Fierce

How ‘Guantanamera’ Sung By Celia Cruz Helped Me To Better Understand My Abuelo’s Exile From Cuba

credit: Cuban passport image belonging to writer's mother / Photograph provided by Alexandria Portée / Flower design by Canva.com

My mother was six when she fled to the United States from Cuba with my abuela and her two siblings. After reuniting with my abuelo who fought against Fidel Castro in the Bay of Pigs War, they moved to Chicago, where they built a life for themselves completely from scratch, still gripping tenderly onto the heritage and cultures that connected them to families and friends back at home. In their efforts to keep and sustain our family’s Cuban heritage, my abuelos and my mother taught me and my siblings to love and cherish the many different and beautiful contributions that their island country has given to the world: cuisine, cafecito, Bacardí, music, and José Marti.

Naturally, as any proud Cuban-American, I have benevolently held onto all of these as my own personal tokens from an island I have never visited or known. I’m quick to boast about each of them as if they were conjured up by my own mother’s hard work in the kitchen. Still, none have Cuba’s treasures have made me feel quite so intimately linked to my family’s first home like the beloved Cuban song “Guantanamera.”

Like my abuelos and my mother’s stories of Cuba, “Guantanamera” is a song that has grown and adapted through its journey. I have heard the story of my abuelos’ wedding day more than a hundred times; the tale of how my mother cried when kids at her school called my abuelo —a Bay of Pigs prisoner who singlehandedly saved hundreds of lives after being captured by Castro — a criminal; the account of my abuela wringing her hands as she debated enrolling her children in Operation Peter Pan and how she later boarded a cargo ship holding onto only her children and memories of her life to meet my abuelo in the United States.

Each anecdote is the same but is always slightly altered in some way depending on the storyteller’s mood and time that I plead for their retelling. Some days they’re drawn out, told with prideful smiles, but often they’re said quickly with an ache to forget the portal of bittersweet memories my questions have sent them through.

So similarly goes the many different versions of “Guantanamera.”

It is widely accepted that the original lyrics of the song, considered to be Cuba’s unofficial anthem, were romantic in nature, but over time, the song has been interpreted as a political ode. Brought from the rural regions of the island and to airwaves by Cuban radio host Joseíto Fernández in the 1920s, the song quickly caught on among fans. Fernández performed it regularly on his show and, in the tradition of most folk music, improvised and changed verses based on the week’s events. Some days he sang about politics, and other days he purred lyrics that harped about azucar and its rising costs. Still, the song’s opening lines and chorus, “Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera / Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera,” always remained the same.

Cuban composer Julián Orbón adapted the “official” lyrics to the song using verses from Cuban freedom fighter José Martí’s poetry collection “Versos Sencillos.” Orbón’s version, the one most commonly recorded by music artists, used Marti’s lines about a “sincere man” who was from “where the palm trees grow (Yo soy un hombre sincero/ De donde crece la palma).

This adaptation, combined with other lyrics from Martí’s poems which express compassion for Cuba’s poor, is ultimately what turned “Guantanamera” into the country’s most recognized patriotic anthem. In the U.S. and internationally, the song has been interpreted and adopted as a rally for peace (in 2004, for instance, the Swedish government flipped it into an offbeat rap song to promote recycling) and performed by a wide range of artists. In 1966, the Sandpipers did a version that became an international hit, and in the years that followed, singers like Jimmy Buffett, Pitbull and even the Fugees recorded their own editions. My personal favorite is the one sung by Cuban-born singer Celía Cruz on her album “Bravo” in 1967.

My Spanish has never quite allowed me to communicate with my abuelo in his native language fluently, but “Guantanamera” has let me do so.

Most conversations with my abuelo come with a melding of his so-so English and my mediocre Spanish. Together, we’re able to find a common ground that allows us to make each other laugh, exchange “te quiero mucho muchos” and grants me the ability to learn about the family and life he was forced to leave behind. In worse case scenarios, my abuela, a retired Spanish teacher, or my mother will intervene to translate. But when it comes to “Guantanamera,” abuelo and I have never needed assistance. Together, we’ve sung the song, our separately known variants, not always familiar with the lines each other sings but always well aware that in those moments they fill us with a deep love for each other and the versions of Cuba we both know.

Recently, during a visit with my abuelos, we sat together in their snug living room listening to Celía Cruz’s illustrious take of “Guantanamera” as her throaty voice sang over flute trills and drums. Old pictures of primos, tíos and tías looked down at us from the walls as we first listened carefully to the lyrics.

There’s no knowing what will prompt one of the Cubans in my family to break out into song. My most playful tía will chorus a line to tell stories; my brother does it at the dinner table even though he knows he’ll be told it’s rude, and my mother does it when she wants you to be in a better mood. Like them, my abuelos and I couldn’t help ourselves as Celía’s lively low-range voice started the chorus. Not against the charms of “Guantanamera.” Soon enough, abuela, abuelo and I were all singing the different Spanish versions of the song we hold dear.

Truthfully, if ever there was a moment that I thought I could burst from feeling so whole, it was sitting there in their living room, watching as the burden of my abuelo’s struggles of exile, always easy to decipher in his quietly distracted stares, seemed almost completely forgotten as he sang with pure delight.

“Guantanamera” is a song that has had a rhythmic presence in my life for as long as I can remember.

Like the smell of aftershave on my abuelo’s worn blue guayabera and the cheekiness of my abuela’s wily grin, I could make out that song anywhere, even despite the many versions it holds. Including the one I’ve heard my abuelo hum while brushing his teeth and the one my mother tries to keep in tune to while singing along to Cruz as she drives in the car. Like the different impressions of the song, Cuba is a country that has been strongly woven into our different narratives. Still, while my relationship and experience with Cuba will never tug on the strings of my heart with the same pang as it does on my abuelos or my mother, “Guantanamera” reminds me that the island is much more of a home than a foreign place that my family’s exile might try to make me believe.

This Veracruz Taquería Made Marvel’s Thanos Twerk In Its Hilarious Ad

Entertainment

This Veracruz Taquería Made Marvel’s Thanos Twerk In Its Hilarious Ad

Takesabroso / Facebook

If you’ve ever visited Mexico, you know that copyright laws seem pretty lax. There are all kinds of Pokémon, Disney, and Cartoon Network inspired goods from piñatas to costumes in most mercados. The same can be said for tv ads. Takesabroso, a taquería in Veracruz, México, has jumped on the trend and created a stellar ad for their food using Thanos and his unknown twerking skills. Jorge Lajud produced a commercial for the taquería that artfully mashes up a scene of villain Thor from “Avengers: Endgame” and a montage of tacos and other Mexican food. Like any other art form, you have to see it to appreciate it.

The video has gone viral with over 5.5 million views thanks to it being posted on Twitter.

Credit: @goingonajournie / Twitter

The commercial starts with a scene we’re all familiar with–the moment Thanos thinks he has all the Infinity Stones and offers a build-up to the moment he wipes out all of mankind. Spoiler: he doesn’t. Thanos says, “Yo soy inevitable,” snaps his fingers, and nothing happens.

Then, instead of the scene cutting to superhero Iron Man, we see Takesabroso owner, Luis Vazquez, dramatically saying, “Yo soy Takesabroso.”

Credit: Takesabroso / Facebook

He snaps his fingers and saves the day with a montage of Takesabroso’s menu items. In the bottom left-hand corner, supervillain Thanos seems to be happy with how terribly his plan failed and is twerking up against the lechón on screen. 

Yup. Thanos is twerking to cumbia.

Fans are here for it. As video rolls on burritos, tacos, and rotating meat, Thanos just keeps on dancing cumbia in the corner. “It’s the twerking thanos that really tied it all together,” commented one fan.

It’s official. Thanos is now Thaños and is clearly invited to every carne asada.

Credit: @troyareyes / Twitter

That little tilde on the “n” goes a very long way in making Thanos a true dancing Latino icon.

Some folks are worried that Takesabroso isn’t going to get away with using Marvel footage.

Credit: @Westside_LEE / Twitter

Personally, we think Thaños is far more appealing than his evil twin, Thanos. Mexicans have basically responded to this tweet with pure laughter. “Marvel lawyers trying to stop a Mexican restaurant from stealing intellectual property? Good luck,” tweets one fan.

This has prompted a whole other thread about different ways folks have seen Mexican restaurants “give precisely zero f***s.”

Credit: @urfriendktt / Twitter

One person seemingly well versed in copyright infringement tweeted their two cents, “Well it’s not illegal the clip used is not long enough to be considered plagiarism and its transformative enough to be fair use but Disney has sued for less and won lol.” 

Disney’s “Avengers: Endgame” was the final installment of the “Avengers” franchise and is the highest-grossing film of all time. The timing of the video is smart given that Disney released “Avengers: Endgame” on Blu-ray and DVD this week.

The rest of Latin America has also chimed in to share ways their countries don’t care about copyright.

Credit: @racampos / Twitter

“My fave: Harry Potter y el Orden del Taco,” read one reply. Nope, we’re voting for “Harry Potter y el trompo de pastor” for the win. 

“In Mexico City, we have a place named “Tacos Goku” or also there’s “Tacos Megaman” the copyright is like a joke for them,” one Mexicano tweeted. Another said he ” remembered a tortilleria called “El Thor-tillero” on León, near the bus station (central camionera).”

This isn’t the first time Takesabroso has ventured into hilarious advertisements…

Credit: @jorgelajudm / Twitter 

Takesabroso’s video editor in resident, Jorge Lajud, recast the restaurant owner in a scene from Venom and then had his form be overlayed by a Ricardo Milos dancing. Note the floating images of tacos and burgers floating around him. It’s pretty clear Vazquez is also absolutely delighted by these commercials.

Takesabroso has welcomed the wide response from folks and even dedicated a Facebook post to its fans. “Takesabroso not only seeks to bring flavor to your life, but it also seeks to bring joy to your heart,” Vazquez posted. “This meme is viral, thanks to all.”

The woman responsible for gifting the video to Twitter, which took it viral, is using her platform to promote non-profit RAICES Texas.

Credit: @goingonajournie / Twitter

The Refugee Aid Project, commonly known as RAICES, is the largest immigration legal services provider in Texas. It’s staffed with 130 attorneys, legal assistants and support staff whose sole job is to offer legal representation to immigrants at risk from America’s current immigration policies. In 2017, they closed 51,000 cases at no cost to the client.

You can donate to RAICES here.

Watch the full video below!

YO SOY TAKESABROSO

YO SOY TAKESABROSO

Posted by Takesabroso on Friday, August 2, 2019

READ: 20 Hilarious Taqueria Names That’ll Fill Your Tummy With Laughs!

The Bernie Campaign Teamed Up With Cardi B To Talk About Police Brutality, DREAMers And Raising Wages

Entertainment

The Bernie Campaign Teamed Up With Cardi B To Talk About Police Brutality, DREAMers And Raising Wages

@BernieSanders / Twitter

Vermont Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and rapper Cardi B have been teasing their on-screen discussion on issues ranging from police brutality to canceling student debt for a few weeks now. Finally, the Sanders campaign published the video in all its nearly ten minutes of glory.

The two met at Detroit’s TEN nail bar, a deluxe nail salon founded and operated by two women of color. Cardi B came prepared with a list of questions that her own followers have brought up with her. In essence, Cardi B served as a representative of her fans’ political interests and brought them to a Presidential candidate to see if he would be the guy to officially represent their needs in the nation’s most meaningful capacity–as POTUS 2020.

Six weeks ago, Cardi asked her fans what they would want to hear Bernie Sanders discuss.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

On July 2, the rapper shared a video to Instagram telling her followers that her number one question to Bernie Sanders is about how to end police brutality in this country. “What would you like to ask? what change would you like to see in your community and in the USA 🇺🇸?” she posted. “2020 is getting very close let’s get familiar with who is running and how they can change the country! Put your questions down below and your questions may be answered very soon.”

Nobody expected she was actually going to sit down with Bernie Sanders and represent the Bardi Gang’s political issues.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Hilariously, Sanders wiggled his fingers alongside Cardi B’s as he told us that, “Cardi B’s nails are juuuust a little different than mine. Our views on the issues are pretty similar.” 

Cardi B absolutely nailed it as an interviewer. She steered the conversation and truly represented her followers’ interests. She opened the video to remind everyone that, “A couple of weeks ago, I asked my followers what types of questions would you want to ask a Democratic candidate. Let’s go baby.” Here are the takeaways.

Number one: Cardi and Bernie’s shared goal is getting Trump out of office.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

“You know what I’m trying to do is I’m trying to advocate the youth in my community because I feel like there’s a serious problem right now in America,” Cardi opens. “We have this bully as a President and the only way to take him out is somebody winning.”

“We’ve got to get rid of Donald Trump, obviously. Because Donald Trump is an overt racist. He’s just way out there.”

The first question on Cardi’s mind is putting an end to police brutality in America. Bernie has a three-pronged plan.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Cardi B got vulnerable and talked about the mental effects of what it’s like to “constantly see on social media police brutality against black men and against minorities. What are we going to do to change that, because that is discouraging our people? We constantly see our men getting killed every day, and it seems like nobody cares.”

Sanders wants to end the militarization of police departments, which he sees as a form of intimidation.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

To address police brutality, he wants the Department of Justice to investigate every police killing to ensure accountability and prevent local police departments from covering up crimes. He also wants to federally obligate police departments to “look like the community they serve” and “not like an oppressive army.” Sanders related to the “disgust” of seeing 1 in 4 young black men in the criminal justice system. His solution to that specific issue is to invest in free education instead of investing in prisons and incarceration. 

During his first week as President, Sanders will reinstate the executive order that gave protections to DREAMers, and he wants to extend those protections to their parents.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Cardi had recalled meeting a fan who enrolled for protections under DACA and is now facing deportation back to Mexico–a place that he has no living memory of ever knowing. Bernie wants the 1.8 million young people who qualify for DACA to experience the freedoms of this country. When he said he wants to expand that program to their parents, Cardi did a little jiggle and let out a “Yeahhh!”

Bernie is going to raise taxes to allow free healthcare and education, but it will be cheaper on a day to day for Americans.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

“People are afraid to pay more taxes than they’re already paying,” Cardi rightly stated. Bernie’s plan to offer free health care for all will ultimately be cheaper for the overwhelming majority of people than paying for premiums, deductibles, and copayments.

Cardi B will never forget how hard it was to make a living wage before she found fame.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Cardi B brought up how “certain people like to brag” about how there are more jobs in America, but she’s questioning the quality of these jobs. Why are her followers having to work two or three jobs to survive? Bernie wants to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. 

By placing a modest tax on Wall Street, Sanders plans to cancel student debt.

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

Forty-five million Americans are living with student debt. Sanders knows that those of us in our 20s and 30s were told that we had to go to college to get a good job. Where the good jobs at? Our generation is far less likely to own homes and make financial progress in our lives. For the first time, our generation is worse off than the generation before it. 

Sanders has a message to Cardi B’s followers: “Trump doesn’t want people of color to be participating in the political process.”

Credit: @BernieSanders / Twitter

“Participate in the political process,” he tells POC. You can spend five minutes to register to vote here.

Watch the full interview below!

What do you think about Cardi B’s interview?

READ: Cardi B Claps Back At “Republicans And Conservatives” Who Want Her To Shut Up When It Comes To Politics

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