It’s been nearly five months since the tragic death of NBA great Kobe Bryant and his similarly talented daughter Gianna. Grief still lingers for their loved ones left behind however and recently, Vanessa Bryant was reminded of her tragic loss once more as she was forced to celebrate her own birthday without her late husband and daughter.
Still, despite their noted absence on her big day, Bryant was given an emotional surprise that, while bitter, seemed very sweet.
On May 5th, Bryant celebrated her birthday and shared a special surprise from her day on Instagram.
In a post to her Instagram page, Bryant revealed that before her birthday, she found an envelope addressed to her and from her late husband.
“Yesterday I found an envelope labeled To: The Love of my Life. From, Tu Papi I waited to open one more letter on my birthday. It gave me something to look forward to today. The irony is that Kobe had a photo of me drawn with an Angel holding me up by an artist on the cover. Missing the Love of my Life and my sweet little Mamacita- my fellow Taurus. Grateful to wake up to my 3 sweet girls today. Wish we were all together,” she wrote in the caption.
Bryant kept the message left behind for her private, but we can only imagine how emotional her experience in reading it was.
Bryant’s surprising post comes just a few days after she celebrated her deceased daughter Gigi’s birthday. In a caption about her birthday, Bryant encouraged Instagramers to “consider wearing red, caption an act of kindness or show how you will play Gigi’s way since she always gave everything she did her all and led with kindness.” She also asked fans to use the hashtag #PlayGigisWay to join in celebrating her daughter while also sharing an image of a special bracelet with her daughter’s nickname on it. “We are in the process of making this bracelet available for proceeds to benefit our Mamba and Mambacita foundation. I will update you with a post when we have them available for purchase),” she wrote.
As if 2020 and Coronavirus haven’t taken enough from us, just days before we usher in a new year, the world is forced to say goodbye to Armando Manzanero.
The famed Mexican-Mayan artist lost his battle against COVID-19 and as news of his death began to circulate, reactions from stars all around the world have started to pour in.
Manzanero died like so many in 2020 – fighting the dangerous Coronavirus.
One of Mexico’s most iconic and beloved artists has passed at the age of 85 from complications related to COVID-19. Armando Manzanero had tested positive for the virus on December 17 and put into critical care just a few days later.
The Society of Authors and Composers of Mexico (SACM), of which Manzanero was president, announced his death, saying: “The romantic soul of Mexico and the world is in mourning.”
Maluma took to social media to share his sadness over the immense loss.
Losing a man who is considered a symbol of Latin American music has left many artists shocked and in mourning. Reactions and memories from around the world quickly poured in to remember the man who helped put his country and culture on the global map.
Maluma shared to Instagram an emotional post, where he expressed his sadness for the departure of maestro Manzanero, “💔😭 RIP MASTER,” the post reads.
In the description, Maluma said “one of my greatest inspirations” had died but that he’d forever treasure the memory of having met Manzanero. The video shows when Maluma, visibly moved, meets Armando Manzanero for the first time. “A pleasure to meet you,” says the reggaetonero; Immediately afterwards, the Mexican singer hugs him while patting him on the back.
J Balvin also shared his condolences while also condemning COVID-19.
Another of the many celebs who showed their sadness over the death of the star was J Balvin. In his Instagram stories, Balvin posted a photo of Manzanero and wrote “Rest in peace, Armando Manzanero.” In addition, he wrote what so many of us are feeling after such a devastating year: “FUCK COVID.”
And Mexico’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, addressed Manzanero’s death during a press conference, per CNN. “Armando Manzanero was a sensitive man, a man of the people. That’s why I lament his death,” he said. “He was also a great composer.”
Manzanero was a famed Mexican-Mayan artist who helped bring visibility to his culture and community.
Manzanero was a romantic crooner who was often covered by artists from around the world. In fact, many of his tracks were translated into English and performed byartists including Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Perry Como, and he was awarded a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2014.
He has since written more than 400 songs and released more than 30 albums, including nine since 2001, as Manzanero collaborated with a younger generation of Spanish-language romantic pop singers such as Alejandro Sanz, Luis Miguel and Lucero.
Manzanero’s impact on Latin music, especially romantic “bolero” songs, was widely recognized during his lifetime. He received Lifetime Achievement Awards from both the Latin Grammys in 2010 and the Grammys in 2014. Earlier this year, the Billboard Latin Music Awards recognized him with a Lifetime Achievement Award, with musicians including Luis Fonsi and Pablo Alborán performing a medley of hits as Manzanero accompanied on piano.
2020 has been a helluva year. Not only did the entire globe suffer through the coronavirus pandemic, but Americans had to deal with an endless campaign, a nail-biting election, and its exasperating aftermath.
But throughout this grueling year, women (as usual) stepped up to the plate. In 2020, we were once again reminded how strong and resilient Latinas are. Despite its challenges, 2020 was a year of that Latinas proved they are innovators, activists, and artists.
Because of this, FIERCE by mitú has compiled a list of 12 Latinas who absolutely crushed 2020. Take a look at our picks below!
1. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez continued to crush the political game this year. Not only was she reelected to office, but she expertly fundraised for the Democratic party and started much-needed conversations. Ocasio-Cortez may be controversial, but she’s also powerful.
2. Vanessa Bryant
Vanessa Bryant went through a year that is many people’s worst nightmare. But throughout her personal tragedy, Bryant exhibited an endless amount of strength and grace. She truly is an inspiration to women everywhere.
3. Nanette Cocero
Nanette Cocero may not be a household name (yet), but she is shaping up to be one of the most powerful Latinas in the world. This Puerto-Rican-born jefa is the Global President of Pfizer Vaccines. That means she’s in charge of the development and delivery of vaccines throughout the world. Cocero had her work cut out for her in 2020, and sis delivered.
4. Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez is 51-years-old and she continues to turn everything she touches into gold. Not only did she perform at the Super Bowl’s halftime show this year (remember that?), but she also launched a much-anticipated skincare line.
5. Elizabeth Acevedo
Award-winning Dominicana author Elizabeth Acevedo published her first Young Adult novel, Clap When You Land, that tells the story of two half-sisters who discover they have the same father after he tragically dies in a plane crash. Recently, outlets reported that Clap When You Land will be adapted into a TV series. So it’s safe to say that Acevedo is having a good year.
6. Anya Taylor Joy
Even in the middle of a pandemic, when most movie stars have had a tough year, Argentinian actress Anya Taylor Joy managed to have a breakthrough year. Not only did she star in the streaming phenomenon of the year, The Queens Gambit, but she headlined a movie adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma in February.
2020 was a fantastic year for Shakira. The Colombian singer started off the year by headlining the Super Bowl with JLo and she ended it by being the most-Googled artist of the year. Oh, and she also took the time to slam the Trump Administration for its “unimaginably cruel immigration policies” of separating children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
8. Cardi B
Love her or hate her, Cardi B undoubtedly had a good year. Not only did the Cardi released the multi-platinum hit single “W.A.P.”, but she used her platform to educate her fans about the 2020 presidential election. She was also voted Billboard’s Woman of the Year.
9. Annie Segarra
For years accessibility activist Annie Segarra has used her large platform (20,000 YouTube subscribers and 25,000 Twitter followers) to advocate for rights for disabled people, and in 2020 she had her work cut out for her. This year, Segarra tirelessly spoke up on behalf of disabled people who are being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
10. Victoria Volkova
Victoria Volkova made headlines this year when she became the first trans model on cover of Playboy Mexico. She is also an outspoken advocate for trans and queer rights. She wrote a lovely tribute on her Instagram page in which she expressed hope that her cover would spark a conversation about the “different ways of being a woman.”
11. Sara Mora
Back in 2017, Sara Mora publicly shared that she was undocumented, and her life snowballed ever since. This year, the Costa-Rican born immigrants rights activist used her platform and her non-profit, Population Mic, to spotlight civil rights issues like voter suppression and the migrant crisis.
12. Julie Chávez Rodriguez
You may know Julie Chávez Rodriguez as the granddaughter of César Chávez, but she also has her own claim to fame. The Biden administration just named her director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. We can’t wait to see this powerful Latina in the White House.