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.

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“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.

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“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.

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Olympian Laurie Hernandez Is Back And Just Gave A Powerful “Hamilton” Inspired Performance

Fierce

Olympian Laurie Hernandez Is Back And Just Gave A Powerful “Hamilton” Inspired Performance

She’s back! After an almost five-year hiatus, Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez made her big return to competition at Saturday’s 2021 Winter Cup meet with moves to remember — set to some pretty unforgettable music, too.

The 20-year-old gold and silver medalist hit the mat with a “Hamilton”-inspired floor routine.

Laurie Hernandez just gave a stunning floor routine at the 2021 Winter Cup.

Please welcome Laurie Hernandez back to the floor! After a four-and-a-half-year hiatus, the 20-year-old Olympian showed off her strength, proving, like Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote, she is inimitable and an original.

“My first priority [at Winter Cup] is to go in and hit clean routines and show that I can be consistent,” Hernandez told NBC News. “But my next one is to enjoy myself.” It sure looks like she accomplished her goal, with nonstop energy and a smile on her face throughout her entire choreography.

As “The Room Where It Happens” played in the background, Hernandez flipped and danced her way to a 12.05 score in the event, good for an 11th-place finish in the floor exercise.

And after the USA Gymnastics Winter Cup in Indianapolis wrapped up, the noted theater fan shared her routine on Twitter and asked for feedback from “Hamilton” creator Lin Manuel Miranda and actor Leslie Odom Jr. — who sang “The Room Where It Happens” as Aaron Burr in the original cast.

This weekend’s performance was her first since stealing hearts during the 2016 Rio games.

Hernandez was part of the Team USA “Final Five” squad that won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics. But following those games she took a step back from competition, later revealing that former coach Maggie Haney was emotionally and verbally abusive toward her. The gymnast dealt with depression and eating disorders as a result.

Hernandez said it wasn’t until years later that she realized her love of the sport could be separated from the trauma she experienced. “I thought I hated gymnastics, and it wasn’t until mid-2018 I realized that it was the people that made the experience bad, not the sport itself,” she explained on Instagram.

Though she already has a gold medal from the team all-around and a silver medal from her 2016 individual performance on the beam, Hernandez is now ramping up for more challenging competitions over the next several months with the hopes of qualifying for the Olympics this summer. But with a crowded field vying against her for just four roster spots, securing a bid to Tokyo will undoubtedly be an uphill battle.

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In New Documentary, Rita Moreno Talks the Racism, Sexism, and Discrimination She Faced in Her 70-Year Career

Entertainment

In New Documentary, Rita Moreno Talks the Racism, Sexism, and Discrimination She Faced in Her 70-Year Career

Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images

The new documentary “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It” premiered at the virtual Sundance Film Festival on Friday. As you can probably guess, the film focuses on the indomitable EGOT-winning icon Boricua.

According to the film’s director, fellow Boricua Mariem Pérez Riera, the movie is supposed to offer a stripped-down and intimate portrait of the real Rita Moreno.

“We always knew that we wanted this documentary to not be just a showreel of her career and how great she is,” Pérez Riera told NBC News.

“When I make or watch a documentary, I want to be able to know that person more than just what I already know, so it was very important for me to go deeper and to understand her as a human being.”

Pérez Riera also explains how she was attracted to 89-year-old Moreno as subject because she related to Moreno’s struggles with discrimination and insecurity.

“I related to all she was saying, her stories about discrimination, the insecurities she felt because of the way others perceived her, the complicated love relationships, and the constant need to work three times harder to prove to others that she is worthy,” the filmmaker said.

Much of the documentary focuses on Moreno’s struggle against a racist and sexist industry that repeatedly pigeonholed and underestimated her.

At the start of her career, Moreno was only cast in roles of ambiguously brown characters–Native American, Filipino, Hawaiian, and Thai.

“I wanted to turn the parts down, but that’s all that was offered and I had to make a living,” Moreno reveals in the film. “I was kind of stuck.”

The documentary also features dozens of interviews of Moreno’s friends, fans, and previous co-workers, including Morgan Freeman, Gloria Estefan, Eva Longoria, Justina Machado, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and her “West Side Story” co-star, George Chakiris. Many of them reflect on the impact Moreno made on Hollywood.

Although Moreno has always been proud of her Puerto Rican heritage, she struggled with her sense of self-worth in Hollywood.

“When I went to Hollywood, I really learned where I stood in the world, and it was so sad and frustrating,” Moreno explained in an interview with the LA Times while promoting the documentary.

“There is something so awful about, if you were a performer, asking your agent to submit you for something and the people won’t even see you because they think you’re too Spanish or something. It’s so frustrating and you want to run and knock their door down and say: ‘Look, let me read this scene for you. I’m good. I’m really good. Let me. Watch me. Listen to me.'”

“Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It” will air on PBS soon as part of their American Masters series. Details about premiere date and time TBD.

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