Jenni Rivera fans were in for a real treat at the 17th annual Day of the Dead festival held Saturday at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, Calif.
The event promised a tribute to the late Mexican-American songstress, but never in a million years did fans expect a Jenni hologram to appear on stage.
Four years after her tragic death, la Diva de la Banda stood on stage dressed in an orange jumpsuit, booties and hat, stunning the crowd as the hologram performed “Cuando muere una dama.”
The experience was one for the books.
“I got major goosebumps,” said Cynthia Garcia to mitú. “I immediately got flashbacks prior the curtain drop as I attended her concert a year before her passing in Tepatitlán Jalisco, Mexico. She was amazing. I’m not that fan who displays an array of emotions, but I did notice my eyes water.”
Some fans were skeptical about holograms, but it was hard to deny this one looked exactly like Jenni.
credit: YouTube / @OrlandoNaranjo via giphy
“If it weren’t for the minor light glitches mid-performance, I would have thought I was day dreaming,” García told mitú. “I never witnessed a hologram in real time and was cynical of them but it felt so so real until reality hit when the lights went on and poof she disappeared on us.”
Since Disney Plus launched on November 12, people have been swept up in all the family-friendly chaos, indulging in a long list of classic Disney favorites. While the streaming service also plans to offer new original content, the company is definitely taking advantage of our generation’s lust for nostalgia, providing exclusive access to the Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and National Geographic franchises (and reminding us how much Disney dominated our youth with films like The Lion King, The Cheetah Girls, and Gotta Kick It Up). Honestly, the list of iconic feel-good films is outrageously long, and it’s easy to understand why everyone’s so excited.
But it’s no secret that Disney’s wholesome image has been blemished by a long, varied history of controversy and criticism. While Disney has been accused of sexism and plagiarism numerous times, one of the most notable topics of discussion in recent years has been the company’s tendency to racially stereotype its characters, a propensity that is especially notable in early Disney films (though many scholars and film critics argue that this has carried into the 21st century, despite Disney’s attempts to be more culturally sensitive).
On many occasions, Disney has acknowledged the racist nature of its older animated films, like Dumbo, The Jungle Book, and The Aristocats. In the descriptions for several programs on Disney Plus, there is a brief warning about the “outdated cultural stereotypes” contained within each film, and while several people view this disclaimer as a sign of progress, Disney has been criticized for making a bare minimum effort toward addressing the problematic elements of its past.
And speaking of the company’s past, how could we forget the time that Disney tried to trademark the term “Día de los Muertos” / “Day of the Dead”?
Credit: Pinterest / The Walt Disney Company
Back in 2013, Disney approached the US Patent and Trademark Office with a request to secure “Día de los Muertos” / “Day of the Dead” across many different platforms. At the time, an upcoming Pixar movie with a Día de los Muertos theme (read: the early stirrings of Coco) was in the works, and Disney wanted to print the phrase on a wide range of products, from fruit snacks to toys to cosmetics. Por supuesto, Disney received major backlash for trying to trademark the name of a holiday—what is more culturally appropriative than claiming ownership over an entire celebration? Especially one with indigenous roots?
“The trademark intended to protect any potential title of the movie or related activity,” a spokeswoman for Disney told CNNMexico at the time. “Since then, it has been determined that the title of the film will change, and therefore we are withdrawing our application for trademark registration.”
But prior to withdrawing their application, Disney received extensive backlash from the Latnix community. Latinos all over social media expressed their disdain for Disney’s bold and offensive attempt to take ownership of the holiday’s name, even starting a petition on Change.org to halt the whole process. Within just a few days, the petition had garnered 21,000 signatures.
Although Disney didn’t acknowledge whether the online uproar had influenced them to retract their trademark request, they were clearly paying attention. Lalo Alcaraz, a Mexican-American editorial cartoonist, had expressed open disdain at what he called Disney’s “blunder,” creating “Muerto Mouse”—a cartoon criticizing said blunder—in response.
Credit: Lalo Alcaraz / Pocho.com
This wasn’t the first time Alcaraz had criticized Disney with his cartoons. After the trademark fiasco, Disney definitely caught wind of Alcaraz’s position, and in an effort to approach the upcoming Día de los Muertos movie with sensitivity, the company hired him to work as a cultural consultant on the film.
Although several folks celebrated this development, Alcaraz was widely denounced for collaborating with Disney—many people called him a “vendido,” accusing him of hypocritically selling out to the gringo-run monolith against which he had previously spoken out. But Alcaraz stood his ground, confident that his perspective would lend valuable influence to the movie and ultimately prevent Pixar from doing the Latinx community a disservice.
“Instead of suing me, I got Pixar to give me money to help them and do this project right,” Alcaraz said. “I was let down because I was hoping people would give me a little bit of credit for the stuff I’ve done; to give me the benefit of the doubt.”
And, sin duda, Coco emerged as one of the most culturally accurate films that Disney has ever produced. Employing an almost exclusively Latino cast and crew, Coco seamlessly captured the beauty, magic, and wonder of Día de los Muertos, depicting the holiday with reverence and respect. And after becoming the top-grossing film of all time in Mexico, it’s safe to say that Coco helped Disney bounce back from its trademark mishap, even if more controversy is bound to emerge in the future.
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We love the holidays as it is the one time of year we truly embrace being home for the holidays and taking in all of our favorite Latin traditions. Tamales, check. Atole, check. The Loteria cards, check. Drunk Tío Juan in the corner, check. Now you cannot forget the tunes. While we most definitely have Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and Wham’s “Last Christmas” on the holiday playlist, we will certainly include our favorite Latin music artists as well. To make your life easier we made a list of the most beloved Latin holiday music.
Los Lobos have just released a brand new Christmas song, and it’s so good!
Our favorite East L.A. rock band just released “Christmas And You” and it will make you so very nostalgic and teary-eyed. The music video was also shot on the streets of East Los. The holiday ballad was written by band members David Hidalgo and Louie Pérez. Los Lobos, who went mainstream for their recording of “La Bamba,” is back with a new album perfect for Christmas that the whole family will love.
The album is titled “Llego Navidad” and it includes holiday music from all over Latin America.
According to a press release, Los Lobos started with 150 selections and narrowed their way down to a tracklist that includes a regional folk song from Veracruz in Mexico (“La Rama”), a rework of ’70s South American salsa hit “La Murga de Panamá,” the 1958 novelty song “Dónde Está Santa Claus” and the Tex-Mex border classic “Christmas Time In Texas.” It’s surely will be a classic for years to come.
Juanes — “Mi Burrito Sabanero”
This is one of our favorite holiday songs from our childhood, so this new-ish version from 2009 is a family pleaser. There are lots of artists that cover this song, but Juanes by far is one of the best.
Celia Cruz — “Campanas De Navidad”
If you’re throwing a real fiesta, your party playlist must include this salsa holiday song by the one and only Celia Cruz.
Jenni Rivera — “Amarga Navidad”
Now we don’t wish a bad Christmas on anyone, but sometimes sh*t happens. It’s no secret that people typically break up during the holidays, so this song by Jenni Rivera will help somewhat. Let’s face it, you’re going to get tipsy anyway, so you might as well do it while listening to a song that you can relate to.
José Feliciano — “Feliz Navidad”
José Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” goes hand-in-hand with Christmas just as much as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Heck, everyone knows the words to this song, especially non-Latinos. So, we’re lucky that we Latinos can basically assume all rights to this song at every holiday function — even that work office party.
Hector Lavoe and Willie Colon – “Aires de Navidad”
With a glass of coquito, grab your favorite relative and get down to Hector Lavoe and Willie Colon’s “Aires de Navidad.” This song just speaks to our festive family that can be simultaneously bickering over politics and dancing at the same time.
Yuri — “Eterna Navidad”
Now, if you really want to go old-school your holiday playlist must include this ’80s retro version of Yuri’s “Eterna Navidad.” The video will literally drive you mad, so just to stick to the song and forget this dizzy video.
Alejandro Sanz — “Noche de Luz”
For those romantical folks who want to get in the holiday spirit but also want to secretly daydream over the lustful Alejandro Sanz, his “Noche de Luz” song will melt your heart.
José Alfredo Jiménez — “Se Va Diciembre”
Your abuelitos will love that you included a lovely ranchera ballad from their heyday. The inclusion of José Alfredo Jiménez’s “Se Va Diciembre” will perhaps score you an extra present this year. You’re welcome.
Luis Miguel — “Santa Claus Llego A La Ciudad”
After watching the life story of Luis Miguel on Netflix we can’t help but feel a little closer to the crooner. So here he is doing what he knows best, singing his heart out.
Prince Royce — “Mi Regalo Favorito”
This Christmas playlist would not be completed without the addition of Prince Royce’s “Mi Regalo Favorito” from 2013. It’s got everything you could possibly want: that bachata beat, Spanglish lyrics, and Prince Royce’s lovely voice.
We hope you liked our holiday roundup. If there’s anything we missed let us know in the comment section below!