A new generation of Marvel superheroes are getting ready to shine.
“Marvel Rising: Secret Warrior” is gearing up for it’s 2018 debut with a four-episode digital series at the beginning of the year focusing on Spider-Gwen. A full-length feature film will be released later in the year, and it will star a diverse, young cast. Disney has not announced where the show will stream, but they are terminating their contract with Netflix in 2019 to focus on their own streaming platform.
“We wanted to show the world that these heroes are important to the Marvel universe,” says Sana Amanat, director of content and character development at Marvel, in the press video. “[Also] that there is a character for every kind of Marvel fan out there.”
Latino audiences will get to see themselves reflected thanks to the help of actors Tyler Posey from MTV’s “Teen Wolf” and Cierra Ramirez from Freeform’s “The Fosters.”
Tyler Posey will be voicing Inferno, aka Dante Pertuz.
“Super excited to announce that I will be voicing the powerhouse America Chavez, aka Miss America (who you definitely don’t wanna run into in a dark alleyway ?),” Ramirez wrote in Instagram. “There is truly a hero in this for every Marvel fan ❤️. Proud to be apart of this!”
We all know by now that is no “one way” to be Latinx. Latinos come in a variety of forms, from Black to white, tall to short, descended from Indigenous, African, and European populations. And while Roman Catholicism may be the dominant religion in most of Latinidad, it goes without saying that Latino culture is not a monolith. Latinos practice a variety of religions, from Islam to Buddhism to, yes, Judaism.
And while most people don’t necessarily think of Judaism when they think of Latin America, there is, in fact, a small but proud population of Jewish Latinos who keep their culture alive through tradition and a strong sense of community. But being a part of such a small community within an already-marginalized community can feel isolating at times. Especially when there are no public role models to see yourself reflected in.
That’s why Tuesday’s news that Disney is debuting a Jewish-Latinx princess sent shock-waves through the internet.
Walt Disney Television Animation News announced via Twitter that an upcoming Elena of Avalon episode in December would be featuring a “visiting princess” from a “Latino Jewish kingdom”.The as-yet-unnamed princess will be voiced by Jamie-Lynn Sigler, the actress famous for her portrayal of Meadow Soprano on HBO’s seminal masterpiece, “The Sopranos”.
The Tweet also revealed that the princess would also make an appearance in Elana’s “royal coronation special” next year. Although we do not know any further details of Sigler’s character or her storyline, “Elena of Avalor” writer Rachel Ruderman gave a small preview of what’s to come. “A little over a year ago, I had the honor of writing an Elena of Avalor episode featuring Disney’s first Jewish princess,” Ruderman said via Twitter. She continued: “Jamie Lynn Sigler knocks the role out of the park (wait ’till you hear her song!) Can’t wait to share this one”.
In a move of conscious-casting on Disney’s part, Jamie Lynn Sigler herself happens to be both Latina and Jewish–a giant step for a media giant that can sometimes miss the mark with casting.
Raised by a Jewish father and a Cuban mother, Sigler grew up in New York City as part of a multicultural family.In the past, Sigler has talked about being raised Jewish–attending Hebrew school, having a Bat Mitzvah, and even going on a Birth Right trip to Israel in 2008.
This episode can serve as an educational experience for many people (including those of Latinx descent) who are unaware that Jewish Latinos even exist. In fact, what some people might not even know, is that the term “Sephardic” (a term used to describe Jewish people of European descent) literally means “of Spain or Portuguese descent” in old Hebrew. In other words, it’s not a stretch to imagine a character of both Latin and Jewish roots on our TV screens. In fact, it’s completely historically plausible!
Naturally, both the Latinx and Jewish Twitter population is super excited at this groundbreaking news.
As we mentioned before, the acknowledgment of Jewish Latinos in popular culture is such a rarity. When the media shines a spotlight on such a marginalized group of people, the advent is worth celebrating. And even though changes are slow in the making, any progress on the representation front is a step in the right direction.
Jamie Lynn Sigler herself expressed her excitement at the news, calling to attention the novelty of her position:
Yes, it’s exciting that the Jewish Latinx population has finally gotten some princess representation, but it’s still a little bit frustrating that we had to wait until 2019 for a Jewish princess. We have a long way to go.
This Latina Jew was incredibly excited at the prospect of having the chance to see her own unique lifestyle reflected onscreen:
The self-styled “Jewyorican” is one of many New York-based Puerto-Rican Jews who identify fully with both cultures. It’s not as rare as people think.
Some Latinx Jews took to Twitter to give some suggestions on how Disney could go about bringing the new character to life:
This Hispanic Linguistics Professor suggested incorporating the ancient Judeo-Spanish language of Ladino into the show.
This multi-cultural woman celebrated the inclusion of multiple cultures in one character:
Families like hers are the way of the future–at least according to statistics. Although many media outlets still see American families in black and white, the rest of us living our lives know that our identities are increasingly a hodgepodge of cultures. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Disney and Pixar gave the world Coco in 2017. The wonderful tribute to Mexican culture (seemingly crafted to make people of all ages cry), has ushered in a new era of Latinx and Mexican culture into Disney. Since the movie’s success, you can now cop tons of Latinx-inspired foods with a Disney twist at Disneyland. Just this month, the amusement park announced a concha ice cream sandwich — an invention so deadly delicious it’s only available in the afterlife (and at Disneyland too, lol).
The film that brought Día de Los Muertos to life through beautiful, vibrant storytelling and animation featured a Mexican cast and composer. Coco was the first film with a nine-figure budget to feature an all Latinx principal cast and won two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, “Remember Me.”
She’s gorgeous, she’s stunning, she’s Selena Quintanilla! OK, maybe not. But this Mexican ice cream sandwich is a sight for sore eyes. Made with a pink and blue concha, aka Mexican sweet bread, and stuffed with dulce de leche ice cream — you might die of a sugar coma. The sandwich is also filled with cajeta, a goat milk-based caramel sauce, and churro streusel. Then to commemorate Día de los Muertos, a white chocolate sugar skull is nestled in a dollop of whipped cream.
“Following the Mexican tradition of using bright colors as a celebration of life, the shell-like concha breads are also covered in a crunchy rainbow sugar crust, which makes them look both delicious and totally Insta-worthy,” according to Pop Sugar’s Chanel Vargas.
The Conchas are available starting this month and cost $8 at Disneys’s flagship Mexican restaurant, Frontierland’s Rancho del Zocalo.
Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Elotes
New elotes at the Cozy Cone Motel are another tribute to Mexican culture. The elotes comes in three different flavor queso cojito, Cheetos, and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. These Elotes are limited edition and seasonal (this summer) so get them while you still can.
Orange Sugar Skull Pot de Creme
This “Orange Sugar Skull Pot de Creme” is made with thick layers of chocolate pudding, crumbled chocolate cake, and topped with a white chocolate orange sugar skull and colorful candies.
The Maleficent Churro
According to Disneyland stans, the Maleficient Churro is a hot commodity because it is only available during Halloween. This month it has made its delicious return. Let’s be honest, the weird-looking churro is made with chocolate cookie crumbles, green sugar, and has a marshmallow dipping sauce. I don’t know what Maleficent has to do with Churros but I don’t care.
Frozen Abuelita Horchata
Look, I am not saying I love capitalism, and certainly hope there are Latinx people profiting from these treats as well — but ¡diablo! — I want this right now. The Frozen Abuelita is layered with frozen hot chocolate and frozen horchata, then topped with spiced whipped cream.
Disney Food Blog referred to the Coco Cake as the “best cake ever.” With layers of vanilla-flavored pink and orange cake, what sets the Coco Cake apart from others is its cream cheese frosting on the outside, and two layers of cinnamon churro mouse on the inside. Disney took the glycemic index and blasted it off space mountain. The base of the cake is also decorated with gold-dusted chocolate curls. This is what Coco deserves. Remember me, indeed.
Chile Mango Whip
The chile mango whip is made with chamoy, mango, pineapple, cucumber, jicama, and chile-lime salt.
The Sandianada and Mangonada
“The Sandianada is a watermelon smoothie with chamoy, watermelon chunks, topped with a chili candy. Mangonada is a mango smoothie with chamoy, mango pieces, topped with a chili candy,” wrote one Instagram user.
Secret Menu: Zocalo Burrito
Like every restaurant (apparently) Disneyland has a few secret menu items too. At Rancho del Zocalo you can request the Zocalo Burrito which is filled with every ingredient in the prep line for $12.99.
Cinnamon-sugar Buñuelos Chips
This seasonal holiday treat or as Disney calls it “dessert nachos” is something to look forward to this winter season. There is nothing more comforting (I’m guessing, I haven’t tried this yet) than cinnamon-sugar buñuelos chips with chocolate and caramel sauces, sprinkles, and a whipped cream topping.
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