Entertainment

Here’s A Quick Glimpse Into Rita Moreno’s Rise From A Little Girl In Puerto Rico To America’s Abuela

theritamoreno / Instagram

As millennials and Gen Z’ers, the only Rita Moreno we know is the one who played all our favorite abuelitas in Netflix’s One Day at a Time and The CW’s Jane the Virgin. We couldn’t imagine our television without her. We know she’s an icon and a big deal and all, but nobody will understand what a huge source of chisme she was for our parents growing up until you read this.

Rita Moreno is a wildly successful actress, spanning over 70 years of work. She also had an affair with Elvis Presley, and so much more! The tea is spilling. Get it.

Rita Moreno es puro Boricua.

CREDIT: @Harpercreates / Twitter

She was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico as Rosa Dolores Alverío Marcano. Her mother was a seamstress who was 17 years old when she gave birth, and her father was a farmer.

When she was 5 years old, her mother took her to NYC and inexplicably left her younger brother, Francisco, on the island.

CREDIT: @people / Twitter

In her autobiography, Moreno was removed from her island world of raising baby chicks and plopped into the cold Bronx.

At 6 years old, she started to take dance lessons from Rita Hayworth’s uncle.

CREDIT: @GarconsOfficiel / Twitter

She started professionally dancing at New York clubs when she was 9 years old. She recounts the applause and stage lights as the moment she knew she was meant to be on stage.

When she was 13, she was already acting on Broadway.

CREDIT: @YogaArmy / Twitter

At 16 years old, her family moved to Hollywood to continue finding her destiny. In her autobiography, she writes about how devastating it was to realize she could only land ‘ethnic’ roles. It’s all Hollywood saw in her, and she would try to cover up her olive skin with lightening powder. She was even raped by an agent when she was in her early teens.

Then, she landed the role of Anita in West Side Story.

CREDIT: @LuzCollective / Twitter

This was a huge milestone for her. Up until then, she was only playing stereotypical roles of the era.

She won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in West Side Story.

CREDIT: @femaleACEs / Twitter

Then she won a Golden Globe. Soon, she became the first Latino to become an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony winner).

Most people don’t know that her Emmy Award came from an appearance on The Muppet Show.

CREDIT: @QNS / Twitter

At the time, she was only the third person ever to accomplish an EGOT. She won a Tony award for Best Featured Actress in The Ritz (1975).

Then, she pulled herself out of the game.

CREDIT: @Anonymous1soul / Twitter

Moreno told The Miami Herald that her Oscar gave her the courage to say “no” to the belittling roles she was offered. She thought she wouldn’t have to degrade her heritage again.

”Ha, ha. I showed them. I didn’t make another movie for seven years after winning the Oscar.”

The stereotypes for Latino roles back then aren’t too dissimilar to today.

CREDIT: @fon_lost / Twitter

She told The Miami Herald, “Before West Side Story I was always offered the stereotypical Latina roles. The Conchitas and Lolitas in westerns. I was always barefoot. It was humiliating, embarrassing stuff. But I did it because there was nothing else. After West Side Story, it was pretty much the same thing. A lot of gang stories.”

Then, she met Marlon Brando on The Night of the Following Day (1968).

CREDIT: @nationalpost / Twitter

Her return to film brought her straight into the arms of the “lust of her life,” Marlon Brando. They dated on and off for eight years.

Their relationship was rocky, to say the least. He cheated on her constantly.

CREDIT: @cgvarteweb / Twitter

But the attraction was overwhelming for Moreno. According to the NY Post, she writes in her memoir, “Just meeting him that first day sent my body temperature skyrocketing as though I had been dropped into a very hot bath, and I went into a full-body blush.”

She even dated Elvis Presley as a way to make Brando jealous.

CREDIT: @Newscastpedia1 / Twitter

In her memoir, she writes, “Maybe Elvis was inhibited by inbred religious prohibitions or an Oedipal complex, or maybe he simply preferred the thrill of a denied release. Whatever put the brakes on the famous pelvis, it ground to a halt at a certain point and that was it.”

After seeing him devour a bacon and cheese sandwich and realizing he was more interested in the bocadillo than her, she never saw him again.

As if there weren’t enough men in her life, theater critic Kenneth Tynan stalked her as well.

CREDIT: @RememberThisPod / Twitter

In her memoir, she writes about how after she dated Presley, she went on a date with Tynan who suggested ‘spanking’. She literally fled after that happened and he took it upon himself to stalk her.

Moreno went back to Brando only to be forced to have an abortion and attempting suicide.

CREDIT: @SaintsOrDemons / Twitter

Brando even arranged a friend to pick her up after the illegal procedure, which was botched. The fetus never left her body and she had to go to the hospital to have it surgically removed.

Moreno found his sleeping pills and took them all. She was saved by Brando’s assistant who rushed her to the hospital where her life was saved.

Later on, she met Lenny Gordon, a Jewish doctor who was set up on a blind date by a friend.

CREDIT: @CouplesInHistor / Twitter

Moreno told him to meet on their first date right after a Broadway show. He was confused, wondering if she was going alone, or if she was on another date. When he looked at the marquee, “Rita Moreno in ‘The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window'” it finally clicked that she was the Rita Moreno.

They stayed together 45 years until Gordon died in 2010.

CREDIT: @mariajo_abel / Twitter

Together, they had one daughter, Fernanda Luisa Fisher, who has two sons, Justin and Cameron Fisher. That said, she felt claustrophobic by his possessiveness. She only felt free after he died. “After all the years of supervision, I can do whatever I want. It was a very long time to be that unhappy,” she told The Daily Beast.

Since Gordon died, she’s making up for lost time.

CREDIT: Netflix

This is why we have her as our favorite abuelita. She’s hailed for her portrayal of your average Cuban abuela in One Day at a Time. She’s absolutely regal–always dressed to the nines, like the abuelas we all know.

Her work alongside Gina Rodriguez and Jaime Camil in Jane the Virgin is the highlight of the series.

CREDIT: @JaimeCamilArg / Twitter

She’s working with people that name her as the biggest influence in their life growing up. Gina Rodriguez specifically shared her story of meeting Rita after asking her mom as a kid,

“Ma, when did Puerto Ricans come about?”

“What do you mean, Gina?”

“Well, I never see us on my favorite TV shows or movies. We must not have existed back then, right?”

And then her mom showed her Rita Moreno and Gina fell in love.

The 80-year-old icon has responded, essentially passing the inspo torch to Gina Rodriguez in this love letter.

CREDIT: @Netflix / Twitter

“In just a few years my dear, young Latinas will look up at their screens with hope in their eyes and say, “I want to be like Gina Rodriguez.” Come to think of it, I think they already do.”

😭😭😭

Rita Moreno has earned the highest civilian honor–the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

CREDIT: Wikipedia Commons

Back in 2004, President George W. Bush honored her with the medal for her lifetime achievements to the arts. Moreno has won so much more in her life–the hearts of all of us, Boricuas y todos Latinos alike. Thank you for your service to us, your community, who will lift you up for many generations to come.

Oh, and her accent on TV projects? Fake. She speaks clear American English.

CREDIT: @HNMagazine / Twitter

She’s that good an actress. The woman got lessons early on in life, mi gente. She said she just tries to imitate her mom’s accent when she gets roles like Lydia’s on One Day at a Time. Her and Justina Machado looped their own Spanish-speaking voices in for the dubbed versions. Increíble. Te quiero, mi coquí favorita.


READ: From Rita Moreno To Becky G, Gloria Estefan’s Instagram Was Lit During The Kennedy Center Honors

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A Homeowners Association Tried To Keep A Boricua Who Fought For Our Country From Flying Her PR Flag

Culture

A Homeowners Association Tried To Keep A Boricua Who Fought For Our Country From Flying Her PR Flag

screenshot taken from Orlando Sentinel

When hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans came together to demand former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to resign following leaked chats that revealed political corruption and a series of sexist and homophobic messages, Frances Santiago wanted to stand in solidarity with her people. Living in Kissimmee, Florida, she wasn’t able to protest with her country folk on the archipelago but she demonstrated symbolically by placing her red, white and blue Puerto Rican flag outside of her home. 

Now, the Central Florida Boricua is facing a battle against her own community leaders. Three weeks after putting up the flag, the homeowner received a letter from the Rolling Hills Estates Homeowners Association requesting her to take it down. 

Santiago, an Army veteran who served 14 years as a medic, including two tours in Iraq, says she refuses to remove the flag.

“I fought for this, to be able to do this. So, I don’t see a problem with flying my flag here,” the woman told Orlando-area news station WFTV.

According to HOA bylaws, all flags are outlawed. However, the board made an exception for US flags, sports flags and flags used to honor first responders and fallen officers. Considering these edicts, Santiago is unsure why the group is asking her to remove the flag, as Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States.

“Puerto Rico is part of America. What’s the big issue with us having our flag there,” she said.

HOA president Norma McNerney told  WFTV that she’s not asking the Santiago family to remove the flag because it’s from Puerto Rico; however, she did not comment on the island being the colonial property of the US and, thus, meeting the association’s criterion. 

“We treat all owners the same. If you travel through our community, you will see the only flags are those regulated by the state,” McNerney said.

Puerto Ricans have historically been banned from displaying their flag. 

While many tease that Boricuas exhibit their bandera on anything and everything, from their cars and house goods to their clothes and accessories, owning a Puerto Rican flag wasn’t legal until 1957. Nine years prior, on June 10, 1948, la Ley de La Mordaza, better known as the gag law, made it a crime to own or display a Puerto Rican flag, sing a patriotic song or speak or write of independence. The legislation, signed into law by Jesús T. Piñero, the United States-appointed governor, aimed at suppressing the growing movement to liberate Puerto Rico from its colonial ties to the United States. Anyone accused and found guilty of disobeying the law could be sentenced to ten years in prison, be fined $10,000 or both.

Additionally, in Kissimmee, which locals nicknamed “Little Puerto Rico” because of its vast Puerto Rican population, there has been pushback from community members who are not pleased with the demographic changes. City-Data forums warn people interested in moving to Central Florida to beware of Puerto Ricans, who commenters refer to as “roaches,” “criminals,” and the N-word, while news of attacks against Boricuas has become more common. Florida is home to more Puerto Ricans in the contiguous US than any other state. Most of the population resides in the Orlando-Kissimmee area. The region has been the top destination for Puerto Ricans escaping the financial crisis since 2008 and displacement following Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. But it is also the prime journey stop for diasporic Puerto Ricans from New York, Chicago, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Massachusetts. The area is among the largest and fastest-growing Puerto Rican communities in the country.

As such, Central Florida Boricuas have rallied around Santiago. An online petition created by the Florida Puerto Rican group Alianza for Progress is asking the HOA to cease their discriminatory practices against Santiago and is already close to meeting its goal of 1,600 signatures. At the time of writing, it is short just 51 names.

Santiago and her husband Efrain have insisted that they have no intention of bringing the flag down.

“[The flag] will stay there and we’ll deal with it; we’ll exhaust every avenue possible,” Efrain said. “We have our house, you see, up to standards. We’re not doing anything wrong. We’re not doing anything to our neighbors by flying our flag.”

While the Santiagos haven’t presently been issued any fines for the violation, they said they do have a lawyer and are prepared to take this fight to protect their freedom further. “I’m proud of my roots, who I am, [where] I come from. We’re not offending anyone. None of the neighbors were offended with us putting the flag there,” Efrain said.

Read: The Governor Of Puerto Rico Was Caught In A Chat Using Grotesque Homophobic And Sexist Language And The Entire Island Is Calling Him To Resign In Massive Protests

The Drama Continues: Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court Says New Governor’s Oath Was Unconstitutional

Things That Matter

The Drama Continues: Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court Says New Governor’s Oath Was Unconstitutional

@rafernandezlaw / Twitter

It’s been five days since former Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló resigned following massive protests against scandalous and incriminating chats, and the archipelago still does not have a lawfully recognized successor in La Fortaleza, the governor’s mansion.

Upon stepping down on Friday, August 2, the embattled politico nominated Pedro Pierluisi.

Peirluisi was to fill the secretary of state vacancy left by Luis G. Rivera Marín, who resigned last month for his own part in the leaked messages. As secretary of state, Pierluisi would have been next in line to become governor. However, Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Wednesday that part of the law used by Rosselló to name Pierluisi his successor is unconstitutional.

But the Supreme Court ruled against that part of the law Rosselló used to appoint Pierluisi was unconstitutional.

“The governor’s oath of office was unconstitutional,” Puerto Rico’s Supreme Court said, as reported by NBC News. “Therefore, Hon. Pedro R. Pierluisi Urrutia can’t continue his work as Governor after this Opinion and Sentence becomes effective.”

The decision, which takes effect at 5 p.m. EST, follows a lawsuit filed by Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz on Monday. In the litigation, Rivera Schatz asked the courts to immediately remove Pierluisi from the position because his governorship was unlawful according to Puerto Rico’s constitution. 

While the social codes do say that the island’s secretary of state should be the new governor if the position is vacant, it requires the person nominated to the post to be confirmed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate. However, Pierluisi had only been confirmed as secretary of state by the House when he took his oath as governor on Friday.

“It’s unconstitutional to allow a Secretary of State to become Governor without having been confirmed by both legislative chambers,” the Supreme Court said in a press release.

The Senate postponed its vote for this week, days after Rosselló’s resignation became official, meaning that Pierluisi’s governorship was unofficial and that the Caribbean island hasn’t yet filled the top seat. 

This week, instead of voting on the matter, Rivera Schatz went to the courts to argue that Pierluisi did not “occupy the position of secretary of state in property” because he wasn’t confirmed by both Houses.

In response, Pierluisi contended this wasn’t the only way that the secretary of state could be ratified, citing the law of succession of 2005, which included a recommendation by Puerto Rico’s Department of Justice to waive a secretary of state’s confirmation requirement in case of an emergency.

He is expected to be making a comment later today.

Puerto Ricans are celebrating the ruling.

Since Rosselló nominated Pierluisi as secretary of state, many have taken to the streets for “¡Pierluisi, renuncia!” demonstrations. Opponents have several issues with Pierluisi, a former resident commissioner and an attorney, but predominantly condemn his ties to the unelected fiscal control board, known on the archipelago as “la junta.” 

In the historic protests that removed Rosselló, demonstrators called for both his resignation and the disbanding of the largely-loathed Obama-appointed board that has slashed needed public services on the island. “Ricky renuncia, y llévate a la junta,” went one of the most popular chants of the rallies. Pierluisi has a long history with the board, representing Puerto Rico in Congress when the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, or PROMESA, was passed, which created la junta; his brother-in-law is the chair of the board; and Pierluisi has been working for the law firm that does consulting for the board — a post he resigned from to take on the role as governor.

But the drama isn’t over yet since the woman next in-line still doesn’t want the island’s top job and Puerto Ricans don’t want her.

According to the Puerto Rican constitution, next in line to fill the governorship seat is Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez, who has said repeatedly that she is not interested in the job. Puerto Rican media are reporting that Vazquez, who has also faced public disapproval for her defense of the leaked chats and her own problematic history as an attorney, will nominate Jenniffer Gonzalez, the U.S. territory’s representative in Congress, as secretary of state, who would then takeover as governor if Vazquez steps down.

When questioned about this scenario, González told local newspaper El Nuevo Día, “that is decided by the bodies and the governor. I will support whomever they choose. That has been my position since day one.”

Even more, Puerto Rico Sen. Zoe Laboy told Central Florida cable news outlet Spectrum News 13 that should Gonzalez be nominated as secretary of state by Vazquez, then she hopes both the House and Senate would have the chance to ratify the nomination.

This would pose an even greater challenge for Puerto Ricans fighting for a just and free future for their island, as Gonzalez is not only a member of the same pro-statehood party of the Rosselló administration but is also a Trump-supporting Republican.

Vázquez is expected to be sworn in as Puerto Rico’s new governor on Wednesday at 5 p.m. EST.

Read: The Governor Of Puerto Rico Was Caught In A Chat Using Grotesque Homophobic And Sexist Language And The Entire Island Is Calling Him To Resign In Massive Protests

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