Entertainment

The 20 Most Influential Latino Characters Past And Present Who Changed Our Lives

'One Day At A Time' / Netflix

It’s no secret that the characters we see on TV and the big screen hugely influence each of our psyches, and seep into society’s stereotypes. Growing up, we had very few Latino characters to look to on screen, but the ones that were there made a huge impact on us. We got to see a glorified example of how Latinos navigate this world, and as more Latinos take control in developing these characters, they’re more and more often representing who we really are: hella diverse in profession, skin color, dreams, and personalities.

Pues nos vamos, and we hope you agree that these are the gente that give Latinos permission to be whoever they want to be.

Gabrielle Solis in “Desperate Housewives”

CREDIT: @serienjunkies / Twitter

While Eva Longoria worked for ten long years in entertainment before her breakout role as Gabrielle Solis in “Desperate Housewives,” Solis has given her a major platform. She’s founded the Latino Victory Project and is super active in immigration reform legislation.

Plus, whatever you think of the show, we’re glad there was at least one Latinx family livin’ it up in the upper middle class.

Eva Rodriguez in “Center Stage”

CREDIT: @JarettSays / Twitter

Eva Rodriguez, played by Afro-Dominican Zoe Saldana, in “Center Stage” (2000) was my actual idol growing up. My primas y yo were all in ballet together for a decade, and watching Eva give everyone that Latina attitude was everything. The best part was when she shocked everyone (specifically the racists) by stepping in last minute for the lead role.

Veronica Lodge in “Riverdale”

CREDIT: @jakesherondale / Twitter

Okay, yes. The Lodge Family is kind of enemy No. 1 on the show, and Veronica’s villainous super rich dad is confusingly hateful and sexy, but Veronica is an evolution. At first, we see her vie for her parent’s approval (so relatable), but ultimately relies on her integrity, which puts her at odds with her family. Regardless, it’s so much more exciting to watch a wealthy, sassy, elegant Latina play Veronica Lodge than another rich white girl.

Ruby Martinez in “On My Block”

CREDIT: @onmyblocktv / Twitter

There are too many loveable Latino characters in Netflix’s “On My Block,” but Ruby is a favorite. He’s not just another funny Latino kid in the background. His character is complex, and we get to know his family, including his abuelita who cannot be denied in anything… including testing out makeup looks and quince dresses.

Ana García in “Real Women Have Curves”

CREDIT: HBO

There’s not a single Latina who has not been given life by America Ferrera’s character in “Real Women Have Curves.” This movie came out in 2002, when heroine chic was all the rage and the closest thing to bopo was your abuelita lovingly calling you ‘gordita.’

It was a confusing time for anyone who didn’t wear a size 2, and Ana gave us a newfound feeling of empowerment. We deserve to take up space, and love our bodies because they give us life.

Allegra Acosta in “Marvel’s Runaways”

CREDIT: @marvelsrunaways / Instagram

Finally. Netflix’s “Marvel’s Runaways” has given us a female Latina superhero we can all look up to. She’s the youngest, most optimistic and actual strongest in the clan of superheroes.

Penelope Alvarez in “One Day at a Time”

CREDIT: Netflix

Thank Netflix for one of the best possible representations of Latinos that exist today. Cuban-American Penelope Alvarez, played by the incredible Justina Machado, is a retired vet, a single mother of two, and the Cuban mother we all swear we’ll be when we grow up.

We get to see her navigate living with her expat, Cuban proud mother (Rita Moreno), a quince-resistant daughter and totally transparent hairy Latina. Glad we can all finally stop pretending we don’t have ‘staches.

Elena Alvarez in “One Day at a Time”

CREDIT: Netflix

Watching Elena, played by Isabella Gomez, resist traditional customs, while feeling such a sense of community in her Cuban heritage; her coming out as lesbian and being warmly accepted by her super Catholic abuela and her mother; watching her blossom into a character that was so deeply relatable to me that I laughed and cried hysterically is a gift. Thank you to the ODAAT writers for Elena Alvarez.

Oscar Martinez in “The Office”

CREDIT: @MeganVictoria08 / Twitter

Did Oscar, played by Oscar Nunez, set his pendejo boss straight with his painfully ignorant and racist comments? Rarely. Somehow, watching accountant Oscar exist with an acute awareness that his identity is reduced to ‘gay Mexican’ in the eyes of some of his coworkers, and find solace in knowing he is by far the smartest, most rational intellect in the room, was a signal to all of us. Just know that we’re better than them and you’ll keep your head held high.

Tony Padilla in “13 Reasons Why”

CREDIT: @ohsimplething / Twitter

Today, Tony is one of the few male LGBTQ Latino characters on television and he’s much more complex than you might initially expect. He might look like a tough guy, and he certainly can look out for himself, but don’t expect to see him be victim or perpetrator of any kind of machismo.

Ricky Ricardo in “I Love Lucy”

CREDIT: @JZebrowskiChief / Twitter

At first, real life couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, faced resistance to allow his obvious Cuban-born accent and Latinidad onto television. The actor and couple persisted and Latino-Americans finally had a Latino to look to on television.

The Villanueva Family in “Jane the Virgin”

CREDIT: @cwjanethevirgin / Instagram

The CW has given Latinos what we’ve all been waiting for: a Spanglish telenovela series. We get all the come-back-to-life and evil twin plots we demand in any worthwhile series, but with life stories that matter to us, like immigration and classism.

Four generations of Boricuas under one roof also give at least four Latinxs jobs in television and we’re here for all of that.

Mariana and Jesus Foster in “The Fosters and Good Trouble”

CREDIT: @lonelywhorerose / Twitter

It is pure joy to watch Mariana Foster understand what it means to be Latina, even when you’re adopted into a non-Latino family. We watch her struggle to fit in, dye her hair blond, and reclaim her Latinidad all in one season. She’s a fierce go-getter, and the Jennifer Lopez produced show offers relatable content for anyone with an alcoholic/addict loved one in their lives.

Manny Rodriguez in “Modern Family”

CREDIT: @abcmodernfam / Instagram

“Modern Family” certainly perpetuates harmful stereotypes about the ‘spicy Latina’ but they got something right with Manny, who is very reminiscent of Junot Diaz’s Oscar Wao character. Manny is the antithesis of machismo, a champion for women’s rights, and a major woman-lover, not womanizer. We love seeing a sensitive, smart, Latino kid break stereotypes.

Blanca in “Pose”

CREDIT: @PoseOnFX / Twitter

Ryan Murphy’s new series, “Pose,” is giving jobs, platforms, and voice for transgender people on the screen. The fifth episode is all about what it was like for Blanca to come out as trans in the ’80s to her Latino family. Try not to sob at MJ Rodriguez’ performance.

Amy Santiago and Rosa Diaz in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”

CREDIT: @nbcbrooklyn99 / Instagram

Hey look, there’s more than one Latino character on the same show! That means we have more proof that we’re just people, with different personalities, and variations of the same culture. Plus, when Stephanie Beatriz came out as bisexual, the writers had her character, Rosa, come out as well, with Beatriz’ own input changing many of the lines.

Ricky Vasquez in “My So-Called Life”

CREDIT: @audiohelkuik / Twitter

There was something so special about Rickie Vasquez’ character amidst the sea of ’90s era negative stereotypes of Latino criminals, drug lords, and delinquents. Plus, Rickie might have been one of the first positive gay Latinos on television, showing a character who could use the girls’ bathroom as a safe haven, rock jewelry, and makeup and be loved for it.

Melissa Villaseñor in “Saturday Night Live”

CREDIT: @melissavcomedy / Instagram

You might say that Villaseñor isn’t a character on SNL, but then I’d just know you haven’t watched SNL. Villaseñor has made history by becoming the first Latina member of the SNL cast, and has played probably hundreds of characters at this point. Proof that we’re funny right there.

Analisa ‘Ana’ Torres in “Grown-ish”

CREDIT: @grownish / Twitter

You might think that this Cal U. Latina, conservative Republican freshman isn’t a stereotype, but that’s because nadie ni nadie is doing research into how so many Latinos voted for Trump. The truth is that Ana Torres might be the first nod at this huge reality that made MAGA possible. She’s the daughter of Cuban immigrants, a devout Catholic and has some really absurdo things to say. While I’m not here for her politics, I’m here for the truth, and the truth is, Ana Torres exists tenfold.

Callie Torres in “Grey’s Anatomy”

CREDIT: @GreysQTS / Twitter

Unrelated to Ana Torres, Callie Torres was one of the first Latina’s on television with higher education. She was initially created to be disliked by George O’Malley’s friends, but viewers liked her so much that her character changed. Watching her come out to her Catholic father, who initially disowned her, was a heartbreak so many of us have feared.

Callie Torres is also the longest running LGBT character in television history, spanning over 11 seasons and 240+ episodes.


READ: These TV And Movie Characters Brought Bisexual Latinos To Life Because Representation Matters

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Netflix Officially Cast The Role Of Selena Quintanilla And ‘Twilight’ Fans Will Be Thrilled

Entertainment

Netflix Officially Cast The Role Of Selena Quintanilla And ‘Twilight’ Fans Will Be Thrilled

Netflix has officially selected a Latina to keep the legacy of Tejano music legend, Selena Quintanilla, alive. For its highly anticipated show “Selena: The Series,” the big-time streaming platform has tapped Christian Serratos, AKA Rosita Espinosa of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” series.

Twenty-four years after her tragic death Selena is, once again, being brought back to life on the screen.

Little information has been released by Netflix about the series, but Serratos casting will undoubtedly launch quite a bit of chatter.

christianserratos/ Instagram

The series, which was created with the participation of the Quintanilla family and announced by Netflix last December, has already garnered quite a bit of anticipation online. Back in 1997, the casting process for the singer had the Latino community astir for months until it was finally revealed that then-dancer, singer and actress Jennifer Lopez (still known as a triple threat for her moves, voice and acting chops) had earned the role. The Boricua’s casting caused quite the controversy primarily because she was not Mexican. This time around, Netflix kept the controversy in mind while conducting casting. In a recent interview with NBC News, Moisés Zamora– who is the head writer and one of the executive producers for the show– explained how crucial it was for him to ensure Mexican- identity was strongly included in the show.

“I associated her with my family and being Mexican in America,” he told the outlet at the time while highlighting how the younger singer was shaped by her identity of being a woman of Mexican heritage who also grew up in Corpus Christi while speaking English.

For the latest portrayal of Selena, the executive producer was involved in the casting of Serratos, a Latina of both Mexican and Italian descent.

Serratos knows all about breathing life into deceased characters.

AMC

For four seasons she has raged against the undead in “The Walk Dead” and in her earlier career played Angela Webber, friend to Bella Swan lover of vampires, in Twilight.

According to outlets, it’s unclear how the series will tackle Quintanilla’s vocals.

Back when Lopez took her turn as the singer, she was made to lip-sync to Quintanilla’s vocals. We’re pretty sure that if Netflix doesn’t decide to do the same, they’ll be in good hands because Serratos voice is banging. She even sings “Baila Esta Cumbia” in this compilation!

So far fans of Selena are on board with the news.

While buzz online hasn’t quite ramped up, we’re pretty sure once news of the casting catches on Latina Twitter will be doing the washing machine for days.

And it appears Serratos has the Selena Fan Club seal of approval.

And it’s no wonder why! Serratos cuts a pretty uncanny resemblance to the Tejano beauty.

Of course, while most of the reactions to Serratos casting have been positive the TWD club is a bit worried.

Okay TBH it feels like a worthy sacrifice.

Like literally people are bummed.

Pero… like I said! Serratos as Selena will totally be worth it.

(Jeeze… wonder if she’ll die by zombie attack?)

But there is a silver lining to the upset.

If fans of “The Walking Dead” are this bummed over possibly losing Serratos, that means she must be pretty damn good at taking on great roles. So here’s to Serratos and her new role! Hopefully, for TWD fans she’ll be able to juggle both… if not bidi bidi bom bom.

A Judge In Mexico City Has Approved One Couple’s Request For Recreational Cocaine

Things That Matter

A Judge In Mexico City Has Approved One Couple’s Request For Recreational Cocaine

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In a historic step toward ending the country’s deadly “war on drugs”, a judge in Mexico has approved the request of two people to legally possess, transport and use cocaine. Víctor Octavio Luna Escobedo, an administrative court judge in Mexico City, made the historic decisions saying “the consumption of cocaine doesn’t put one’s health in great risk, except in the case that it’s used chronically and excessively.”

Mexico United Against Crime (MUCD), a nongovernmental organization filed injunction requests on behalf of the two individuals. It pursued the case with goals to trying to change Mexico’s drug policy. At the core of the organization’s argument is that criminalizing consumers causes even more violence. If the ruling is ratified by a higher court, it would be the first time any cocaine use has been legal in Mexico.

According to Mexico Daily News, the Mexico City judge set a string of stipulations for the unidentified couple in order for them to use the cocaine. This includes regulating the amount they intake to 500 milligrams per day and not working, driving or operating heavy machinery while under the influence of the substance. This also includes not being able to consume cocaine in public, in the presence of children, or even encourage others to consume it.

So is cocaine really legal in Mexico? Here’s what you need to know. 

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

The order by the judge to the country’s health authority has many wondering if one day Mexico could, at some point, legalize cocaine use, but only on a case-by-case basis. As of now, the judge’s ruling must be reviewed by a higher court panel of judges for the case to move forward. 

“We have been working for a safer, more just and peaceful Mexico for years, and with this case we insist on the need to stop criminalizing users of drugs other than marijuana and design better public policies that explore all available options, including the regulation,” Lisa Sanchez, director of MUAC, said in a statement.

The judge wrote in his ruling that the use of cocaine has certain benefits if consumed responsibly. “Ingestion can have various results, including alleviating tension, intensification of perceptions and the desire for new personal and spiritual experiences,” the judge said.

While two people have been allowed to take the drug, there is a bevy of injunctions and court orders that have followed. Which means the judge’s decisions could still be overturned.

Credit: @Vice / Twitter

 Cofepris, Mexico’s national health regulator, is being ordered to authorize the two people to legally possess, transport and use cocaine. But Cofepris says that such authorization is outside its power and has now blocked the court order as a result. The rulings are set to be reviewed by three collegiate court judges that will then set forth the legal standing of judges ruling.

The next step in the decision will be an appeal to the circuit court. This essentially means that the case could land all the way up to Mexico’s Supreme Court. Even if the decision is then upheld, cocaine wouldn’t suddenly become legal in Mexico. While in the U.S., a Supreme Court ruling makes it the law of the land, In Mexico the Supreme Court must hand down similar rulings in at least four other cases.

“This case is about insisting on the need to stop criminalizing users of drugs… and design better public policies that explore all the available options, including regulation,” Sanchez said.

The ruling could be a landmark moment and opportunity for debate in Mexico, where a 15 year-long drug war has taken the lives of many. 

Credit: @standardnews / Twitter

Mexico has become a central battleground and transit point for cocaine being transported to the United States. Trafficking gangs have also grown immensely since 2006 when then-President Felipe Calderón sent in the country’s army to fight drug traffickers. More than 20,000 people have been killed and 40,000 disappeared since then. This year has already been a stark reminder of the deadly drug war as Mexico is on pace to have the most murders on record.

“This case represents another step in the fight to construct alternative drug policies that allow [Mexico] to redirect its security efforts and better address public health,” Sanchez said. “We have spent years working for a more secure, just and peaceful Mexico.” 

READ: This Shipment Of Jalapeños Turned Out To Be One Of The Year’s Biggest Marijuana Bust

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