Entertainment

A 26-Year-Old Has Created the Underground Netflix of Cuba

Cubans have found a way around the Cuban government’s strangle hold on digital media via a DIY subscription service called El Paquete Semanal. A new report from Vox shows how with very limited Internet access, Cubans are able to get their hands on the latest movies, music, and television for only a few bucks a week.

El Paquete Semanal is one Cuban’s middle finger to the digital media embargo in Cuba.

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Credit: Vox / YouTube

For more than 50 years, Cubans have essentially been cut off from the Western World, especially when it comes to movies, music, and television. Imagine having The Walking Dead banned from your TV.

A group of people in the US and Cuba are making it possible for Cubans to get their Game of Thrones and Beyonce fix without the Internet.

Network
Credit: Vox / YouTube

And they are taking that content and distributing it to all of their subscribers around the country. Yes, they have subscribers just like Netflix and Hulu.

READ: Cuban Youth So Hungry for American Trends, They are Willing to Risk Everything

All the movies, songs, and shows are put on a hard drive and replicated so the weekly entertainment can be hand-delivered throughout Cuba.

And this shit isn’t like the bootleg DVDs you might buy down the street. Everything is high quality and full HD.

High Quality
Credit: Vox / YouTube

?

Being a member costs you about $2 USD a week, less than a movie ticket.

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Credit: Parks and Recreation / NBC / allfatherthor / Tumblr

It is such a lucrative business that Cuban media is now paying for subscriptions in El Paquete Semanal.

“We exist on the Internet but the Paquete Semanal has such a wide range of distributors and it’s sold all across the country,”Antoinette Duquesne, a writer for the Cuban magazine Vistar told BBC. “So, this is the best way for us to connect with our audience.”

Subscribers can pick and choose what they want to watch/listen to but many just get the full terabyte of entertainment.

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Credit: Vox / YouTube

“I can copy whatever I want,” Ana Lauren of Havana, Cuba told BBC. “If I don’t want to copy music this week I don’t have to. I only copy the things and shows that I want to use this week.”

There are small groups specializing in different entertainment media, gathering the latest and hottest stuff worth watching and listening to.

How THey Gather Content
Credit: Vox / YouTube

READ: Cubans Just Got WiFi This Year and They Already Figured Out How to Use it To Migrate Safely to the U.S.

They even have it down to a science so they can deliver the most current entertainment possible.

Stuff They Have
Credit: Vox / YouTube

El Paquete Semanal has given some Cuban youths a chance for much needed and hard to find income in the communist regime.

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Credit: Vox / YouTube

And it also serves as an underground Craigslist where Cubans can get and exchange goods and services without the constant barrage from the Cuban government regulating the amount of good they are allowed.

But who is the person in charge? He goes by the name Dany Paquete.

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Credit: Vox / YouTube

I see what you did there, Señor Paquete. #clever

The 26-year-old has become something of a digital media kingpin on the Caribbean island.

Chain of Command
Credit: Vox / YouTube

His business model has been so successful that a rival business offering the same service has emerged in Cuba. Paquete welcomes the competition to push them to progress.

It’s impossible to know how many Cubans use El Paquete Semanal, but the service touches the whole country.

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Credit: Vox / YouTube

And if someone doesn’t use the service, they definitely know about it.

READ: These Secret Bedrooms Tell You A Lot More About Cuba

Check out the full video below:

Credit: Vox / YouTube

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Lil Nas X’s Next Big Drop Is A Children’s Book Called ‘C Is For Country’

Entertainment

Lil Nas X’s Next Big Drop Is A Children’s Book Called ‘C Is For Country’

Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty

Turns out Lil Nas X has more than just country rap up his sleeve. The 21-year-old “Old Town Road” rapper has a penchant for literature too.

On Tuesday, the rapper revealed that he’s written a children’s book called C Is for Country.

“I’m dropping the best kids’ book of all time soon!” the rapper shared in a Tweet earlier this week before adding that he couldn’t “wait to share it” with his fans and young readers.

Nas’s children’s book is being published under Random House Kids, a division of Penguin Random House. It is currently available for preorder on their site.

According to the Random House Kids’ website, the book is a story about Lil Nas X and Panini the pony.

“Join superstar Lil Nas X—who boasts the longest-running #1 song in history—and Panini the pony on a joyous journey through the alphabet from sunup to sundown. Experience wide-open pastures, farm animals, guitar music, cowboy hats, and all things country in this debut picture book that’s perfect for music lovers learning their ABCs and for anyone who loves Nas’s signature genre-blending style,” Random House describes in its explanation.

The book is illustrated by Theodore Taylor III and promises “plenty of hidden surprises for Nas’ biggest fans.”

C Is for County comes out Jan. 5.

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Netflix’s Newest Musical Teen Hit Series Stars a 16-Year-Old Afro-Latina Newcomer

Entertainment

Netflix’s Newest Musical Teen Hit Series Stars a 16-Year-Old Afro-Latina Newcomer

A new teen series has dropped on Netflix that the internet can’t stop talking about. The newest cultural phenomenon that has hit the juggernaut streaming service is a musical series called Julie and the Phantoms, based on the 2011 Brazilian show of the same name.

The series follows a 16-year-old insecure girl named Julie who has lost her love of music after the tragic death of her mother. But with the help of a (stay with us here) band of musical ghosts she stumbles across in her garage, she soon re-discovers her love of singing and performing. Backed by her band of “phantoms”, Julie confidently takes the stage again, blowing everyone away in the process. ,

But the wacky, heartfelt story-line isn’t the only reason people are excited about the show. The buzz around the show is building because its star, 16-year-old newcomer Madison Reyes, is an Afro-Latina singer-actress of Puerto Rican descent.

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Que Bonita bandera 🇵🇷

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Before landing the role of Julie, Reyes was just a regular shmegular Nuyorican girl going to high school in Brooklyn. Needless to say, the process of auditioning for Julie and the Phantoms was both a whirlwind and a game-changer.

“I found out about Julie and the Phantoms through my school. At first I was nervous to send my video in, but after talking to some friends, I sent it in and got a call back,” Reyes told Refinery 29. “From there it was just figuring out when I could fly to L.A. When I finally made it out there, the audition process lasted two days.”

Reyes, for one, understands the burden of her load. “[Julie] is Latin American, she’s got textured hair, she’s a strong and independent female character,” Reyes recently told the LA Times. “As a person of color who wants more diversity [on-screen], I’m kind of scared about the hate comments that I’ve seen other people have to go through, especially women.”

As if having an Afro-Latina actress at the center of a popular Netflix show wasn’t exciting enough, the series is also being helmed by Mexican-American director and all-around legend Kenny Ortega. For those of you unfamiliar with Ortega, he is the creative genius who directed bonafide classics like High School Musical and Hocus Pocus.

Ortega has been publicly effusive in his praise of Reyes. “She has this raw talent that can take on any genre of music, and this promise of greatness that excited everybody,” he told the LA Times. “And yet she’s so relatable and grounded.”

Fans are already calling for a second season after watching the cliffhanger season finale. Reyes, herself, can’t wait to get back in the shoes of Julie. When asked in an interview about where we’ll see her next, she responded: “Hopefully in the next season of Julie and the Phantoms!”. We second that wish.

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