Entertainment

This Ex-Gang Member Used To Run The Streets Of L.A., Now He’s An Emmy-Nominated Actor

Summit Entertainment and Jason Merritt / Getty

Richard Cabral’s life story of reformed gang member turned Hollywood star is so remarkable and rare that if you saw it in a movie you’d be like,”Come on, that sh*t ain’t real.” But it’s for real. He went from nearly spending his life in jail for trying to kill a man to earning an Emmy nomination for his work on a critically-acclaimed TV drama. Make no mistake, his success didn’t come by chance, it came by choice.

Cabral’s story starts in East L.A., where he was born to a single mother in the early ’80s.

Cabral’s pops left his family early on, so Cabral found himself growing up with no one to guide him.

As a teenager, Cabral looked to gangs for a sense of belonging.

Cabral told Indiewire: “You’re trying to find yourself, are getting ready to go to high school and as this world teaches you, you must ‘belong’ to something.” Cabral’s family was involved in gangs since the ’70s, so when he joined a gang at 13, he says the lifestyle was completely familiar to him.

Like many young people who get caught up in gang life, Cabral spent his most of his teenage years in and out of jail.

It's about to go down!!! #Americancrime #TV @americancrimeabc @abcnetwork #HectorTonz #AmericanCrimefans

A photo posted by Richard Cabral (@richardcabralofficial) on

His first arrest for stealing a wallet happened when he was just 14 years old. By the time he was 15, Cabral was dealing crystal meth and became addicted to crack.

At 20 years old, he shot a man for no good reason.

Out of jail and up to no good, Cabral asked a random guy he saw hanging out in Montebello, CA what gang he belonged to. When the guy answered, “I don’t fucking bang,” Cabral punched the dude and they started fighting. The fight was broken up when someone yelled that the police were coming. It could have all ended there, but Cabral was carrying a gun. He ended up shooting the other guy who, thankfully, survived.

The day before Cabral was supposed to go to trial for attempted murder, he accepted a plea deal.

He was facing 35 years to life. Not wanting to spend most of his adult life behind bars, he pleaded “no contest” to assault with a deadly weapon.

He served 27 months in jail, where he got…

Embrace where you come from, it's what makes you. ?: @pochoone #Montebello #LosAngeles #AmericanCrime

A photo posted by Richard Cabral (@richardcabralofficial) on

…lots and lots of tattoos.

When Cabral was released from jail, he was ready to change his life.

Homeboy Industries

His friends directed him to Homeboy Industries, a gang-intervention program with the motto, “nothing stops a bullet like a job.”

Soon, he went Hollywood.

"Hope Has An Address" ▪ ️At Homeboy Industries checking out @fabiandebora's beautiful art. #HealingThroughArt

A photo posted by Richard Cabral (@richardcabralofficial) on

Homeboy Industries hooked him up with some auditions via Central Casting for background roles in TV and movies. Cabral says, “I remember my first thing was ‘CSI: Miami,’ I played a Cuban gangster. And that was it. I was like: ‘Wow, I don’t have to clean toilets.’ I could actually dress up and get paid equivalent to that. So that was my introduction into the Hollywood industry.”

Cabral eventually went from playing background roles to earning speaking roles.

His first speaking role came in 2009, on the show “Southland.”

Maybe you remember him as the guy from Bruno Mars’ video for “Grenade.”

Richard Cabral in Bruno Mars video

Or as Demon in the movie “End of Watch.”

demon-end-of-watch

Eventually, Cabral landed the perfect role in “American Crime.”

Credit: ABC Television Network / YouTube

Cabral was tasked with playing Hector Tontz, a character described as a “young man who has lived life on the fringes of society and has made bad decisions just to survive.”

Cabral’s performance was so nuanced and convincing that he was nominated for a 2015 Emmy.

Emmys here we come!! #AmericanCrime

A photo posted by Richard Cabral (@richardcabralofficial) on

Here he is, lookin’ sharp with his wife, on the red carpet at the 2015 Emmys.cabral-wife-emmys

Credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty

The accolades and success are nice, but, more importantly, acting allows Cabral to be a voice in his community.

The Next Generation. Poetry from the Streets @EastsidePoetry. #PassingOnTheTorch #HealingThroughArt ?: @pochoone

A photo posted by Richard Cabral (@richardcabralofficial) on

Acting has provided Cabral with a platform to help and inspire others who may be growing up under similar circumstances. He says, “There’s so many ways to be a voice and that’s what I’m figuring out. Being an artist, being an actor, it’s about telling stories that could heal, that could open up discussion that could make the community better. There are many (Latino) stories that need to be told and haven’t been told right. If I could help be that voice then that’s what I’m going to do, because this is a reality for me.”

And the community is listening to and proud of Cabral. He even has a burrito named after him.

A friend who owns a Mexican restaurant called Cabral to let him know that he was so proud of Cabral, he was naming a burrito after him. “It’s nothing like changing or helping a person find themselves, but who would’ve thought that I would make it to a point in my life where somebody would be naming a damn burrito after me,” says Cabral.

Playing several roles as a gang member may not seem like a stretch – it could even be interpreted as typecasting.

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Credit: Tommaso Boddi / Getty

But Cabral brings an authenticity and depth to his roles that keeps them from being the same old stereotypes we’ve seen time and time again. Cabral has evolved as a person and he’s now poised to evolve as an actor.

READ: A Mexican Artist Made Bear Rugs Out of Gang Members from MS-13

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A Viral Tweet Claims Disney Took The Story Of ‘Coco’ From A Family In Mexico And There Is A Lot Of Debate

Entertainment

A Viral Tweet Claims Disney Took The Story Of ‘Coco’ From A Family In Mexico And There Is A Lot Of Debate

There is a viral tweet by an aspiring YouTuber in Wisconsin is making the rounds on social media claiming that Disney took the story of “Coco” from a family in Santa Fe de la Laguna, Quiroga, Michoacán, Mexico. While the woman pictured in the tweet and the character of Mama Coco is very similar, there is a lot of doubt about the tweet’s accuracy. It seems like the tweet is a good example of not believe everything you hear or see on social media as pure fact.

A viral tweet is claiming that Disney created characters based on the appearance of a family in Mexico and hasn’t compensated them.

Credit: @coral_seashell / Twitter

The two are very similar in appearance, obviously. The viral success of the tweet proves that people are willing to believe that this happened. Many are even sharing their own photos showing that they met the woman in Mexico after traveling there due to the success of “Coco.”

Others claim to have met another woman in the same town who is the inspiration for Mama Elena.

Credit: @Elllllllieezz / Twitter

Creatives who worked on “Coco” did exhaustive research to make sure they got the movie right. It is crucial that corporations portray cultures and cultural events right in the 21st century. There is hypersensitivity and a strong expectation for companies to do their due diligence to guarantee that culturally relevant materials are done correctly. In that vein, Disney/Pixar did send people to Mexico to research and study up on the customs surrounding Día de los Muertos.

They did visit places in Mexico and there are moments in the film where you see recreations of structures they encountered on their trip. Disney has never denied visiting places in Mexico to do research and that parts of the film are inspired by things they have seen. However, according to responses to the tweet, there are a lot of people who think Disney did more than just get inspired by these places and the people.

The tweet caught the attention of co-director Lee Unkrich.

Credit: @coral_seashell / Twitter

The accusations have really caught fire on Twitter with little to no information backing claims. While the tweet claims the family was not compensated, Disney denies it was based on the family despite the striking similarities. There is also no evidence presented that the family nor people in the town that were interviewed signed contracts for compensation from Disney.

The daughter of animator Daniel Arriaga took to Twitter to combat the narrative she says is false.

Credit: @alyssaaestrella / Twitter

Twitter users responded to Alyssa claiming that it doesn’t matter and that the families should be compensated for the interviews and information obtained.

Another man shared a photo in 2017 showing that his grandmother was the woman they based Mama Elena on.

Credit: Brandon Guzman / Facebook

“For those of you who read my previous post about Coco…here is my abuela,” Brandon Guzman posted on Facebook two years ago. “It was her who they modeled the Abuela with the chancla in the movie after!! I’m a proud grandson!! #Pixar #Disney #Coco #LatinosInHollywood”

However, the person who originally posted the viral tweet is using the similarities in the movie and locations to push their point.

Credit: @coral_seashell / Twitter

There is no denying that some bits of Mexico made it into the movie. However, it can be argued that it was done to further the authenticity of the movie and the storyline for people wanting to see themselves represented.

There is no winning or losing this argument as people will believe what they want.

Despite people who worked on or related to those who worked on denying the story, the rumor of Disney causing harm to a community in Mexico.

Those standing up for Disney are calling attention to the dangers of believing everything you see on the internet.

Credit: @Scarletttt_x3 / Twitter

There have been multiple instances of people blindly believing things that are posted on social media. The lack of necessary fact-checking before posting has led to misinformation spreading unchecked on social media. It is up to the users to make sure that they do their own research and determine what is true or not. As for this story, it seems the internet will forever be torn over the validity of the claims made.

READ: These Fans Theories About What A ‘Coco’ Sequel Would Look Like Sees Miguel At 17 And Returning To The Land Of The Dead

Here’s Why Everyone Is Talking About Hulu’s ‘Culture Shock’ A Horror Film That Highlights The Migrant Crisis

Entertainment

Here’s Why Everyone Is Talking About Hulu’s ‘Culture Shock’ A Horror Film That Highlights The Migrant Crisis

In the most recent installment of Blumhouse’s “Into the Dark” Hulu TV movie anthology series, “Culture Shock”, a story about a Mexican woman who finds herself trapped in a warped American utopia after attempting to cross the border, Blumhouse explores the horrors of the migrant crisis, adding a dose of supernatural to the already chilling situation many migrants are face when striving for a better life. 

“Culture Shock” follows Marisol, played by Mexican actress Martha Higareda, a poor young pregnant woman living in Mexico who dreams of a better life for her and her unborn child.

Hulu

“Culture Shock” immediately establishes the harrowing conditions that many immigrants face in their home countries before deciding to emigrate. Indeed, one of “Culture Shock”‘s first scenes shows Marisol being raped by Oscar, a man we had previously been led to believe was her loving boyfriend. Shortly after, we also discover that Oscar stole money she had given him to secure her passage across the border to the U.S. This leaves Martha stranded and alone in her home country of Mexico, and also now carrying the child of the man who assaulted her, which adds even more urgency to her situation.

Marisol bravely decides to attempt the crossing one more time to secure a future for her and her baby, paying a “coyote” hundreds of dollars to help smuggle her into the U.S. The journey isn’t an easy one–at nearly every stop on the way to America, Marisol is strong-armed into giving every new handler additional money–money that she wasn’t told about before. If nothing, “Culture Shock” gives a realistic, if infuriating,  portrayal of all of the injustice desperate migrants are subjected to while trying to cross the border. And the danger is steeper than ever for Marisol, a single woman who is also pregnant. The threat of sexual violence on Marisol’s body is constant, and what’s more disturbing is how habituated to sexual and other forms of violence she seems to be. It’s just another subtle nod towards her complicated and traumatic history.

After being caught at the U.S. border, Marisol wakes up in a pastel-colored paradise that embodies the American dream in every aspect: the residents are beaming, the food is delicious and abundant, and the pervading sense of peace and harmony of the so-called town of “Cape Joy” easily lulls Marisol into an immediate sense of security. It’s here that the director, Latina auteur Gigi Saul Guerrero, begins to flex her artistic muscles. The cinematography is disorienting, with off-center and odd-angled close-ups, quick cutaways that mimic Marisol’s constant confusion, and a visual stark contrast between Marisol’s old, dreary life in Mexico and her new, vibrant life in Cape Joy, USA.  

But something isn’t right in Cape Joy.

Hulu

Not only does Marisol have no recent memories of what happened to her after being caught by US Border Patrol, but the fellow immigrants she crossed over with have no idea who she is. And while Marisol mysteriously gave birth to her baby while she was presumably unconscious, she’s never allowed to hold her. When Marisol expresses concern to her host mother, Betty (Barbara Crampton) about her missing old belongings, Betty tells her: “Don’t worry about what you’ve lost. Think instead of all that you’ve gained.” It’s lines like this, which are obviously meant to convey more than just the literal meaning of the words, that the movie leans hard into.

Throughout “Into the Dark”, there is an underlying current of not-so-subtle political messaging that makes it obvious that this movie isn’t your typical straight-forward horror film. It’s as much a vehicle for social commentary and critique on the migrant crisis and America’s inhumane treatment of migrants at the border as it is about delivering stomach-churning gore and jump scares. The movie, directed by,  confirms the existential fear many migrants have of looked at as sub-human when they try to cross the border. Sometimes, the social commentary comes off as a little too on-the-nose, with Big-Bads saying things such as: “Nobody gives a fuck about these people,” and “We’re not paid to give [them] the American Dream. We’re paid to keep them out of it”. 

When the mystery behind the oddness of Cape Joy is finally revealed, the element of sci-fi and horror that’s added to Marisol’s story can almost feel like a relief, purely due to its obvious fictional tropes. The more terrifying parts of the movie–the abusive boyfriends, the violent men, the human traffickers, and the Mexican cartel–are arguably more frightening than the supernatural parts.

And lest, while watching, you trick yourself into thinking the movie isn’t really a horror movie, prepare yourself for a few jarring scenes.

Hulu

The climax of the movie is an extremely gruesome and violently gory climax that establishes the anthology installment as exactly what it markets itself as: a horror movie. But as we’ve seen in headlines that flood the TV, the newspapers, and our phones, sometimes, reality can be more horrifying than fiction. 

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