Things That Matter

Latino USA Asks Whether Quinceañeras Can Be A ‘Radical Expression Of Brown Girl Self-Love’

Courtesy of Latino USA

While every culture has its own coming-of-age ritual, quinceañeras are quintessentially Latinx, with various Latin American countries holding on to their own distinct (and sometimes very sparkly) take on the festivities. Because it’s such a rich topic, Latino USA has devoted an entire episode to quinceañeras, and poses an interesting question about this coming-of-age party: “Is it a more radical expression of brown girl self-love than we give it credit for?”

Here’s a little teaser of what you can expect:

Credit: YouTube / Latino USA

In the episode, producer Antonia Cereijido follows Hailey Alexis and her family as they prepare for her party:

We go to the LA fashion district to buy the perfect dress, hear from family friends who are struggling to decide whether to give their own daughter a quinceañera, and hear from the self-proclaimed quince lord whose videos blow up on Instagram. In the process we hear about how the quinceañera is seen as a status symbol, a form of female empowerment, a statement about Latinx identity and also just a really fun party.

With so much discussion and dissenting opinions on whether quinceañeras are outdated relics of another or time or a meaningful cultural practice, wastes of money or an empowering coming-of-age event, it’s definitely worth diving into what they represent not only for Latinx culture as a whole, but for the individual teen girls at the center of the festivities.

Latino USA’s quinceañera episode premieres Friday, September 16 on NPR.

Watch This Girl Dance With Her Brother For The Father-Daughter Dance At Her Quince Because Her Papi Had Just Been Deported

Things That Matter

Watch This Girl Dance With Her Brother For The Father-Daughter Dance At Her Quince Because Her Papi Had Just Been Deported

@prisesaks / Twitter

A quinceañera should be one of the happiest days of a young girl’s life. It’s a giant birthday party meant to celebrate everything about her. It’s her big day. And us Latinos, we go big with quinces. Some parents save their entire lives to throw their daughter’s massive parties.

So that’s why this video, which has since gone viral, is such a big deal.

A young girl is forced to dance with her hermano during the father-daughter dance because her papi has just been deported a week before her party.

This is the heartbreaking video that’s since gone viral.

According to the original poster, @prisesaks, her uncle (who is the birthday girl’s father) Was deported just one week before the young girl’s quinceañera was set to happen. Rather than cancel the event and create more trauma for the family, the event went on as planned but the girl’s younger brother stepped up for the father-daughter dance and OMG the video is seriously too much.

You can feel the emotion of the girl as she wipes away tears and tries so hard to maintain her composure the best she can.

Yes, this is basically us after watching that video.

And we dare you to try and tell us you’re not looking the same right about now.

Like we know we’re not alone.

Like can you imagine looking forward to this super special moment with your papi, to then have him deported. He wasn’t able to attend her event whatsoever.

But then to have her brother come up and do the dance with her so she could still try and enjoy her moment…OMG my heart.

For most it was the sheer emotion of the video but for others it was the song that sent them over the edge.

And, of course, it’s a classic that’s played at father-daughter dances and this young girl sadly wasn’t able to enjoy it with her father.

And many on Twitter were devastated for the young girl because she was probably looking forward to this moment with her father her entire life.

Not only is it a moment she was likely looking forward to but it’s a moment many young women look back on for the rest of their lives. Thankfully, even though her father wasn’t there, her younger brother stepped up and gave her a very meaningful memory.

One Twitter user pointed out that it was a very real threat for many Latinos across the country.

Even if you’re in the country with authorization, simply being brown or looking a certain way, can land you in ICE custody. Even if you’re a US citizen. So many Latinos are being extra cautious when it comes to travel.

For many, it boiled down to the difference between right and wrong.

Many were shocked that our government’s policies were creating heartbreaking situations like this that tear a father apart from his daughter on her special day. But as long as the administration continues to enforce in humane and often racist immigration policies, this could be just the first case of many.

‘Our Quinceañera’ Is A Documentary Featuring A Principal Who Has Been Throwing Quinces For Students Who Can’t Afford Them

Culture

‘Our Quinceañera’ Is A Documentary Featuring A Principal Who Has Been Throwing Quinces For Students Who Can’t Afford Them

In the small Mexican-American town of San Benito in Texas, many girls dream of the day that they will make their debut as women to their family and community. But the tabs for orders of gowns, crowns, food, decorations, and DJs often run so high that for awhile such events for the girls in town were out of reach.

Then, Gilbert Galvan, the principal of San Benito Veterans Memorial Academy, came up with an idea that meant that not a single girl would be forced to miss out on the opportunity to take part in the tradition.

Since 2015, San Benito has hosted an annual quinceañera event for young girls and their families.

CREDIT: Avenida Productions

Nearly five years ago, Gilbert Galvan Sr. found himself being invited to quinceañeras by the students at his school. Then one day, some of the answers from the young women at his school caught his attention. After a few of his female students opened up to him about the fact that they did not have enough money to afford a quinceañera, Galvan Sr. was inspired to do put on a party for them on his own.

In just a matter of months, the educator sought out donations from his community to put on one massive quinceañera. Donations and gifts came in all forms– from cakes and dresses to crowns and the volunteered time of makeup artists and mariachi singers. That was the first year.

In the years that have followed, Galvan Sr. has continued to put on the event where as many as 40 girls have attended at a time. Today, donations for the girls come in from across the country.

The community quinceañera has gained so much attention that it’s now becoming captured in a documentary.

CREDIT: Avenida Productions

As reported by FIERCE by mitú last year, Galvan’s son, Gilbert Galvan Jr. —who has worked in the entertainment industry for ten years— was inspired by his father’s efforts and pitched the event as a documentary concept to Fanny Véliz, the award-winning filmmaker and CEO behind Avenida Productions. Now, having been directed by Véliz and given the name “Our Quinceañera” appears to be closer to its release. According to the documentary’s site, the film is in submission for festivals!

During an interview with FIERCE last year, Galvan Jr. said he hoped the documentary will inspire viewers to “embrace their heritage and celebrate the power of community… We want to document this historic event while empowering and inspiring Latina girls across the country to pursue and achieve their dreams.”

Check out the full trailer below!

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