Entertainment

Disney + Just Announced It’s Producing A Miss America Series And Turns Out They’re 100% Delivering On Diversity

Not everyone gets to be a superhero and the comic book world reminds us of that, when it comes to media, representation and inclusion are lacking. We don’t always get to see Black or brown superheroes grace the glossy pages of a comic book that perhaps might turn into a movie down the road. Let alone do we get to see LGBTQ+ identifying superheroes.

 But in recent years, we’ve seen a lot more diversity in these spaces with Marvel who has been leading the charge. 

According to Geeks WorldWide, MarvelStudios has just confirmed that they’re in the early stages of development for “Miss America,” a teen superhero series that centers an openly lesbian and Latina superhero named America Chavez.

Earlier this summer, during Comic-Con in San Diego, it was reported that Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie — the character she plays in the Thor films — would become the MCU’s first LGBTQ superhero in the upcoming installment. After Thompson alluded to the LGBTQ storyline, Marvel president confirmed the news. 

Now, we’re excited to see another LGBTQ superhero in the Marvel universe with America Chavez. Marvel Studios will be developing the Miss America series on the Disney+ streaming service, set to launch later this year in November. 

However, it’s not the first time you’ve seen or heard of America Chavez. In October 2017, she got her own solo series written by author Gabby Rivera and illustrated by Joe Quinones, titled “America Vol. 1: The Life and Times of America Chavez.” This volume was followed by “America Vol. 2: Fast and Fuertona” in April of 2018. Additionally, America Chavez has also been featured as a team member of the Ultimates in 2015. The Ultimate is made up of Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Spectrum, and Blue Marvel. She’s also best friends with the archer, Kate Bishop.

Now, for all you comic book newbies who might not know, America Chavez is a Latina superhero who was raised by two mothers in another dimension called Utopia. 

America’s power set includes her signature ability which lets her open portals into different realities.

It’s also been reported that America’s fellow Young Avengers will also be coming to Marvel Studios. According to other reports, there have been rumors that characters like Galactus and Blue Marvel will be heading to the MCU. This hints at a Ultimates team-up in the future. 

When the Miss America comic books first released, people wondered how a superhero. who comes from an alternate dimension, identifies as Latinx. Honestly, it’s a perfectly reasonable question. 

What we do know is that during her childhood she lived in the Utopian Parallel, which is a paradise dimension that’s populated entirely by women. 

Charles Pulliam-Moore, who writes for Kotaku, broke it down for us. According to Pulliam-Moore, America Chavez’s origins have always been complicated and difficult to explain. Not a lot of information about her past has been made public since her creation, so there’s not a lot to go off of. But Pulliam-Moore goes on to help us make sense of her origins. 

According to the synopsis in Kotaku, Princess America was destined to become the “savior of her people” but when she learned her two mother’s had died, she ran away from her home dimension. 

It was never really clear what happened to America after she left the Utopian Parallel.

But in the latest comic book written by Gabby Rivera, we’re presented with “the most logical of answers: America ended up in the Bronx.” According to Rivera in volume 3 of Miss America, after leaving the Utopian Parallel, America Chavez “stumbles onto a Puerto Rican family’s barbecue and, even though she’s a stranger to them, they immediately accept her into the family and begin to help America define who she is.” 

America Chavez eventually also leaves the Bronx in order to help other communities “established by the earth’s Latinx diaspora who, little by little, contribute to the unique ethnic identity that America now claims.” 

We can’t wait to see how Marvel Studios and Disney+ bring America Chavez’s story to life. We’re so excited to see Marvel finally opening up the MCU to include Latinx and LGBTQ+ characters, it’s definitely a step in the right direction and it will help their younger audiences see themselves in a positive and empowering light from a young age. 

In the meantime, read up on 15 other diverse heroes that we’d love to see be represented in the MCU up next. 

Now, we can’t help but wonder, who will be cast to play America Chavez?

Comment below and let us know your thoughts!  

Disney Is Debuting Their First Jewish Princess And Surprise! She’s Also Latina

Entertainment

Disney Is Debuting Their First Jewish Princess And Surprise! She’s Also Latina

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.

Samantha Barbash Said Jennifer Lopez Should Not Have Played Her In ‘Hustlers,’ It Would Have Been Better With Cardi B

Entertainment

Samantha Barbash Said Jennifer Lopez Should Not Have Played Her In ‘Hustlers,’ It Would Have Been Better With Cardi B

Jennifer Lopez cannot believe the incredibly positive reviews she’s getting over her lead role in the film “Hustlers.” She was so moved that she cried on national TV. Last week while being interviewed by Hoda Kotb, Lopez expressed her emotional reaction over the surprising reviews for her role, which some critics say could get her an Acadamy Award nomination. Here’s just a snippet of what film critics are saying about the film that made a big debut this weekend. “Hustlers asks what a movie like Goodfellas looks like with women at the center of the story,” one film critic said. “If nothing else, we get to see Jennifer Lopez command the screen as easily as Ramona does the stage, offering up a seductive awards-worthy performance that makes us remember why she became a movie star in the first place,” another said

There is at least one person who isn’t raving about Lopez’s role, and that’s the one who inspired the film. 

Samantha Barbash, the woman who inspired “Hustlers,” said she would have liked to have seen Cardi B in the lead role instead of Jennifer Lopez. 

Credit: Instagram/@iam_missfoxita

The 45-year-old said in an interview with Hollywood Life that rapper Cardi B should have portrayed her instead of the veteran actress, even though this is Cardi’s first film. “I said it from day one, even to the producer. Cardi doesn’t have the acting skills that Jennifer does, but Cardi could relate more to who I was because even though she wasn’t in the same club, we were in the same industry,” she told the lifestyle website. “If Cardi took some acting lessons and shadowed me, I’m sure that she would have played a better role for my character.”

Barbash goes on to say that she is flattered that Lopez wanted to play her in a movie but stresses that the film got several things wrong about her. 

Credit: Instagram/@iam_missfoxita

For starters, Barbash wasn’t a stripper at all. The film, based on a 2015 New York magazine article, shows Lopez as a stripper who ends up drugging wealthy bankers and robs them of their money. However, Barbash said she was never a stripper. Barbash actually worked at a strip club in New York City as a hostess. Yes, the other stuff about the drugs and taking their money is correct, but seeing Lopez play her a stripper didn’t sit well with her. Barbash also said that Lopez never reached out to her in order to learn about her mannerisms, which is what actors do when they’re portraying real-life characters. Even when the real-life character is deceased, actors still study old footage to learn more about the role they are playing. You may recall the extensive research Lopez said she did to portray Selena Quintanilla. She even slept in her bed to get into deep character.  

Earlier this year, Barbash said she would release her own memoir about the ordeal (which she did) that got her 5 years probation and said she planned to sue the filmmakers. 

Credit: Instagram/@iam_missfoxita

“This is a living nightmare,” Barbash said in April in the New York Post after videos leaked of Lopez on a stripper pole. “So now I’m going to have to do a lawsuit. I’m getting a gag order.” Bruno Gioffre, also said back then, that Barbash was “considering all legal avenues with the possibility injunctive relief, including a lawsuit.” The movie was made despite her legal threats. Today, Barbash is an entrepreneur and owns her own spa business. 

We can see why she would have preferred to see Cardi B in the title role. 

Credit: Instagram/@iamcardib

The Bronx rapper did admit to drugging men and robbing them, just like the characters did in the movie “Hustlers.” In 2017, Barbash was charged for conspiracy, assault, and grand larceny in exchange for five years probation

In March, Card admitted on social media that during her stint as a stripper in New York she too did what the “Hustlers” did in the movie. “I had to go strip, I had to go, ‘Oh yeah, you want to f*ck me? Yeah, yeah, yeah, let’s go to this hotel,’ and I drugged n*****s up and I robbed them. That’s what I used to do.” 

Soon after that post, Cardi said she it was wrong of her to do that and has since tried to make a better life for herself. 

READ: Critics Think Jennifer Lopez Gave An Oscar-Worthy Performance In ‘Hustlers’