Entertainment

Revista Étnica Is The New Afro-Latino Magazine Gassing Up Our Afrolatinidad All The Way From Puerto Rico

Since Gloriann Sacha Antonetty Lebrón was a child growing up in Carolina, Puerto Rico, she has been fascinated by journalism. She was captivated by the colorful glossies of Cosmopolitan and Revista Tú that sat on the shelves of local drug stores. She wanted to read about the latest beauty and fashion and be on top of entertainment and cultural news from Latin America and the United States. But more than this, she desired to be seen, to have glamorous and powerful Black women that resembled the matriarchs in her own family cover the magazines.

“I never had the opportunity here in Puerto Rico to see Black people, and Black women in particular, in magazines,” Lebrón told mitú. “None of them represented the beauty of my family, my friends, my community or myself.”

As a teenager, Lebrón’s father, who was raised in New York, introduced her to popular African-American publications geared toward women.

 While magazines like Ebony and Essence weren’t yet available in Puerto Rico, her father would have friends mail the glossy or bring them back from trips in order for Lebrón to have access to images and stories of women who looked like her. The unnecessary struggle it took for her to see herself represented in media and the joyous feeling she felt while flipping through page after page of enchanting dark-skinned women inspired Lebrón to one day start her own magazine in Puerto Rico specifically for Afro-Latina women.

In December of 2018, Lebrón’s teenage dreams came true.

 The now 38-year-old communications professional launched Revista Étnica, the first print magazine in Puerto Rico to represent the Caribbean archipelago’s vast and diverse Afro-Latinx population.

“Our community is marginalized. If you have dark skin, you generally don’t have an opportunity to feel like you belong and are a part of this society. We are only good for food, music and sports, and that’s something we want to change,” she said.

Through the biannual magazine, Étnica’s three-person staff and group of collaborators produce a stunning publication that covers beauty, fashion, entertainment, food and culture as well as investigative journalism that looks into the deep-rooted, and largely denied, racism that exists in Puerto Rico. 

In the first issue, writer Edmy Ayala delves into the racial disparities that exist on the archipelago and how the state works to protect the rights and uplift the talents of lighter-skinned Boricuas. 

The second volume, which published in August, features an essay that examines racism in Puerto Rico’s public school system, looking particularly at the ways in which codes of conduct target and punish Black youth. 

“Right now, it’s more critical than ever to be having these conversations,” Lebrón says. “Here, we understand that we are a mix. We are mestizos, with a rich culture that includes our Spanish heritage, Taíno heritage and, less important, our African heritage. Many use this to claim we are all the same here, that racism doesn’t exist. But me being a Black Puerto Rican woman, a young Black person, I can tell you that I struggle every day and experience racism in so many ways.”

This bigotry was particularly evident for Lebrón when she first attempted to launch Revista Étnica. In her mid-20s, she submitted a proposal for the publication in a contest and was one of the finalists. At the time, she was assigned a mentor who would help her work through her proposition and advise her on steps she could take to realize her project. A leading journalist in Puerto Rico, Lebrón was thrilled to have the guidance of an esteemed figure as she pursued her ambitions. That’s why she felt completely discouraged when the male leader suggested that her magazine would fail. 

“He said, ‘people in Puerto Rico don’t want to identify as Black,’” Lebrón recalls. “I started to believe that the magazine wasn’t important, and it took away my dream.”

Disheartened, Lebrón went on to start a different career in media, working in advertising and public relations. In this industry, she was once again confronted by anti-blackness in Puerto Rico. Few brands and companies put Black Boricuas in their ads, catered to Afro-Puerto Rican communities or even hired dark-skinned employees. 

After taking a job as the director of communications for a local nonprofit that put her in direct contact with Puerto Rican youth, Lebrón was reminded of the importance of representation. During each visit with boys and girls across the archipelago, Black children would race to Lebrón, excited to engage with a powerful leader who looked like them.

“I’d tell them, ‘you are beautiful and intelligent,’ and I would see the light in their eyes. I knew I had to do Étnica.”

A decade after Lebrón submitted her proposal for her dream publication, she entered the contest again and became a finalist once more. This time, she won a social enterprise award, which allowed her to fund the first issue of her magazine.

Today, Revista Étnica is available for purchase at Walgreens and Walmarts across Puerto Rico as well as some local shops in the metropolitan area. Through the magazine’s website, readers can order copies from all over the world. Lebrón says she has subscribers from the United States, Dominican Republic, Colombia, and even Switzerland. Additionally, the publication’s site and social media include a blog and content that offers insight and opinions on more timely news.

For Lebrón, Revista Étnica is more than a magazine; it’s also a community and a movement. 

Throughout the year, the publication hosts events, from parties to movie-watching groups, and has recently also launched a start-up program for Afro-Puerto Rican entrepreneurs. She says that her company’s success isn’t measured by its magazine sales but rather by how it can help create economic security for the Black community in Puerto Rico more broadly.

While materializing her wildest childhood fantasies has been both joyous and frightening, she says that ultimately this magazine and this movement is much bigger than her alone.

“I just want women who read Étnica to feel proud of their skin, their body, their imperfections. I want them to know there is a community with them, that they’re not alone,” Lebrón says.

These Companies Are Hiring People To Offset The Loss of Income During The Various COVID-19 Lockdowns

Things That Matter

These Companies Are Hiring People To Offset The Loss of Income During The Various COVID-19 Lockdowns

Mike Mozart / Flickr

There are various companies, both chains and local, that are hiring up extra people for their workforces. As the world sees more and more countries and cities go on lockdown, delivery companies, grocery stores, and restaurants are needing to hire more people to meet the growing demand. Here are some of the companies looking to hire people to wait out the COVID-19 pandemic that is currently sweeping the country.

Amazon is looking to bring in thousands of new employees across its operations.

Amazon wants to hire 100,000 more people to work in their warehouses, distribution centers, and Whole Foods grocery stores. According to a statement by Jeff Bezos, Amazon is hoping to be the place people who have recently lost their jobs can find temporary work as the world works to combat COVID-19. You can apply to Amazon here.

Dollar General is staying open to serve their customers throughout the crisis.

Dollar General is also stepping up to give those who recently lost their jobs a chance to generate some income. The company needs to hire people for its distribution center, private fleet networks, and store associates across the country. You can apply for jobs with Dollar General by clicking here.

Dollar Tree and Family Dollar are looking to hire people to ease economic constrictions from job lay offs.

The company currently has 25,000 positions across the country that need to be filled. The two chains, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, are hoping to fill the positions as soon as possible to offer a lifeline to those who have been impacted by shutdowns. You can apply to Dollar Tree here and Family Dollar here.

Kroger, a parent company of grocery store chains, is working to get people back to work.

Credit: krogerco / Instagram

Kroger is working to maintain the same store hours but some are having to shift. In Atlanta, the stores are shifting to an 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. schedule to give the stores a chance to restock and get ready for customers. You can look for Kroger jobs here.

Pharmacies, like Walgreens, are also giving people a chance to bridge the financial gap caused by COVID-19.

Walgreens is looking to fill around 9,500 people for roles across the country. Walgreens has also joined a number of stores in implementing senior citizen shopping hours and guidelines. These hours give the population most vulnerable to the worst of the coronavirus a chance to shopping peacefully. You can look for Walgreens jobs here.

GE Healthcare is trying to increase its output of medical equipment.

GE Healthcare is looking to fill positions so that the company can create, distribute, and provide necessary medical equipment to people. You can check out GE Healthcare jobs here.

Walmart is taking steps to hire people who are facing layoffs right now.

Walmart is looking to hiring 150,000 people in sales, fulfillment centers, distribution centers, and clubs by the end of May. The largest employer in the world is staying open to cater to people during the COVID-19 crisis. You can check out Walmart jobs here.

READ: Cuban Doctors Arrive In Italy To Combat The Coronavirus– Demonstrate History Of Global Humanitarian Commitment

End Of An Era As Lowrider Magazine Will Cease Printing After 42 Years

Culture

End Of An Era As Lowrider Magazine Will Cease Printing After 42 Years

lowridermagazine / Instagram

After 42 years, Lowrider magazine is nearing its last ride as the publication will cease printing at the end of this year. For many Chicanos living in Southern California in the 1980s, the magazine became a cultural icon when it came to content on everything from cool cars to flashy tires. Beyond just the world of cars, Lowrider gave insight on political and cultural issues that were focused on Chicano identity. In some ways, the magazine played a role in bringing lowrider and Chicano culture to the mainstream in a way that no publication had before.

That’s why when news broke on Dec. 6 that TEN Publishing, the publisher behind multiple car enthusiast magazines, would be shutting down print operations for 19 of its 22 titles next year, including Lowrider, it marked an end of an era. As of now, it’s not yet clear if the iconic magazine will continue online or even rescued by another publication. One thing is for certain though, some readers are being left behind in the dark. 

There is no denying the influence and impact that Lowrider had on not only on car culture but Chicanos as a whole. 

Lowrider got its start in 1977 after it was founded by San Jose State students David Nuñez, Larry Gonzalez, and Sonny Madrid, who initially started the magazine as a DIY zine on lowrider culture. The trio would invest money to get roughly 1,000 copies printed and begin publication. The magazine wasn’t an instant hit from the start. Sales lagged behind expectations and it took until Lowrider began placing more women models on its covers in 1979, that things began to pick up. 

“You wanted to see what was the hottest car, who was selling what, what tires were the best, and who was doing good interior. … Back then there weren’t [smart]phones so you had to get information from magazines,” Jerry Navarro, 45, a technician who works at a car shop in East L.A., told the LA Times. 

Navarro, along with countless others, grew up on the magazine and looked forward to its monthly coverage on the latest in car and Chicano culture. Its magazine covers became just as famous as its content, from famous Latinos like Cheech and Chong to rappers Snoop Dogg and Cypress Hill’s B-Real, all gracing the front. The magazine would also see expansion into music, sponsoring car shows nationally and the creation of a merchandise division. Its influence was seen in city streets across Southern California, particularly in places like East L.A., where lowriding became a cultural fixture. 

“Lowrider inspired so many youngsters who would go on and ignore the prevalent gang lifestyle of the ’90s in lieu of working on their vehicles. The magazine was much, much more than just pin-up models and cars.” Noe Adame, a correspondent for  L.A. Taco, told the news site. 

While it’s not clear if Lowrider will continue being published online, its legacy will certainly live on. 

While it’s not clear why TEN Publishing will cease publication of Lowrider, it follows a trend in recent years where magazine sales have dipped and in return have stopped printing altogether. 

“Simply put, we need to be where our audience is,” Alex Wellen, president-general manager of the MotorTrend Group, which is licensed by TEN Publishing, said in a memo“Tens of millions of fans visit MotorTrend’s digital properties every month, with the vast majority of our consumption on mobile, and 3 out of every 4 of our visitors favoring digital content over print. We remain committed to providing our fans and advertisers quality automotive storytelling and journalism across all of our content platforms.”

While Lowrider saw sales decline over the last few years, it was once one of the most popular magazines in the country. According to the LA Times, “by 2000, it was among the bestselling newsstand automotive periodicals in the country, with an average monthly circulation of about 210,000 copies.”

“At its heart, it’s been a key tool to keeping alive Chicanismo and Chicano identity,” Denise Sandoval, a lowrider expert and professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at Cal State Northridge, told the LA Times. “I’ve met so many people who are not Chicano, that because they’re part of the lowrider community, they learn about Chicano history through that magazine.” Lowrider also challenged negative, stereotypical perceptions of lowriders as tough thugs and gang members.

When news that Lowrider printing will cease, some took to social media to acknowledge the impact the magazine has had on their lives. 

If there was ever a testament to Lowrider’s impact, just look to social media where many longtime readers voiced their disappointment to the magazine’s end. Some reflected on growing up looking at cool cars while others showed off their massive issue collections. 

It is indeed an end of an era but don’t tell that to the countless aficionados who are still keeping lowrider culture and community going strong today. To put in the simplest car terms, this is just a mere pit-stop. 

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