Entertainment

These Successful Latinas Dish Their Best Advice

jlo / athena_vintage / Instagram

It’s Women’s History Month, which means that we get to reflect on the women making history this year, and hope to make the list the next year. Being a Latina woman puts us up against unique stereotypes with unique backgrounds. There is no singular Latina experience.

These women have shared how they shaped their experience of success as a Latina in a white world. Whether you want to climb to the top of the entertainment industry, politics, law, or advocacy, prepare to be inspired.

Jennifer Lopez on loving yourself.

CREDIT: @jlo / Instagram

In her own memoir, “True Love,” brilliant, filthy rich Jenny from the Block wrote,

“As women, we almost never give ourselves enough credit for what we’re capable of, for what we endure and how giving we are.
Part of loving yourself is about forgiving yourself – which is something I’ve always struggled with. It’s the messy parts that make us human, so we should embrace them too – pat ourselves on the back for getting through them rather than being angry for having gotten into them in the first place. Because loving yourself is ultimately about self-acceptance, about embracing every part of who you are. And that’s never just one thing.”

Frida Kahlo on knowing yourself.

CREDIT: @ReadingInHeels / Instagram

Kahlo famously once said, “I am my own muse, I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.” May we all strive to yearn for our true selves above anyone else. This is why she is an icon.

Cardi B on the meaning of feminism.

CREDIT: @iamcardib / Instagram

We all love Cardi B, and fell hard when she told Billboard, “Being a feminist is such a great thing and some people feel like someone like me can’t be as great as that. But then some people are smart but they don’t have no common sense. They think feminism is great and only a woman that can speak properly, that has a degree, who is a boss, a businessperson… they think only Michelle Obama can be a feminist. But being a feminist is real simple; it’s that a woman can do things the same as a man. I’m equal to a n—-. Anything a man can do, I can do. I can finesse, I can hustle. We have the same freedom. I was top of the charts. I’m a woman and I did that. I do feel equal to a man.”

Laurie Hernandez on self-empowerment.

CREDIT: @lauriehernandez / Instagram

The world was watching as 16-year-old Puerto Rican American Laurie Hernandez took to the beam in the 2016 Olympics. That’s why we noticed her whisper “you got this” just before she freaking nailed it. #NewMantra

Selena Quintanilla on breaking glass ceilings.

CREDIT: @athena_vintage / Instagram

Selena shattered all expectations of the male-dominated Tejano scene, but not without difficulty. She once said, “Tejano music was hard for us because I was a girl. My dad had a lot of problems while trying to set up shows for us because there are a lot of men who don’t think that women can get the attention of the public. But … WRONG!”

Sonia Sotomayor on the power of a Latina perspective.

CREDIT: @wes_sherman / Instagram

The first Latina Supreme Court Justice overcame all odds. She was raised by an alcoholic parent, who died when she was just eight years old, and still managed to get into Princeton and then Yale Law school. When conservatives were criticizing her for parading herself as a “wise Latina,” she famously responded with this very legalese clapback:

“I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

Justina Machado on finding humor in a political world.

CREDIT: @justinamachado / Instagram

No question, “One Day at a Time” actress, Justina Machado, is the first to call Trump a pendejo. That said, when a pendejo is criticizing you, the best clapback can be to just say, boy bye.

“I’m a wise Latina woman. Whatever, man. Thank God I’m not in politics, because the fact that you have to explain everything – I’d kill myself. I can’t take all those little things they dissect. I’m like, ‘Oh my God, get a life.’ I don’t have time for this.”  😂

Rita Moreno on authenticity.

CREDIT: @femaleACEs / Instagram

The 86-year-old award-winning actress has gifted us with her memoir and the inspo for us all to start our own: “If you’re going to write about your life, you must write about your life.” There are so many ways to interpret this, but my takeaway is that your life is unique. Cross-referencing anyone else’s will lead you astray from your goal. Be you, boo.

America Ferrera on body positivity.

CREDIT: @americaferrera / Instagram

We know her beginnings from “Real Women Have Curves” and her message stays true. “To me, the tragedy about this whole image-obsessed society is that young girls get so caught up in just achieving that, they forget to realize that they have so much more to offer the world.”

As Latinas, we’re far less likely to be naturally supermodel thin and our beautiful thoughts are more likely to be robbed by diet culture. Time to reclaim our fat, juicy brains and take up space.

Naya Rivera on having an eating disorder as a Latina.

CREDIT: @nayarivera / Instagram

In her memoir, “Sorry, Not Sorry,” the “Glee” actress opened up about her eating disorder and how her mom took it:

“I finally worked up the nerve to tell my dad that I thought I was anorexic, which was a slap in the face to my parents. I don’t think that either of them had even known anyone with an eating disorder before, and while they knew it was a big deal, they still had no idea what to do about it. At one point my mom even said, “Naya, this is some white-people shit.””

Dolores Huerta on how girls are bred to serve.

CREDIT: @doloreshuerta / Instagram

Dolores Huerta was the lead negotiator in the labor contracts between migrant farm workers and Big Ag. New moms, here’s how you make a Dolores Huerta:

“My mother never made me do anything for my brothers, like serve them. I think that’s an important lesson, especially for the Latino culture, because the women are expected to be the ones that serve and cook and whatever. Not in our family. Everybody was equal.”

Mariah Carey on turning struggles into achievements.

CREDIT: @mariahcarey / Instagram

Mariah Carey is most known as the Queen of Christmas, but many might not know that she’s battling bipolar II disorder. She told People magazine,

“I’m hopeful we can get to a place where the stigma is lifted from people going through anything alone. It can be incredibly isolating. It does not have to define you and I refuse to allow it to define me or control me.”

Eva Longoria on raising feminist men.

CREDIT: @evalongoria / Instagram

It’s no secret Longoria is a feminist. I had the honor of hearing her speak at the Women’s March when she called for radical change to the corporate bottom line, to elected positions, and systematic change to include women in America’s wealth. On Instagram, she announced that she was having a boy with this caveat:

“This boy, my son, will be surrounded by very strong, educated, powerful women and I think it’s important that he sees those types of role models in his life so he knows how to support it, how to applaud it and how to honor it.”

Gina Rodriguez on “busting that b*tch down.”

CREDIT: @hereisgina / Instagram

The star of “Jane the Virgin” knows what rejection feels like. It feels like fuel to f*ck sh*t up when you finally get that chance to make your dreams come true.

“Yes, there are 150 doors that are going to slam in your face, but there’s going to be the one with a little crack in it, and you’re going to bust that b*tch down.”

Salma Hayek on being gentle with yourself.

CREDIT: @salmahayek / Instagram

We’re all competing for the status of exhaustion in this world, but Hayek suggests competing for your happiness in this world. She told Stylist, “You have to believe in yourself. You have to take care of yourself, work for yourself, believe in yourself, and also be patient with yourself. Learn when not to push too hard, and give yourself a break.”

Selena Gomez on healing old wounds.

CREDIT: @selenagomez / Instagram

Gomez is probably the most successful young Latina out here, but she’s human, too. At the American Music Awards in 2016, she told America, “If you are broken, you do not have to stay broken.”

Carmen Yulín Cruz on scrapping the “play nice” prescription for women in politics.

CREDIT: @muerto2go / Instagram

San Juan Mayor Cruz has become a household name in the aftermath of Hurricane María. Here’s how she did that:

“Politics is a rough game, and sometimes as females we are taught that you have to play nice. Sometimes you can’t play nice.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on breaking the mold.

CREDIT: @thehill / Instagram

In an interview with “Girls Who Code,” AOC opened up:

“When you’re only seeing white dudes just like, running the world, you think you need to act like a white dude to run the world. The problem is that mold wasn’t made for you, and so even if you try the hardest at being that, you will not be as good as someone who is just that already.

That’s why I’ve tried really hard to authentically be myself while I’m here in this moment and in this position, because I want to show other people that there are other ways of being powerful in the world.”

Red lips and hoops, baby. I’m here for it.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on unconditional love.

CREDIT: @roslehtinen / Instagram

Ros-Lehtinen (R) is the first Latina to be elected to Congress and has served for thirty years. During her tenure, she’s tackled issues that today’s GOP would staunchly oppose. She raised a trans son and has fought for Marriage Equality. Here’s what she told the Human Rights Campaign:

“It’s important for families to support their children and to support their children’s choices. It’s important to listen to your children, accept your children and have your children know that you love them unconditionally. It’s not “I love you, but …”—there’s no “but.” “It’s just “I love you.”… To do otherwise is—you’re hurting yourself, you’re going to shun your child or grandchild. You’re going to say, “No, I have my views and my views are the perfect views and no one can have a different point of view. I’m right and everything else is wrong.” And that’s a lonely way to live. It just means you’ll be out of that person’s life, and who wants to be cut out of their child’s life?”

MJ Rodriguez on holding herself back.

CREDIT: @REVRYTV / Instagram

MJ Rodriguez tells Paper Magazine about what gave by the time she auditioned for hit series “Pose”:

“Well, want to know something? There was a point in time where I was scared, and I hadn’t gone in for roles before Pose had even started. I had hindered myself by being in the way and thinking that world wouldn’t receive me, and then I stepped out of my way and I started going in for roles as the woman I was. Even though my mindset was “They’re going to say no, they’re not going to want me,” I challenged myself to be 100% who I was and not care what anyone thought, and when I walked into that room and just stepped into myself, the people behind the table didn’t care!”

Believe in yourselves, hunnies, and the rest will follow.

READ: Honor #WomensHistoryMonth With These Latina Rapper Bangers

Revista Étnica Is The First Magazine Catered To Black Women In Puerto Rico

Entertainment

Revista Étnica Is The First Magazine Catered To Black Women In Puerto Rico

Since Gloriann Sacha Antonetty Lebrón was a child growing up in Carolina, Puerto Rico, she has been fascinated by journalism. She was captivated by the colorful glossies of Cosmopolitan and Revista Tú that sat on the shelves of local drug stores. She wanted to read about the latest beauty and fashion and be on top of entertainment and cultural news from Latin America and the United States. But more than this, she desired to be seen, to have glamorous and powerful Black women that resembled the matriarchs in her own family cover the magazines.

“I never had the opportunity here in Puerto Rico to see Black people, and Black women in particular, in magazines,” Lebrón told mitú. “None of them represented the beauty of my family, my friends, my community or myself.”

As a teenager, Lebrón’s father, who was raised in New York, introduced her to popular African-American publications geared toward women.

 While magazines like Ebony and Essence weren’t yet available in Puerto Rico, her father would have friends mail the glossy or bring them back from trips in order for Lebrón to have access to images and stories of women who looked like her. The unnecessary struggle it took for her to see herself represented in media and the joyous feeling she felt while flipping through page after page of enchanting dark-skinned women inspired Lebrón to one day start her own magazine in Puerto Rico specifically for Afro-Latina women.

In December of 2018, Lebrón’s teenage dreams came true.

 The now 38-year-old communications professional launched Revista Étnica, the first print magazine in Puerto Rico to represent the Caribbean archipelago’s vast and diverse Afro-Latinx population.

“Our community is marginalized. If you have dark skin, you generally don’t have an opportunity to feel like you belong and are a part of this society. We are only good for food, music and sports, and that’s something we want to change,” she said.

Through the biannual magazine, Étnica’s three-person staff and group of collaborators produce a stunning publication that covers beauty, fashion, entertainment, food and culture as well as investigative journalism that looks into the deep-rooted, and largely denied, racism that exists in Puerto Rico. 

In the first issue, writer Edmy Ayala delves into the racial disparities that exist on the archipelago and how the state works to protect the rights and uplift the talents of lighter-skinned Boricuas. 

The second volume, which published in August, features an essay that examines racism in Puerto Rico’s public school system, looking particularly as the ways in which codes of conduct target and punish Black youth. 

“Right now, it’s more critical than ever to be having these conversations,” Lebrón says. “Here, we understand that we are a mix. We are mestizos, with a rich culture that includes our Spanish heritage, Taíno heritage and, less important, our African heritage. Many use this to claim we are all the same here, that racism doesn’t exist. But me being a Black Puerto Rican woman, a young Black person, I can tell you that I struggle every day and experience racism in so many ways.”

This bigotry was particularly evident for Lebrón when she first attempted to launch Revista Étnica. In her mid-20s, she submitted a proposal for the publication in a contest and was one of the finalists. At the time, she was assigned a mentor who would help her work through her proposition and advise her on steps she could take to realize her project. A leading journalist in Puerto Rico, Lebrón was thrilled to have the guidance of an esteemed figure as she pursued her ambitions. That’s why she felt completely discouraged when the male leader suggested that her magazine would fail. 

“He said, ‘people in Puerto Rico don’t want to identify as Black,’” Lebrón recalls. “I started to believe that the magazine wasn’t important, and it took away my dream.”

Disheartened, Lebrón went on to start a different career in media, working in advertising and public relations. In this industry, she was once again confronted by anti-blackness in Puerto Rico. Few brands and companies put Black Boricuas in their ads, catered to Afro-Puerto Rican communities or even hired dark-skinned employees. 

After taking a job as the director of communications for a local nonprofit that put her in direct contact with Puerto Rican youth, Lebrón was reminded of the importance of representation. During each visit with boys and girls across the archipelago, Black children would race to Lebrón, excited to engage with a powerful leader who looked like them.

“I’d tell them, ‘you are beautiful and intelligent,’ and I would see the light in their eyes. I knew I had to do Étnica.”

A decade after Lebrón submitted her proposal for her dream publication, she entered the contest again and became a finalist once more. This time, she won a social enterprise award, which allowed her to fund the first issue of her magazine.

Today, Revista Étnica is available for purchase at Walgreens and Walmarts across Puerto Rico as well as some local shops in the metropolitan area. Through the magazine’s website, readers can order copies from all over the world. Lebrón says she has subscribers from the United States, Dominican Republic, Colombia, and even Switzerland. Additionally, the publication’s site and social media include a blog and content that offers insight and opinions on more timely news.

For Lebrón, Revista Étnica is more than a magazine; it’s also a community and a movement. 

Throughout the year, the publication hosts events, from parties to movie-watching groups, and has recently also launched a start-up program for Afro-Puerto Rican entrepreneurs. She says that her company’s success isn’t measured by its magazine sales but rather by how it can help create economic security for the Black community in Puerto Rico more broadly.

While materializing her wildest childhood fantasies has been both joyous and frightening, she says that ultimately this magazine and this movement is much bigger than her alone.

“I just want women who read Étnica to feel proud of their skin, their body, their imperfections. I want them to know there is a community with them, that they’re not alone,” Lebrón says.

Tejano Music Icon Selena’s Murderer Is Asking For A New Trial After Accusing Prosecutor Of Hiding Evidence

Things That Matter

Tejano Music Icon Selena’s Murderer Is Asking For A New Trial After Accusing Prosecutor Of Hiding Evidence

Yolanda Saldívar, the woman convicted of killing the iconic singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, is demanding a new trial. In an exclusive interview with Radar Online, the late “reina de Tejano music’s” former fan club president alleges there is evidence that could free her from her lifetime sentence for the 1995 murder.

Saldívar claims that the prosecutor in her case, Carlos Valdez, has been holding exculpatory material evidence.

According to Saldívar, it is proof that is favorable to the defendant and shows that Valdez did not disclose to the defense or the jury in the trial for Selena’s 1995 murder more than two decades ago. She says that Valdez discussed the alleged evidence, a pair of high top white Reebok sneakers and a black baseball cap, during an interview with Spanish-language media.

“The Petitioner paraphrases Mr. Valdez’s media interview where he stated that he and the defense counsel, the late Mr. Douglas Tinker, discussed what [evidence] would or would not be introduced to the jury,” reads court paperwork of a Second Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by Saldívar on March 28, 2019.

“How could this be? It is the jury, no less, that would decide the fate of the Petitioner, between [life] in prison and [freedom]. The jury, NOT the defense or the prosecutor is the trier of fact of all relevant material evidence and they alone should and DID determine between conviction and acquittal,” she writes.

In layman terms, Saldívar contends that allegedly relevant evidence in her case wasn’t presented to the jury.

This information is obligatory, and suggests that leaving out the information was “a nefarious attempt to obscure a verdict against the Petitioner.” According to her, including the hat and shoes in the evidence could impact the case against her.

In the interview, Valdez passively says that Saldívar was wearing the bloody hat and sneakers. He attests that Saldívar stepped in Selena’s trail of blood as she followed the late singer running for her life. However, Saldívar, who claimed the shooting was accidental, asked that if the shoes and bloodstains on them could prove she committed the crime, then why did the prosecution exclude them as evidence.

“The prosecutor, Mr. Valdez, presented evidence of the trail of blood he states the victim left behind as she ran 130 yards (390 feet) from the room to the front lobby of the motel,” the court papers read. “The ‘withholding’ of the victim’s shoes (i.e. White Reebok Tennis Shoes) are of a great consequence because if it is as Mr. Valdez claimed in his March 16, 2018 interview that the Petitioner ‘stepped’ on victim’s blood as she followed the victim, then ‘intent’ would have been proven or disproven. For 23 years, the jury nor the defense knew that such shoes existed.” 

She continued, saying she had “no doubt” the prosecutor “impaired the verity of the evidence by not only withholding the evidence but claiming that those tennis shoes belonged to the defendant, inciting and infecting the public’s sediment even more against the Petitioner before, during and now with his recent media interview.”

Saldívar went as far as accusing Valdez of knowing “those tennis shoes belonged to the victim” and said “withholding them helped get the conviction of the Petitioner practicing a travesty of justice to the rule of law and violating the constitutional rights of the Petitioner.”

Despite her demands, however, Saldívar’s case was dismissed without prejudice because the Petitioner filed the petition in district court and must seek permission from the Fifth Circuit.

Saldívar, a former nurse, founded Selena’s fan club in San Antonio. She became the club’s president and was later also promoted to manager of the late artist’s clothing boutiques, Selena, Etc. 

In 1995, six years after Saldívar had started the club, Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla, was receiving complaints from fans that they weren’t receiving their paid items and heard rumors from fellow employees that Saldívar had been embezzling money from both the fan club and the boutiques. As a result, Saldívar was fired. 

On March 31 of the same year, Selena met with Saldívar at a Days Inn motel in Corpus Christi to retrieve financial records Saldívar had been refusing to give to the Quintanilla family. While the “Como La Flor” singer was leaving the motel room, Saldívar shot her in the back, severing an artery. Selena, in critical condition, ran toward the motel lobby. Before collapsing, an employee claims the songstress named Saldívar as her shooter.

Selena was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital. 

At the time, she was 23 years old. Soon after, at the Days Inn, Saldívar was in a nine-hour-long standoff with the police, calling the shooting an accident and threatening to kill herself before she was arrested.

On October 23, 1995, jurors found Saldívar guilty of first-degree murder. Three days later, she was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility for parole in 30 years — the maximum prison term in Texas at the time. She is currently serving her time at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, Texas. She will become eligible for parole on March 30, 2025.

Read: Netflix Officially Cast The Role Of Selena Quintanilla And ‘Twilight’ Fans Will Be Thrilled