Culture

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

Courtesy of Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez

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.

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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.

EdgardoMirandaRodriguez_PhotoByDannyHastings
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.

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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.

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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.

LaBorinqueña
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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Georgia Is Discriminating Against Puerto Ricans When It Comes To Driver’s Licenses By Asking Them Some Seriously Racist Quiz Questions

Things That Matter

Georgia Is Discriminating Against Puerto Ricans When It Comes To Driver’s Licenses By Asking Them Some Seriously Racist Quiz Questions

Larry Syverson / Flickr

Georgia has been requiring Puerto Rican natives seeking Georgia driver’s licenses to answer a special set of questions such as “identifying ‘what a meat filled with plantain fritter’ is called; where a specific beach is located; and ‘the name of the frog native only to Puerto Rico,’” according to a lawsuit filed against the state this week.

A Puerto Rican man has filed a lawsuit against Georgia for alleged discrimination and voter suppression.

Credit: @southerncenter / Twitter

A man is accusing Georgia of discriminating with driver’s licenses and requiring Puerto Ricans to answer trivia questions about fritters, frogs, hillbilly hats, baseball players and customs on their native island.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the US District Court for Northern Georgia, accuses the state’s Department of Driver Services (DDS) of violating the Civil Rights Act by engaging in “race-based stereotyping and implicit bias against Puerto Ricans.”

The lawsuit says Georgia holds residents of Puerto Rico, who are American citizens, to more stringent requirements than it does transplants from American states or the District of Colombia.

The quiz and other discriminatory practices prevent Puerto Ricans living in Georgia from traveling to work, school, and even doctor appointments. They also subject Puerto Ricans to the threat of a $500 fine and a year in prison if they drive without a license, the lawsuit says.

LatinoJustice obtained a copy of the quiz questions and shared them in a report.

A DDS document titled “Puerto Rican Interview Guide,” provided to CNN by LatinoJustice, includes numerous questions about the island, some of them are allegedly trick questions. Among them:

  • How long is the San Juan-Fajardo train ride? (There is no train.)
  • Who is Roberto Clemente?
  • What is the name of the frog native only to PR?
  • What is a pava?
  • What is alcapurria?
  • How do you celebrate San Juan Day?

A note in the interview guide says the questions are designed to better identify possible Puerto Ricans and discourage fraud. “While this guide can in no way positively determine if a person was born in or lived in Puerto Rico, it will help determine if the individual has a normal base of knowledge of their claimed birthplace,” it says.

Many on Twitter were using this as yet another example of Puerto Ricans being treated as second-class citizens.

Credit: @andreagonram / Twitter

“Puerto Ricans who are trying to start a new life in Georgia deserve access to the same benefits that are afforded to other citizens of the United States,” LatinoJustice PRLDEF attorney Jorge Vasquez said in a statement.

Driver’s licenses and identification cards issued in Puerto Rico aren’t subject to the same reciprocity extended to those issued in other states, the lawsuit says. Puerto Rico driver’s license holders must successfully pass the written and road exams to get a driver’s license, unlike other out-of-state license holders.

While others pointed out the shocking resemblance to a time when segregation was still a thing.

Credit: @KeithHi40841914 / Twitter

“The so-called quiz, applied to Puerto Rican drivers, bears a strikingly disturbing resemblance to the tests applied by segregationists to block voter registration of people of color,” Southern Center attorney Gerry Weber said.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico’s governor has come out swinging against the possible acts of state-sanctioned discrimination.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló has weighed in, calling the alleged special requirements “absurd” and demanding that Puerto Ricans receive equal treatment in all US jurisdictions.

“If true, I ask Georgia Governor Brian Kemp to address the disturbing irregularities immediately,” Rosselló said in a statement. “The U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico cannot be subject to illogical and illegal requirements when procuring government services.”

There are more than 93,000 Puerto Ricans living in Georgia, according to the 2017 census estimate.

To many, this is just another sign of Puerto Ricans having to work extra hard to prove themselves as American citizens.

Credit: @carlitocenteno / Twitter

Other examples of Georgia’s allegedly discriminatory practices include refusing to accept any birth certificate issued in Puerto Rico before July 2010 and flagging Puerto Rican birth certificates for fraud review, the lawsuit states.

READ: Bad Bunny And Ricky Martin Killed A ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill In Puerto Rico Furthering LGBTQ+ Rights In The Caribbean

After 50 Years Of Telling Us What To Expect In Life, Walter Mercado Is Being Honored With An Exhibit

Entertainment

After 50 Years Of Telling Us What To Expect In Life, Walter Mercado Is Being Honored With An Exhibit

waltermercadotv / Instagram

For Latinos, there’s only one famous person that’s been part of our lives since day one. Okay, well aside from Juan Gabriel, it has to be Walter Mercado. The 87-year-old Puerto Rican has influenced our lives in so many ways, and now it’s time to return that love. If you have ever dreamed about getting a personal reading from the greatest psychic icon of all time, your dream is about to become a reality, sort of.

The HistoryMiami Museum is hosting a retrospective on the life and legacy of Walter Mercardo.

Instagram/@historymiami

The exhibition titled “Mucho, Mucho Amor: 50 Years of Walter Mercado.” The show will feature his “costumes, mementos, and ephemera, on display for the first time ever.”

The show’s description states that the show “celebrates the life and career of the beloved Latino astrologer and pop culture icon. For over five decades, Walter Mercado has shared his astrological predictions with style, flair, and mucho, mucho amor.”

The exhibition will also feature a fair amount of history on this eccentric icon.

Instagram/@waltermercadotv

While we know he grew up in Puerto Rico, we don’t know much else about his life. This show will hopefully fill in the gaps.

The description states: “Raised in the sugar cane fields of Puerto Rico, Mercado grew up to become a gender non-conforming, cape-wearing, psychic astrologer whose televised horoscopes reached 120 million Latino viewers a day for more than 30 years. One of the world’s most famous astrologers, he is a part of the cultural zeitgeist for Latinos and remains a popular figure that transcends generations.”

And (drum roll, please) on Aug. 2, Walter Mercado will be at the museum for a special public program!

Details about tickets have yet to be revealed, but once they are you know, they’re going to go fast. Everyone wants to get a close look at the Latino icon and his long legacy dictating our lives.

The news is already getting Mercado stans truly hyped.

Credit: @titoman76 / Twitter

The world has been a crazy and uncomfortable place for a while. There is always scary and bad news on the tv whether it is about international crises or the migrant crisis. Fortunately, we have been able to disconnect when Mercado comes on our tv screens.

There is no lack of people willing and ready to buy all of the tickets for this event.

Credit: @daphnee_arana / Twitter

Honestly, if you are planning a trip to Miami around this exhibit, what are you doing? He is one of the greatest stars of the Latino community. He has been giving people astrological readings on tv since 1970. He has been telling our abuelas what their year has to offer for 50 years and it is our duty to show him some respect.

Let’s just take a moment and think about the importance of such an iconic and necessary event.

Credit: @andreagonram / Twitter

Thank you for the decades of advice and guidance, Walter. You made our lives the exciting and interesting rollercoaster it is. If it wasn’t for your advice, we would not know what to do.

If you could meet him, what would you ask?

Click here for more information.

READ: Let’s Take A Moment To Honor The Life And Legacy Of Walter Mercado Who Guides Us Through Life

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