Fierce

Fans Are All Over The Internet Giving ‘Vida’ So Much Love And Praise For Their Unapologetic Representation

Vida / Starz

Creator of Starz’ “Vida,” Tanya Saracho, is a gift to Latino-Americans, specifically Mexican-Americans. While most of us have our favorite shows in English and others in Spanish, “Vida” is for those of us who navigate both worlds.

Season 2 just dropped and Saracho is giving us less chisme and more ganas. Emma and Lyn aren’t just navigating the social expectations of Mexican culture and American culture. Emma has “a wide range of what she can get off to” and is refusing the ‘baby queer’ labels for not conforming to any kind of ‘queer’ presentation. Lyn has the “limpia of her life” and takes on a vow of celibacy to discover who she is without a man.

The internet has some words of advice for y’all about “Vida” Season 2 and it can’t wait.

@louis1117 / Twitter

When the gente tell Lyn to “stick with being beautiful,” she comes at them with Millenial Lotería. She is not going to just sit there and let people tell her who she is and who she is supposed to be.

Don’t watch this show with your mami.

@maryjane_mia / Twitter

You want your mami to watch it, but, por favor, do it on your own time. The season opener features Lyn participating in and then growing bored of a spontaneous orgy.

We love seeing Latinas being the protagonist in a sex scene.

@PerditaPatrice / Twitter

While Season 1 did give us a scene where Lyn was the ‘exotic Latina’ in an all-white, Beverly Hills party, we saw her discomfort with it. In Season 2, Lyn and Emma are steering their own sexual fantasies. This is something all of the fans can get behind.

We also get a new character. Meet Nico.

@schoolsoutlaw / Twitter

In the trailer, we saw Nico as the cowgirl giving a Best Man’s toast at a wedding. Never could we have expected to have fallen in love with her character so fast.

She quickly helped provide another relationship and layer of love to the already incredible story of “Vida.”

@stanaticsoldier / TWitter

We stan an Emma who can walk into a wedding with one date, dump her after being roasted, and walk out with another crush. We ship #Emmico. #Nicemma?

This is what queer content looks like, y’all.

@stanaticsoldier / Twitter

The handwashing is so crucial, everyone. There isn’t a lesbian who doesn’t expect this simple courtesy IRL that we never see on screen. A beautiful, authentic touch, Saracho.

Saracho is intentional about these nuanced Latino moments.

@holaluisitoo / Twitter

The series is about a lot of things–gentrification, queerness and all the intersections in between. Of Emma being accused of being a ‘tourist’ in the queer world by refusing to label herself and rarely being recognized as one of the ‘gente’ on the block. It’s about belonging and creating that space for yourself amongst the mores of Mexican culture.

“Vida” shows the only way to navigate all this: be strong like Emma.

@pizzachurro / Twitter

You’re going to have to recognize what’s happening and give off que carajo vibes. During a brilliant scene where Emma is one of the only femme-presenting people at a queer table, Saracho gives us a glimpse into the realities of femme invisibility in the community. They’re often questioned as “really gay,” and when Emma won’t identify and is roasted for it–se fue.

The internet is raising a glass to Emma and her incredible character development.

@giuda31 / Twitter

Her character is so much of what we all want to be in the face of ignorance, of being “not Latina enough” or “white enough.” We’re all walking that line, and we like the way Emma walks it.

“Also – Mari is totally me at 22 falling for fake woke dudes…”

@amanda_parris / Twitter

Twitter user @Amanda_parris said it right: “This weekend I started watching #VidaSTARZ and I am OBSESSED. A show all about Latinx community  dealing with grief, queer identity, class and gentrification + a strong dose of SERIOUS eye candy…why was I sleeping?”

Tanya Saracho is currently developing “Brujas,” so there is life to look forward to after Vida.

First, keep rewatching the show and share it with your friends. We need views to guarantee a third season.

Saracho herself says it best when it comes to the importance of “Vida.”

@tanyasaracho / Twitter

Then, look out for “Brujas” which is what we all probably expected The CW’s “Charmed” reboot to be. Gracias a Saracho.

READ: The ‘Vida’ Trailer Is Here And It’s Beautifully Queer And So Exciting

Disney Is Debuting Their First Jewish Princess And Surprise! She’s Also Latina

Entertainment

Disney Is Debuting Their First Jewish Princess And Surprise! She’s Also Latina

We all know by now that is no “one way” to be Latinx. Latinos come in a variety of forms, from Black to white, tall to short, descended from Indigenous, African, and European populations. And while Roman Catholicism may be the dominant religion in most of Latinidad, it goes without saying that Latino culture is not a monolith. Latinos practice a variety of religions, from Islam to Buddhism to, yes, Judaism. 

And while most people don’t necessarily think of Judaism when they think of Latin America, there is, in fact, a small but proud population of Jewish Latinos who keep their culture alive through tradition and a strong sense of community. But being a part of such a small community within an already-marginalized community can feel isolating at times. Especially when there are no public role models to see yourself reflected in.

That’s why Tuesday’s news that Disney is debuting a Jewish-Latinx princess sent shock-waves through the internet. 

Walt Disney Television Animation News announced via Twitter that an upcoming Elena of Avalon episode in December would be featuring a “visiting princess” from a “Latino Jewish kingdom”.The as-yet-unnamed princess will be voiced by Jamie-Lynn Sigler, the actress famous for her portrayal of Meadow Soprano on HBO’s seminal masterpiece, “The Sopranos”. 

The Tweet also revealed that the princess would also make an appearance in Elana’s “royal coronation special” next year. Although we do not know any further details of Sigler’s character or her storyline, “Elena of Avalor” writer Rachel Ruderman gave a small preview of what’s to come. “A little over a year ago, I had the honor of writing an Elena of Avalor episode featuring Disney’s first Jewish princess,” Ruderman said via Twitter. She continued: “Jamie Lynn Sigler knocks the role out of the park (wait ’till you hear her song!) Can’t wait to share this one”.

In a move of conscious-casting on Disney’s part, Jamie Lynn Sigler herself happens to be both Latina and Jewish–a giant step for a media giant that can sometimes miss the mark with casting.

Raised by a Jewish father and a Cuban mother, Sigler grew up in New York City as part of a multicultural family.In the past, Sigler has talked about being raised Jewish–attending Hebrew school, having a Bat Mitzvah, and even going on a Birth Right trip to Israel in 2008. 

This episode can serve as an educational experience for many people (including those of Latinx descent) who are unaware that Jewish Latinos even exist. In fact, what some people might not even know, is that the term “Sephardic” (a term used to describe Jewish people of European descent) literally means “of Spain or Portuguese descent” in old Hebrew. In other words, it’s not a stretch to imagine a character of both Latin and Jewish roots on our TV screens. In fact, it’s completely historically plausible!

Naturally, both the Latinx and Jewish Twitter population is super excited at this groundbreaking news.

As we mentioned before, the acknowledgment of Jewish Latinos in popular culture is such a rarity. When the media shines a spotlight on such a marginalized group of people, the advent is worth celebrating. And even though changes are slow in the making, any progress on the representation front is a step in the right direction.

Jamie Lynn Sigler herself expressed her excitement at the news, calling to attention the novelty of her position:

Yes, it’s exciting that the Jewish Latinx population has finally gotten some princess representation, but it’s still a little bit frustrating that we had to wait until 2019 for a Jewish princess. We have a long way to go.

This Latina Jew was incredibly excited at the prospect of having the chance to see her own unique lifestyle reflected onscreen:

The self-styled “Jewyorican” is one of many New York-based Puerto-Rican Jews who identify fully with both cultures. It’s not as rare as people think.

Some Latinx Jews took to Twitter to give some suggestions on how Disney could go about bringing the new character to life:

This Hispanic Linguistics Professor suggested incorporating the ancient Judeo-Spanish language of Ladino into the show. 

This multi-cultural woman celebrated the inclusion of multiple cultures in one character:

Families like hers are the way of the future–at least according to statistics. Although many media outlets still see American families in black and white, the rest of us living our lives know that our identities are increasingly a hodgepodge of cultures. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Two Trans Latinas In New York Are Starting A Beauty Co-Op To Help Trans Women Build Their Businesses

Entertainment

Two Trans Latinas In New York Are Starting A Beauty Co-Op To Help Trans Women Build Their Businesses

mirror_cooperative_ / Instagram

Four years ago, Lesly Herrera Castillo and Joselyn Mendoza both had a vision to create a worker-owned makeup and hair salon for the trans Latino community in Jackson Heights, New York. It was ambitious and for them, it was necessary. For years, the duo faced racial and gender discrimination from employers. Their own community, Jackson Heights, was also becoming a problem as the area became the site of multiple anti-trans hate crimes in recent years. So they came together with a plan to open Mirror Beauty Cooperative in 2015.

The beauty shop would create numerous jobs for the local trans community but more importantly assist undocumented individuals who were denied opportunities due to their legal status. So Castillo and Mendoza made the important decision to register the business as a cooperative cooperation (co-op). This was done so the salon would basically be “worker-run” and there would be no need for things like social security numbers, an obstacle many undocumented workers face when applying to jobs. Instead, the salon will use individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs).

“The significance of the cooperative for me is that it’s an opportunity to create more jobs and make a space that’s free of discrimination,” Mendoza told the HuffPost. “As trans women, we don’t often have access to a healthy economy, and this allows us to change that and obtain other services like health care.”

While their idea started four years ago, the duo hasn’t yet obtained a physical space to open up the salon. But they hope with enough support this vision can become a reality. 

Credit: @equalityfed / Twitter

While both Castillo and Mendoza haven’t opened up a physical salon space, they are both continuing to work in other salons as they continue to save and plan for the Mirror Beauty Cooperative. This past May they began to reach out to more people to help fund their goal through a GoFundMe Campaign. The results of the campaign fund have been less than 1 percent of their $150,000 goal. The duo has also faced other socioeconomic setbacks like lack of traditional education and the economic instability due to their immigrant background. 

“Latina trans women always have multiple obstacles in the way,” Mendoza said. “I think if a collective of white trans women were to start a project like this, their incubation process would be faster than ours because of their historical access to privilege.” 

But Herrera notes that the white trans community is still an ally to them even though they are on different economic levels. “We can always depend on the white trans community” to offer support “because they know they’re on a better [economic] level.”

For the trans, gender-queer and nonbinary community, job discrimination has been a reoccurring issue. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 16 percent of gender-queer and nonbinary respondents who had held jobs reported having been fired for their gender identity or expression. But for trans women and trans people of color, they were the most likely to have gone through this. 

While the salon is still in progress, Castillo and Mendoza have become a presence in their own neighborhood uplifting and bringing attention to the trans Latino community. 

As of now, the duo has a secret backup plan in case they don’t meet their fundraising goals by the end of the year. They hope that the campaign does one thing though, create and share their broader call for building community with people. 

That has already started to take place as Castillo, Hernandez and their new partner, Jonahi Rosa have all become presences in Jackson Heights advocating for the trans community. The trio even participated in the Queens Pride Parade as co-grand marshals. This has also included various charity events for local LGTBQ+ youth. 

They all feel that the salon has the potential to bring people together and spread awareness about issues that affect their lives every day. From the start, the trio has always wanted to not only create a space for the trans community but give them an opportunity. 

“We want to work, [and] we want to give agency to our community,” Rosa said. “It’s a perfect opportunity for our community to come together and make something for our future.”

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