Entertainment

If You Remember The Homies Toys, Their Story Is Even Better

Homies / Facebook

In the late ’90s, Homies figurines became a hit seemingly out of nowhere. Kids went from collecting fake jewelry and those little green soldier toys to collecting figurines inspired by Los Angeles lowrider culture. What began as the creator’s teenage passion art project turned into a major company that brought attention (and criticism) to a culture that was often overlooked.

Remember these vending machines? They were often stocked with gumballs, fake jewelry, temporary tattoos and sometimes, Homies figurines.

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Credit: Homies / Facebook

If Homies sound familar, you might recognize these little dudes.

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Credit: tuesdaymoon94553 / Twenty20

These little Homies made their debut in the late 1990s and they definitely left their mark on Chicano culture. You may have pulled out a quarter (or begged your parents for one) to get a figurine from the vending machine.


They were created by artist David Gonzales. His inspiration for Homies? His homies.

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Credit: Homies / Facebook

Homies were born out of Gonzales’ own love of creating art. At 16, Gonzales started to capture the people of his neighborhood of Richmond, CA where, as Gonzales recalls, every kid in the neighborhood wanted a lowrider for their first car. His first drawings were inspired by his own homies and his first goal was just to have fun with his friends.

“[I] wanted to make my own homies laugh,” Gonzales told mitú. “When they saw the sketch I did of them… it was instant laughter.”

But it was more than just his friends that inspired his art. Gonzales fell in love with lowrider culture as a teen and he says that that too impacted his art.

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Credit: Homies / Facebook

While at a dance as a teen, he witnessed the power and love of lowrider culture.

“I saw a ’75 creme-colored Caprice Classic cruising in front of the hall with only its parking lights on. The whole crowd of homies hanging out front stopped to stare and whistle at it,” Gonzales recalls. “It was slammed to the ground and was one of the prettiest things I had ever seen. I fell in love with lowriders and lowriding culture that night.”


Gonzales was only 16 when he created the seed of Homies figurines: the Chicano comic strip “Mr. Hollywood.”

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Credit: Homies / Facebook

The comic strip was the start of the Homies franchise. At the beginning, Gonzales said he never based his characters off just one person. What he did was he took personalities, styles and names from his homies and mixed and matched to create his characters. Still, the comics were more about just having fun and expressing his culture than reaching for a specific goal.

“No goals except to make my homies laugh and to finish a strip,” Gonzales told mitú about his initial purpose of creating Homies at 16 years old. “I was really slow drawing and spent much of my free time partying. I had no idea what I was creating would be my life’s legacy.”

As Gonzales grew older, he found a full-time job utilizing his art skills…for the U.S. Postal Service.

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Credit: Homies / Facebook

“Only full-time job I had before I began drawing Homies for a living was I was a U.S. Postal Service employee,” Gonzales recalled. “I started as a clerk there and eventually became a full-time illustrator before leaving to start my first T-shirt company with Homies as my anchor brand.”

Before the figurines, Homies was focused on art and t-shirts.

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Credit: Homies / Facebook

Though this was the way Homies first entered the world, it wasn’t long until the business stalled and needed a transformation.

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Credit: Homies / Facebook

“When the run with the Homies T-shirt line ended, before we began selling toys, and I was very close to having my company fall into bankruptcy,” Gonzales told mitú. “We overcame it by perseverance, hard work and good fortune.”

Even though Gonzales almost lost the Homies company to bankruptcy, he kept fighting to keep it afloat.

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Credit: Erick Parra

^^ Words to live by.


Gonzales eventually hooked up with a vending machine company which tried out Homies toys as a “gimmick.” The gimmick? Homies were originally sold as parachute men in vending machines.

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Credit: Homies / Facebook

That’s right. Instead of green plastic soldiers, they used Homies figurines. And people loved ’em. “The marketplace went nuts as they bought the parachute toys to collect the figurines attached,” Gonzales told mitú.

However, while most people were hyped about the release of Homies figurines, others criticized the toy line.

Credit: Homies / Facebook
CREDIT: Credit: Homies / Facebook

“It hurt, and I probably took it too seriously,” Gonzales told mitú about the criticism and backlash he received from releasing the toy line. Gonzales felt like his toys were unfairly criticized for perpetuating stereotypes. He says he was only trying to reflect the culture he grew up with: “I felt we were misunderstood as a culture. Not Mexican, not American, not Texan, not anything but California Chicanos into lowriding. Yes, gangs were part of the barrios we came from, but we were not all gangbangers. Our dress was our lifestyle, and our cars were also.”

Mitú asked Gonzales how he has seen the perception of his brand change over time and this is what he had to say:

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Credit: Erick Parra

Yet, despite the previous criticism, Homies will be relaunching in the near future. Gonzales knows that his brand is more recognized by an older generation, but that’s okay.

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Credit: Homies / Facebook

“I feel confident that the older kids… from 15 to 60, will gravitate to the relaunched Homies as it will take them back to a happy place in their lives,” Gonzales told mitú about his hopes for the relaunch. “Where they collected the Homies from vending machines.”

READ: This Janitor Started From The Bottom… And Then, He Invented Hot Cheetos

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The Internet Is Cheering This Former Bus Boy Who Is Now Running His Own Sushi Restaurant

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The Internet Is Cheering This Former Bus Boy Who Is Now Running His Own Sushi Restaurant

mariscosysushitomateros / Instagram

For almost 15 years, Edgar Baca worked as a busser at Nobu Malibu, a high-end Japanese restaurant established by chef Nobu Matsuhisa, until he was finally able to open his own restaurant ⁠— Mariscos y Sushi Los Tomateros

Baca delivers high-quality seafood, making this a great spot for those who want to indulge in delicious sushi or Sinaloan mariscos.

Credit: Yelp.com

Baca worked in the same position as a busser for nearly 15 years, hoping to see the day when he would be able to open his restaurant. Those years gave him the necessary skills to create exquisite dishes that are satisfying, visually appetizing and most importantly – affordable. 

Inspired from the innovative cuisine at Nobu, Baca creates creative sushi dishes with a Mexican twist.

Credit: mariscosysushitomateros / Instagram

For example, the Guamuchilito roll that is stuffed with seafood and topped with avocado and tampico sauce is named after a town in Culiacán, Mexico. Another roll they have is the strawberry roll that has shrimp tempura, cucumber, strawberries, and tamarindo sauce. However, sushi isn’t the only item served at this restaurant. The menu at Los Tomateros also consists of traditional Mexican dishes, such as ceviche, tacos, molcajete, aguachile and so much more. 

As an immigrant from Culiacán, Baca pays homage to his hometown with his restaurant and food, dropping little hints of his home throughout.

For example, the logo of Los Tomateros is a tomato with chopsticks, as the tomato is a prominent vegetable grown in Sinaloa. Los Tomateros is also the name of a popular baseball team in Culiacán. Baca is proud to show off his roots and is unafraid to experiment with traditional and well-known recipes to create the items on his menu.  

Baca is also cooking for people like him as the average meal at Nobu costs about $30-$60.

Credit: Yelp.com

Although the menu at Mariscos y Sushi Los Tomateros doesn’t consist of Rosemary Panko Crusted New Zealand Lamb Chop’s or Scallop Truffle Chips, Los Tomateros brings a little taste of Sinaloa to Los Angeles.

However, Baca does carry Yellowtail Yusu in his restaurant.

Credit: mariscosysushitomateros / Instagram

The Yellowtail Yusu dish that Los Tomateros serves is similar to a popular item found on the Nobu Malibu menu that is approximately $30. The dish is expensive, but Baca is able to recreate it beautifully for less and introduce it to folks in the community that may never have the opportunity to dine at Nobu. Baca is establishing his own spin on sushi, proving that you don’t have to go an expensive restaurant to get delicious and high-quality seafood. 

Mariscos y Sushi Los Tomateros is the outcome of years of sacrifice, savings, and hard work. 

In the beginning, Baca worked two shifts at Nobu and faced sleepless nights to make his restaurant a reality. Baca started small, first cooking from his home for his coworkers at Nobu the traditional Mexican dishes they craved, then he began cooking for celebrities. His determination to make his business and delicious food did not go unnoticed as he has catered events for famous Mexican figures, such as soccer player Carlos Vela. 

At some points in his career, Baca struggled to keep his restaurant afloat and was left without electricity or the money to buy the proper ingredients to cook his dishes. He would call his relatives for help, asking for funds to maintain his business. All this to keep his dream alive. 

Baca’s goal to own his own restaurant and be the boss of his locale is a goal that is shared by many immigrants around the United States.

After all, it is the American dream to have your own business, but it is not easy to obtain. Baca demonstrated a lot of patience as he stayed at the same job for almost 15 years to make Mariscos y Sushi Los Tomateros happen. However, it’s more than just having the money to fund your business. Baca has the skill to mix traditional cuisines together to create something amazing. Moreover, the knowledge from working at Nobu allows him to cook exquisite meals. It was not easy for Baca to get to where he is today as it took years before he was able to see the fruits of his labor materialize, but it did eventually happen. Baca fought hard to keep his dream afloat and did not let the setbacks hinder his success as an entrepreneur.

If you find yourself in the Lynwood, California area, make sure to check out Mariscos y Sushi Los Tomateros and try some of their mariscos that are 100% Sinaloense! 

Artists Open Cuba’s First Ever Sex Store, But It Won’t Last Long

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Artists Open Cuba’s First Ever Sex Store, But It Won’t Last Long

Cuba has come a long way since the communist rule of Fidel Castro. A lot of restrictions have been lifted including travel from the U.S. to the island (despite some Trump-era issues). Yet, there’s still a lot that the government there forbids including some luxuries that we can easily buy anytime we please.

Cuba forbids the sale of any obscene items, which means there are no sex shops until now.

Credit: consolezvous1 / Instagram

In New York, there are sex shops in every neighborhood. Even in the Bible belt, you can score sex toys at Adam & Eve, but in Cuba, it’s a whole different story. The island does not give out licenses or permits to vendors who sell anything sexual related. If you want a dildo, you have to sneak it into the country in your suitcase — that’s what the New York Post is reporting.

A group of artists successfully opened a sex pop-up store called “Consolez Vous” because technically it is “art” and not a typical business.

Credit: consolezvous1 / Instagram

Yanahara Mauri, Javier Alejandro Bobadilla, and Joan Díaz sought out to open a pop-up sex shop at this year’s Havana Biennial and to their surprise were approved.

“We want to break the taboos,” Mauri told the Post. “In the rest of the world, this is normal now.”

The group creates the sex toys in Cuba and use resources such as “entwined fish line for whips and resin for dildos.”

Credit: consolezvous1 / Instagram

While demand continues to increase, according to the publication, some customers have complained that their sex toys aren’t as smooth as the silicone products that are sold everywhere else.

“At the end of the day, we are not harming anyone,” Ernesto said. “On the contrary, we are giving people benefits.”

The sex shop might be a pop-up but a lot of people are hoping they could become a regular occurrence on the island.

Credit: consolezvous1 / Instagram

What do you think about this pop up shop? Let us know your thoughts by commenting on the Facebook post.

READ: Here’s How Cuba’s Tumultuous History Forced A Cuban Diaspora That Changed The World