Entertainment

Yalitza Aparicio Didn’t Win The Oscar But Her Fame And Success Are The Real Award

@andreagonram / Twitter

There are reasons to celebrate Mexican cinema today! Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” was nominated for all the main categories in the 2019 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Foreign Language film. Among the film’s many nominations perhaps the most important was the Best Actress nod given to Yalitzia Aparicio, a first-time actress who gave us a performance for the ages as Cleo, a caring and amazing domestic worker who is the cornerstone of a middle-class white Mexico City family. Her gaze is tender but powerful, and her body language is that of an experienced actor. Who would have guessed this is her debut on the big screen.

Yalitza Aparicio is the first indigenous woman nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress.

Credit: @yalitzaapariciomtz / Instagram

Aparicio lost the award to Olivia Colman for “The Favourite.” The win in the category came as a surprise as all eyes were on Aparicio, Lady Gaga, and Glenn Close and the forerunners.

One of the most adorable moments of her Oscars appearance was her mother meeting Diego Luna.

Credit: @andreagonram / Twitter

Not only is Aparicio so proud to see her mother meeting one of Mexico’s biggest stars, but her mother’s pride in her daughter is also palpable. How can you not fall in love with this mother-daughter duo.

She has savaged racist stereotypes of beauty.

Credit: @yalitzaapariciomtz / Instagram

Since the Netflix film debuted at the Venice Film Festival in early 2018, Aparicio has been gracing magazine covers worldwide. This cover for The Hollywood Reporter, where she looks amazing, smashed all the glass ceilings for Latinas in Hollywood, particularly considering the political climate in the U.S.

She is an icon for indigenous women.

Credit: @yalitzaapariciomtz / Instagram

We are sad to admit that Mexico City’s society can be, well, pretty racist. Indigenous women who migrate from the countryside often face discrimination and try to “blend in” by hiding their heritage. Not our Yalitza, who owns an amazing self-confidence that we should all learn from.

She is a proud indigenous woman with Mixtec and Triqui heritage.

Credit: @yalitzaapariciomtz / Instagram

Aparicio hails from the state of Oaxaca, a region that has historically struggled against colonial forces that steal land, as Aparicio’s character in “Roma” tells us. This region has a long history of struggle and political involvement.

She is bilingual.

Credit: @yalitzaapariciomtz / Instagram

As shown in “Roma,” Aparicio is bilingual. She speaks Spanish and Mixtec, an ancient language that you can hear in Mexico City if you pay close attention. She was coached by her best friend during production to better learn the language.

She was studying to be a school teacher.

Credit: @yalitzaapariciomtz / Instagram

Alfonso Cuaron was growing frustrated with his search for the perfect Cleo. Hundreds of candidates paraded before his eyes until a student by the name of Yalitza showed the depth and fortitude he was looking for. If she hadn’t been chosen, those kids would have been lucky to have a teacher as awesome as her.

Her Vogue Mexico cover received some racist backlash.

Credit: @yalitzaapariciomtz / Instagram

Aparicio’s sudden success in “Roma” and across the world has upset many white Mexicans. Her Vogue Mexico cover was attacked by people mocking her for her skin tone and her indigenous roots. Meanwhile, she looked gorgeous on the red carpet and made sure she waved at the camera as she, the first indigenous woman nominated for the Best Actress Oscar, walked the red carpet with the biggest names in movies.

She is only 25.

Credit: @yalitzaapariciomtz / Instagram

She recently celebrated her 25th birthday with the “Roma” family while the cast and crew were doing the festival and awards circuit. The sky is the limit for this awesome actress!

She didn’t want to attend the casting call.

Credit: @yalitzaapariciomtz / Instagram

She was just coming along with her sister, and she auditioned just out of curiosity. She was suspicious of whether the casting call was real, as sometimes women get lured into fame and fortune to be abducted and possibly sold.

She has become a Mexico City icon.

Credit: @yalitzaapariciomtz / Instagram

“Roma” has become the epitome of the Mexico City movie and has hit hard on the chilango nostalgia. Here we see Aparicio on the cover of Chilango magazine, which chronicles the cultural and social life of the city.

Time magazine says Aparicio had the best performance of the year.

Credit: @yalitzaapariciomtz / Instagram

Aparicio has wowed audiences and critics. Time magazine chose her as the best actor of 2018, over established names like Ethan Hawke. What they say: “Her performance is the kind of jewel a filmmaker could seek forever and never find.” Cuaron is one lucky dude.

The New York Times has named her the discovery of the year.

Credit: @yalitzaapariciomtz / Instagram

It is not often that a woman of color convinces American media that she is the real deal, let alone someone of indigenous origin. Aparicio had never acted before auditioning for “Roma.” It is one of the most incredible stories from Hollywood in recent history to watch an indigenous woman get nominated for an Oscar in her first role.

She doesn’t consider herself an actor.

Credit: @yalitzaapariciomtz / Instagram

Her life has made a 180-degree turn in the past few months. She is still humble and proud, and not blinded by the glitz and glamour. She told The Guardian: “I don’t think I am an actor because I haven’t studied to be an actress.”

She had no idea of who Cuaron was.

Credit: @yalitzaapariciomtz / Instagram

When she attended the casting call, she faced a guy who was just any other guy to her. She has told The Guardian: “It was only when I went to my final casting that I got to meet Alfonso, although it didn’t make any difference to me because I didn’t have a clue who he was or his role in the film industry.” Perhaps her innocence is what made her shine during the audition.

She has inspired activists north and south of the border.

Credit: @alfonsocuaron / Instagram

Her role as Cleo has inspired those who fight for the rights of domestic workers in the United States and in Mexico. By highlighting how workers can have a fundamental emotional role in the family dynamics, “Roma” speaks the truth to thousands of employers and employees.

She was extremely shy before filming.

Credit: @yalitzaapariciomtz / Instagram

Aparicio did not like to be under the spotlight. In fact, she had to ignore the cameras while filming which is perhaps one of the factors that made her performance so natural and free.

Her mother was a domestic worker.

Credit: @alfonsocuaron / Instagram

For Aparicio, “Roma” was a tribute to her own mother, who was a domestic worker. She understood how bonds are created between employees and particularly the children they care for.

She wants to study acting.

Credit: @yalitzaapariciomtz / Instagram

This is not the end of Aparicio in the film industry. Now that she is a veteran of the Oscars and the awards season, Aparicio knows it is time to learn a bit more about the craft of acting. Guaranteed that we will see her for a long time to come.

The Oscar nomination is not her only one.

Credit: @alfonsocuaron / Instagram

This role has brought an avalanche of accolades. In addition to the Oscar, she has been nominated to awards such as the Chicago Film Critics Association, the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, the Hollywood Film Awards, the Gotham Awards, the San Francisco Film Critics Circle, the Satellite Awards, and the Women Film Critics Circle.

Hollywood is in love with her.

Credit: cdn-3.expansion.mx_. Digital image. La palabra del Caribe

Just look at Tom Hanks’ face when he met the nascent star. She has a power that few possess and her long list of award wins and nominations from her first role prove her worth in the industry.

Her parents fought for her name.

Credit: @alfonsocuaron / Instagram

Mexican officials said that Yalitza was not a common name and refused initially to write it down in her birth certificate. She told Flood magazine: “My mom really loved it and my dad stuck to his guns”. Good on them.

READ: 21 Reasons Why You Simply Must Watch Alfonso Cuaron’s Oscar-Nominated ‘Roma’

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This Short Film Centers Around A Black Father Doing His Daughter’s Hair

Entertainment

This Short Film Centers Around A Black Father Doing His Daughter’s Hair

When it comes to grooming a daughter’s hair, Black fathers haven’t been shy about expressing the difficulties that come along with the morning ritual. And Afro-Latino fathers are no exception. In Latinx communities with large Afro-Latino populations, having “good hair” is a label we all have to contend with. Young girls have a lot of pressure put on them to look put-together so, by extension, our families look put together. 

We all have memories of our mothers making sure our baby-bangs were smoothed down and our outfits were washed and pressed to perfection. 

Being well-groomed is so important to Afro-Latinos who face societal pressure to look perfect in order to combat bias.

Kickstarter

So, when fathers occasionally have to groom their children when their mother is unavailable, the pressure, needless to say, is on. We’ve all seen the genre of viral videos where fathers struggle to part, brush, braid and secure their daughters’ hair–obviously not previously aware of all the labor that goes into daily hair upkeep. Even celebrities have gotten in on the trend with men like Alexis Ohanian, husband to Serena Williams, joining “Natural Hair” groups on Facebook to learn more about their children’s rizos

Writer/director Matthew Cherry wanted to explore the topic of Black fathers doing their daughters hair, so he decided to make an animated short about it.

Kickstarter

According to Cherry, the short, titled “Hair Love” is about a Black father (who has locs himself) who does his daughter’s hair for the first time. “You know how guys are, a lot of times we’re hard-headed and we think we can figure everything out by ourselves without asking for help,” said Cherry during an interview. “[The father in the short] thinks it’s going to be an easy task but he soon finds out her hair has a mind of its own”. 

The father isn’t the only one who learns a lesson in self-confidence in the course of the film, though. In the end, the young girl also “comes into a level of self-confidence in the process” of her father learning how to do her hair. So, in other words, the entire film is an ode to self-love, family, and the priceless experience of bonding.

To finance “Hair Love”, Cherry created a Kickstarter campaign with the initial goal of raising $75,000. The campaign quickly caught the internet’s attention and became a viral phenomenon thanks to celebrity champions like Issa Rae and Jordan Peele. The $75,000 goal was quickly surpassed. All in all, the campaign raked in a total of $280,000–smashing Kickstarter’s short-film financing records. 

Cherry recruited Black animators like “Proud Family”‘s Bruce W. Smith and “WALL-E”‘s Everett Downing Jr. to help him make his dreams a reality.

As for Cherry, he’s candid about the reason he decided to explore the topic of Black hair and Black fathers: because mainstream media’s representation has left much to be desired. According to Cherry, not only did he want to shine a light on the labor of love that doing Black hair requires, but he wanted to highlight the relationships between Black fathers and their daughters. 

“For me, I just think it was really important to shine a light on Black fathers doing domestic things with their kids because mainstream media would lead you to believe that Black fathers aren’t a part of their kids’ lives”, Cherry said. “And there have been a lot of recent surveys that actually show otherwise–that show that Black fathers are just as involved in their kids’ lives as any other racial group”.

Now, “Hair Love” will be played ahead of “The Angry Birds Movie 2” in theaters nationwide

Kickstarter

The nationwide release will provide a massive platform for an under-told story. Not to mention, it will provide Black children with their own images reflected back to them–something many of them haven’t seen before. Not to mention, the security of a theatrical release has made “Hair Love” officially eligible for an Academy Award nomination. 

As for Cherry, he’s over-the-moon about the opportunity for his project to be seen by millions of people. “To see this project go from a Kickstarter campaign to the big screen is truly a dream come true,” he said in a press statement. “I couldn’t be more excited for “Hair Love” to be playing with “The Angry Birds Movie 2” in front of a wide audience and for the world to see our touching story about a Black father trying to figure out how to do his daughter’s hair for the very first time.”

We’ll admit: we didn’t have plans to see “Angry Birds 2” in theaters before we knew about this. But now, you might just see us on opening night, standing in line for the movie right next to our fathers! Catch “Hair Love” before  “The Angry Birds Movie 2” in theaters on August 14th.

Video: This Is How People Reacted When They Heard A White Mom Tell Her Adopted Latina Daughter To Speak English

Culture

Video: This Is How People Reacted When They Heard A White Mom Tell Her Adopted Latina Daughter To Speak English

It seems like every other day there’s a new viral video of an old Trump supporter or a young white bro telling a Latinx person in the US to stop speaking Spanish. Recently, two elder women angrily ordered a Puerto Rican manager of a Central Florida Burger King to go back to Mexico when they overheard him speaking Spanish in a private conversation, while two Mexican-American women were detained by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection just for speaking Spanish at a Montana supermarket. The xenophobic and racist attacks, both verbal and physical, have made many feel like it’s dangerous to speak their own tongue or like an outcast for communicating to their parents or grandparents in the only language they know.

The English-only movement has further divided a country, with those ignited by the bigotry of the Trump administration unfoundedly threatened by just the sound of a person of color speaking another tongue and others who understand there is no official language in the US supporting the linguistic freedom and multiculturalism that allegedly makes the nation exceptional. 

On an episode of What Would You Do?, host John Quiñones confronts the schismatic topic. 

During the nearly 9-minute-long segment of the ABC series, a white mother tells her adopted Latina daughter to only speak Spanish and instructs her to order a hamburger instead of a traditional Latin American dish. Using hidden cameras to record the very common, but in this case staged, scenario, viewers get a peak of how ordinary people behave when they witness dilemmas that either compel them to intervene or mind their own business.

During the segment, Michele, the mother, and Isabella, the daughter, are grabbing a bite at a diner in Orangeburg, New York. The child asks the Latina waitress for arroz con leche, to which her mother responds, “Isabella, stop speaking Spanish. You’re American. That is not your language. What is wrong with you?” The first person to overhear, an elder white teacher, engages with the duo, telling Michele she doesn’t think she’s going about the situation “in the right way.” 

“She should be proud of her Spanish language, not to be made to feel like she’s doing something wrong,” she tells the mother. Later, she even advises the mom to learn Spanish and tells the young girl that Spanish is a beautiful language.

When Quiñones, himself a Texas-born Mexican-American, reveals his crew and asks why the woman intervened, she responded, “When it comes to children, I go from a mouse to a lion. I just don’t like anybody taking advantage of a child.”

In another scene, Isabela asks for arroz con pollo. Michele, visibly upset, scolds the girl. “Isabella, in English,” she demands. “I brought you here to give you a better life, and I want you to speak American.

This time, another teacher in a nearby table overhears and decides to offer Michele a quick lesson — in patience.

ABC

When Michele stresses that she just wants her daughter to speak English because they’re in the US, the teacher sympathizes with her. “I know. I’m a teacher, and I get it. But you’re not going to get anywhere demanding it, and you can’t get frustrated by it.”

She then turns to the girl and attempts to rationalize her mother’s actions. When Isabela asks the woman “do you think it’s wrong to speak Spanish,” she replies, “Not to mommy, because mommy doesn’t understand that. It’s good manners if you are with other people that don’t speak it, to speak English.”

When Quiñones pops out and confronts the patron, he asks her why she didn’t flat-out tell the mother she was wrong. The woman, who noted that Michele would have had better results honoring rather than attacking her daughter’s native tongue, said she was “getting very frustrated” and “was thinking maybe it was very bad,” but doesn’t know why she didn’t challenge Michele more on it.

In the next case, it’s a Puerto Rican diner who overhears the conversation. Not immediately making any comment, when Michele steps away, Isabela engages with the patron, who informs her she, too, speaks Spanish. “Yo hablo español,” she says, before asking if the young girl likes living in the US. “That’s good that somebody loving adopted you,” she says.

When Michele returned, she asks the woman if she agrees that her daughter should be speaking English instead of Spanish, to which she responds yes. At that moment, her partner, a white man, appears puzzled and chimes in: “You speak Spanish,” he tells his girlfriend. “I don’t make you speak English.” He then reacts to Michele, saying, “She [his girlfriend] speaks Spanish whenever she wants, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

When Quiñones comes out, he asks why the couple reacted the way they did. The boyfriend didn’t agree with the mother, explaining, “that’s who she is. That’s part of her identity.” As for the girlfriend, who was more sympathetic to the mom, she disclosed the discrimination she and her family experienced as Latinas in their predominately white neighborhood speaking Spanish and hoped the girl wouldn’t share her same fate. “I was a little annoyed in a way,” she said, “… but I’ve dealt with that.” She continued: “my mother spoke no English, and I had many fights when I was a teenager, people who would make fun a lot of times.”

Finally, in the last performance, it’s a white woman who is married to a Greek immigrant who is shaken by the confrontation. Angry by the conversation she overhears, she checks in on Isabela the moment her mom steps away, asking the girl if she wants her to call someone for her own safety and soon after informing a manager of the situation and urging them to phone officials who could help the girl.

When the mother returns, the woman confronts her. 

ABC

“We’re foreigners, so I don’t really understand what you’re talking about.” After Michele responds, “I just want her to be more American,” the woman questions, “and just forget about where she came from?” She continued: “We’re from Greece. We would never forget where we come from.”

Michele suggests that it’s different because her daughter is from Mexico, to which the woman, furious, says, “so you guys don’t accept Mexicans in your family?”

She added: “This is a melting pot of thousands of different people. My husband is Greek and my kids will speak Greek.”

Quiñones, who appears in the midst of the argument, informs the patron that she is on a TV show. The woman, who says she’s glad it’s fake because she was about to punch Michele, reaffirms that the US is a country where everyone is supposed to be welcomed and could proudly speak with their language. 

Meeting the actress who played Isabela, the woman tells her, “You would have been coming home with me tonight, and you would have been speaking English, Spanish, and Greek.”

Watch the entire segment below! 

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  1. Rosa Chavez says:

    Hi! In this article you mention that Yalitza Aparicio speaks Mixteco. That is incorrect. Since speaking Mixteco is often a cause of descrimination in Mexico her parents never teached her the language. Her best friend Nancy Garcia Garcia (Adela in the film) in the other hand is fluent in Mixteco and is the one that helped her with her lines in Roma.