Fierce

On Her 50th Birthday, 15 Women Of Color Tell Us What Jennifer Lopez Means to Them

There are few Latinas who have made as big of an impact on the world of pop culture as Jennifer Lopez. From her days as a Fly Girl to the triple-threat who has sold over 80 Million records worldwide that she is now, JLo is a global icon. The Boricua has made headlines with her jaw-dropping fashions, star-studded relationships, and her elaborate performances. Lopez has done all this while repping the Latinidad and supporting her Puerto Rican roots.

On July 24th, the diva hits another huge landmark: she’s turning 50! With her upcoming birthday, it’s the perfect time for us to reflect on the impact JLo has had on us as fans, on the Latinidad, and on pop culture. We asked women of color to share what the star means to them.

Here’s what they had to say about JLo.

1. The icon who never gives up on her dreams.

Instagram / @JLo
“JLO is an icon for all women, especially for minorities. She is a woman who doesn’t give up, who set big goals and meets them. Someone many young girls look up to and she allows them to keep dreaming.” — Karina Magallon, Body Activist

2. The Selena connection.

Instagram / @multifandom_world_92

“To me, she will always be tied to my love of Selena, she did so well in that role, I felt closer to Selena as a child. It seems silly, but the loss of my first hero felt less tragic because all I needed to do was watch the movie and I wouldn’t be sad anymore. So Jennifer Lopez allowed me to cope because of her great acting ability.” — Sonya, Houston

3. A celebration of la cultura.

Instagram / @JLo

“I saw myself on screen for the first time in JLo. She celebrated my values, my features, and my culture unapologetically. I was too young to know Selena when she was alive, but JLo’s performance enabled me to know two Latina queens 👑 She gave me the confidence to go after my goals in the most fierce way possible 🔥💪🏽” — @getitgens

4. Body positive legend.

Instagram / @JLo

“I just wanted to be her, that’s all. I was made fun of for a big butt growing up. She definitely helped my feel more comfortable with my body, then big butts became a thing and I was like💃🏽🍑 🖕🏼” — @kailababykakes

5. Her lyrics keep us singing.

Instagram / @JLo

“Sis, my love don’t cost a thannngg 🙌🏽” — @princessdianae

6. She’s an inspiration to her fans.

Instagram / @JLo

“In SO MANY WAYS! She is my idol and a great source of inspiration — I see myself represented by her and feel so connected to her. ❤️” — @natalieacorrea

7. Fly Girls unite!

Instagram / @80s_90s_nostalgia

“Latina or not – she’s the reason I wanted to be a Fly Girl” — @zerowasteco

8. Confidence Queen.

Instagram / @JLo

“I have always listened to JLo growing up. She definitely made me feel confident about myself. I love her💜” — @sydsdanceworld_

9. Her body represented a cultural shift.

Instagram / @JLo

“She became popular around the same time that movies like ‘The Craft’ had a skinny white actress complaining about her butt being too big. As JLo’s popularity grew, so did acceptance of fat asses, and at least SOME curves. She helped end the whole heroine chic look…I appreciated the effect her body had on influencing changes society.” —@lilith.cenobite

10. Forever family-focused.

Instagram / @JLo

“Of course I’ve been a fan of JLo since back in her Selena days, but what really resonates with me is her focus on her family. The co-parenting she and her ex do with their twins seems genuinely good-natured and aimed at keeping their twins happy and loved. All of the pictures she shares of her family on Instagram always make me smile because her family looks so full of love.” — @teoami

11. Her music represents the sounds of the Latinidad.

Instagram / @JLo

“I like that she is there to represent the Latino/a community, gives a little taste of the music and sound that we hear/listen to.” — @wickedly76

12. Success is the name of the game.

Instagram / @JLo

“As an Afro-Latina, I didn’t really see a lot of women who fell into a category of being Black and Latina at the same time. But as a Boricua, I still looked up to J.LO so much. I saw her success and it felt tangible for me. If she could look like she did and have success, I thought maybe I could too.” — Veronica, Chicago

13. The honest misunderstanding.

Instagram / @selenaq212

“I hated her (at first) because I was too young to understand that she was just playing role and not trying to replace Selena 😂😂😂” — @ceegetsfit

14. Two Words:

Instagram / @JLo

“Hoop earrings” — kaycasti

15. THE Latina Fashionista

Instagram / @JLo

“I grew up in a house with a mother who dressed relatively conservatively. (Like she literally wears pearl studs and a cardigan every day.) It’s a style that I’ve always admired and has had a huge influence on my own dress but I do remember seeing J.Lo when she was in her earlier days and really feeling so in awe of her style. Any new trend she was sporting on a magazine cover I was too. I remember seeing her on a Cosmo cover when I was a little girl wearing white and I still try to find dresses like that!” -Akportee / Instagram

An Instagram Influencer And Actress Threw A Mexican-Themed Birthday For Her Daughter And Her Fans Are Divided

Culture

An Instagram Influencer And Actress Threw A Mexican-Themed Birthday For Her Daughter And Her Fans Are Divided

Cultural appropriation is a touchy subject. It’s one of those topics that encourages fierce debate and is also very open to interpretation. For some cultures, to be embraced by those outside their communities in such a way is an honor to their customs and beliefs. For other cultures, it’s systematic of a problem that began thousands of years ago with European colonizers.

In other words, it’s a complicated and emotional topic that is impossible to definitively nail down but easy to grow angry over.

Which is why one Instagram influencer mom and the Mexican-themed party that she threw for her daughter’s birthday is getting so much attention.

Instagram / @happilyevereva

Writer, actress and blogger, Eva Amurri Martino recently posted pictures to her Instagram account of her daughter Marlowe’s fifth birthday. The party included her daughter wearing a Puebla dress and Day of the Dead Sugar Skull face paint, a “Cinco de Marlowe” cake, and a taco piñata. Along with the pics, Martino included a caption that explained the reason for the Mexican theme. Referencing her daughter’s upbringing by “incredible Latin women” and the child’s first language of Spanish, the actress expressed Marlowe’s love for the Mexican culture and the Disney movie “Coco.”

The caption reads:

“Anybody who knows Marlowe knows she is obsessed with Mexico- she has had incredible Latin women taking care of her from three weeks old, and one in particular from Mexico who would always call her “cinco de Marlowe” on May 5th. Spanish was actually Marlowe’s first language before English, which made me really proud that she was getting so much from another culture. We moved from Los Angeles, but when the movie Coco came out, Marlowe loved it and felt really connected to it because she had heard about a lot of the themes of the movie from people she cares about. She wanted all these things brought together for her fifth birthday since she was finally, actually turning “cinco”!”

Besides being fans of Mexican culture, Martino wanted to shed light on the issues at the border.

Instagram /  @happilyevereva

According to the the actress’ Instagram post, she has acknowledged the travesty at the border by writing about it, donating to worthy causes and calling her local representatives. She also included a link to her blog where she has written about family separation.

“From when this all first started, we have been donating to those affected- and I also wrote a blog post which I’m putting in my bio. (unfortunately, this has been going on a long time so the post is from a while ago. Please comment on it with additional charities you love). We also have been calling our senators.”

While she clearly explained the reasons for her theme of choice, many commentators on Twitter and Instagram were quick to call this a case of cultural appropriation.

Twitter / @thedealwithalex

This Twitter user attributed Martino’s later explanation of the party as “White” guilt. They also expressed their opinion that her comments amounted to little more than a fake apology.

This Tweet admitted that, though they didn’t know who Martino is, they felt as if she needed to stop.

Twitter / @_heyliz

We won’t argue that white people are one of the main perpetrators of cultural appropriation but remember that everyone can be guilty of this and all marginalized cultures can be appropriated from. That’s one of the reasons why cultural appropriation is so contentious.

This Insta comment expressed offense over the theme but appreciated the explanation attached to it.

Instagram / @molleeelizabeth

It seems like there would be a big difference between appreciation and appropriation but this is another gray area. One group’s version of appreciation can be offensive to the group being borrowed from. Perspective is what determines it in the end.

However, some found no problem with Martino’s party theme choice.

Instagram / @aylinesteck

This Insta user from Mexico expressed her appreciation for the party’s theme. As the comment says, it’s important to teach kids to respect and value other cultures as much as they do their own. If this party is able to accomplish that, then it’s a success.

Other Instagram users spoke to the sense of community and celebration that the Mexican culture has.

Instagram / @roady

Mexicans have a reputation for being family-oriented fans of a good time. So, naturally, a party honoring Mexican culture is a good way to pay tribute to this.

Still, while some Mexican descendants might feel honored by this party, others might be offended. Likewise, while some white people might say that it’s no big deal, some might call it out for cultural appropriation. That’s what’s difficult about cases like this. We won’t solve cultural appropriation today but let’s all agree to respect each other and extend an invite to the next big fiesta we throw.

 
 

This Is The Only 3-Year-Old On The Planet Who’d Want A Birthday Themed After This Mexican Doctor And It’s The Purest Thing We’ve Ever Seen

Culture

This Is The Only 3-Year-Old On The Planet Who’d Want A Birthday Themed After This Mexican Doctor And It’s The Purest Thing We’ve Ever Seen

@tonayantears / Twitter

When Julián Kalev from La Paz, Mexico was turning 3 years old his family knew exactly what to get him: a Dr. Simi-themed birthday party. You only get a single third birthday in life and little Julián was living his best life dressed as a Dr. Simito, the mascot of the popular Mexican pharmacy chain Farmacias Similares. 

The tiny toddler wore a white inflatable suit with a black tie and a blue cape. Then he got down with his bad self to some dance music — this is exactly how I imagine most 3-year-olds get turned up. 

Julián has a ton of stans now.

When Julián’s father, Julio César Mendoza Carachure, shared the video on Facebook the clip went viral. The video received over 7.5 million views (your faves could never) and over 45,000 shares. Let’s be real, this video is cute as hell. There is nothing more adorable than the cherubic cheeks of a tiny tot, but the inflatable suit is what sent me over the edge. The cuteness levels have my fingers sweating all over the mouse — I can’t hit share quick enough. The people need to see Dr. Simito. 

Carachure gave his son a few options for the theme including Mickey Mouse, Spider-man, and the Minions, but Julián was like, no, I have to do this for the culture (I mean, that’s what I imagine this three-year-old said). 

This is about legacy, baby!

If you find yourself outside of a Farmacias Similares in Mexico, you might notice a Dr. Simi mascot dancing to reggaetón. It is not uncommon for children (and adults, let’s be real) to stop and dance with the cultural icon. If you search “Dr. Simi” on YouTube you’ll find tons of videos of people hanging with the mascot. He is a man of the people and with a slogan like, “The same only cheaper,” it’s no freaking wonder. Yes, I want a discounted Bugatti. Oh, you only sell medicine here? Well, you should have started with that. 

Dr. Simi is a larger-than-life pharmacist with a massive grey mustache and caterpillar eyebrows. The first Farmacias Similares was founded in 1997 by Don Víctor González Torres to provide low-cost medications to Mexican consumers. There are now over 6,000 locations across Mexico and Chile. 

Yes, Dr. Simi did the Harlem Shake.

Picture it: Dr. Simi dressed as an orchestra conductor. Dr. Simi in a diaper. Dr. Simi as a pirate. Dr. Simi as a firefighter. Then you hear it, “Con los terroristas!” No, you’re not in hell, it’s 2013 and the “Harlem Shake” is the best thing that ever happened to you and your family. Obama is President and there’s a hot new singer who sounds eerily like Mariah Carey named Ariana Grande. Is she Latinx, you wonder, she sure looks like it… Only time will tell. 

We must protect Julián at all costs.

Posted by Julio Cesar Mendoza Carachure on Sunday, August 12, 2018

There aren’t a lot of kids in this social media-obsessed world that would cop to stanning a pharmacy mascot. All kids want these days is Kylie Jenner lip kits, homemade slime, and a Green New Deal, according to the internet memes I see on Tumblr. Shout out to Julián for living his truth. Although I proudly went through a hardcore Tweety Bird and Looney Tunes phase in elementary school, I was never rewarded with a dope, viral theme party. 

Secondly, shout out to his mother, Viridiana Sicairos, who made him this costume for his birthday. The only thing my mom ever made me was a purse out of an old pair of jeans that was exactly as uncool as you imagine. This family was stoked to make little Julián happy for his big 3 and I can’t think of anything sweeter than that. May every one of Julián’s birthdays be as insanely specific and fun as this one. We could all use some joy this pure.  

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