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13 Indigenous Brands To Support This Holiday Season

The holiday season is here and with the year we’ve had, we could all use some holiday cheer. Make that Indigenous holiday cheer!

While November is Native American and Indigenous Heritage Month, it is crucial to give empowerment and show allyship to Native and Indigenous peoples every day. One way this can easily be done is by supporting indigenous brands.

Native Americans in the U.S. and Indigenous people worldwide were one of the groups most tragically and disproportionately affected by COVID-19 at some of the highest rates. At one point, the Navajo Nation had the highest rate of cases in the U.S. surpassing New York City. In the U.S. alone, Native tribes are at risk of being hospitalized from COVID at 5.3 times higher rate compared to white Americans.

Despite COVID-19, poverty, and voter suppression, Native Americans were one of the biggest factors nationwide in electing Biden to the presidency. In Arizona alone, the Navajo Nation was a huge reason Arizona flipped blue (contributing to Biden’s victory) when just 4 years ago, Donald Trump won the state.

In light of all this, Native Americans and Indigenous communities nationwide and from our motherland Latin American countries have continuously been the roots that make us thrive, yet they are still oppressed, marginalized, neglected, and attempted to be erased. Purchasing from a small Indigenous-owned shop recognizes that the lands we occupy are their lands and that their culture, language, heritage, and legacies should forever live on and be placed in the spotlight.

Want to empower Indigenous communities? This holiday season, support Native and Indigenous peoples brands. Many brands are even donating their proceeds to Native people’s projects and funds to help provide Indigenous communities with meals, healthcare resources, and masks. Below are 13 brands you can purchase from and support.

1. Handmade by Friendship Bridge

@handmadefriendship / Instagram

Friendship Bridge is a nonprofit organization “creating opportunities that empower women in Guatemala to live a better life.” These products are made by Guatemalan Indigenous women in Friendship Bridge’s Artisan Market Access Program. In Guatemala, 59% of the population live in extreme poverty and 60% of Indigenous Guatemalan women are illiterate and do not have proper resources. Friendship Bridge works to provide Guatemalan Indigenous women education, empowerment, solidarity, financial resources, and preventative health services. Proceeds go to helping fund and empower these Indigenous women. Click here to shop at their online store where you’ll find a variety of COVID masks, jewelry, bags, hair accessories, and MORE amazing things these women make.

2. Cheekbone Beauty Cosmetics INC

@cheekbonebeauty / Instagram

Pucker up with this sustainable lipstick! How cool is it to have a makeup line dedicated to empowering Indigenous peoples and their beauty?! Cheekbone Beauty is an Indigenous-owned makeup brand from Canada. Their makeup includes lipsticks and complexion products like contour, blush, and highlighter products. The products are completely cruelty-free and sustainable including their latest lipstick line which just launched in 2020 called Sustain with zero waste goals for 2023. Their beauty products are dedicated to “create a space in the beauty industry where Indigenous youth feel represented and seen,” and their proceeds also go to causes for Indigenous peoples. Up to $56,000 has been donated to projects such as educational resources, the Navajo Water Project, and One Tree Planted. Shop here for all their products.

3. B. YELLOWTAIL

@byellowtail / Instagram

This Native American owned business is dedicated to “storytelling through wearable art.” Founded by designer Bethany Yellowtail, who is from the Crow Nation (Apsáalooke) and an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Nation, all designs are made in house. She was educated at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and also founded the B. Yellowtail Collective, a brand initiative that supports Native Americans, First Nations, and Indigenous Peoples. Yellowtail’s work is heavily tied to social justice as she was active in the NO-DAPL protests, the women’s rights movement, and designed silk scarves for women during the Women’s March on Washington. Click through her entire collection here.

4. Mi Mundo Mexicano

@mimundomexicano / Instagram

Mi Mundo Mexicano is a brand by Lilia who created this platform during the pandemic to feature items from artisans who range from Oaxaca to Guadalajara to Chiapas. Each item, whether a bag, mask, or clothing item, is credited to the artisan who made them. Each purchase includes the artisan’s backstory. While not every artisan is Indigenous, many of these sellers and creators hail from different Indigenous groups throughout Mexico who have been especially hit hard during this pandemic. Since many Indigenous communities throughout Mexico have been suffering from the lack of PPE, health resources, financial resources, and meals, this platform is for the purpose of uplifting these artists to support their craft and families during COVID-19. Support them now by shopping here.

5. Orenda Tribe

@orendatribe / Instagram

Orenda Tribe was started by Amy, daughter of a full-blooded Navajo who created this clothing line of a small team of Native artists and their apparel store is totally FIERCE. Orenda Tribe clothing is built on the tenets of protecting Native sacred lands, honoring indigeneity, creating sustainable clothes, and helping others. The sustainable design process includes handmade, restored, and repurposed upcycling of vintage textiles.

In response to the pandemic, Orenda Tribe also founded Dził Asdzáán (Mountain Woman) Command Center where Diné matriarchs have been providing PPE, meals, and sanitization resources to their Diné tribe. Orenda Tribe and continues to host the SPREAD LOVE + SHINE LIGHT auction where 100% of the proceeds go to funding the command center. Show your support to this business by shopping here.

6. Dunaxhii by Alma Zapoteca

@la_dunaxhii / Instagram

Zapotec women from Oaxaca, Mexico make these gorgeous earrings amongst other jewelry, textiles, clothes, bags and wallets. Follow them on Instagram @la_dunaxhii to place your orders and for more info.

7. Carmen Creations

@carmencreations / Instagram

We cannot get enough of how beautiful this jewelry is. Indigenous founder and jewelry maker Carmen De Novais is a longtime experienced jewelry designer who got her start in northeastern Brazil. Plus, only 92.5 Stirling Silver findings are used in her art and earring wires and bracelets clasps are made in hypoallergenic silver for those of us who are sensitive to jewelry. Take a look at her shop here.

8. Ilnamiqui Jewelry by Tecciz

@ilnamiqui / Instagram

They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but what about earthly gems with an Indigenous touch? Follow Tecciz on Instagram @ilnamiqui where you can browse through all her handmade jewelry and earthy stones. All items are available for purchase on Etsy.

9. The NTVS

@ntvsclothing / Instagram

Established in 2014, The NTVS is a Native-owned company that sells a variety of clothing from t-shirts, tanks, hoodies, snapbacks, and prints that support and amplify Indigenous culture/art. There are also kids sizes for the little ones. You won’t want to miss out on their biggest release of the year coming this November 27th, so prepare early by clicking here.

10. Eighth Generation

@eight_generation / Instagram

If you’re struggling with the change of season, you know it’s only about to get much colder. These blankets are perfect to snuggle with this holiday season. Eighth Generation is a Seattle-based art and lifestyle brand owned by the Snoqualmie Tribe. They partner with Native American artists to create gorgeous wool blankets for anyone to enjoy. Ultimately, this business seeks to reclaim control over authentic products made by Natives rather than “Native-inspired” products and cultural appropriation. Eighth Generation also partners with the Inspired Natives Project which is an educational and entrepreneurial initiative to amplify Native artist products and “the stories that go with them.” Snuggle up, support, and shop here.

11. Urban Native Era

@urbannativeera / Instagram

Los Angeles-based Urban Native Era creates sustainable clothing and media content for the purposes of increasing visibility in Indigenous peoples. Urban Native Era actually began in San Francisco birthed by Indigenous Peoples Social Movements in 2012. Their platform not only sells clothes but also creates content dedicated to educating the general public on Native culture, history, influencers, and social awareness. Part of their content also includes a podcast hosted by Creative Director Hud Oberly. You can find their famous “You Are On Native Land Shirt” and “I voted on Native Land” sticker, amongst other items in their shop here.

12. Tatéi Haramaratsie

@tateiharamaratsei / Instagram

This brand includes handmade items representing the Wixarika Indigenous peoples which come from the Mexican states of Nayarit, Durango, Jalisco, and Zacatecas. They have a variety of items you can browse through here.

13. OXDX Clothing

@oxdxclothing / Instagram

This Diné-owned clothing label is based out of Tempe, Arizona and dedicated not just to selling Native-made clothing but also using their brand to represent Indigenous existence, rebuke erasure, and create healing connection amongst community. “OXDX” is an abbreviation used for the word overdoes which creator and founder Jared Yazzie describes is the “state of the modern society.” Rather, Yazzie wants OXDX’s work to unplug, step back, and remember the roots where Natives came from. Shop through all their apparel here.

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Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Entertainment

Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

UNIVERSAL MUSIC LATIN

Luis Fonsi is kicking off 2021 with a new single. The Puerto Rican superstar premiered the music video for “Vacío” on Feb. 18 featuring rising Boricua singer Rauw Alejandro. The guys put a new spin on the classic “A Puro Dolor” by Son By Four.

Luis Fonsi throws it back to his románticas.

“I called Omar Alfanno, the writer of ‘A Puro Dolo,’ who is a dear friend,” Fonsi tells Latido Music. “I told him what my idea was [with ‘Vacío’] and he loved it. He gave me his blessing, so I wrote a new song around a few of those lines from ‘A Puro Dolor’ to bring back that nostalgia of those old romantic tunes that have been a part of my career as well. It’s a fresh production. It sounds like today, but it has that DNA of a true, old-school ballad.”

The world got to know Fonsi through his global smash hit “Despacito” with Daddy Yankee in 2017. The remix with Canadian pop star Justin Bieber took the song to new heights. That was a big moment in Fonsi’s music career that spans over 20 years.

There’s more to Fonsi than “Despacito.”

Fonsi released his first album, the fittingly-titled Comenzaré, in 1998. While he was on the come-up, he got the opportunity of a lifetime to feature on Christina Aguilera’s debut Latin album Mi Reflejo in 2000. The two collaborated on “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” Fonsi scored multiple Billboard Hot Latin Songs No. 1s in the years that followed and one of the biggest hits was “No Me Doy Por Vencido” in 2008. That was his career-defining romantic ballad.

“Despacito” remains the second most-viewed music video on YouTube with over 7.2 billion views. The hits did not stop there. Later in 2017, he teamed up with Demi Lovato for “Échame La Culpa,” which sits impressively with over 2 billion views.

He’s also appearing on The Voice next month.

Not only is Fonsi working on his new album, but also he’s giving advice to music hopefuls for the new season of The Voice that’s premiering on March 1. Kelly Clarkson tapped him as her Battle Advisor. In an exclusive interview, Fonsi talked with us about “Vacío,” The Voice, and a few of his greatest hits.

What was the experience like to work with Rauw Alejandro for “Vacío”?

Rauw is cool. He’s got that fresh sound. Great artist. Very talented. Amazing onstage. He’s got that great tone and delivery. I thought he had the perfect voice to fit with my voice in this song. We had talked about working together for awhile and I thought that this was the perfect song. He really is such a star. What he’s done in the last couple of years has been amazing. I love what he brought to the table on this song.

Now I want to go through some of your greatest hits. Do you remember working with Christina Aguilera for her Spanish album?

How could you not remember working with her? She’s amazing. That was awhile back. That was like 1999 or something like that. We were both starting out and she was putting out her first Spanish album. I got to sing a beautiful ballad called “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” I got to work with her in the studio and see her sing in front of the mic, which was awesome. She’s great. One of the best voices out there still to this day.

What’s one of your favorite memories of “No Me Doy Por Vencido”?

“No Me Doy Por Vencido” is one of the biggest songs in my career. I think it’s tough to narrow it down just to one memory. I think in general the message of the song is what sticks with me. The song started out as a love song, but it turned into an anthem of hope. We’ve used the song for different important events and campaigns. To me, that song has such a powerful message. It’s bigger than just a love song. It’s bringing hope to people. It’s about not giving up. To be able to kind of give [people] hope through a song is a lot more powerful than I would’ve ever imagined. It’s a very special song.

I feel the message is very relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic we’re living through.

Oh yeah! I wrote that song a long time ago with Claudia Brant, and during the first or second month of the lockdown when we were all stuck at home, we did a virtual writing session and we rewrote “No Me Doy Por Vencido.” Changing the lyrics, kind of adjusting them to this situation that we’re living now. I haven’t recorded it. I’ll do something with it eventually. It’s really cool. It still talks about love. It talks about reuniting. Like the light at the end of the tunnel. It has the hope and love backbone, but it has to do a lot with what we’re going through now.

What do you think of the impact “Despacito” made on the industry?

It’s a blessing to be a part of something so big. Again, it’s just another song. We write these songs and the moment you write them, you don’t really know what’s going to happen with them. Or sometimes you run into these surprises like “Despacito” where it becomes a global phenomenon. It goes No. 1 in places where Spanish songs had never been played. I’m proud. I’m blessed. I’m grateful to have worked with amazing people like Daddy Yankee. Like Justin Bieber for the remix and everyone else involved in the song. My co-writer Erika Ender. The producers Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres. It was really a team effort and it’s a song that obviously changed my career forever.

What was the experience like to work with Demi Lovato on “Echáme La Culpa”?

She’s awesome! One of the coolest recording sessions I’ve ever been a part of. She really wanted to sing in Spanish and she was so excited. We did the song in Spanish and English, but it was like she was more excited about the Spanish version. And she nailed it! She nailed it from the beginning. There was really not much for me to say to her. I probably corrected her once or twice in the pronunciation, but she came prepared and she brought it. She’s an amazing, amazing, amazing vocalist.

You’re going to be a battle advisor on The Voice. What was the experience like to work with Kelly Clarkson?

She’s awesome. What you see is what you get. She’s honest. She’s funny. She’s talented. She’s humble and she’s been very supportive of my career. She invited me to her show and it speaks a lot that she wanted me to be a part of her team as a Battle Advisor for the new season. She supports Latin music and I’m grateful for that. She’s everything you hope she would be. She’s the real deal, a true star, and just one of the coolest people on this planet.

What can we expect from you in 2021?

A lot of new music. Obviously, everything starts today with “Vacío.” This is literally the beginning of what this new album will be. I’ve done nothing but write and record during the last 10 months, so I have a bunch of songs. Great collaborations coming up. I really think the album will be out probably [in the] third or fourth quarter this year. The songs are there and I’m really eager for everybody to hear them.

Read: We Finally Have A Spanish-Language Song As The Most Streamed Song Of All Time

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Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

Things That Matter

Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

Alfredo Estrada / Getty Images

If you’ve ever wondered what someone with a bulletproof vest and an AR-15 would look like flossing — the dance, not the method of dental hygiene — apparently the answer to that question can be found on TikTok.

Unfortunately, it’s not as a part of some absurdist sketch comedy or surreal video art installation. Instead, it’s part of a growing trend of drug cartels in Mexico using TikTok as a marketing tool. Nevermind the fact that Mexico broke grim records last year for the number of homicides and cartel violence, the cartels have found an audience on TikTok and that’s a serious cause for concern.

Mexican cartels are using TikTok to gain power and new recruits.

Just a couple of months ago, a TikTok video showing a legit high-speed chase between police and drug traffickers went viral. Although it looked like a scene from Netflix’s Narcos series, this was a very real chase in the drug cartel wars and it was viewed by more than a million people.

Typing #CartelTikTok in the social media search bar brings up thousands of videos, most of them from people promoting a “cartel culture” – videos with narcocorridos, and presumed members bragging about money, fancy cars and a luxury lifestyle.

Viewers no longer see bodies hanging from bridges, disembodied heads on display, or highly produced videos with messages to their enemies. At least not on TikTok. The platform is being used mainly to promote a lifestyle and to generate a picture of luxury and glamour, to show the ‘benefits’ of joining the criminal activities.

According to security officials, the promotion of these videos is to entice young men who might be interested in joining the cartel with images of endless cash, parties, military-grade weapons and exotic pets like tiger cubs.

Cartels have long used social media to shock and intimidate their enemies.

And using social media to promote themselves has long been an effective strategy. But with Mexico yet again shattering murder records, experts on organized crime say Cartel TikTok is just the latest propaganda campaign designed to mask the blood bath and use the promise of infinite wealth to attract expendable young recruits.

“It’s narco-marketing,” said Alejandra León Olvera, an anthropologist at Spain’s University of Murcia, in a statement to the New York Times. The cartels “use these kinds of platforms for publicity, but of course it’s hedonistic publicity.”

Mexico used to be ground zero for this kind of activity, where researchers created a new discipline out of studying these narco posts. Now, gangs in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, and the United States are also involved.

A search of the #CartelTikTok community and its related accounts shows people are responding. Public comments from users such as “Y’all hiring?” “Yall let gringos join?” “I need an application,” or “can I be a mule? My kids need Christmas presents,” are on some of the videos.

One of the accounts related to this cartel community publicly answered: “Of course, hay trabajo para todos,” “I’ll send the application ASAP.” “How much is the pound in your city?” “Follow me on Instagram to talk.” The post, showing two men with $100 bills and alcohol, had more than a hundred comments.

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