Entertainment

Rita Moreno, Gina Torres And Laurie Hernandez Will Be Co-Grand Marshals At The 2020 Tournament of Roses

It might only be October but our eyes are already focused on a big event in 2020. That’s when the famous Tournament of Roses the traditional New Year’s Day Celebration that includes the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena, California— will be held once again. However, we’re already looking forward to next year’s celebration, because of the iconic women who will act as grand marshals for the 130th anniversary of the event.

Last week, it was announced that the Tournament of Roses will be co-marshaled by actresses Rita Moreno and Gina Torres, and gymnast Laurie Hernandez.

credit Instagram @rose_parade

This year’s theme is “The Power of Hope” and it’s that sentiment that resonated with gold medalist Hernandez when she expressed what it means to see a trio of Latinas given this honor.

“That is the representation that I have always wanted to see as a little kid and now you have three generations of it,” the Olympian told ABC 7 in an interview following the announcement.

Hernandez was one of the “Fierce Five” who represented team USA to gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The Puerto Rican athlete is also an individual silver medalist. Since her time at the Olympic games, the Boricua has written two books, appeared on “Dancing With The Stars” and was a judge on “American Ninja Warrior Junior.”

Torres expressed her happiness at the validation of her Latina-ness that came with this announcement.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B3sAVekgUqY/

“At this point in my career, to actually be acknowledged as a Latina woman, having not been able to be that for a great part of my career, for me is an incredibly emotional experience,” the actress shared with ABC 7.

In her statement, Gina Torres is referring to the unfortunate fact that Afro-Latinx people are often excluded from Latinidad because of their Blackness. Colorism and anti-Black racism is unfortunately not uncommon in the Latinx community. As an afro-Cubana, it would not be surprising that Torres experienced this herself. Hollywood would have also seen her as only Black, erasing her Latina identity as well.

Torres also recalled growing up in the Bronx with her mother, and how she loved watching the Puerto Rican Day Parade together. One experience in particular stuck out to her.

“My mom just stopped cold and then suddenly, at the top of her lungs, I heard her say: ‘Que viva Puerto Rico!’ and I said, ‘Mami, but we’re Cuban,’ and (my mom) said, ‘Not today! We’re all the same!’”

The actress is best known for her role in “Suits” and the series’ new 2019 spin-off, “Pearson.” She’s also appeared in critically acclaimed series such as “Westworld,” “Claws” and “Hannibal.” In addition, Torres is a noted voice actor for numerous video game titles.

For EGOT winner Rita Moreno, the honor of being announced named co-marshal is a culmination of a life-long love of the event.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B3sc5rxBxQz/

“It’s something I’ve watched on television all of my life, and that I would be asked to be one of the grand marshals for this extraordinary Rose Parade, I’m thrilled,” Moreno explained to ABC 7 at the event.

The 87 year-old Puerto Rican came out dancing after the announcement was made. In true Moreno fashion, she also requested that the event’s DJ play a “Latino song” so every one could dance together to celebrate the upcoming Tournament of Roses. The DJ played Marc Anthony’s “Vivir Mi Vida.”

The actress is best known for her Oscar-award winning role in “West Side Story” and her EGOT status but she has recently won fans over in her role of Lydia in “One Day At A Time.” Of course, Moreno has been dazzling audiences on film, stage and TV for decades so an appearance at the Tournament of Roses should be a piece of cake.

The announcement of the three Latina co-marshals comes the same year as the Tournament of Roses’ appointed its first Latina president.

credit Instagram @rose_parade

Farber worked with the Tournament of Roses for over 25 years before she became the event’s president. An immigrant from Argentina, she came to the United States as a child. Farber and her husband, Tomas Lopez, ⁠— who is an immigrant from the Dominican Republic ⁠— chose the theme for this year’s parade. During the grand marshal ceremony, she explained the meaning behind the “Power of Hope” theme.

“Our families came here because this country represented a beacon of hope. Hope of freedom of expression, of association, of speech, of education, and of economic opportunities.”

She also shared the news about the tournament’s theme with The Pasadena Star-News“At a time when the country and the world is most divided, our celebration and our parade will bring everyone together.”

The event will also feature bands from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and El Salvador, making it for a very Latinx experience. The Tournament of Roses will take place January 1, 2020.

Rose Bowl Parade Honors Latina Grand Marshals Rita Moreno, Laurie Hernandez and Gina Torres

Entertainment

Rose Bowl Parade Honors Latina Grand Marshals Rita Moreno, Laurie Hernandez and Gina Torres

theritamoreno / Instagram

Pasadena’s Annual Rose Bowl kicked off 2020 with three generations of Latinas as Grand Marshals, signaling city-wide solidarity with Latina-American’s cultural and athletic contributions to the United States’ history. Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Peabody and Tony award-winner Rita Moreno was joined by Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez and actress Gina Torres as the parade’s grand marshals, much to the excitement of all Latinos who tuned in for the annually-presented programming. Luis Recalde, an Argentine-American living in Huntington Park, told The Los Angeles Times that, in hindsight, every parade he’s attended over the last six years were “very commercial,” but that the Latino representation this year helped those minorities who “want to feel near their country.”

For the women who got to participate in the coin toss and wave at throngs of Angelinos of all races, cultures, and walks of life, the opportunity was just as thrilling.

CREDIT: @DECOLLINS1969 / TWITTER

There is a reason so much diversity was palpably felt this year compared to last. For the first time ever, a Latina was elected president of the Tournament of Roses Association. Laura Farber is the Argentine immigrant who oversaw the entire parade production meant to mark the beginning of a new year and offer hope to the Angeles community. With a Latina in leadership, we finally got to see Latinas honored at the highest level the Tournament of Roses Association offers: Grand Marshals. 

Gina Torres took to social media to comment on the grandiosity of the moment. “Rolling into 2020 as a Grand Marshal,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “Let’s break that down, shall we? Grand: 1)Impressive in size, appearance or general effect 2) stately, dignified majestic ✨Marshal: A military officer of the highest rank ???????? Oh! So like, The HBIC of everyone’s dreams???? Let’s do this. I’m ready. Are you?” Torres is the Afro-Cuban-American who has taken over USA Network as the starring actress in “Suits” and “Pearson.” When she’s not winning National Hispanic Media Coalition Awards, she’s giving back to Dress for Success and Planned Parenthood.

Meanwhile, Rita Moreno actually practiced her coin toss before the nationally-televised event.

CREDIT: @THERITAMORENO / INSTAGRAM

“My family and I were astounded at how beautifully your entire organization, from the President to the hundreds of devoted volunteers, handled what could have been a logistical nightmare in less capable hands,” Moreno shared on Instagram. “We deeply appreciated all you did to make the day an outstanding experience for all involved! Bravo????❤️????,” she added after half a dozen posts commemorating the event.

Of course, Moreno can entertain us all even with a simple coin toss.

CREDIT: @JEFFMACKE / TWITTER

At 88-years-old, many folks saw that Rita Moreno was trending on Twitter and braced themselves for the worst news. Much to our delight, Rita Moreno is thriving, offering a flourishing dramatic coin toss complete with karate chops on nationally-televised programming in front of tens of thousands of people because, well, she can. Moreno has long been marching for social justice issues ranging from civil rights, education, and jobs. Her contributions to the Latino community go without saying.

Laurie Hernandez called the entire experience “insane.”

CREDIT: @LAURIEHERNANDEZ / INSTAGRAM

“One of the best New Years ever,” the Olympic gold-medalist wrote on social media. “Co-grand Marshall at the Rose Parade??? insane. if you would’ve told me this was happening when i was younger, i wouldn’t have believed you????.” Hernandez, also a Puerto Rican like Moreno, was the youngest of the generations represented, but certainly as accomplished. Hernandez is the first U.S. born Latina to make the U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Team since 1984 and has earned our country gold and silver medals during the 2016 Olympics. Since then, she’s gone on to win ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” authored two books, including a feminist children’s book, and spends her spare time combating bullying with national non-profits.

That’s not all. The crowd roared when Los Lobos started playing “La Bamba” from a parade float.

CREDIT: @ROSEPARADE / TWITTER

It’s clear that the Grand Marshal choices were not a singular token effort to reflect the culture of Los Angeles. Other honored guests included first Latina astronaut Ellen Ochoa, “Sesame Street” voice Sonia Manzano, and Spanish-language Dodgers announcer Jaime Jarrín. Puerto Rican, Mexican, Salvadoran, and Costa Rican flags waved as their respective marching bands performed in salute to the vibrant cultures weaved into American society.

An all Latina Rose Parade grand Marshall, Latina President, bands from El Salvador, Costa Rica, Mexico, & Los Lobos closing out the show?!!?!! This is an awesome way to start 2020! #RoseParade,” tweeted one fan, who frankly speaks for us all.

READ: Rita Moreno, Gina Torres And Laurie Hernandez Will Be Co-Grand Marshals At The 2020 Tournament of Roses

These Clips Shine A Light On Shade From The Pussycat Dolls’ Past

Entertainment

These Clips Shine A Light On Shade From The Pussycat Dolls’ Past

A&M

It’s hard to imagine the 2000s without the Pussycat Dolls. Not only were their hit singles “Dontcha,” “Buttons,” and “Stickwitu”—all from their 2005 debut album PCD—bangers all over the world, but the group quickly became something of a small empire, touching everything from reality TV to commercial merchandise. They topped the charts worldwide, earned several award nominations (including a Grammy nod), and are ranked as one of the best-selling girl groups of all time. And although they experienced a great amount of success over a relatively short time (they eventually broke up in 2010), the Pussycat Dolls were marred by some serious internal drama that made even their best years a little less sparkly.

The main reason for their conflict was the excessive attention paid to lead vocalist Nicole Scherzinger.

Of the five Pussycat Dolls, there were two vocalists: Scherzinger and Melody Thornton. Scherzinger has admitted to singing 95% of the vocals during the Dolls’ heyday, even going to so far as to say that the other members of the group didn’t hear the tracks until they were finished. While Thornton did contribute to background vocals as a Doll, she never had a chance to sing lead. Years of frustration over this inequity ended up culminating in a pretty uncomfortable moment performing the bop “Dontcha”:

As you can see, Thornton clearly went off-script in this performance, taking advantage of the opportunity to finally step into the spotlight. There’s no doubt that the girl can sing, but Scherzinger was not impressed. The shade, though!

Credit: Twitter

And this wasn’t the only time Thornton’s off-the-cuff solos made things awkward. Take this example from the 2006 American Music Awards (skip to 2:50 for her surprise ad-lib appearance onstage):

Earlier this year, Thornton told the UK’s Daily Mirror that she secretly went to therapy for low self-esteem during her time with the Dolls, and that it took many years for her to overcome her negative experiences with the group.

Credit: Pinterest

“I lost so much confidence and felt really worthless. Because it was pointed out, over and over again, that I was the weakest link in the group,” said Thornton. ”I had never felt insecure until I joined the Pussycat Dolls.”

Over the years, other Dolls have also complained about the overemphasis on Scherzinger. As a contestant on season 12 of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, Ashley Roberts said, “Even in the group, I wasn’t allowed to talk. We were told to be quiet—only Nicole was allowed to talk. We would occasionally pitch in.” Roberts confirmed that nothing in the group was split evenly, adding, “Why do you think the band broke up?”

But after almost a decade apart, and in spite of all the tea that’s been spilled, the Pussycat Dolls are back, baby!

Well, more or less. On Saturday’s episode of the UK’s X Factor: Celebrity, the newly reunited Pussycat Dolls performed a medley of their most popular songs, offering a sneak peek into an upcoming UK reunion tour. Whether surprising or not, several people served some serious criticism of the performance, conceding that while the choreography was stellar, there still seems to be too much of a focus on Scherzinger. Perhaps that’s because Thornton, as the Dolls’ only other vocalist, will not be joining them for the tour.

No, it’s not because Thornton has held a decade-long grudge against Scherzinger—in fact, neither Thornton nor any of the other girls have ever been angry at Scherzinger for the disequilibrium of the group. Instead, Thornton took issue with the label, Interscope Records, and the way the group was managed. Still, she insists that she has no bad feelings toward Scherzinger or Robin Antin, who founded the group back in 1995 when it began as a burlesque troupe.

“People would assume that I was so mad at Nicole because she sang and I didn’t. Well, no. That was her dream and it was coming true for her. I just wanted it for myself too,” said Thornton. “I wanted the best for everyone. I’m a phenomenal vocalist, you just never heard it. But it wasn’t Nicole’s fault.”

Both Robin Antin and Ashley Roberts insist that Thornton’s past difficulties with the group are not the reason for her absence from the 2020 reunion tour, which will reunite Roberts and Scherzinger with group members Carmit Bachar, Jessica Sutta, and Kimberly Wyatt.

“She was included in all of this. She’s our sister, and the door is always open, but it just wasn’t the right timing for her right now,” Roberts told the BBC. “We wish her well.”