Entertainment

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Homeboy Industries

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

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

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

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

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

cabral-504166542
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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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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