Entertainment

This Latino WWE Legend Now Works As A Spanish Teacher

Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, there was a Latino wrestler who cemented his place as a WWE fan favorite. His name was Tito Santana.

Credit: WWE
CREDIT: Credit: WWE

The 6-foot-2 Santana, a former football player, was known for his athleticism, his Spanish-language catchphrase (¡Arriba!) and his awesome mullet.

Credit: WWE
CREDIT: Credit: WWE

Santana was a two-time intercontinental champ and two-time tag team champion. Despite his undeniable talent, Santana never won a heavyweight title.

Credit: WWE
CREDIT: Credit: WWE

Toward the end of his WWE career, Santana was given a new gimmick — El Matador — that Santana says he was never quite happy with.

Credit: WWE
CREDIT: Credit: WWE

Santana said he accepted the gimmick because he was promised higher-profile matches, but they never materialized.

Credit: WWE
CREDIT: Credit: WWE

Santana said it felt like a “missed opportunity” to neglect his El Matador gimmick when he remained popular with fans.

In 2004, Santana, who appeared in WrestleMania I through WrestleMania IX, was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Credit: WWE
CREDIT: Credit: WWE

Santana, whose real name is Merced Solis, says he’s grateful for what pro wrestling gave him. The son of migrant workers, Solis says he worked in the fields and didn’t receive a full time education until he was a freshman in high school.

Credit: WWE
CREDIT: Credit: WWE

Solis, who played football at Mission High School, received a scholarship to play college ball at West Texas State University. It was there where he met the team’s quarterback — and future wrestling legend — Tully Blanchard. Tully’s father, Joe, was a wrestling promoter and helped Solis make a career out of wrestling.

After quitting pro wrestling, Solis wasn’t sure what he would do with his life. After trying his hand at Spanish-language announcing in the late ’90s, Solis eventually became a Spanish teacher.

Credit: CBS
CREDIT: Credit: CBS

Solis has been a Spanish teacher at Eisenhower Middle School in New Jersey since 2001.

Solis said he quit wrestling because he missed his wife and family. And unlike other wrestlers who played their characters 24/7, Solis said he kept the two separate to avoid falling into the lifestyle that has claimed the lives of so many pro wrestlers.

Credit: Sports Illustrated
CREDIT: Credit: Sports Illustrated

His wife, Leah Solis, told the New Jersey Star-Ledger: “When he was home he was just a regular guy. He could definitely separate it and so could we.” Santana’s rejection of the “rockstar” lifestyle allowed him to save money and put his three children through school. He also opened a hair salon that is run by his wife, Leah.

It appears that Solis has made a seamless transition from popular wrestler to popular teacher. Take a look at YouTube videos of Tito Santana, and you’ll likely find comments from former and current students:

Credit: Sports Illustrated / YouTube
CREDIT: Credit: Sports Illustrated / YouTube

The 63-year-old Santana, who has continued making special appearances for small wrestling organizations, is confident he made the right choice.

Credit: CBS
CREDIT: Credit: CBS

“I know I’m making a difference and it feels good,” said Solis to CBS News.


READ: Eddie Guerrero was Much More than Just a WWE Superstar

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Netflix’s ‘Gentefied’ Renewed For Season 2, Fans Overjoyed

Entertainment

Netflix’s ‘Gentefied’ Renewed For Season 2, Fans Overjoyed

gentefied / Instagram

Any and all news is welcomed right now and Netflix came through this week. “Gentefied” is coming back for a second season and this is absolutely not a drill. Soon we will be back in Boyle Heights with Ana, Chris, Erik, and the rest of the cast we have come to love so much.

Netflix has confirmed “Gentefied” for a second season.

The show is a fan favorite for Netflix with praise and love pouring in for the groundbreaking show. “Gentefied” is set in Boyle Heights and it is all about the fight against gentrification. The show premiered this year to big fanfare and excitement from Latino Netflix users. The show, created by Marvin Lemus and Linda Yvette Chávez, was picked up for an eight-episode run of the 30-minute show.

The show is one of the most relevant portrayals of the Latino experience in the 21st century.

The show highlights the plight of gentrification on communities across the U.S. Boyle Heights in Los Angeles has been the center of growing tension as the neighborhood slowly gentrifies. Rising rents have forced some residents and businesses to close and leave because of the changing demographic in the neighborhood.

Hearts are full as everyone celebrates the news of a whole new season.

The show originally premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival as a digital series. Lemus and Chávez debuted the show and it was an instant hit with festival-goers. After three years of waiting, the show was released by Netflix and became a national hit. The show has shone a light on the cost of gentrification for more Americans than knew about it before the show aired.

Low key, it has made for perfect binge-watching during this quarantine.

There isn’t a whole lot any of us can do at the moment. Most of us are at home because of self-isolation and social distancing guidelines designed to save lives during the pandemic. Might as well us some of your time to watch and support and very important moment in our community. This kind of representation is something that Latinos have been asking for.

While excited, some fans want more, like a cross-over with Starz’s “Vida.”

Now, just to be clear, we are not concerned with what it takes to make this happen. Netflix and Starz can come up with the actual plan. We are just going to be here waiting to be heard so we can all have the kind of cross-over the world deserves. Just imagine a chance for those two shows to collide in Latino excellence.

Now we wait for an air date.

We are patient. We will be here when you are ready. All you have to do is let us know when to tune in and you know we are coming through.

READ: I Watched ‘Gentefied’ On Netflix And These Are My Brutally Honest Thoughts

Latino Bookstore In North Carolina Faces Very Uncertain Future Just 6 Months After Opening

Things That Matter

Latino Bookstore In North Carolina Faces Very Uncertain Future Just 6 Months After Opening

epiloguebooksch / Instagram

Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews is a relatively new bookstore in Chapel Hill, North Carolina that is facing a very uncertain future. The Latino-owned bookstore opened its doors to the Chapel Hill community six months ago and now COVID-19 is putting their future at risk.

Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews is a Latino-owned bookstore in North Carolina that is fighting to survive COVID-19.

Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews came from a need that the owners saw in downtown Chapel Hill. A bookshop had recently closed in the area so Jamie and Miranda Sanchez knew that it was time for them to help fill that sudden loss.

“We felt like there was a big hole in downtown,” Jaime told The Daily Tar Heel. “A bookshop creates this whole sense of community for the town so we decided to go forward and try to open our own bookstore.”

The bookstore was serving a community that needed a place to gather and discuss ideas after a former bookstore closed its doors.

“The core of our idea began years ago as the union of Jaime’s heritage and Miranda’s passion for writing and the transportive nature of reading. Wanderers and wonderers, our idea continued to grow in the plazuelas of Mexico and the chocolaterías of Spain, in the plazas of every country where such spaces form quasi-families for both the briefest of moments and the longest stretches of time,” reads the bookstore’s website. “In these spaces, people share everything from decadent chocolate to fried street food, to myth-like tales, to the memories of our own childhood selves chasing pigeons and sucking the sticky droplets from paletas off our hands.”

While the bookstore was well received by the community, the COVID-19 pandemic had other plans.

COVID-19 has swept through the U.S. and the number of cases continues to climb. While New York might be seeing fewer cases, the rest of the U.S. is in an uptick. The virus has forced businesses across the country to close or retool to be online only. That is what Epilogue Books Chocolate Brews did to make sure they can weather the storm.

The owners of the bookstore realized they needed to retool their business strategy when students stopped coming back from Spring Break.

“We started adjusting our plans in early March to accommodate for the new lack of traffic,” Jaime told NBC News. “Students weren’t coming back from spring break, so we had originally thought the locals would come out like they did during winter break to take advantage of the lack of downtown traffic, but that obviously didn’t happen because of coronavirus, so we started getting ready to adjust and pivot online for when we’d no longer be able to sustain brick and mortar operations.”

The Sanchezes are keeping their literary dream alive through the pandemic.

“Jaime’s always wanted to open a business and bring a piece of home to it,” Miranda, who is originally from Tijuana, told NBC News. “We felt that continuing that tradition of having a bookstore in the area would be a good mesh, not just of who we are as people but how we want to engage with our community. A community that works to sustain an independent bookshop has certain values.”

Independent bookstores are one of the hardest-hit businesses since readings and events in the spaces have been canceled.

Bookshop started to help struggling independent bookstores weather the storm. COVID-19 has left millions of people without jobs and businesses are having to close permanently because of the virus. Bookshop is giving independent bookstores a chance to survive the closures and social distancing.

Bookstores serve a vital role in communities. They give people a place to gather and share ideas. The easy access to literature can change the lives of children in underprivileged communities but allowing them to see themselves reflected in new lights. They also serve as a place to explore the world around you by flipping open a book cover.

If you have time on your hands and enjoy reading, check out Bookshop and build up that 2020 reading list.

READ: Celebrities Are Reading Children’s Books To Help Parents And Children Cope With COVID-19