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‘La Borinqueña’ Is The Afro-Latina Superhero The Comic Book World Has Been Missing

Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, the man who gave “Guardians of the Galaxy” character Groot a Puerto Rican makeover, is at it again. This time, Miranda-Rodriguez wants to introduce you to La Borinqueña, an Afro-Latina superhero. Her mission: to educate readers about Puerto Rico’s debt crisis.


“La Borinqueña” is Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez’s answer to a growing demand for Afro-Latino representation in comic books.

Credit: Courtesy of Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez

“After the debut of my first issue for Marvel, Guardians of Infinity #3, I received a lot of positive publicity,” Miranda-Rodriguez told mitú. “Many fans were thrilled to see the new character that I created, Abuela Estela, represented in the pages of a Marvel comic book. She represented the Afro-Latino community of our people, an underrepresented population. Soon after, various Puerto Rican institutions reached out to me, including the Puerto Rican Administrative Affairs office in New York City.”

La Borinqueña’s real identity is Marisol Rios De La Luz, an undergraduate student at Columbia University. Her super powers include controlling tropical weather, teleporting, flying and, of course, superhuman strength. #Badass


Miranda-Rodriguez based the character off the most important women in his life, including his sister, Marisol.

Credit: Danny Hastings / Courtesy of Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez

Miranda-Rodriguez’s sister was in an accident and paralyzed at 9 years old. He says she is represented in the strength and love of La Borinqueña. He was also inspired by his godmother Iris Morales, who was part of the original Young Lords Party, a Puerto Rican nationalist group, and his aunt Diana Rodriguez Mercado, who is Afro-Boricua. Although the character is a composite of the many women who have inspired him, Miranda Rodriguez wants the character to feel familiar to everyone.

“I especially want readers to see themselves,” Miranda-Rodriguez said. “For too long we have not seen ourselves represented in mainstream media, especially our Latinas. That is why I created “La Borinqueña.” I see my family when I see her, and so do many others.”


And the fans are getting super hyped for the Afro-Latina superhero. Like, SÚPER hyped.

Credit: @nickyshemmick / Twitter

“When we see ourselves, we are empowered,” Miranda-Rodriguez said. “When we are empowered, we represent ourselves positively and can stand as a symbol for social change and the betterment of our people.”


It’s not just comic book nerds that are flocking to the new superhero. Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, the first Puerto Rican woman elected to the House of Representatives, is all about La Borinqueña.

Credit: @MrEdgardoNYC / Twitter

Miranda-Rodriguez told mitú that his new comic book is garnering the attention of politicians like Congresswoman Velázquez, and it’s providing him with a platform to talk about the Puerto Rican debt crisis. Velázquez even invited him to her office, where they discussed the debt crisis and her strategy to help Puerto Rico.


Most importantly, Miranda-Rodriguez wants “La Borinqueña” to represent hope for the Puerto Rican people.

Credit: @PRparadeNYC / Twitter

“I thought it was a perfect time to introduce a new character that actually served as a symbol of hope in our real lives, and she is becoming that,” Miranda-Rodriguez said. “My mentor, Iris Morales, always taught me that if we don’t tell our stories, no one else will. “La Borinqueña” is giving me the platform to talk about Puerto Rico’s debt crisis as well as other crises affecting the island.”


And the cover for the comic is a who’s who of Puerto Ricans. Miranda-Rodriguez literally filled in the page with some of the most iconic Puerto Ricans in U.S. history.

Credit: Courtesy of Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez

Hector Lavoe is depicted in the left hand corner waving a Puerto Rican flag as Sonia Sotomayor laughs gleefully over his shoulder. And all the way to the top right corner of the crowd you can see political prisoner Oscar López Rivera observing the crowd with a hushed excitement.


Although La Borinqueña is getting lots of love, she’s not the first Puerto Rican woman to don a superhero outfit.

Credit: @ElBlogiante / Twitter

Since the release of “La Borinqueña,” a comic book artist named Omar Casanova has taken to social media to remind people that he created a similar character, Bori Girl, in 2012. A Facebook post by Casanova from 2012 shows an early version of Bori Girl. In another Facebook post, Casanova claims he was contacted by the creators of “La Borinqueña” to “keep quiet” about Bori Girl. Casanova then added that he is not associated with “La Borinqueña” in any way.


When asked about the other artist’s rendition, Miranda-Rodriguez said that the Puerto Rican flag and nationality have been used to create several superheroes over the years:

“Before “La Borinqueña,” there have been quite a few Puerto Rican superheroes, dating as far back as 1975 with George Pérez’ White Tiger for Marvel,” Miranda-Rodriguez said “Many publishers and artists have used the Puerto Rican flag to create other characters. In 2006, Marvel created El Vejigante, designed by my good friend Juan Doe. Also in 2006, under Image Comics, Caliente was introduced in the pages of “Ant #8.” In 2010, Unity Comics introduced Mayor Boricua. In 2011, I designed El Coqui Espectacular for playwright Matt Barbot. In 2015, I developed LAK6 for Darryl Makes Comics. Given that the Puerto Rican flag is public domain, many artists have and will continue to create characters inspired by it. I say the more the merrier.”


While La Borinqueña will be making her debut at the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, fans will have to be patient to get their hands on the actual comic book.

Credit: Courtesy of Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade has licensed the image of La Borinqueña for use on shirt that will be sold during the parade. The money will be donated to the NPRDP scholarship fund.

“We are looking for an October 5 release of “La Borinqueña #1″ at a special event that I am curating called Café Con Comics, a free event sponsored by CUNY’s Center for Puerto Rican Studies,” Miranda-Rodriguez said. “This event will include the premiere of the first issue followed by a panel discussion with other Puerto Rican comic book artists from the industry, an art show and a mini-Comic-Con experience.”


To learn more, you can follow Miranda-Rodriguez on Twitter @MrEdgardoNYC or you can check out La Borinqueña created by Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez on Facebook.


READ: The Coolest Character in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Is Now Latino

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A Human Rights Attorney Is Being Accused Of Falsely Posing As A Latina During Her Career

Culture

A Human Rights Attorney Is Being Accused Of Falsely Posing As A Latina During Her Career

Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan is the outgoing president of the National Lawyers Guild and her departure has taken a sudden turn. After years as an attorney, many are now accusing the attorney of posing as a Latina.

Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan is facing mounting scrutiny and backlash for her claims that she is Latina.

According to a post on Prism, Bannan has a history of claiming her Latinidad. The post points out several interviews the attorney has given over the years with different publications where she explicitly claims that she is part of the Latino community. In one YouTube video with ¡Voice Latina!, Bannan explicitly says that “as a woman, as an individual, as a Latina” she is inspired to do the work she does because of her hero Oscar López Rivera.

People are calling on others to do better about who they choose to represent various communities.

Representation matters, especially when it comes to the issues that are facing our various communities. It is important to make sure that the representation reflects those being represented. According to Prism, Bannan has been pushing a narrative that she is of Puerto Rican and Colombian heritage for over a decade. She has even spoken out as a Puerto Rican woman that is fighting for the island’s statehood.

There are multiple media moments when Bannan claimed Latino heritage, according to reports.

Prism points to an interview conducted in 2007 where she allegedly told “El Diario” that her heritage was “a little bit Spanish, a little bit Colombian, and a Sephardic Jew.”

“I am racially white, and have always said that. However my cultural identity was formed as a result of my family, both chosen and chosen for me, and that has always been Latinx,” Bannan wrote on Facebook Monday following the story. “My identity is my most authentic expression of who I am and how I pay honor to the people who have formed me since I was a child.”

The story is garnering so much attention because of Hilaria Baldwin and her claims of being Spanish.

Baldwin misled people into believing that she was of Spanish descent when she was a white woman born in Boston. Prism was able to decipher that Bannan is a white woman born in Georgia whose family immigrated from Ireland, Italy, and Russia.

READ: Why Do People Care If Hilaria Baldwin’s Spanish Accent Is Fake Or Not, Anyway?

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Ricky Martin Opens Up On Being A Queer Latino And Talks New Music In Powerful New Interview

Entertainment

Ricky Martin Opens Up On Being A Queer Latino And Talks New Music In Powerful New Interview

Ricky Martin has long been an international superstar – even long before ‘Livin’ La Vida Loca’ took over virtually every airway in the world. But it’s hard to deny that with that song, the Puerto Rican singer entered the global mainstream and ever since he’s been a pop icon.

From being one of the first major pop stars to publicly come out as gay, to acting in popular TV series, and getting married and becoming a father of four, Ricky Martin has always been a very busy man.

And despite a global pandemic that has forced all of us to stay at home and find a ‘new normal,’ Martin has forged a path forward. He recently sat down for an interview with Billboard to discuss everything from new music, the global Coronavirus pandemic, and his identity as an out and proud gay Latino.

Considering we’re all still living amid a global pandemic, the Billboard interview started on this very relevant topic.

Billboard points out that Martin and his family live in a very big and beautiful house in Beverly Hills, which likely makes staying at home a bit easier compared to the rest of us. However, Martin points out that he has a very loud home – with four kids and his mom all living under one roof. But he admits, “…I am very lucky. I am in a comfortable home where my kids can play.”

Ricky Martin is also working on new music. He released Pausa in May, and now as he works on new music the world is a very different place. He told Billboard: “I started working on my music maybe nine months ago. In my mind, the album was going to be called Movimiento, which means movement. But with all this [pandemic], it just told me… “The way it was, was not working. Let’s do it differently.” I have music with rhythm, but I was not going to tell people to move! So I named it Pausa.”

He also speaks about his close relationship with fellow Puerto Rican, El Conejo Malo.

Shortly after Billboard released its history-making cover with Bad Bunny on the the cover, Martin described San Benito as a “Latin queer icon.” Many people – of all backgrounds – took issue with that. But Ricky Martin tells Billboard that “allies are so important. Without them, our fight for equality is impossible. It really tickles me to see Bad Bunny as a gay icon — just like Cher could be. Why not?”

The Puerto Rican singer shared what his coming out experience was like and reveals he never tires of sharing it.

In the interview, Martin is very open about his coming out as gay. The singer came out as gay in 2010, married husband Jwan Yosef in 2017, and together the couple is raising four children.

Rolling Stone asked Martin, 48, what it was like to remain closeted during “the most public, exposed period” of his life.

“I had moments of extreme positivity, and not so positive [moments],” Martin answered. “Life was a bit on steroids in those days. Everything was really intense, but I could take it! I come from a school of military discipline when it comes to training for music, dance, and acting. I started when I was 12. So for me, it was about not being ready to open [up]. When you open an egg from the outside, what comes out is death. But when the egg opens from the inside, what comes out is life. It’s something that needs to come from within. Every time someone forces someone to come out, what you’re doing is you’re destroying the natural flow of the self-discovery.”

When asked what motivated him to come out publicly, Martin said that a kid somewhere in America needs to see positive headlines about coming out.

“Today I woke up to this beautiful headline that I know someone out there is in need of. The headline was something like, ‘I came out. And ever since I’ve been the happiest.’ Something like that, something… My heart is beating faster because I know today a kid somewhere in America woke up needing to hear those words. A lot of people say they get tired of talking about the same thing. Why would I? Are you kidding me? For so many years I had to keep it inside. And then the effect of someone… What people are getting from it in their healing process?”

Billboard also asked Martin his feelings on how the media is profiting and accepting Puerto Rican and Latinx culture.

When asked if he feels that the American media has gotten better or more open to understanding Puerto Rican culture, Martin responded: “We certainly have a long way to go, but the important thing is that we see that there’s an audience that is interested. And it’s up to us to bring [the] education.”

And he’s absolutely right. This year has seen several Latino artists rise to the top of all sorts of charts. Bad Bunny and J Balvin are among the most streamed artists globally and Bad Bunny is one of the most streamed artists on YouTube as well.

Meanwhile, Maluma and Jennifer Lopez are working on a film that will be out early next year. The Emmy’s, VMAs, and other award shows finally had decent representation of artists of color – particularly among the Latinx community.

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