Culture

@blaxicansofla Gets an Intimate Portrayal of What It’s Like Growing Up Black & Mexican

It’s already difficult trying to convince your others that you’re Mexican, Salvadoran or even Latino enough. But being part of two minority groups is twice the battle. @blaxicansofla is a platform that captures the true experience of biracial black and Mexicans living in Los Angeles.

It started with Walter Thompson-Hernandez who created this account dedicated to the research he was doing in grad school.

"My mother is from Jalisco, Mexico and my father is from Oakland, California. They met in South LA in the early 1980s and came of age in this community. My mother was almost always the only Mexican woman in my father's circles and vice versa. There was explicit racial discrimination that they had to navigate through for their relationship to have a chance. On top of that, South LA, in the mid-1980s, was experiencing one of the largest demographic, racial, and social transformations that it had ever encountered. And there was a strong movement to divide African American and Latinos in and around LA. Defining myself, with the understanding of this historical context, is why I have always said that identifying as a Blaxican is a political and revolutionary act." ?: @mychivas

A photo posted by Blaxicans of Los Angeles (@blaxicansofla) on

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

“I have always said that identifying as Blaxican is a political and revolutionary act,” he said in his personal account.

Dozens have joined his efforts and agree that Blaxican is it’s own identity.

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

And that the discrimination they face may be more than what others experience – But it has only made them more powerful.

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Especially because they’ve had the strength to not identify with one group or the other.

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Because why should anyone have to pick sides?

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Or be discriminated by their own race?

"I went to Mexico when I was five. It was nice but I could still feel the division. I'm speaking Spanish but people were looking at me like I was diferente. But my family never discriminated. My great-grandma loved me and treated us good. We could see a couple of stares and could feel a little of that on our backs but nothing bad. But it's difficult here. There's such a divide because even though we are Afro-Latinos and getting our numbers up you don't find too many. In New York you do and they have a good Muslim community out there. So they have a lot going on out there, but in LA our numbers are lower and we got to find where we fit in. That's why I was drawn to this project because it's hard growing up and going to your black family and they would be like why is your hair like that? Oh you got long hair? I'm gonna cut it off. And on your Latino side you're La Morena — it's definitely a struggle and it's good to be open minded." ?: @mychivas

A photo posted by Blaxicans of Los Angeles (@blaxicansofla) on

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Being Blaxican is beautiful.

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Participants are proud to share their parents’ love stories.

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Even R&B star Miguel understands the mix of cultures is a unique experience, yet sometimes frustrating.

#Repost @nytimes with @repostapp. ・・・ @miguel at the @boweryhotel in New York, where @malinfezehai photographed him earlier this month. @miguel’s first headlining tour — for his new album #Wildheart — will bring him back to the city in August. On his first two albums, @miguel, 29, presented himself as a typical R&B figure. Now, he's claiming his own more specific identity: a songwriter who finds his hometown — Hollywood, beaches, the suburbs, the ghettos — both around and within himself. “I really am #LosAngeles,” he said. “Not only in the sense that I’m Mexican and black, and they’re the dominating ethnicities in this city, but in the energy of Los Angeles, and how everywhere you go there’s this weird juxtaposition of hope and desperation. And that’s my life, that’s who I am.”

A photo posted by Blaxicans of Los Angeles (@blaxicansofla) on

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Although some feel they’ve had something to prove…

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

Most use one word to describe their heritage: proud.

"If I had to use one word to describe how I felt about my racial background? Proud." ?: @mychivas

A photo posted by Blaxicans of Los Angeles (@blaxicansofla) on

Credit: @blaxicansofla / Instagram

What are your thoughts on this Instagram account? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to ? us on Facebook to follow all the cool things we’re doing at mitú. 

Here Are Some Of The Tequila Brands Keeping The Beloved Art Of Creating The Liquor Alive And Well

Culture

Here Are Some Of The Tequila Brands Keeping The Beloved Art Of Creating The Liquor Alive And Well

@doncheposboca / @cazcabeltequila / Instagram

Tequila is perhaps the most iconic drink from Mexico (although mezcal has been making a BIG comeback for a few years now, particularly as part of urban hipster cultures). We recently reported how tech mogul Elon Musk is trying to get his controversial Teslaquila off the ground, and how Breaking Bad actors Bryan Craston and Aaron Paul are considering having their own label. That is all good if they bring money and jobs to the area of Tequila, Jalisco, where the ancient spirit is produced under Denomination of Origin. 

In the meantime, here are a few Mexican-owned tequila brands, some of which are the usual suspects (1800, Corralejo) while others are smaller but exciting brands. 

Sotol Hacienda de Chihuahua (just like tequila, but a bit different)
https://www.vinomex.com.mx/

Credit: sher_castroc/ Instagram

This tequila is housed in a legendary hacienda, as the company, Sotol, states: “The Hacienda Tabalaopa, a family jewel since it’s establishment in 1881, has historically embraced Sotol as the spirit of the region”. This premium spirit, Sotol, is a bit different to tequila as it is elaborated with a wild agavacea variety termed Dasylirion which only grows in the Chihuahuan Desert of northern Mexico. This is an example of how the industry is diversifying, encompassing other regions of Mexico.

Tequila Moderno
https://tequilamoderno.com

Credit: brandsofmexico / Instagram

This beautiful bottle contains a premium tequila developed by a young Mexican entrepreneur. This relatively new brand is socially conscious and has programs to support agave growers in Jalisco. They source their agave azul from small growers, supporting the local farming industry. It has gotten some good reviews and is bound to become a staple of hipster bars worldwide. 

Tequila San Matias
https://www.sanmatias.com/us/products/

Credit: snmatiascristal / Instagram

This casa tequilera is as traditional as it comes: it has been operating since 1886 when it was founded by Don Delfino González. However, its owners have taken good care of the brand’s image, using a contemporary brand design that looks great on any bar shelf. Their crown jewel is the San Matias Cristal, which is clear and pure, distilling the floral notes to the nose and the palette that pure blue agave brings. It is the new face of an old distillery, so it brings together the new and the classic in interesting ways. 

Tequila Pueblo Viejo
https://www.tequilapuebloviejo.com/us/home.html

Credit: puebloviejomx / Instagram

One of the most traditional brands around (we can totally picture Jorge Negrete or Pedro Infante drinking straight from the bottle while delivering a serenata). This tequila is also the brainchild of Don Delfino González, who during the period that preceded the Mexican Revolution found the perfect conditions for growing agave azul and producing tequila in the Los Altos region of Jalisco. The red soil fields here are rich in iron and other minerals, which provides the perfect nourishment for the agave plants. 

Tequila La Malinche
http://tequilalamalinche.com/intro_eng/

Credit: tequilamalinche / Instagram

This tequila is manufactured by Tequilas del Señor, a house that has more than seven decades of expertise. It is named after the indigenous woman, La Malinche, that according to the legend served as a translator for the conquistadores. For those who enjoy a clear taste, La Malinche is a good option. To the nose, it provides intense notes of baked agave with hints of mint and citrus. It is silky in the mouth with pleasant herbal notes and lovely acidity. It is great to drink by itself… perhaps after a few carnitas tacos. 

Tequila Espinoza
http://tequilaespinoza.com/?lang=en

Credit: mecomunicacion / Instagram

Just look at this bottle! It would be envied by the most delicate whiskeys on the planet. The reposado (which basically means “rested”, as it has matured in oak barrels for years) variety has a smokey and deep flavor. This house is owned by Armando Orozco Espinoza, a young tequila master that comes from a long tradition of experts. The mantra of this house: ” passion, tradition, braveness, attitude, maturity, and youth.” Bound to become one of the classics. 

Tequila Don Sueños
http://donsuenos.com/

Credit: doncheposboca / Instagram

These tequilas fall in the super-premium category, so they are bound to be a bit pricey (so please don’t make cheap margaritas with it… go a bit more sophisticated and put together a fancy cocktail). This relatively new brand was years in the making: they hired a tequila master to spot the perfect agave plants to create a distinctive flavor. The family that runs this business has been growing agave for more than four decades. The fields and factory are located in the “Golden Triangle” region in Los Altos (Highlands) of Jalisco. 

Tequila 29 Two Nine
http://www.tequila29.com

Credit: theblogmx / Instagram

A young brand that has gotten some traction in the European market. The reposado variety is a delight: deep, peppery flavors thanks to the eight months it spends in oak barrels. Tequila 29 Two Nine is owned by a family who, according to company communications, wants to disrupt the game.

Tequila Corralejo
https://tequilacorralejo.mx/en

Credit: tequilacorralejo / Instagram

One of the most widely sold tequilas, both in Mexico and overseas. It is manufactured in the Hacienda Corralejo in Guanajuato, which as become a tourist attraction in its own right. As stated by the company, “visitors can satisfy their curiosity and excitement about the processes used to make tequila. The atmosphere is a delight to both sight and smell, as exemplified by casks for aging tequila located in beautiful cellars and filled with a suggestive and captivating aroma that evokes the honey of cooked agave”. Sounds like a perfect holiday to us! 


Tequila El Jefe
https://www.eljefetequila.com/

Credit: eljefetequila / Instagram

This is a luxury craft tequila owned by Mexican-Americans but manufactured the distiller Tequilera Las Juntas in Jalisco. It is made from 100 percent Blue Weber Agave grown in the region of Tequila. It has won multiple international awards. 

Tequila Tromba
http://tequilatromba.com

Credit: tequilatromba / Instagram

A young, hip brand whose slogan is #takelifebystorm. It was created by Marco, a master distiller with over 40 years of experience. He says: “I’m really proud of what I’ve done throughout my career at some of the best brands, but there are always limitations when you work for someone else. Tromba represents everything I think great tequila can be.” Marco is joined by Rodrigo Cedano, a young apprentice who really strives to create a tequila that distinguishes itself from the dozens of options in the market. Guess where the name comes from? “Tromba gets its name from the intense rainstorms of the Jalisco highlands that nourish its famed agave plants. It also represents energy and rejuvenation that fuels the passion and purpose of its founders”. 


Tequila Cazcabel

Credit: cazcabeltequila / Instagram

It takes its name from the famous poisonous rattlesnake. This brand specializes in blends that infuse tequila with flavors such as honey and coffee. It is created in the town of Arandas, in the Jalisco highlands. This brand makes sure that the agave plants are used in a sustainable way, and use every part of the plant in the production process. They have some pretty good ideas for cocktails: http://cazcabel.com/the-drinks/.

READ: Elon Musk’s ‘Teslaquila’ Drink Faces Legal Trouble From Mexican Tequila Industry

Ali Wong Is Teaching Her Daughter Spanish And Listening To Her Baby Say ‘Feliz’ Will Bring Your Heart So Much Joy

Entertainment

Ali Wong Is Teaching Her Daughter Spanish And Listening To Her Baby Say ‘Feliz’ Will Bring Your Heart So Much Joy

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Being bilingual has its advantages. Not only does it look good on a job application, but it also opens up a whole new world to the speaker. What better language to learn in your quest to be bilingual than Spanish? As of 2017, almost 600 Million around the world people speak Spanish — nearly 100 million of which are non-native speakers. Spanish is the second most spoken native language in the world and is spoken by 7.8% of the world. By the year 2060, the number of Spanish speakers is projected to balloon to a staggering 754 Million worldwide. 

So, it goes without saying that Spanish is a language totally worth learning. However, you don’t have to wait until high school Spanish classes to pick up the language. In fact, learning a language is easiest at a young age. Doing so has added benefits too. Learning a second language has been shown to increase problem-solving, creativity, test scores and a greater understanding of one’s native language.

It only makes sense to start them young but don’t take our word for it. There are tons of celebrities who also understand this advantage. As such, both native and non-native speakers are setting their kids up for a bilingual future by teaching them Spanish now. Here are some of the celebs who are fostering a love for Español in their kids. 

1. Ali Wong

Instagram / @aliwong

Funny woman Ali Wong is best known for making us laugh with her comedy specials and Netflix original movie “Always Be My Maybe,” but she’s also a really cool mom. In this Instagram video, the comedian is shown reading a Lil’ Libros book about La Catrina to her little one. She even encourages her daughter to read along. We can’t help but approve of her technique. 

2. Ryan Gosling & Eva Mendes

Instagram / @gosling.mendes

Celebrity couple Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes have two adorable little girls who they are teaching Spanish to. In May 2019, the actress appeared on “The Talk” and shared her experience teaching her daughters. 

“We’re trying to teach the kids Spanish, and it’s harder than I thought because I speak Spanglish, and that’s what they’re picking up. It’s adorable, but it’s technically not a language.”

3. Salma Hayek

Instagram / @salmahayek

Not every native Spanish speaker decides to teach their children Spanish — especially if their spouse doesn’t speak the language. That hasn’t stopped Salma Hayek, though. The actress has shared in the past that her daughter, Valentina, knows three languages. Her husband is from France so their girl has grown up speaking French, Spanish and English.

4. Perez Hilton

Instagram / @hxrrykidd

Gossip guru, Perez Hilton is a dedicated father of one and is passing his Cuban heritage on to his son through speaking Spanish. Back in 2013, the internet personality shared with MAMAS LATINAS about his strict Spanish-only rule.

“I speak to him only in Spanish in the house, and so does abuela.”  

5. Jessica Alba

@jessicaalba / Instagram

Though she’s Latina, Jessica Alba isn’t a native speaker. Still, she recognizes the importance of learning the language. Back in 2008, she told LATINA that she was determined to learn so she could teach her kids. 

“Hopefully I can pick it up because I want my kids to speak Spanish. I don’t even want them to speak English for maybe the first two to three years, until preschool.”

6. Hilaria Baldwin

Instagram / @hilariabaldwin

Alec Baldwin’s wife, Hilaria, was ready to teach their daughter Spanish before she was even talking. The Spanish-national told US Weekly all about her plans. 

“I was on the phone with my nephew, who’s seven. He called me…and he asked me, ‘Is she going to speak Spanish?’ I said, ‘Yes, but you have to help because she’s going to grow up [in the US] probably so you have to help speak to her in Spanish.'”

7. Jennifer Lopez

@jlo/ Instagram

For JLo, her kids learning Spanish was all about la cultura. She and ex-husband, Marc Anthony, made sure to teach their twins the language while they grew up. She explained this mentality during an interview with AMERICA READS SPANISH

“[It’s] Very, very important. I want my kids not just to speak in Spanish but to know the culture of their parents. We come from a rich and vast culture and I want to educate my kids knowing their heritage.”

8. Christina Aguilera

Instagram / @xtina

Christina Aguilera is another Latina who understands the value of teaching her child Spanish. She shared with People that she intended for her son Max to learn the language as it is a part of their Latino culture and he is half Latino. 

9. Roselyn Sánchez

Instagram / @sueltalasopatv

Actress and producer Roselyn Sánchez is a native Spanish speaker and has taught her daughter how to speak it as well. However, her husband, Eric Winter, doesn’t speak the language at all. This led to Sánchez and her daughter giving their favorite guy a few adorable lessons in Español 

10. Ricky Martin

Instagram / @ricky_martin

Pop sensation Ricky Martin helped usher in the Latin explosion of the early 2000s. His culture is obviously very important to the star and he’s shared that gift with his twin sons. In fact, the Puerto Rican dad and his kids only speak Spanish at home. English is only spoken by his boys at school

11. Gwyneth Paltrow

Instagram / @gwynethpaltrow

Goop-founder Gwyneth Paltrow is raising her kids to speak fluent Spanish. Son, Moses, and daughter, Apple, are encouraged to only speak Spanish to each other at home. This immersion therapy is one of the best methods for raising bilingual kids. 

12. Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas

Instagram / @allegraabla

Though she is now grown, Stella Banderas was raised by her parents to be fluent in Spanish and English. Born in Spain, the young actress grew up shuttled between LA and her home country so being bilingual was especially helpful. 

13. Zoe Saldana

Twitter / @MichaelStone64

For Afro-Latina Zoe Saldana, the choice to teach her kids Spanish was an easy one. In fact, according to Girls Talk Smack, she decided to before they were even born. 

“Of course [our children] will speak the languages that we speak; my sisters and I grew up learning French and speaking English and Spanish, and because of that, we’re able to understand Italian and Portuguese. But I’m going to have to make a conscious effort to speak Spanish to my children, because I speak Spanglish.”

14. Tiny Harris

Instagram / @majorgirl

Wife to T.I. and mom to Heiress, Tiny Harris is working on making her daughter as well rounded as possible. In a January 2019 Instagram video, the mom recorded little Heiress practicing her Spanish. Harris’ hope is that she can help her daughter learn a second or third language. 

15. David and Victoria Beckham

Instagram / @beckhamxfamilystyle

Back in 2003, David Beckham and family moved to Spain when he signed on with Real Madrid. The soccer star learned Spanish while playing with his team and taught his sons as well. This goes to show that necessity can be a useful motivation when learning a new language.

16. Matt Damon

Twitter / @enews

Though he is married to an Argentine woman, Matt Damon was a Spanish speaker long before they met. He learned Spanish through immersion as a teenager and also backpacked through Mexico and Guatemala. As such, he and his wife, Luciana Barroso, have raised their four daughters to speak Spanish as well. 

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