Entertainment

Laz Alonso Is The Kind Of Person That Is Not Shy About Showing How Much He Loves His Mom

Thanks to “Fast & Furious,” we have been gifted awareness of the iconic Laz Alonso. But no thanks to any of the gossip magazines, there is zero chisme around his personal life. Turns out he’s a man of integrity gaining success in Hollywood, no joke.

As it turns out, the Cuban-American actor has lived multiple lives and climbed to the top of several careers before making it in Hollywood. Today, he uses his platform to forward Afro-Latino visibility on television and in American culture.

You might recognize him as Tsutey in “Avatar.”

Credit: @uniltaronyu179 / Twitter

Alonso had to become an expert horse handler to work within the technology.

He told Showbiz Junkies, “My character did a lot of horseback riding but you have to be able to control the horse in a very small, limited space, because if the horse gets out of control and goes beyond the space, he’ll break into a million pieces, the computer crashes and we have to wait a half hour.”

Alonso is Afro-Cubano.

Credit: @lazofficial / Instagram

In an interview with Hollywood Unlocked, he had to explain how he could be 100 percent Cuban and 100 percent Black, “We get caught up in where the ship dropped us off versus where the ship picked us up.”

Both his parents are Cuban and moved to Washington, where Alonso was born and raised. But still, a niño has to visit his homeland to caption #TBTs with “real kids carry machetes.”

He also takes great pleasure in his mami’s accent.

Caption: “Coda Flah! ????”

I would pay money for someone to interview both Alonso and his mother at the same time. Just imagine the playful and adorable chemistry the two would have on camera.

Alonso identifies as “Black first.”

Credit: @lazofficial / Instagram

Alonso makes a good point. Being an African man attached to his Latinidad means being attached to the colonial influences that treated his ancestors like slaves.

He told Hollywood Unlocked, “When a cop pulls me over, oh ok, I’m not going to shoot him or beat his *ss because he’s Cuban. I’m Black, and I’m dealing with the same struggle. We all gotta unite and fight for the same struggle.”

Alonso is an Aries.

Credit: @lazofficial / Instagram

He was born on March 25, 1974, meaning he’s a fine 44-year-old stud. And single, in case you were wondering.

He worked on Wall Street before BET.

Credit: @lazofficial / Instagram

He graduated from Howard University with a BBA in Marketing and eventually became an investment banker at Merrill Lynch on Wall Street.

He’s also a devout Christian and always gives thanks to God first.

Credit: @lazofficial / Instagram

Caption: “#TBT me thanking my best friend and lord for the blessing of winning the #naacp #imageawards for leading man in a motion picture. Very proud day.”

He looks great in uniform, tbh.

Credit: lazofficial / Instagram

Caption: “Happy birthday to @iamjamiefoxx whom I also get to #TBT to my first film that went to theaters, #Jarhead. We had to go to bootcamp to get ready for the film, and we slept in tents in the desert in the middle of winter. Not going to say which actor had a fully heated tour bus to sleep in but he looked out and would go get us Popeye’s and feed us when we would be up doing fire watch all night in the cold. We had to always be ready because the drill instructors would ambush us at all hours to keep us on our toes. One of those nights we even got ambushed by Ray Charles himself! ????????????”

Filming “Traffik” made him ‘more sensitive’ to people’s circumstances.

Credit: MadeInHollywoodTV / YouTube

He can’t just shake the educational value of a film that delves into the reality of human trafficking like he could filming “Fast and Furious.” Today, he can’t look at a moving truck without wondering if there might be people inside. ????

He volunteers with The Cinema School in The Bronx.

Credit: @Essence / Twitter

It’s the only high school in the country that is focused on vocational training in the film industry. Whenever he’s in New York, he mentors the kids and gives them tips for making it in Hollywood.

He’s single and has never been married.

Credit: @lazofficial / Instagram

He’s confessed that he wants his own family and is just doing the work to ensure it’s all the right fit. Plus, his #10YearChallenge was hilarious.

He has a strict rule against dating his fellow actresses.

Credit: @lazofficial / Instagram

The wrap party… that’s a different story. He told “Hollywood Unlocked” that he doesn’t “sh*t where he eats.” Makes sense.

But his mom is begging for grandkids, like every mami with a child older than 15 years old.

Credit: @lazofficial / Instagram

He told Wendy Williams that his mom is unteaching him everything he learned as a kid, “Don’t practice safe sex; just send the kid to me; I’ll raise him. Just get it done, hurry up.” ????

He’s a reality TV junkie.

Credit: @lazofficial / Instagram

In a radio interview, Alonso admitted that he lives for reality TV. The genre is basically the modern day telenovela, so we get it.

His favorite food is his tía’s pasteles de guayaba.

Credit: @lazofficial / Instagram

Caption: “My aunt Margot teasing me with the homemade fresh pasteles de guayaba (Guava pastries)! She needs to UPS now!”

He has his own line of mojito mixes called Remy Martiny.

Credit: @lazofficial / Instagram

Caption: “So last week @jencooperphotocame by the house to taste my new @remymartinv raspberry mojito remix & it turned into a photoshoot lol. If you only heard the non stop jokes that ensued. @remymartin will definitely add laughter to life! #onelifelivethem”

He’s a total “Game of Thrones” nerd.

Credit: @lazofficial / Instagram

What do you think of this homemade Halloween costume from 2017? We’re here for it.

He has a dopplegänger in Miami.

Credit: @lazofficial / Instagram

Caption: “#TBT to when I met @ryanpress215 aka my twin forever ago in Miami. I kept hearing I had a twin in Philly and I was like yeah whatever, I had been hearing that my whole life about anyone light skinned or had a curly fro, till I met this dude. It was awkward AF cuz for the first time in my life I was like oh snap this can’t be happening, I thought I was 1 of 1! I can’t let @BET see this dude, I had just gotten on. First thing I said to him was aw hell naw, u better never commit a crime or I’ma hunt u down myself! U ain’t about to F*#% my life up! Both our crews laughed, cracked jokes and we been cool ever since. Luckily he’s not a criminal! ???? ????”

You can find his latest performance on Amazon Prime’s “The Boys.”

Credit: @lazofficial / Instagram

Prime will release it sometime in 2019, and we can expect to see Alonso playing a vigilante superhero named Mother’s Milk who are here to take down corrupt superheroes.

Laz Alonso’s favorite passion project has been “Black and Latino.”

Credit: @lazofficial / Instagram

He told Huffington Post, “For me it was really important to participate in the documentary because being Black and being Latin is something that at times I have to explain in my entire life how you can be both. And a lot of people think that you can be either one or the other because they don’t understand that race & ethnicity are two different things. You can be both. The same way that Latins can be Black & Latin is the same way you can be Black and Jamaican, or Black and British, or Black and Canadian. It doesn’t mean that you’re not Black.”

READ: Here Are Some Of The Most Important Afro-Latino Figures Who Have Changed And Are Changing The World

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

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

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

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.

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