Entertainment

Spike Lee Gave Puerto Rico The Star Treatment In An Episode Of ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ And Everyone Is Screaming Their Approval

Netflix has not only given voice to new talent but also provided a larger canvas to established filmmakers. Such is the case of the legendary Spike Lee, perhaps the better known African-American director in history. Lee has directed two seasons of the TV version of his debut film “She’s Gotta Have It,” in which a powerful, queer, young African-American woman from Brooklyn discovers the secrets of love, friendship, sex, and art. Nora Darling is a nascent painter who is as smart as she is magnetic, she is a Black queen who has taken full control of her mind, her body and her politics. In one of Season 2’s best episodes, episode 7 titled “#OhJudoKnow”, Nora and her friends visit Puerto Rico to bring some money and resources they collected during a concert to help some hurricane victims. Nora finds herself on the island, and Mars (her ex-lover and now BFF) visits his mother and sister. It is a transformational trip for all involved. Lee also showcased the beauty of the island and its people, as well as showing the struggles that boricuas have faced not only after the natural disaster but also historically. 

These are some of the things that Spike shows us about boricua complexity and belleza, hermano.

Blackness is beautiful and needs to be depicted en todo su esplendor.

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

Spike Lee was one of the first American auteurs to capture the beauty of Black bodies and faces, and he does this in the episode, where the credits roll over amazing portraits of Afro-Caribbeans.

He also shows the devastation that Hurricane Maria brought on the island.

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

This image warms our heart (look at this loving, heroic father), but also makes us incredibly sad as it makes us think of the many tribulations the island has gone over in the past few months since Maria struck.

Lee captures the multiracial identity that makes Puerto Rico the beautiful island and community it is.

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

Spike Lee delves into the processes of colonization that la isla del encanto has gone over for centuries. These processes have resulted in Brown boricua identity, which is combative and festive at the same time.

We love Mars.

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

Mars gives us the rundown of what Puerto Rico is in all its contradictions and colorful melancholy. The Island Of Enchantment… the colors, sounds, and smells are truly hypnotic. 

And no, the Spanish did not “discover” Puerto Rico.

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

There was an established indigenous population when the conquistadores laid foot on the island. They were massacred, enslaved and taken advantage of. Yes, by pinche Cristobal Colon.

Let’s keep it real: Columbus was not a hero.

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

Cristopher Columbus was not the hero that some history books have led us believe, but as Mars argues he was a malnacido mamabicho who basically started a genocide.

Yes, the people of what is now Puerto Rico were dealt a terrible hand.

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

Ever since its inception, Puerto Rico has had to face external, colonizing powers that when tragedy strikes simply throw toilet paper rolls at them (wink, wink).

The episode is full of joyous Puerto Rican music.

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

One of the best stylistic choices that Spike has taken with this show is to actually show the cover of the albums that he takes music from. Gracias, hermano Spike. The episode is full of great salsa and we can create a playlist, no problem.

Puerto Ricans are facing a power outage that doesn’t seem to stop since the hurricanes devastated the island.

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

Puerto Ricans have had to live with a very slow government response and power outages since Maria hit are a common feature of everyday life.

Nevertheless, San Juan is as pretty as ever.

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

Look at the old houses. You can almost smell the wooden furniture and feel the sun on our faces. 

San Juan is synonymous with partaaaaay.

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

Us Latinos sure know how to party even when faced with adversity. We have had to struggle so much that we find joy in the everyday.

San Juan is a street art epicenter.

The district of Santurce was revitalized by allowing muralists and street artists to basically take over walls and create a vibrant, amazing arts district.

Of course, Nora loved it.

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

We mean, look at the nostalgic weirdness of this piece.

There were shots of art that are a testament to boricua women.

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

Can we rent a loft there already? Honestly, we just want to be surrounded by all of the beauty and majesty that is Puerto Rico.

Just stop it, we can’t take so much cool.

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

We can totally see this in any street art hub like Montreal, Melbourne or even Spike Lee’s hometown of Brooklyn.

La Perla!

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

Of course, Spike stopped in the barrio of La Perla, a working-class legendary site where people like the members of Calle 13 have lived.

Spike Lee kept is authentic and real with the same couch all moms and abuelas own.

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

Yes, we all have a relative with an ugly, cheese couch that seems to be the most important thing in the world for them. 

The show proves that arroz is the key to happiness.

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

Family meals are a very important part of life on the island, and in many places of Latin America, Spike Lee captures this beautifully. 

Of course, Rosie Perez serves us some santeria vibes.

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

We adored the casting of legendary Rosie Perez as Mars’ mom. We loved the fact that she is a quirky santera even more. This shows us that religiosity in the island is a true mix of indigenous and African lore, and Catholic doctrine.

The shots where the sky meets the ocean are breathtaking.

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

Blue versus blue. Need we say more?

There is music everywhere in the show and that is something that you will experience in real life.

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

Nora is captivated by a trumpet player on top of a historical site. Music is part of everyday life, and the Puerto Rican diaspora has generated huge stars and huge revenue (just ask the likes of J-Lo!). 

Spike Lee totally captured the politicized identity of Puerto Ricans.

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

Mars rides a bike and sings the Puerto Rican freedom song with gusto, and with a bit of rage. Puerto Ricans like poet Martin Espada, among many others, have long fought for autonomy, and their struggle continues. 

Did we mention the unapologetic Black, Caribbean beauty?

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

OMG. Does it get more empowering and beautiful than this? Nora saw herself reflected on this tall, magnificent woman.

Dance, santeros, the ocean… yes, please.

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

That dance by the beach with full African drumming and santeria rituals just connected us to a time before time, to the pride of a people that has historically been dispossessed. 

And that homage to Roberto Clemente gave us all the feels.

Credit: She’s Gotta Have It / Netflix

Yes, the best and bravest pelotero to come out of the island, and one of the first Latino sports figures who broke the glass ceiling of U.S. sports.

READ: Netflix Documentary ‘After Maria’ Is A Scathing, Heartbreaking Review On FEMA’s Failures For A Devastated Community

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Rising Star Chesca Talks Career Beginnings, Being a Latina in the Music Industry, Performing at Jimmy Kimmel and More

Latidomusic

Rising Star Chesca Talks Career Beginnings, Being a Latina in the Music Industry, Performing at Jimmy Kimmel and More

Welcome to Spotlight, where we do a deep dive into the careers of artists, producers, songwriters, and more people making an impact in the Latin music industry.

Puerto Rican singer Chesca is the definition of a hustler. She started as the vocalist for her dad’s cover band in Puerto Rico and became her own manager booking shows in places like China and Greece. The world is hers for the taking and she is going for it.

Chesca is ready for global stardom and she’s taking it one step at a time.

During our interview here at Latido Music by mitú, Chesca opened up about how a tragic accident at 11 years old changed her life, how music literally saved her, and the sacrifices she’s had to make to be where she is today.

Watch the full interview below:

Chesca is aware that being a Latina in the music industry isn’t easy but feels compelled to share her story and everything she’s had to do to get here. She would pretend to be her own manager and publicist at the beginning of her career. Chesca would book herself shows around the world where she would get to perform her own original songs. One of her songs actually got picked up by the radio in China, which is a market not many Latin stars even imagine entering, especially not when they’re just starting their careers.

“With everything that I’ve been through, I have a voice, and I have a story to tell that can motivate so many young women, that’s what keeps me going,” Chesca says.

While she had some success performing in English, she felt that she needed to go back to her roots and start doing music in Spanish. The stars aligned, and Chesca was signed by Saban Music Group, and currently has some high-profile collaborations under her belt. She’s behind the viral hit like “Te Quiero Baby (I Love You Baby),” which blew up on TikTok and led her to perform at the Latin Billboards last year with Pitbull.

Chesca most recently performed at the 2021 Latin AMAs red carpet and received a nomination for Best New Latin Artist at the 2021 iHeart Radio Music Awards.

After our conversation with Chesca, it’s clear that she’s making the right moves at the right time to make a name for herself in the industry, and we can’t wait to see what’s next for her career.

READ: Ivy Queen, Goyo, and Chesca to Headline Urban Divas United Concert in April

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Gabriel Fernandez’s Mother, Pearl Fernandez, Is Trying to Have Her Murder Conviction Thrown Out

Things That Matter

Gabriel Fernandez’s Mother, Pearl Fernandez, Is Trying to Have Her Murder Conviction Thrown Out

Photos: State of California, Gabriel’s Justice/Facebook

Gabriel Fernandez’s mother, Pearl Fernandez, is trying to have her murder conviction thrown out. The 37-year-old woman has been in jail since 2018 for the murder and torture of her eight-year old son.

Pearl Fernandez is petitioning the court for resentencing, hoping to have her first-degree murder and/or second-degree murder charges thrown out.

Fernandez is hoping to have her sentence vacated based off of new changes to the California state penal code. “I think that she feels that somehow maybe, you know, the special circumstance will be dismissed or maybe she’ll have a chance that the D.A. will agree with the petition,” Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami said to CBSLA.

In June 2018, a judge sentenced Pearl Fernandez to life without parole. The judge charged Pearl Fernandez with the 2013 torture and killing of her eight-year-old son, Gabriel Fernandez.

On May 22, 2013, Gabriel Fernandez died after suffering a fatal beating from his mother. Pearl Fernandez was allegedly angry that he didn’t clean up his toys.

The details of Pearl and her boyfriend’s lengthy torture campaign against Gabriel Fernandez are both gruesome and numerous. Over the course of his eight-month stay with Isauro Aguirre, the couple broke his bones, burned him with cigarettes, pepper-sprayed him, and forced him to eat his own vomit as well as animal feces. And that is just a short-list of what they did.

The case came to national attention after the release of the 2020 Netflix documentary, “The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez“. The documentary shone a spotlight on the insidious nature of child abuse. It also highlighted the systematic failures of the social services system that fails to protect children.

Elected officials have expressed their disgust at Pearl Fernandez for trying to escape justice by taking advantage of updated laws.

“The policies and directives from my office and these new laws created by the Legislature are emboldening murderers of children to apply to be re-sentenced,” said Deputy DA Hatami to City News Service. “This is completely unfair to the surviving families and their loved ones.”

He continued: “Families now have to relive all the horror that was perpetrated upon a small and helpless child. Based upon all the evidence presented at the grand jury, which was made public, and the jury trial, Pearl Fernandez was a major participant in the torture and murder of little Gabriel.”

It seems obvious by the fact that Pearl Fernandez is trying to get out of jail after torturing her son to death, that she isn’t remorseful about her actions.

Any other mother who killed her son would probably want to spend the rest of her life in jail instead of trying to find a way to get out of it.

If you believe someone you know is experiencing–or committing–child abuse, there are resources to help. Call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. Staying vigilant could help save a child like Gabriel Fernandez.

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