific to El Salvador, but it’s the way it’s said that makes it a true Salvadoran experience.

Alamar Cosmetics

Just about every cosmetic store is selling the same eyeshadow palettes. You can be a little different and shop at Latina-owned businesses like Alamar who offers unique shades and packaging that speak directly to us. Alamar Cosmetics was founded by a Cubana who moved to Miami. For her brand, she likes to blend trends with timeless.

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Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Entertainment

Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Luis Fonsi is kicking off 2021 with a new single. The Puerto Rican superstar premiered the music video for “Vacío” on Feb. 18 featuring rising Boricua singer Rauw Alejandro. The guys put a new spin on the classic “A Puro Dolor” by Son By Four.

Luis Fonsi throws it back to his románticas.

“I called Omar Alfanno, the writer of ‘A Puro Dolo,’ who is a dear friend,” Fonsi tells Latido Music. “I told him what my idea was [with ‘Vacío’] and he loved it. He gave me his blessing, so I wrote a new song around a few of those lines from ‘A Puro Dolor’ to bring back that nostalgia of those old romantic tunes that have been a part of my career as well. It’s a fresh production. It sounds like today, but it has that DNA of a true, old-school ballad.”

The world got to know Fonsi through his global smash hit “Despacito” with Daddy Yankee in 2017. The remix with Canadian pop star Justin Bieber took the song to new heights. That was a big moment in Fonsi’s music career that spans over 20 years.

There’s more to Fonsi than “Despacito.”

Fonsi released his first album, the fittingly-titled Comenzaré, in 1998. While he was on the come-up, he got the opportunity of a lifetime to feature on Christina Aguilera’s debut Latin album Mi Reflejo in 2000. The two collaborated on “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” Fonsi scored multiple Billboard Hot Latin Songs No. 1s in the years that followed and one of the biggest hits was “No Me Doy Por Vencido” in 2008. That was his career-defining romantic ballad.

“Despacito” remains the second most-viewed music video on YouTube with over 7.2 billion views. The hits did not stop there. Later in 2017, he teamed up with Demi Lovato for “Échame La Culpa,” which sits impressively with over 2 billion views.

He’s also appearing on The Voice next month.

Not only is Fonsi working on his new album, but also he’s giving advice to music hopefuls for the new season of The Voice that’s premiering on March 1. Kelly Clarkson tapped him as her Battle Advisor. In an exclusive interview, Fonsi talked with us about “Vacío,” The Voice, and a few of his greatest hits.

What was the experience like to work with Rauw Alejandro for “Vacío”?

Rauw is cool. He’s got that fresh sound. Great artist. Very talented. Amazing onstage. He’s got that great tone and delivery. I thought he had the perfect voice to fit with my voice in this song. We had talked about working together for awhile and I thought that this was the perfect song. He really is such a star. What he’s done in the last couple of years has been amazing. I love what he brought to the table on this song.

Now I want to go through some of your greatest hits. Do you remember working with Christina Aguilera for her Spanish album?

How could you not remember working with her? She’s amazing. That was awhile back. That was like 1999 or something like that. We were both starting out and she was putting out her first Spanish album. I got to sing a beautiful ballad called “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” I got to work with her in the studio and see her sing in front of the mic, which was awesome. She’s great. One of the best voices out there still to this day.

What’s one of your favorite memories of “No Me Doy Por Vencido”?

“No Me Doy Por Vencido” is one of the biggest songs in my career. I think it’s tough to narrow it down just to one memory. I think in general the message of the song is what sticks with me. The song started out as a love song, but it turned into an anthem of hope. We’ve used the song for different important events and campaigns. To me, that song has such a powerful message. It’s bigger than just a love song. It’s bringing hope to people. It’s about not giving up. To be able to kind of give [people] hope through a song is a lot more powerful than I would’ve ever imagined. It’s a very special song.

I feel the message is very relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic we’re living through.

Oh yeah! I wrote that song a long time ago with Claudia Brant, and during the first or second month of the lockdown when we were all stuck at home, we did a virtual writing session and we rewrote “No Me Doy Por Vencido.” Changing the lyrics, kind of adjusting them to this situation that we’re living now. I haven’t recorded it. I’ll do something with it eventually. It’s really cool. It still talks about love. It talks about reuniting. Like the light at the end of the tunnel. It has the hope and love backbone, but it has to do a lot with what we’re going through now.

What do you think of the impact “Despacito” made on the industry?

It’s a blessing to be a part of something so big. Again, it’s just another song. We write these songs and the moment you write them, you don’t really know what’s going to happen with them. Or sometimes you run into these surprises like “Despacito” where it becomes a global phenomenon. It goes No. 1 in places where Spanish songs had never been played. I’m proud. I’m blessed. I’m grateful to have worked with amazing people like Daddy Yankee. Like Justin Bieber for the remix and everyone else involved in the song. My co-writer Erika Ender. The producers Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres. It was really a team effort and it’s a song that obviously changed my career forever.

What was the experience like to work with Demi Lovato on “Echáme La Culpa”?

She’s awesome! One of the coolest recording sessions I’ve ever been a part of. She really wanted to sing in Spanish and she was so excited. We did the song in Spanish and English, but it was like she was more excited about the Spanish version. And she nailed it! She nailed it from the beginning. There was really not much for me to say to her. I probably corrected her once or twice in the pronunciation, but she came prepared and she brought it. She’s an amazing, amazing, amazing vocalist.

You’re going to be a battle advisor on The Voice. What was the experience like to work with Kelly Clarkson?

She’s awesome. What you see is what you get. She’s honest. She’s funny. She’s talented. She’s humble and she’s been very supportive of my career. She invited me to her show and it speaks a lot that she wanted me to be a part of her team as a Battle Advisor for the new season. She supports Latin music and I’m grateful for that. She’s everything you hope she would be. She’s the real deal, a true star, and just one of the coolest people on this planet.

What can we expect from you in 2021?

A lot of new music. Obviously, everything starts today with “Vacío.” This is literally the beginning of what this new album will be. I’ve done nothing but write and record during the last 10 months, so I have a bunch of songs. Great collaborations coming up. I really think the album will be out probably [in the] third or fourth quarter this year. The songs are there and I’m really eager for everybody to hear them.

Read: We Finally Have A Spanish-Language Song As The Most Streamed Song Of All Time

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Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

Things That Matter

Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

If you’ve ever wondered what someone with a bulletproof vest and an AR-15 would look like flossing — the dance, not the method of dental hygiene — apparently the answer to that question can be found on TikTok.

Unfortunately, it’s not as a part of some absurdist sketch comedy or surreal video art installation. Instead, it’s part of a growing trend of drug cartels in Mexico using TikTok as a marketing tool. Nevermind the fact that Mexico broke grim records last year for the number of homicides and cartel violence, the cartels have found an audience on TikTok and that’s a serious cause for concern.

Mexican cartels are using TikTok to gain power and new recruits.

Just a couple of months ago, a TikTok video showing a legit high-speed chase between police and drug traffickers went viral. Although it looked like a scene from Netflix’s Narcos series, this was a very real chase in the drug cartel wars and it was viewed by more than a million people.

Typing #CartelTikTok in the social media search bar brings up thousands of videos, most of them from people promoting a “cartel culture” – videos with narcocorridos, and presumed members bragging about money, fancy cars and a luxury lifestyle.

Viewers no longer see bodies hanging from bridges, disembodied heads on display, or highly produced videos with messages to their enemies. At least not on TikTok. The platform is being used mainly to promote a lifestyle and to generate a picture of luxury and glamour, to show the ‘benefits’ of joining the criminal activities.

According to security officials, the promotion of these videos is to entice young men who might be interested in joining the cartel with images of endless cash, parties, military-grade weapons and exotic pets like tiger cubs.

Cartels have long used social media to shock and intimidate their enemies.

And using social media to promote themselves has long been an effective strategy. But with Mexico yet again shattering murder records, experts on organized crime say Cartel TikTok is just the latest propaganda campaign designed to mask the blood bath and use the promise of infinite wealth to attract expendable young recruits.

“It’s narco-marketing,” said Alejandra León Olvera, an anthropologist at Spain’s University of Murcia, in a statement to the New York Times. The cartels “use these kinds of platforms for publicity, but of course it’s hedonistic publicity.”

Mexico used to be ground zero for this kind of activity, where researchers created a new discipline out of studying these narco posts. Now, gangs in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, and the United States are also involved.

A search of the #CartelTikTok community and its related accounts shows people are responding. Public comments from users such as “Y’all hiring?” “Yall let gringos join?” “I need an application,” or “can I be a mule? My kids need Christmas presents,” are on some of the videos.

One of the accounts related to this cartel community publicly answered: “Of course, hay trabajo para todos,” “I’ll send the application ASAP.” “How much is the pound in your city?” “Follow me on Instagram to talk.” The post, showing two men with $100 bills and alcohol, had more than a hundred comments.

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