When you want to find other people who went through the saaaaaame turmoils, joys, struggles and ENDLESS ROASTING SESSIONS you did growing up, there’s always Twitter. And this week, Latino Twitter took a look back on what it means to grow up in a Latino family:
Actress and singer MJ Rodriguez is having an incredible whirlwind year. In 2019, she continued her role as Blanca Rodriguez in the history making series “Pose.” Her moving and capitalizing performance won her “Best Actress” at the Imagen Awards; the first time an openly trans women has ever received the honor. She also became the first transgender woman of color to play the role of Audrey in a major production of “Little Shop of Horrors.” Rodriguez even preformed the play’s popular love ballad “Suddenly Seymour” on the “Late Late Show with James Corden” — wowing the TV audience with her powerful vocals. In addition to all that success, this week, her activism, advocacy and talent was celebrated when Rodriguez was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 NEXT.
Now, Rodriguez officially has one more win to close out her successful 2019.
Twitter / @outmagazine
This week, Rodriguez made history by securing her first ever beauty campaign. The “Pose” star announced her new partnership with Olay Body at the 5th Annual Diversity Summit where she gave the keynote speech. She will officially be one of the label’s brand ambassadors — making her the first trans Afro-Latina to fill this role with Olay.
“Olay Body is leading by example for other brands by opening doors for trans individuals like myself,” Rodriguez said during her speech. “I am so excited to work with Olay Body on this campaign leading up to my speech at the Diversity Summit. This is officially my first ever beauty campaign — I am so thankful to have the opportunity to show other trans women of color everywhere that they are seen and that they are worthy.”
Rodriguez’s campaign joins other trans women — like Laverne Cox, Tracey Norman, Lea T and Geena Rocero — who have all recently worked with hair, makeup, and skincare brands in public roles.
Twitter / @pedro_a
Rodriguez isn’t the only one excited about this new opportunity. Olay Body also expressed their eagerness to explore the new partnership and the diversity and inclusivity that Rodriguez brings to the brand. In an email to “Out,” the body care company shared their excitement over their new brand ambassador.
“Olay Body is excited to work with Mj Rodriguez on this campaign, as Mj is truly a recognized trailblazer,” the brand wrote. “She has transformed not just personally and professionally, but also as a leading advocate for diversity and inclusivity. This makes her the perfect fearless partner, where she is able to share her authentic journey of feeling confident in her own skin. As we begin to plan for future programs, Mj is definitely top of mind. We can’t divulge specifics at this time, but stay tuned for what’s coming next!”
For the first act of their partnership, Rodriguez did Olay Body’s 14 Day Transformation and posted the results on her Instagram.
Instagram / @mjrodriguez7
While she’s incredibly honored to have been selected as a brand ambassador, the call from Olay caught her off guard. Rodriguez even doubted if she was up to the task.
“When they called me, I screamed on the phone, because Olay is one of the leading forces in beauty,” she explained to “The Cut” of her new project. “I was like ‘Oh my god, am I really being considered for this, am I worthy?’”
Rodriguez explained that for trans women and women of color, these opportunities don’t usually come around so she was overwhelmed yet honored with the responsibility.
“For starters, I’ve never been able to be considered for a partnership like this,” she told “The Cut.” “A lot of girls like myself — trans women — we don’t get the opportunity to have open dialogue, let alone be in partnership with organizations like this. As a woman, as a black or Latina or trans woman, we have to constantly give words of affirmation to ourselves. It’s just hard for us. I’m just focusing on amplifying my voice, trying to get it out there as much as possible.”
Of course, Rodriguez’s online fans showered her with love and affirmation for her new role with Olay Body.
Twitter / @outioflove
Rodriguez’s mentions are full of fans congratulating her and wishing her the best for her career. One tweet by @guida told the star, “You deserve every good thing coming your way, I’m so happy for you!” Another by @nel_mamaboho thanked the actress, saying, “I actually truly love you just because YOU ARE SEEN. Your visibility makes so many more of us unavoidable. Thank Y.O.U.”
Rodriguez is truly paving the way for the visibility of other trans people and people of color. As an Afro-Latina, a trans woman and a member of the LBGTQ+ community, she represents many groups of marginalized people. As such, her role with Olay Body will set the precedent that these groups can and should have a visible place in our society.
The teenage boy who hiked 14 miles to save his wounded family has revealed painful details from the Mexican cartel shooting that killed nine members of his fundamentalist Mormon family, including his mother and two younger brothers. During an interview with Good Morning America, 13-year-old Devin Langford recalled the compounded trauma of his family’s car being peppered by bullets, killing his mother and siblings, and the frantic 14-mile hike back to his home. Devin horrifically describes the terrifying moment that his mom, Dawna, realized their car couldn’t whisk them to safety. “Get down. Right now,” were Dawna’s last words to her children, hoping that her advice would save them. Her words were enough to save young Devin, who survived without physical injury and was able to hike 14 miles to retrieve help for his injured siblings.
“To be honest with you,” his father, David Langford, told through tears, “my boy’s a hero simply because he gave his life for his brothers and sisters.”
“She was trying to pray to the Lord, and trying to get the car to start to get us out of there,” Devin Langford told Good Morning America.
He thinks that the cartel had deliberately shot at the engine so that the cars would be rendered useless in an escape attempt. “Afterwards they got us out of the car, and they just got us on the floor, and they drove off,” he said, further corroborating theories that the cartel thought their SUVs belonged to that of a rival gang. Once the gunmen realized they had shot and killed three mothers and six of their children, they fled, leaving the survivors helpless.
Devin revealed that, at first, he and all his siblings had tried to walk back to the family home together. “We walked a little while until we couldn’t carry [Baby Brixton] no more,” he told ABC. Nine-month-old Brixton suffered a bullet wound on his chest and was bleeding badly. “So, we put him behind a bush,” Devin explained to ABC. “I wasn’t hit or nothing, so I started walking because every one of them were bleeding so bad, so I was trying to get in a rush to get there.”
Devin thought his family’s murderers were following him those fateful 14 miles.
Instead of grieving or processing the violent murders of his family, or his near-death experience, he went into survival mode and left his injured siblings and the bloodied bodies of his family behind. During the six hours it takes to hike 14 miles, Devin was left with only his thoughts. Among the need to navigate without a map or compass, he was weighed down with the fear that the cartel members who let him live were in fact following him, or training a target on his back to shoot him dead in his tracks. The whole time he was worried “that there wasn’t anybody else out there trying to shoot me or follow me” or, of course, he was thinking about his mom and two brothers who died moments before.
“Every one of my children that survived are living miracles,” David told ABC.
“How many bullet holes were fired into that vehicle… at that horrific scene and how many children were involved. It’s amazing. It’s amazing. It’s beyond amazing that they survived,” Devin’s father David Langford told the outlet. The Langfords moved to northern Mexico in the 1950s, when polygamy was banned in the United States. Now, David and his plural wife, Margaret, have moved their family back to Arizona. “Not only have I lost a wife and two children but having to move the rest of my family with really no place to go…,” David grieved the loss of an entire way of life.
David’s sister, Leah Langford-Stadden, told the Daily News, “They’re scared for their lives. They’re leaving everything behind. It’s an exodus.” As the Langfords packed their things and began the final drive out from their home, a caravan of 100 family members joined them to send them off in solidarity. Many of them may leave as well. “It’s horrible. It’s a paradise lost, for sure. It’s heartbreaking,” Langford-Stadden said of a community shattered.
“I believe in forgiveness, but I also believe in justice and forgiveness doesn’t rob justice,” David told ABC.
The Langfords left hundreds of acres of pecan orchards behind after burying Dawna, 43, Trevor Harvey, 11, and Rogan Jay, 3. The FBI is now participating in Mexico’s investigation of the attack.