Entertainment

Quiz: Was it Celia Cruz, Nicki Minaj, or Lady Gaga?

Because, if it wasn’t for Celia Cruz, Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj would not exist.

Who does this wig belong to?

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‘Vintage Latinas’ Is Hyping Up WOC Entertainers Often Forgotten By Media

Fierce

‘Vintage Latinas’ Is Hyping Up WOC Entertainers Often Forgotten By Media

Amid a life-threatening pandemic, political upheaval and a dawning economic crisis, the future can feel frighteningly uncertain. We’ve all been coping in our own ways: from practicing meditation to trying out new recipes to starting creative projects. For me, joy has come in the form of history. Learning about women, particularly Latinas, who entertained audiences on the silver screen or at cabarets, fought for their countries and communities, and created beauty and fashion trends has brought me bliss at a time when I couldn’t even imagine happiness as a possibility. Realizing how healing the stories of our foremothers have been for me, I decided to create Vintage Latinas, an Instagram account dedicated to the Latina and Latin American women and femmes of yesterday.

Through the online community, I post daily photos and videos of women from the 1900s up until the early 2000s. I accompany each image with a lengthy caption that either introduces followers to former stars they’ve never heard of or shares little-known facts and stories about popular icons. Highlighting women and femmes across Latin America, the Spanish Caribbean and the U.S., the page is sprinkled with popular faces like Celia Cruz, Rita Moreno, Frida Kahlo and Bianca Jagger as well as radiant figures who aren’t as celebrated in popular media today like María Montez, Rosa Luna, Maribel Arrieta and Ajita Wilson. My goal is to commemorate the beauty, style, talent, brilliance and power of these women. To do so, I spotlight everyone from actresses, singers, dancers, models and showgirls to artists, designers, beauty queens, party czars, activists and trendsetters. 

It’s not surprising to me that at a time when I have limited control over the unpredictable future I decided to turn my attention to the past. A lover of history, I often find refuge in the narratives of people from yesterday who fought against powerful people, systems and countries to create change for their communities. This was no different. After losing my job in March and being locked up in quarantine for the months that followed, my mental and spiritual health took hard blows. While addressing the issues I was experiencing and developing a wellness routine, I decided to delve into literature about Julia de Burgos, Lolita Lebrón, Blanca Canales, Iris Morales and Denise Oliver-Velez — some of the Puerto Rican nationalists and revolutionaries I hold dear to my heart.

But unlike my experiences in the past, while rereading these works I began imagining the periods in which these women lived — the early- and mid-twentieth century — outside the political and social battles they were fighting.

Immediately, I found myself researching artists and actresses my heroines might have listened to and admired, expanding my interest in these eras beyond struggle and protests.

Soon, guarachas and boleros from artists like Myrta Silva, Carmen Delia Dipini, Lucecita Benitez and Toña la Negra were booming from my speakers more than my favorite reggaetoneros. I was spending my weekends happy that I was forced to stay home because that gave me the chance to search and watch Old Hollywood classics. Obsessed with the makeup and style of the women I was watching, I started repurposing the clothes in my closet to look like outfits inspired by some of my ‘60s and ‘70s fashion inspirations, like Lola Falana, Raquel Welch and Tina Aumont.

I was balancing news of a scary future with the stories and aesthetics of erstwhile powerful Latinas who resisted, lived and loved during similarly turbulent times.

When I started Vintage Latinas a month ago, I simply wanted to create a space where I could honor all the women who were positively influencing my life. For me, it was a hobby, something fun and joyful to do between freelance writing gigs and trying to land a full-time job amid a pandemic. But within days, the page grew into something more. Very quickly, people began following Vintage Latinas, commenting on the posts and sharing the content with their audiences. They even encouraged others to follow the page and called it their favorite account on Instagram. I knew that the dynamic personalities and enduring influence of these sensational women were as healing — or at least as captivating — to others as they were to me. By week one, the page went from a personal hobby to a creative project and online community where people from all over the world are remembering and discovering our Latina and Latin American heroines. 

As I embark on Vintage Latinas’ second month, I have several exciting plans I will begin executing. In addition to my daily posts about historic stars, I’ll be utilizing original and user-generated content to create a browsing experience I hope will excite followers. I’ll be creating activities, like trivia-style quizzes, polls and “Finish the Lyrics” games, featuring vintage images of the everyday matriarchs of the community and conducting interviews through Instagram Live with historians and modern-day Latinas who dress in vintage and pinup, among several other undertakings.

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Puerto Rican singer and politician Ruth Fernández is considered one of the most powerful women and barrier-breakers in Puerto Rican history. Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico in 1919, Fernández began singing publicly as a teenager, performing at age 14 on local radio stations for 50 cents a day. Heard by Mingo, a famous bandleader, she was invited to join the group in 1940, becoming the first woman to sing in a Puerto Rican orchestra. Performing in nightclubs, dances and casinos, Fernández became a star on the archipelago. However, celebrity didn't save her from experiencing anti-blackness. In 1944 when her band was contracted to perform at the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel for a benefit concert for the American Red Cross, she was told she had to enter the building through the kitchen door because of the color of her skin. But on the day of the show, Fernández ignored the racist protocol and entered through the main entrance. When asked years later about that night, she responded: "Me llamaron negra. ¿Negra? ¿Y qué?" From then on, she began referring to herself as "La Negra de Ponce." In 1972, Fernández was elected to Puerto Rico's Senate, representing the district of Ponce as a member of the Partido Popular Democrático de Puerto Rico until 1980. As a legislator, she sought reforms and better working conditions for artists and also considered the needs of Puerto Ricans living in the contiguous U.S. In her honor, a tenement in the Bronx — the Ruth Fernández Apartments — is named after her. Fernández has received awards from several countries in Latin America, while many cities in the U.S. — including Washington, D.C., New York and Los Angeles — have official "Ruth Fernández Days." She passed away in 2012 of a septic shock and pneumonia at the age of 92. Here she performs "Soy la que soy" in the 1960s. #ruthfernandez #puertorican #1960s #latinasdeayer #vintagelatina #vintage #vintagestyle #vintagefashion #vintagebeauty #retrostyle #blackbeauty #blackvintage

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The stories of our foremothers, who thrived or continued luchando despite racist systems, colonialism and state-instituted violence, are inspiring and must be preserved. Through Vintage Latinas, I aim to ensure their vibrant lives and contributions to culture and social justice aren’t forgotten. Instead, I want our barrier-breaking predecessors to be celebrated, and I hope you’ll join me in this digital rave that is equal parts history, culture, glam and community. 

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Jeimy Osorio, Reflects On The “Amazing Journey” It’s Been To Play Celia Cruz In The Hit Series

Entertainment

Jeimy Osorio, Reflects On The “Amazing Journey” It’s Been To Play Celia Cruz In The Hit Series

Jeimy Osorio is the Puerto Rican and proud Afro-Latina actress you should have on your radar. With lead roles in “Betty en New York” and “Celia,” Osorio has taken the entertainment industry by storm and reminds the world the importance of highlighting Afro-Latinx stories, and casting Afro-Latinx talent for Afro-Latinx roles. mitú caught up with the talented actress about what these experiences were like for her, the significance of portraying her characters on screen, and how they have impacted her acting and singing career.

So good to meet you, Jeimy! I hope quarantine has been treating you well, thank you for taking the time to chat with us. You play a young Celia Cruz in the series, “Celia.” Can you tell us about that journey? Was this your first major role?

Yes! Actually it was my first major role back in 2014 when we started filming. It was, if I’m not mistaken, one of the first Afro-Latina TV shows led by an Afro-Latina. It has been an honor because ever since I have been representing the Afro-Latina community even more so than before. It has been an honor for me to play this role as well because I have, in a way, kept with me the values and the tools that this character taught me about how to take care of my career and how to be as kind and understanding as Celia was when she was growing up, all of which led to her success, I would say.

You touched on this a little, but what does it mean to you to get to play such an iconic woman? I mean, we’re talking about Celia Cruz! 

It’s an amazing journey, I mean in the beginning, I knew that they were giant shoes to fill. I was thinking, “I don’t know how I am going to do this, I don’t even know if people are going to like this, I’m just going to enjoy each moment the best I can and I’m going to try to portray that joy in the camera.” And I think that worked. For me, it has still been a gift, a dream, and also like I said before, continuing the legacy of good music, message of self-love, of self-respect, of respect for others, loving your country, speaking up, using your voice, helping others through music, creating joyful music! I think that, for me, that’s the biggest one. As artists, performers, we are on the radio, we are inevitable to your ears. So whatever comes into your ears that comes from me, I want it to be joyful. I want it to be something that helps you grow, or at least touch your emotions, or helps you connect or helps you feel better. So for me to grab on to these values and tools that I would say that she left me, it’s an honor to just keep bringing these things to life with this new generation.

You’re also in “Betty en New York.” For anyone who isn’t familiar with the show, how would you describe it?

“Betty en New York” is definitely a show that you need to watch. At some point in our lives, we have all been Betty. It’s a beautiful story and it is so refreshing because it touches on the subjects that we are experiencing right now about racism, about bullying, and what social media is really doing with the minds of our kids and our teenagers. Also, the theme of self love is the most important. We’re touching all these subjects that are so deep, but the fact that we’re connecting it with comedy and that we’re going to bring this to you in your face as you laugh, it’s a magical combination. You can’t miss it and you can’t not love it. 

“Betty en New York” is a comedic series. Were there any funny moments from the set?

There were so many funny moments! Sometimes we had to stop filming because we couldn’t go on with the scene because it was so funny. We would have laugh attacks for 5-10 minutes and then you start laughing and then when you stop, I start laughing, and there was a moment where everyone started laughing and then no one could stop laughing. It was amazing. We would also sing, too, and perform in between scenes. We would make fun of each other, basically, but mainly with love. A lot of love.

Going back to “Celia,” can you tell me about one of your favorite moments on that show?

I think one of my favorite moments was when I was recording the talent show when she sang for the first time in front of her mother. When we were recording it, that sequence was so surreal for me because ten years before I was winning a singing contest at a university in front of my parents for the first time. It was just so parallel. I remember my friends were screaming my name, I was in second year and I didn’t tell my parents what the show was about, I just told them I was going to sing. They always knew I wanted to become a singer but they didn’t know my passion because I was shy! I would sing so low in my room, I didn’t want anyone to hear me. I kind of felt ashamed of it. I was still trying to figure out what was wrong with my voice, like, I felt that there was something wrong with my voice until that day. For me to play Celia singing, having her mother there and to look at the wood floor was exactly my same memory, and I was thinking  “wait a minute, I’ve lived this before.” I started crying in front of everyone. So the tears that you see in the beginning when they’re throwing her flowers in the opening of the show, that’s really me trying to stop the tears. And I remember I couldn’t stop crying for the next 15 minutes. They cut the scene, I was like “oh my god, this was me 10 years ago,” I was in shock. I couldn’t stop the tears.

A very full-circle moment, I’m sure. 

Yes, it was!

Congratulations again, on both of these shows! Are these shows available to stream anywhere? How can we watch “Celia” and “Betty en New York?”

Definitely! You can all go to Peacock.com, you’ll find more information there. You can [also] download it to your smart TV. It’s going to be under free programming and premium programming, for those that want a little extra. You can watch live programming from Telemundo and from different networks, content in both Spanish and English. I’m really happy we’re going to be representing the Latino community through Telemundo programming on the Peacock TV app.

Well, there you have it! Brb, going to binge-watch all seasons of “Betty en New York” and “Celia” on Peacock.

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