Entertainment

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

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

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

Entertainment

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

@rose_parade / INSTAGRAM

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.

Apparently PBS Is Making A Documentary About Boricua Queen Rita Moreno

Entertainment

Apparently PBS Is Making A Documentary About Boricua Queen Rita Moreno

Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Rita Moreno is one of those legendary forces in the Latinx community that we all hold a special place in our hearts for. She’s the first Latina to be nominated for and to win an Academy Award and she has given life to some of the most memorable characters on film, stage and TV screen. 

Now, the talented Boricua will be honored with a documentary all about her fascinating life. 

The new PBS documentary will focus on some of Moreno’s most notable life experiences and will also cover some darker and more private aspects of her 87 years. 

Twitter / @TalkoftheTownPR

Called “Rita Moreno: The Girl Who Decided to Go for It,” the documentary will feature the actress’ career highlights but will also focus on some rarely discussed moments of her life. For example, in the documentary, Moreno opens up about her attempted suicide that occurred just a year before she won an Oscar for her role as Anita in “West Side Story.” 

The Latina shared via a statement just how moved she is to be the focus of this documentary.

“How I wish my Puerto Rican mother were alive to see this: her child’s story being celebrated. It is not something she or I could ever have imagined. I’m astonished. I’m humbled.” 

Moreno’s career has really come full circle. While she will continue her role as Lydia in “One Day At a Time,” she is also playing Valentina in the 2019 remake of “West Side Story.”

The documentary is being produced by “Hamilton” star Lin-Manuel Miranda, the acclaimed television producer Norman Lear and documentary filmmaker Michael Kantor.

Twitter / @Lin_Manuel

 Needless to say, fellow Puerto Rican, Miranda, is thrilled to be part of a project that immortalizes Moreno. 

“Rita is La Reina. Punto. Full stop,” executive producer Miranda expressed in a statement upon the documentary’s announcement. “Her life, talent, and career is a masterclass in the American dream. It is about time that she takes her rightful place amongst her peers on American Masters.”

The Moreno documentary will air in 2020 as part of the PBS American Masters series. According to PBS, it will feature animation, archival recordings, and reenactments from Moreno’s life. Some of the actresses closest friends and co-workers will also provide interviews for the film.

The documentary is being directed by fellow Latina, Mariem Pérez Riera. 

Twitter / @DeepFinds

In order to be true to Moreno’s story, it had to be driven by people who understand what the actress has gone through as a woman and as a member of the Latinidad. To do so, director Mariem Pérez Riera was hired to bring her vision to life. Riera has previous experience with heading up documentaries. In 2016, she directed “De Puerto Rico Para el Mundo” and “Croatto, la Huella de un Emigrante.” Both films focus on the Latinidad — a subject close to her heart. 

“As a filmmaker, woman and Puerto Rican, I am proud to have the opportunity to tell Rita’s story,” Riera shared when the documentary was announced. “Her many victories in the face of prejudice are an inspiration to me. Hopefully, this film will give strength to the women all over the world, who today, face a similar fight towards equality.” 

Of course, Latinx Twitter was quick to celebrate this new documentary and it’s a very deserving subject. 

Twitter / @OhCuevas

That dancing baby in this tweet’s GIF? That’s totally us. We are so excited to learn more about one of our favorite Latina actresses. Seeing her get the respect she deserves makes us want to celebrate. 

This tweet reminded us just how long Moreno’s career spans.

Twitter / @NewportLaura

Some of us grew up with her as Anita. Some of us know her from the “Electric Company.” Still, others will always know her as the voice of the original Carmen Sandiego. No matter where you know her from, it’s easy to see that her career has been long and lucrative.  

Some Twitter users pointed out the importance of illuminating other peoples stories, just as Manuel and other producers are doing with Moreno’s story in this documentary

Twitter / @K_bowes

The only way we will continue to see our stories being told is if we help others in the Latinidad tell theirs. We’re glad to see that Manuel and Riera — fellow Puerto Ricans — have such important roles in making this documentary a reality. 

Other Twitter users shared their joy over the celebration of Moreno’s life and legacy. 

Twitter / @smiletoobig

Moreno is La Reina and we are so ecstatic that she’s getting the love she so obviously has earned. A career as impressive as hers deserves major props and we can’t wait to watch this documentary honoring her remarkable life. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TS3sEaGS8c0