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.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

America Ferrera Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Working On ‘Gotta Kick It Up’ With Sweet IG Post

Entertainment

America Ferrera Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Working On ‘Gotta Kick It Up’ With Sweet IG Post

It has been 20 years since America Ferrera’s dream of becoming an actor back true. She took to Instagram to reflect on the moment that her dream started to come true and it is a sweet reminder that anyone can chase their dreams.

America Ferrera shared a sweet post reflecting on the 20th anniversary of working on “Gotta Kick It Up!”

“Gotta Kick It Up!” was one of the earliest examples of Latino representation so many of us remember. The movie follows a school dance team trying to be the very best they could possibly be. The team was down on their luck but a new teacher introduces them to a different kind of music to get them going again.

After being introduced to Latin beats, the dance team is renewed. It taps into a cultural moment for the Latinas on the team and the authenticity of the music makes their performances some of the best.

While the movie meant so much to Latino children seeing their culture represented for the first time, the work was a major moment for Ferrera. In the Instagram post, she gushes over the celebrities she saw on the lot she was working on. Of course, anyone would be excited to see Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt hanging out. Yet, what stands out the most is Ferrera’s own excitement to realize that she can make money doing what she loves most.

“I wish I could go back and tell this little baby America that the next 20 years of her life will be filled with unbelievable opportunity to express her talent and plenty of challenges that will allow her to grow into a person, actress, producer, director, activist that she is very proud and grateful to be. We did it baby girl. I’m proud of us,” Ferrera reflects.

Watch the trailer for “Gotta Kick It Up!” here.

READ: America Ferrera’s “Superstore” Is Going To Get A Spanish-Language Adaptation In A Win For Inclusion

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

Entertainment

This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

On a recent episode of ABC’s game show To Tell The Truth, three celebrity panelists were tasked to uncover the identity of a real mariachi singer.

Each contender embodied “non-traditional” attributes of mariachi culture either through physical appearance or language barriers, leaving the panelists stumped.

When it came time for the big reveal, with a humble smile 53-year-old Timoteo “El Charro Negro” stood up wowing everyone. Marveled by his talents, Timoteo was asked to perform unveiling his smooth baritone voice.

While not a household name in the U.S., his career spans over 25 years thriving on the catharsis of music.

Timoteo “El Charro Negro” performing “Chiquilla Linda” on Dante Night Show in 2017.

Originally from Dallas, Texas, Timoteo, born Timothy Pollard, moved to Long Beach, California with his family when he was eight years old. The move to California exposed Pollard to Latin culture, as the only Black family in a Mexican neighborhood.

As a child, he recalled watching Cantinflas because he reminded him of comedian Jerry Lewis, but musically he “got exposed to the legends by chance.”

“I was bombarded by all the 1960s, ’70s, and ’50s ranchera music,” Timoteo recalls to mitú.

The unequivocal passion mariachi artists like Javier Solis and Vicente Fernandez possessed heavily resonated with him.

“[The neighbors] always played nostalgic music, oldies but goodies, and that’s one thing I noticed about Mexicans,” Timoteo says. “They can be in their 20s but because they’ve grown up listening to the oldies it’s still very dear to them. That’s how they party.”

For as long as he can remember, Pollard “was born with the genetic disposition to love music,” knowing that his future would align with the arts.

After hearing Vicente Fernandez sing “Lástima Que Seas Ajena,” an awakening occurred in Pollard. While genres like hip-hop and rap were on the rise, Pollard’s passion for ranchera music grew. It was a moment when he realized that this genre best suited his big voice.

Enamored, Pollard began to pursue a career as a Spanish-language vocalist.

El Charro Negro
Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

At 28, Timoteo began learning Spanish by listening and singing along to those artists he adored in his youth.

“When I decided that I wanted to be a mariachi, I didn’t think it was fair to exploit the culture and not understand the language,” he says. “If I’m going to sing, I need to be able to communicate with my audience and engage with them. I need to understand what I’m saying because it was about honor and respect.”

Pollard began performing local gigs after picking up the language in a matter of months. He soon attracted the attention of “Big Boy” Radio that adorned him the name Timoteo “El Charro Negro.”

Embellishing his sound to highlight his Black heritage, Pollard included African instruments like congas and bongos in his orchestra. Faintly putting his own spin on a niche genre, Pollard avoided over-saturating the genre’s sound early in his career.

Embraced by his community as a beloved mariachi, “El Charro Negro” still encountered race-related obstacles as a Black man in the genre.

“There are those [in the industry] who are not in the least bit thrilled to this day. They won’t answer my phone calls, my emails, my text messages I’ve sent,” he says. “The public at large hasn’t a problem with it, but a lot of the time it’s those at the helm of decision making who want to keep [the genre] exclusively Mexican.”

“El Charro Negro” persisted, slowly attracting fans worldwide while promoting a message of harmony through his music.

In 2007, 12 years into his career, Pollard received a golden ticket opportunity.

El Charro Negro
Pollard (left) seen with legendary Mexican artist Vicente Fernandez (right) in 2007. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In a by-chance encounter with a stagehand working on Fernandez’s tour, Pollard was offered the chance to perform onstage. The singer was skeptical that the offer was legit. After all, what are the chances?

The next day Pollard went to his day job at the time and said, “a voice in my head, which I believe was God said, ‘wear your blue velvet traje tonight.'”

That evening Pollard went to a sold-out Stockton Area where he met his idol. As he walked on the stage, Pollard recalls Fernandez insisting that he use his personal mic and band to perform “De Que Manera Te Olvido.”

“[Fernandez] said he did not even want to join me,” he recollects about the show. “He just was kind and generous enough to let me sing that song on his stage with his audience.”

The crowd applauded thunderously, which for Pollard was a sign of good things to come.

El Charro Negro
Timoteo “El Charro Negro” with Don Francisco on Don Francisco Presenta in 2011. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In 2010, he released his debut album “Me Regalo Contigo.” In perfect Spanish, Pollard sings with great conviction replicating the soft tones of old-school boleros.

Unraveling the rollercoaster of relationships, heart-wrenchingly beautiful ballads like “Me Regalo Contigo” and “Celos” are his most streamed songs. One hidden gem that has caught the listener’s attention is “El Medio Morir.”

As soon as the track begins it is unlike the others. Timoteo delivers a ’90s R&B love ballad in Spanish, singing with gumption as his riffs and belts encapsulate his unique sound and story.

Having appeared on shows like Sabado Gigante, Don Francisco Presenta, and Caso Cerrado in 2011, Timoteo’s career prospered.

Timoteo hasn’t released an album since 2010 but he keeps his passion alive. The singer has continued to perform, even during the Covid pandemic. He has high hopes for future success and original releases, choosing to not slow down from his destined musical journey.

“If God is with me, who can be against me? It may not happen in a quick period of time, but God will make my enemies my footstool,” he said.

“I’ve continued to be successful and do some of the things I want to do; maybe not in a particular way or in particular events, but I live in a very happy and fulfilled existence.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com