Fierce

She’s Not Running For President, But Oprah Did Just Donate Two Million Dollars for Disaster Relief in Puerto Rico

Still recovering from Hurricane Maria, arts and culture programs in Puerto Rico have received millions from media mogul, Oprah Winfrey. In the fall of 2017, Hurricane Maria claimed the lives of 3000 American citizens, in the US territory of Puerto Rico. However, disaster relief from the government has been slow to arrive. Fortunately, celebrities, like Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Anthony, and Bethenny Frankel are willing to give financial support.

For her part, Winfrey donated to The Hispanic Federation and The Flamboyan Arts Fund, one million dollars to each. The Hispanic Federation’s UNIDOS Disaster Relief & Recovery Program assists in providing basic needs to Puerto Ricans.

The Flamboyan Arts Fund is, according to People Magazine, “focused on continuing the island’s rich heritage of arts, culture and creative development.”

Meanwhile, President Trump who stated publicly that Puerto Ricans “want everything done for them,” is still insisting, as recently as April 2, that Puerto Rico has received 91 billion in relief aid. In fact, only 40.7 billion dollars of relief have been approved by Congress. Furthermore, FEMA officials have gone on record saying only a fraction of the 41 million has made it to the island.

In a tweet that followed his announcement about the 91 million in aid, the president said that he is the best thing to ever happen to Puerto Rico.

Winfrey said, in a statement, that she was inspired by Hamilton creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, to donate.

Miranda recently brought his Broadway play to Puerto Rico to help the island heal and to bring attention to the oft-forgotten arts in the recovery efforts after a disaster. Celebrities such as Jimmy Fallon and Quest Love mingled on opening night of the Puerto Rican production. Miranda, whose father is a native to Puerto Rico, reprised his role as Alexander Hamilton for the island. Oprah Winfrey attended the Puerto Rican production at the Bellas Artes in San Juan.

Winfrey’s donation has been covered by many news outlets and many on Twitter are praising Winfrey for her good deed.

This twitter user was quick to praise Winfrey after the news broke.

CNN and Telemundo contributor, Ana Navarro-Cárdenas praised Winfrey too.

Navarro-Cárdenas also noted the irony of the Trump administration’s suspect support of Puerto Rico in light of Winfrey’s donation. You may also recognize Ana Navarro-Cárdenas as a co-host on The View.

Some, however, have called Winfrey’s donation a publicity stunt.

Publicity stunt or case of no-good-deed-goes-unpunished?

The dead man referred to in the tweet is Michael Jackson. It appears Winfrey is being criticized for support of the portrayal of Michael Jackson in the recently released documentary Leaving Neverland. In her special Oprah Winfrey Presents: After Leaving Neverland, Winfrey interviews
James “Jimmy” Safechuck and Wade Robson who accused Jackson of sexual abuse in the documentary. The interviews were taped before an audience of sexual abuse survivors. Those criticizing Winfrey appear to devoted Michael Jackson fans, but Winfrey is also being accused on Twitter of protecting Harvey Weinstein. Connections to Weinstein remain unclear, especially in light of her acceptance speech for the Cecile B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes in 2018. The speech focused on racism, violence against women, and the #MeToo movement.

Only time will tell if Winfrey is being punished for her good dead, or if any revelations about shadowy allegations will be made. For now, her generosity towards Puerto Rico does seem to be infectious.

Florida Senator, Rick Scott is donating too.

Just one day after Oprah Winfrey announced that she would donate to the Puerto Rican relief efforts, Florida senator, Rick Scott made a similar announcement. Rick Scott has pledged a portion of his salary to aid Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria who are now living in Florida.

Good deed or publicity stunt, it appears that Oprah Winfrey’s donation is inspiring others to give. The donation also appears to be keeping the spotlight on Puerto Rico. The people of Puerto Rico, American citizens, many of whom have just recently had their electricity restored are still waiting for all 40 billion dollars of the aid committed by Congress to find its way to the island. They’d probably like to see the 91 billion that the president keeps talking about.

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Today, Puerto Rico Celebrates Emancipation Day–the Day When the Island Officially Abolished Slavery

Things That Matter

Today, Puerto Rico Celebrates Emancipation Day–the Day When the Island Officially Abolished Slavery

Photo via George W. Davis, Public Domain

Today, March 22nd marks Día de la Abolición de Esclavitud in Puerto Rico–the date that marks the emancipation of slaves in Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico, enslaved peoples were emancipated in 1873–a full decade after the U.S. officially abolished slavery. But unlike the U.S. mainland, Puerto Rico celebrates today as an official holiday, where many businesses are closed.

The emancipation of Puerto Rican slaves was a very different process than the United States’. For one, the emancipation was gradual and over three years.

When the Spanish government abolished slavery in Puerto Rico 1873, enslaved men and women had to buy their freedom. The price was set by their “owners”. The way the emancipated slaves bought their freedom was through a process that was very similar to sharecropping in the post-war American south. Emancipated slaves farmed, sold goods, and worked in different trades to “buy” their freedom.

In the same Spanish edict that abolished slavery, slaves over the age of 60 were automatically freed. Enslaved children who were 5-years-old and under were also automatically freed.

Today, Black and mixed-race Puerto Ricans of Black descent make up a large part of Puerto Rico’s population.

The legacy of enslaved Black Puerto Ricans is a strong one. Unlike the United States, Puerto Rico doesn’t classify race in such black-and-white terms. Puerto Ricans are taught that everyone is a mixture of three groups of people: white Spanish colonizers, Black African slaves, and the indigenous Taíno population.

African influences on Puerto Rican culture is ubiquitous and is present in Puerto Rican music, cuisine, and even in the way that the island’s language evolved. And although experts estimate that up to 60% of Puerto Ricans have significant African ancestry, almost 76% of Puerto Ricans identified as white only in the latest census poll–a phenomenon that many sociologists have blamed on anti-blackness.

On Puerto Rico’s Día de la Abolición de Esclavitud, many people can’t help but notice that the island celebrates a day of freedom and independence when they are not really free themselves.

As the fight for Puerto Rican decolonization rages on, there is a bit of irony in the fact that Puerto Rico is one of the only American territories that officially celebrates the emancipation of slaves, when Puerto Rico is not emancipated from the United States. Yes, many Black Americans recognize Juneteenth (June 19th) as the official day to celebrate emancipation from slavery, but it is not an official government holiday.

Perhaps, Puerto Rico celebrates this historical day of freedom because they understand how important the freedom and independence is on a different level than mainland Americans do.

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The New ‘In The Heights’ Trailer Is Out And You’ll Wish You Were In This Latino Fairytale

Entertainment

The New ‘In The Heights’ Trailer Is Out And You’ll Wish You Were In This Latino Fairytale

There is a new “In The Heights” trailer and release date and fans are getting excited (again)! This is the second time that Warner Bros. has released a trailer to tease the release of “In The Heights” but Covid derailed its first release. Here’s to summer of 2021!

Here’s the new trailer for “In The Heights.”

“In The Heights” is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first wildly successful musical before “Hamilton. The show is based in Washington Heights, a Latino and immigrant enclave in New York City where music runs through the streets and the residents.

Usnavi, portrayed by Anthony Ramos, is the protagonist who is central to the community. He runs a bodega that everyone visits and it isn’t long until he and his large community fight back to protect their friends and family.

The story has it all from love to despair to triumph.

Usnavi is in love with Vanessa, portrayed by Melissa Barrera, and their love story grows alongside the community through the summer. At the same time, it seems that Abuela Claudia, portrayed by Olga Merediz, is facing deportation and the community comes to her defense to keep her here.

Miranda and Jon M. Cho, the director of “Crazy Rich Asians,” beautifully captured the resilience and diversity of our neighborhoods. Actors Stephanie Beatriz, Dascha Polanco, and Leslie Grace bring the play to life on the big screen in a big way.

Fans cannot wait to see the new movie offering Latinos so much representation.

People have been anxiously waiting for this moment since 2008. That was the year that Universal Pictures announced their plans to make the movie adaptation of the play. It was supposed to be released in 2011 until Universals Pictures dropped the project. Then The Weinstein Company acquired the rights, however, Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct came to light and Miranda pulled the rights in response. Warner Bros. then got the rights in 2018 and we had our first trailer in 2019. It was slated to be released in June 2020 and the Covid caused the company to cancel the movie’s release. Now, with a deal with HBOMax, Warner Bros. will finally release “In The Heights” more than 10 years after fans were promised a movie.

“In The Heights” will be on HBOMax on June 18, 2021.

READ: The Trailer For ‘In The Heights’ Is Finally Here And It Looks Like A Latino Fairytale

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