Things That Matter

The Stonewall Inn Is The First LGBTQ National Monument And This Is Why It Matters To Latinos

Credit: The White House / YouTube

It all started with a trans Latina.

The Stonewall Inn has officially been designated as the first national monument dedicated to the history of LGBTQ Americans. What began as yet another police raid on a queer safe space turned into a three-day protest sparking the gay rights movement. And who led the protests? Sylvia Rivera, a trans woman of Puerto Rican and Venezuelan heritage. Rivera began dressing in drag in 1961 and lived on the streets. It was at The Stonewall Inn that she and so many other LGBTQ Americans in New York in the 1960s sought refuge.


Bar patrons fought back against the police offiers who threatened to raid the bar and arrest everyone present. When Rivera saw the commotion, she knew this was the time for a revolution. In her own words, she threw the second molotov cocktail that lit the fire, literally and figuratively, of the gay rights movement nationwide


“I’m not missing a a minute of this,” Rivera told her lover that night, according to “The New York Times.” “It’s a revolution.”


History and a recent movie have tried whitewashing the contributions of LGBTQ people of color made at the start of the gay rights movement. In fact, there were calls for a boycott of “Stonewall,” the movie that claimed to be a portrayal of the Stonewall riots, but erased key black and Latino trans activists who started the fight. Today, all the people involved, including Sylvia Rivera, are remembered as starting the movement almost 50 years ago that continues today. That’s LGBTQ history. That’s our history.


Happy Pride Month, y’all!


READ: Anti-Gay Pastor Who Wants The LGBTQ Community Killed Does Not Speak For Latinos

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The NYC Blackout Forced J.Lo To Cancel Her Concert But She Came Back Better Than Ever

Entertainment

The NYC Blackout Forced J.Lo To Cancel Her Concert But She Came Back Better Than Ever

jlo / Instagram

Jennifer Lopez’s “It’s My Party” Tour was set to reach its pinnacle as the Puerto Rican icon returned to her home barrio, New York City, on Saturday, July 13. Instead, the sold out Madison Square Garden show was evacuated after a city-wide blackout turned Madison Square Garden (MSG) dark. 

While StubHub reportedly refunded $500k to customers affected by the blackout, along with other suffering businesses, J.Lo was quick to action because her party ain’t over till she says it is.

When the lights went off, fans turned on their phone lights to light up the arena.

Credit: @jlo / Twitter

In video footage posted by J.Lo on her social media accounts, you can see the 49-year-old knockout performing for her loudest, most loyal fans when everything went black. Fans started to scream, and although J.Lo’s microphone cut out, she starts to tell the crowd, “Don’t panic. Everybody, stay calm.”

The singer quickly took to social media to blast her thoughts out to her fans.

Credit: @jlo / Twitter

Since nobody could hear her, she brilliantly sent a message through to everyone with a selfie video. “Hi guys, we’re backstage. They just told me to get off stage… They’re asking everyone to evacuate very slowly and calmly and that’s what we’re going to have to do,” she tells the camera. She tweeted out to her fans, “Heartbroken to say tonight’s show is cancelled. We will reschedule. Love you all!!! Stay safe! ❤️ #ItsMyPartyTour”

Some thought her fire caused the NYC blackout.

Credit: @jlo / Twitter

In a video she posted to Twitter, we hear someone telling Jennifer, “New York just wasn’t ready for you.” J.Lo agreed.

J.Lo posted several more videos that night expressing to her fans how “heartbroken” she was to have to cancel the show.

Credit: @jlo / Twitter

“Devastated and heartbroken that I can’t perform for all of you tonight. We will make this up to you, I promise!” she tweeted alongside the video. And that she did. :’ )

Later, she shared a video of her finding out the show could be rescheduled for the upcoming Monday.

Credit: @jlo / Twitter

“UGHHHH, this sucks. This SUCKS, she frustratingly shouted into a phone.” We see her with fiancé Alex Rodriguez and her team in a business meeting where the person on the other end of the phone confirmed that MSG could reschedule her concert for Monday.

J.Lo made sure to bring the whole Madison Square Garden to its feet during rescheduled concert.

The blackout might have stopped her concert in its tracks but that would never hold J.Lo down. She promised to deliver a performance for her fans and she did just that.

The singer is celebrating her 50th birthday like only she can and fans approve.

Way to go, J.Lo. That’s how you deliver a show to your fans.

Of course, A-Rod was there with all of the support.

Credit: @AROD / Twitter

Alex Rodriguez is the attentive and supportive partner everyone deserves. He seems to always be there for her performances and his unyielding support of her is something we can all cry over.

Even though she’s going to perform in a different city the very next day, she’s making The Garden show round two happen the night before.

Credit: @MySimple_Life / Twitter
“I just want to let you guys know that you’re going to get your money’s worth, that we are going to come back and do an amazing show for you. I am so sorry that this happened. Obviously, it was all beyond our control,” she told fans just hours before following through on her promise. 

This morning, she tweeted “The party’s not over til I say it is…. See you tonight, NYC!!!!!!!!”

Credit: @momdcpac / Twitter

You can’t stop a Puerto Rican fire. ; ) J.Lo’s swift action and obvious disappointment for her fans has just reinvigorated her fanbase.

Meanwhile, around the city, Latinos were taking in the city sin luz.

Credit: @Joseph_Mora78 / Twitter

As the sun set on the city, it’s usually bright cityscape was absolutely pitch dark. Citizens started directing traffic, including directing police cars in the right direction. A Symphony Hall orchestra moved their performance to the middle of a busy New York street, making it open to the public.

Bodegas kept doing their thing.

Credit: @AliBaumanTv / Twitter

The metaphorical and literal cornerstone of NYC and Latino culture remained the hub for socializing and snacking.

Broadway just took their performances to the street.

Credit: @Hadestown / Twitter

Lin-Manuel Miranda tweeted an incredible video of André and company freestyling about the blackout, during the blackout, to keep the Hadestown performance alive.

Kulture still had a “lit” 1st birthday party during the blackout.

Credit: @iamcardib / Instagram

In an Instagram live video posted Sunday, Cardi B told her fans that her baby’s first birthday party “was so lit that I lost my motherf–king nail. Let me tell ya’ll something, ya’ll made it lit was the fact that I had got there, the lights went off in the party, it was like a whole hour with no lights, no music. But it was…lit!”

Here’s what we learned. A blackout may turn off the power in the City of Lights, but it can’t stop culture from doing its thing.

READ: A Valedictorian Wasn’t Allowed To Give A Speech Because He’s Gay, So J.Lo Came To His Hometown To Bring His Noise

The Black Majesty At The Afro-Latino Fest NYC This Weekend Is What Dreams Are Made Of

Culture

The Black Majesty At The Afro-Latino Fest NYC This Weekend Is What Dreams Are Made Of

#afrolatinofestnyc / Instagram

With six years of celebrating Afro-Latinidad behind them, Afro-Latino Fest took to New York City for the seventh time running and it was better than ever. Latino Rebels and Futuro Media group partnered to create a social entrepreneur workshop, creating more much-needed access, and Afrolatin Talks launched their Podcast series to a live audience.

With live music, indoor and outdoor stages, and coalescence of uninterrupted culture-affirming celebration all weekend long, you can bet the whole event was like a POC dream come true.

In the last U.S. Census, more than 25 percent of all those claiming Afro-Latino heritage report living in New York City.

Credit: @blackownedbklyn / Instagram

So it makes sense that Afro-Latino Fest would go down in Brooklyn, where the bulk of the community already lives. In the last census, only 2.5 percent of all Latinos also identified as Black, which makes Brooklyn an especially special place.

Latin flags were held and celebrated showing the diversity of the Afro-Latino community.

Credit: @kirstensmetsx / Instagram

That’s just what you do at the Afro-Latino Fest. You don’t have to be afraid of someone coming up to you asking if you’re an American or be in fear to express cultural pride.

The music was next-level increíble.

Credit: @blackownedbklyn / Instagram

Internet community Black Owned Brooklyn couldn’t have described the event any better: “Celebrating all things Afrolatinidad — from music, dance and food to politics, philosophy and religion — the Afro-Latino Festival (@afrolatinofestivalnyc) returned to Brooklyn last weekend for its seventh edition. Run by husband-and-wife duo Amilcar Priestley and Mai-Elka Prado Gil (both from Brooklyn by way of Panama), the event started in 2013 as a small gathering at Flatbush’s Parkside Train Station Plaza to “affirm, celebrate and educate” around the contributions of people of African descent from Latin America and the Caribbean. It has since evolved into a two-day festival, most recently at City Point in downtown Brooklyn, featuring music from eight countries across three stages. 🇵🇦 🇩🇴 🇵🇷 🇭🇹 🇭🇳 🇨🇺 🇨🇴 🇧🇷 ⠀”

There were chingona level DJ’s setting the party mood.

Credit: @blackownedbklyn / Instagram

These identical twins, Coco and Breezy, were just one set in a lineup of incredible performance artists like Puerto Rican spoken-word poet, Felipe Luciano, Dominican singer, José Alberto “El Canario,” Haitian-American singer Tadia and all-women Mariachi group Flor de Toloache. 

Afro-Latinos of all ages were able let loose a little bit.

Credit: @blackownedbklyn / Instagram

Every child was made to feel like royalty, with Afro-Latino owned vendors like “A Princess Like Me” in attendance. This was a family event.

Of course, there were bubbles for los niños.

Credit: @aprincesslikemenyc / Instagram

Who doesn’t love a good bubble machine?! Unlike the parties many of us went to as kids, there were actual children’s events to look forward to after rubbing the red lipstick off your face from all the tía besitos. Plus, who doesn’t want to hang out with Elena of Avalor?

The festival was all about community.

Credit: @aprincesslikemenyc / Instagram

And representing your whole heritage with pride. With the festival in its seventh year running, some of the children knew each other from the year before and others made fast friends.

The festival empowered Afro-Latino vendors to empower young Afro-Latino niños to be themselves.

Credit: @aprincesslikemenyc / Instagram

Caption: “Thank you @afrolatinofestivalnyc for booking us and giving OUR kids a place to freely run, play, dance and color with PRIDE! Our Latina Princess met amazing little Latina princesses too 👑👑👑🥰 where we hosted the entire kids zone at @citypointbklyn !!! Empowering our girls one princess & party character at a time. With live singing, makeup, nails, tattoos, dancing and more we bring the party to you! Ensuring your child has the best party possible for the lowest cost in NYC it’s no wonder we only have top ratings! Ps ask us about our customized characters and package options.”

We hope they get even more business after the festival’s long over.

It also empowered Afro-Latina‘s all over the place.

Credit: @bxmary80 / Instagram

“I am so excited! #laborinqueña #Brooklyn,” wrote this festival goer. She even got to meet the artist that created the highly anticipated “La Borinqueña” superhero comic, which celebrates a Black Puerto Rican woman as the protagonist.

At the end of the day, the event was all about family.

Credit: @cjrbarnes / Instagram

The young man in this photo expressed his gratitude for the event with a post on Instagram that read, “As the son of a 🇯🇲 [Jamaican] Immigrant and a 🇨🇺[Cuban] American, I’m blessed to be able to identity with both my Caribbean and African roots. @AfroLatinoFestivalNYC exemplifies all of the richness that Africa has on our beautiful Latinx counterparts—culture personified!🌍”

READ: From Maxwell To Cardi B, These Afro-Latinos Are A Driving Force In The Music Industry Today

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