Entertainment

Defamation Of Character Is One Reason The Inspiration Of ‘Hustlers’ Is Suing J.Lo’s Production Company

It’s been a crazy few months for Jennifer Lopez who starred in “Hustlers” and earned a Golden Globe nomination for the role and is expected to get an Oscar nod as well. However, the real-life stripper, Samantha Barbash, who helped inspire the film and Lopez’s character, Ramona,  won’t be congratulating her anytime soon.

That’s because Barbash is suing Lopez’s film studio Nuyorican Productions, STX Entertainment, Gloria Sanchez Productions, and Pole Sisters LLC, claiming filmmakers defamed her and failed to uphold her civil rights. While Lopez is not specifically named in the lawsuit, her production company is. As of now, she has yet to comment on the lawsuit. 

According to TMZ, Barbash is filing a lawsuit for $40 million; $20 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in punitive damages. She is also asking for a court order that would require producers to turn over all copies of the film. The lawsuit reads that Barbash was contacted by producers of the film multiple times for her consent but ultimately never gave it. Production of the film would go on without her approval. 

According to Barbash, the film “Hustlers” is a direct depiction of her and claims that the character Ramona is still too similar to her.  

“Hustlers” focuses on the story of Destiny (Constance Wu) who is trying to make ends meet as a club dancer. She becomes friends with a successful dancer, Ramona (Lopez) who takes her under her wing. In the film, the duo partakes in a scam where they take advantage of Wall Street bankers and drug them, eventually taking their money. 

The movie was originally based on a 2015 New York Magazine story, “The Hustlers at Scores,” which describes the real-life events of Barbash and her experience as a club stripper at Score’s Gentlemen’s Club in New York. Barbash would eventually plead guilty to conspiracy, assault and grand larceny for her role in the real-life scheme in 2016, serving five years probation. While the film was based on the New York Magazine Story, Barbash claims that the character Ramona is a direct depiction of her. 

 “Defendants did not take caution to protect the rights of Ms Barbash by creating a fictionalised character, or by creating a composite of characters to render J-Lo’s character a new fictitious one; rather they engaged in a systematic effort to make it well-known that J-Lo was playing Ms Barbash,” the suit reads. 

“While we have not yet seen the complaint, we will continue to defend our right to tell factually based stories based on the public record,” STXfilms spokesman Steve Elzer told the LA Times.

This isn’t the first time we hear of a potential lawsuit from Barbash, who has been threatening legal action before the film was released back in September. 

Barbash might have planning to file a lawsuit from the very beginning as she spoke to the New York Post about it last April, months before the movie’s September release. She pointed out to the New York Post that she was a hostess and was never a stripper as depicted in the film. 

 “We’re putting a stop to it because she’s actually misrepresenting me. I was never a stripper. It’s defamation of character,” Barbash said. “It’s my story she’s making money off of,” Barbash fumed. “If she wants to play me, then she should have gotten the real story.”

When the movie was doing its press run, Barbash was interviewed by Vanity Fair about her thoughts on the film. She told the magazine that she “wasn’t that impressed” with “Hustlers.”

“Everyone has been asking, ‘Did I see the movie?’ So I thought, ‘Why don’t I just see the movie,’ because I knew I was going to have a lot of interviews about it this week,” she told Vanity Fair. “I wasn’t really that impressed. I was impressed with Jennifer. She was incredible. Her body looked incredible. She had it down to a tee, but it wasn’t factual.”

While she wasn’t a fan of the movie as a whole, Barbash did give credit to Cardi B’s role in the film ultimately saying that she wished she would have played her character in the movie.   

“I love Cardi,” Barbash said. “Her 10 minutes was a great 10 minutes… It’s funny because, when I first heard that the film was coming out, [my business partner] said [she wished] Cardi would have played me. Even though she is not an actress, she was in the strip club world and she gets it. She would have maybe played a better me. Not taking away from Jennifer. But just because Cardi was in the business.”

READ: Alex Rodriguez Wrote A Sweet Instagram Post After J.Lo Didn’t Take Home A Golden Globe

“The Hate U Give” Is Getting A Prequel Thanks To Author Angie Thomas About Maverick

Things That Matter

“The Hate U Give” Is Getting A Prequel Thanks To Author Angie Thomas About Maverick

The Hate U Give/ 20TH CENTURY FOX)

Back in 2017, author Angie Thomas released the YA novel, The Hate U Give. The Black Lives matter book quickly caught attention for its story related to the Black Lives Matter movement and quickly became a success debuting at number one on The New York Times young adult best-seller list where it remained for 50 weeks. Within a year of its publication the book was adapted into a film starring  Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, K. J. Apa, Common, and Anthony Mackie.

This week, author Angie Thomas announced that she’s bringing the power of the original story back.

https://www.instagram.com/angiethomas/

In a post to her Instagram account, Thomas announced that she has written a prequel to the beloved novel. In a post featuring a photo of the new book cover, Thomas shared that her new novel called Concrete Rose that her book is due to be published. “After months of waiting (and trolling on my part), I can finally reveal my third novel, Concrete Rose. Set 17 years before The Hate U Give, it follows young Maverick Carter. A huge thank you to Alison Donalty, Jenna Stempel-Lobell, and artist Cathy Charles for this mind-blowing cover. It’s beyond my wildest dreams,” she wrote in her post.

Speaking to People about her upcoming novel, Thomas explained why she chose to center the book around the father of the protagonist from her first novel.

“Of all characters who really just stayed with me, Maverick was at the top of that list,” Angie explained to People. “And what was fascinating to me was once readers started reading The Hate U Give and then when the film came out, he was the character that I was asked about the most.”

Like Thomas’s last book, “Concrete Rose,” takes its title from a Tupac Shakur title.

The title comes from the Tupac Shakur song “The Rose That Grew From Concrete” and will follow Maverick’s when he is 17-years-old and a young father to Starr’s older brother, Seven.

“The big thing I’m excited for readers to learn about with Maverick, specifically, is that there are things that he has done in his life that his kids don’t even know about,” Angie told People interview. “I’m also excited to show this bonding between father and son… So many people assume that Black kids, especially Black kids in the hood, don’t have fathers. And that’s a lie. So many of them do.”

Remembering All Of The TV Latino Crushes You Had In The 90s Will Save You During This Time

Entertainment

Remembering All Of The TV Latino Crushes You Had In The 90s Will Save You During This Time

@arturodraws / Twitter

If you grew up in the 90s, you’re aware of how different TV looks today vs. back in the day. In an era packed with so many Latina stars like Gina Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Selena Gomez, and Jennifer Lopez it’s kind of weird to look back and remember how absent such faces were almost two decades ago. Why? Because straight up: flipping on the TV and finding Latino TV and movie characters was quite a rarity in the 90s. Fortunately, there were a few characters around to shape our understanding of what it meant to be Latino in our youth.

Here’s to the trendy, geeky, rebellious Latino TV and movie characters who gave us strange new feelings, nuanced understandings of sexuality, and brought a bit more color to whitewashed screens.

1. Benny ‘The Jet’ Rodriguez  from “The Sandlot”

Latino TV
20th Century Fox

Okay, hold up. First. Just look at those eyes^^^^^^^

There’s no denying that this brown-eyed heartthrob had a huge influence in the spark of your sexual awakening. Not only was Benny the cutest guy on the team, he also shined through as the team’s star player and went on to the Dodgers. All this despite the times and the white suburban neighborhood he lived in. 100% Benny is an inspiration and credit to Latinos who knock their dreams out of the park. Seriously, get yourself a major leaguer like this guy.

2. Sam Swoboda from “P.U.N.K.S.”

Disney

Jessica Alba’s character, Sam, was one mean girl in this flick about a group of bullied teens aiming to shut down a corrupted company. For those of us who had a limited view of the parameters of what Latina could be, Sam’s character was a massive wakeup call. Sure, makeup and dresses can be our thing, but Sam taught us that we could get down and dirty right next to the boys. Even better we could run the show and be leaders of the pack.

3. Rickie Vasquez  from “My So-Called Life”

ABC

It all seems like yesterday, but looking back at the 90s its hard not to flinch at the reminders of how rampant negative portrayals of Latino characters and homosexuals was. And yet, a positive representation of the LGBT community unexpectedly emerged on a little teen drama called “My So-Called Life.” Rickie Vasquez. He rocked a mean eyeliner, used the girls’ bathroom as a safe haven, and kept his friends in check while remaining fiercely loyal to them. Rickie was a massive launching pad for TV’s understanding of sexual fluidity that the 90s desperately needed.

4. Ruby from “Kids”

Netflix

There’s no way Mima let you watch this film while you were a kid in the 90s. Bets are that you watched this with one eye on the door and a finger ready to hit “last.” Ruby (played by Cuban Puertorriqueña, Rosario Dawson) was the ringleader of a group of sexually active teenage girls doing quite a lot a little too soon. While Ruby didn’t always shine as a beacon of sexual responsibility, she did open our eyes to dark realities to come in our teen years.

5. A.C. Slater from “Saved by the Bell”

NBC

Muscles ― lo siento, Mario ― Mario Lopez portrayed U.S. Army Brat A.C. Slater and took things to a next level for us (sexuality wise) after Benny Rodriguez. One peck ripple from A.C. and there’s no questioning what stripped us of the remainder of our Latina youth. And still, despite A.C’s heritage never being a thing in the early days of SBTB (though, there is an entire episode dedicated to Slater discovering his Chicano identity in “The College Years”) we all knew what was up. Besides Lisa Turtle, A.C. was one of the few people of color portrayed on the show which was a big deal considering how massive the show was. It always felt good knowing that we could flip on the TV and see someone who looked like us. LBR, especially one that was so guapo.

6. Ashley Banks from “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”

Warner Bros. Television Distribution

Ashley Banks herself might not have been a Latina character, but Tatyana M. Ali whose parents are Trinidadian and Panamanian identifies herself as Afro-Latina. As a non-Latina character on the show, there’s no doubt Ashely still had some influence on us as kids. She was a smart, beautiful and witty girl of color and TV was missing quite a bit of that. While initially, young Ashley did her best to model her dope older cousin Will, it wasn’t long before she began to grow into her own. She developed her own taste in music and fashion all while pushing against the tight reins of father Phil. In short, she became the ultimate #rebelforindepence goals.

7. Selena Quintanilla from “Selena”

Warner Bros.

Of course, Selena tops this list (she will never stop topping lists and don’t you ever forget that). Selena is, was, has, and always will be the ultimate on-screen big older sister for Latinas everywhere. Ask any Latina who grew up in the 90s which female character inspired her the most as a woman and find us a gal who doesn’t name Selena. That’s because she taught all about the washing machine, the power of will, grace, and how bras could moonlight as bustiers. For that, everyone should be incredibly grateful.

8. Taina Morales from “Taina”

Nickelodeon

“I know I can’t wait to see my name in lights. No one’s gonna stop me, you’ll see,” went the theme song to the Nickelodeon hit series Taina. The two-season show was about a young Latina, played by Puerto Rican actress Christina Vidal, growing up in Queens, New York who had dreams of becoming a star. With her determination and dedication, we watched her try to make it to the top and conquer her superstardom in high school. The Nuyorican teen showed us what growing up Latina was all about. In Taina, we saw a girl like us, someone hoping for the perfect quinceañera, gushing over crushes, struggling to write in Spanish, trying to understand the African, indigenous and Spaniard influence on Latinx culture and relatives who always worked to instill Boricua pride. She stayed true to her heritage while never giving up on her dreams, and we needed to see that.

9. Channel Simmons from “The Cheetah Girls”

Disney

Over on the Disney Channel, Channel “Chuchie” Simmons brought all the Latina flavor to the hit TV film “The Cheetah Girls.” The movie is about four New York teenagers who are trying to get their music group to go big time. Chuchie, played by Puerto Rican-Ecuadorian singer-actress-host Adrienne Bailon, particularly embraced her Latina culture in the second film, when the girls visited Spain, but she was relatable to all young viewers. While juggling friendship problems, her mom’s dating life and trying to make it to the top, she was never afraid to speak her mind, just like the Latinas we know and love in our real lives. Even through the Cheetahlicious breakups (because there were many), she remained strong and held the group together.

10. Miranda Sanchez from “Lizzie McGuire”

Disney

Lizzie McGuire’s right-hand girl was BFF goals: loyal, funny and always stylish — oh, and she’s mexicana. In the hit series, Miranda Sanchez, portrayed by Filipino-American actress Lalaine Vergara-Paras, celebrated Day of the Dead, a Mexican tradition showing her character getting in touch with her roots, and spoke Spanish. Miranda always had a unique fashion sense and bold hair styles in every episode, which is part of what made her character so interesting. She embraced sisterhood and friendship, making her the best friend many young girls wished to have in real life.

11. Alex Russo from “Wizards of Waverly Place”

Disney

Mexican-Italian Alex Russo, played by Selena Gomez, was the protagonist of Wizards of Waverly Place, a Disney Channel series about siblings whose parents were teaching them how to master their wizardry. Alex, a New York-based high schooler, had a very strong personality and bold attitude. The series was one of the first to portray a biracial Latina lead, showing the teen struggling to speak Spanish and embracing her mother’s traditions by having a quinceañera. As more Latinas intermarry, this representation is ever more imperative.

12. LaCienega Boulevardez from “The Proud Family”

Disney

Also on the Disney Channel was Lacienega Boulevardez, an Afro-Latina character on the cartoon The Proud Family. Voiced by dominicana Alisa Reyes, Boulevardez wasn’t always the nicest. She was the frenemy and neighbor of Penny Proud, the protagonist of the show. But with her name and bold personality, there is no forgetting her. She was vital because she was one of the first representations of a Black Latina, allowing many young viewers to be able to say, “she looks just like me.”

13. Carmen Cortez from “Spy Kids”

Dimension Films

Carmen Cortez was the definition of a badass Latina! The lead in ”Spy Kids,” a film about young siblings who become spies in attempt to save their parents, her strength and courage were important to display on-screen, not just for young Latinas but rather for girls everywhere. Played by colombiana Alexa PenaVega, Carmen was a strong, fearless and outspoken girl who cared immensely about her family and always fought for what she believed in. In 2001, when “Spy Kids” released, we didn’t see many females, let alone young girls, portrayed in media as brave leaders. It hasn’t been until recently, with shows and films like Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, ”Black Panther,” ”Hidden Figures” and, for the youngsters, Elena of Avalor, that we are beginning to see strong and intelligent women of color being represented in the media, so “Spy Kids” offering this representation was major.

14. Betty Suarez from “Ugly Betty”

“Ugly Betty” /ABC

Betty Suarez was not portrayed as the stereotypical Latina. Her character, played by Honduran-American actress America Ferrera, wasn’t seen as the ideal beauty standard. Typically, Latinas are depicted as sexy, curvy, spicy and sassy women. But Ugly Betty, an ABC series about a smart and hardworking Latina from Queens, New York who lands a job as an assistant for a major fashion magazine, showed young Latinas a different kind of beauty. Betty wasn’t just focused on her looks but was goal-driven and determined to break into media, which she did — even though she dealt with tons of ups and downs along the way. She was unapologetically herself, a trait that every young Latina needed to see.

15. Lorena Garcia from “The Brothers García”

Nickelodeon

The Brothers García, a Nickelodeon series about a Mexican-American family growing up in San Antonio, Texas, was centered on boys, but Lorena, the sole sister and a twin, stood out. Being the only girl in her family, she had a lot to prove. Played by Puerto Rican-German-Russian actress Vaneza Pitynski, she did just about everything to get her parents’ attention in a home filled with boys — something anyone of us who grew up with brothers knows all about.

16. Tori Vega from “Victorious”

Nickelodeon

“You don’t have to be afraid to put your dream in action. You’re never gonna fade. You’ll be the main attraction. Not a fantasy, just remember me, when it turns out right,” goes the score for Nickelodeon’s Victorious, a series about a Latina teen who attends a performing arts school. Tori Vega, played by the part-Puerto Rican Victoria Justice, was a character that many young girls could relate to — or aspire to be. She was determined, strong-minded and confident in chasing her dream of becoming a singer while helping her friends achieve their own goals along the way.

17. The entire cast from “East Los High”

Hulu

Starring Danielle Vega, Gabriel Chavarria, Alicia Sixtos, and Vannessa Vasquez the storylines and characters from the show completely blow our minds every time we tune in.

18. Santana Lopez from “Glee”

Fox

Santa was always prepped with withering stank faces / gripe but the proud lesbian was undoubteldy one of the most exciting characters on the show. She was unapologetic about who she was and her love Brittany.

19.  Gina Torres from “Firefly”

Fox

The Afro-Latina dream had a huge play in the plot’s storyline and was undoubtedly the leader of the pack when it came to this cult show.

20. Dani from “Glee”

Demi Lovato’s character might have only been Introduced inseries’ fifth season, but she was KEY to our love for the show. The waitress from NYC captures our love and attention from the get-go.

21. Marco from “Animorphs”

Nickelodeon

Anyone tuning into Nickelodeon back in the hey-day knows that Marco was the coolest guy on the show. He had a great sense of humor and chose to look at the world with a sense of ease.

22. Cassie from “Animorphs

Nickelodeon

The most compassionate of the Animorphs, CassieShe was kind and empathetic and often met conflict with a level head.

23. Boonie from “The Luck of the Irish”

Disney Channel

Sure Kyle was at the center of the show but Bonnie Lopez was the the true star of this hit. Bonnie had no issues calling Kyle out on his privilege and ability to coast through life with ease.

24. Gloria from “Cadet Kelly”

Cadet Kelly (2002)

Gloria Ramos, played by Aimee Garcia, might not have been the star of this Disney classic but she sure was the bones of it. Without her help, Kelly never would have been able to ensure that Kelly finishes her course.


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