entertainment

The Key Roles For ‘West Side Story’ Have Been Cast And Maria Is Being Played By A Latina

arianadebose / davidalvarezofficial / rachelzegler / Instagram

Broadway and “West Side Story” fans have been waiting for the announcement of who will be playing the key roles in Steven Spielberg’s remake of the classic. The wait is over and we now know who will be on the big screen as Maria, Anita, Bernardo, and Chino. Everyone can rest easy because all of the actors taking up these roles are, in fact, Latino giving the remake a little more authenticity than the original. Ansel Elgort will play Tony. Here’s what we know so far.

High school senior Rachel Zegler landed the lead role of Maria.

CREDIT: rachelzegler / Instagram

Zegler is a high school senior at Immaculate Conception High School in Lodi, New Jersey. The teenager was a viral sensation with her singing videos on social media.

According to Deadline, Spielberg was intentional in making sure the everyone cast in the movie was Latino or Latina to showcase the talent within the Latino community.

Zegler shared her excitement on Twitter because who wouldn’t be excited to be cast as Maria.

“I am so thrilled to be playing the iconic role of Maria alongside this amazing cast,” Zegler told Deadline. “West Side Story was the first musical I encountered with a Latina lead character. As a Colombian-American, I am humbled by the opportunity to play a role that means so much to the Hispanic community.”

Broadway veteran and powerhouse Ariana DeBose will play Anita.

CREDIT: arianadebose / Instagram

The Puerto Rican performer first made a name for herself on “So You Think You Can Dance” when she made it to the Top 20 in 2009. Since then, DeBose has been performing for theaters around the country and even performed in an off-Broadway production of “Hamilton.”

Oh, and Rita Moreno will be there to “pass the baton” to the new Maria.

Can you even believe it? Moreno is going to be in Spielberg’s “West Side Story” in the role of Valentina. Valentina will be a more expanded version of Doc who owns the store that Tony works in.

Tony Award winner David Alvarez has been cast as Bernardo, Maria’s cousin.

CREDIT: davidalvarezofficial / Instagram

The military veteran won his Tony for Best Actor in a Musical for his role in “Billy Elliott: The Musical”. He told Deadline that he sees the same struggle in Bernardo as he does in his family who fled Cuba for the U.S. and has dreamt of filling this role.

Jose Andrés Rivera is going to be playing Chino.

CREDIT: joseandresrivera / Instagram

The Puerto Rican dancer, singer, and actor is most known for his recent participation on the last national Hamilton tour.

There is no release date for the movie yet but it is expected to start filming this summer.


READ: One Rumor On Twitter Has The Internet Debating If Camila Cabello Can Act Well Enough To Be In ‘West Side Story’

Share this story with all of your friends by tapping that little share button below!

The Death Of Latin Trap Artist Kevin Fret Is Putting A Spotlight On Heightened Violence In Puerto Rico

Entertainment

The Death Of Latin Trap Artist Kevin Fret Is Putting A Spotlight On Heightened Violence In Puerto Rico

kevin fret / YouTube

Latin trap singer Kevin Fret, known for being the genre’s first openly gay artist, was shot and killed on Jan. 10 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The 24-year-old rising star was riding a motorcycle when gunshots to the head and hip sent him to the hospital. He was later pronounced dead, according to local newspaper El Vocero. The tragic news comes as Fret’s death is one of 24 homicides recorded on the island in less than two weeks.

Fret was more than just an artist on the rise but an advocate for many in the LGBTQ+ community.

Fret was notably one of the first Latin trap artists to publicly embrace his homosexuality and incorporate it into his image. His music showcased the vibrant and fierce personality that made fans adore the musician. Few in the genre have used their massive platforms to condemn violence against LGBTQ+ people like Fret did.

“Kevin was an artistic soul, a big-hearted dreamer. His passion was music, and [he] still had a lot to do. This violence must stop. There are no words that describe the feeling we have and the pain that causes us to know that a person with so many dreams has to go,” Eduardo Rodriguez, Fret’s manager said in a public statement. “We must all unite in these difficult times, and ask for much peace for our beloved Puerto Rico.”

Fret was most recognized for his creative makeup skills that shattered barriers in the Latin trap genre.

In a genre where masculinity and misogyny are prevalent, Fret was an anomaly that used his superior makeup skills to shake up the music scene. In music videos like “Diferente” (“Different”) and  “Soy Así” (“I’m Like This”), he showed his flamboyancy and unique personality that’s truly one of a kind.

The attention wasn’t always positive for Fret as he was the subject of a diss track from a fellow trap artist, Anuel AA. In 2018, Anuel released a song that featured homophobic slurs and inflammatory verses about Fret. Anuel has since apologized for the track but it was an example of the homophobia that followed Fret in his career.

Violence has plagued  Puerto Rico in recent months outlining the tragedy of Fret’s death.

With 24 murders so far this year, the island of Puerto Rico has witnessed a noticeable uptick in violence that officials are trying to control. The Puerto Rico Trans Youth Coalition said on Facebook that Fret’s murder “could be described as a hate crime.” Police so far have not ruled out the possibility of a hate crime. Gang activity, along with drug and human trafficking, is being blamed for the high levels of violent crime in Puerto Rico.

Fellow Latin trap stars, Bad Bunny and  Residente, visited the Puerto Rico Governor to discuss the recent violence on the island.

Both artists visited Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló at his residence following the death of Fret. According to Billboard, they discussed recent violence and the education system in Puerto Rico. Before their meeting, the artists went on Instagram Live where they took to the streets to document themselves trying to get themselves inside Rosselló’s office.

Shortly after the meeting, Rosselló tweeted “Crime is everyone’s business. I appreciate @Residente and @sanbenito took time to talk about what we are already doing and expand the initiatives to address security.”

Fans have taken to social media to pay their respects and remember the fallen star.

Fans who hadn’t even heard of Fret paid their condolences online and highlighted what he meant not only to the Latin trap scene but to LGBTQ+ representation. People on Twitter wrote about what his music meant to them and the impact he had on their lives. Fret will be remembered for many reasons most notably his sheer presence and recognizable look. His contributions to pushing towards a more inclusive community in music won’t be forgotten anytime soon.


READ: Isabella Gomez From ‘One Day At A Time’ Is Humbled To Be An Icon To The Latinx LGBTQ Community

Share this story by hitting the share button below!

Paid Promoted Stories