“There’s a little present for Mr. Trump so that every time you judge us you can think who is building your towers? We are.”
Diego Reyna is a construction worker in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Reyna is one of the people working to build Donald Trump’s new shiny tower in the middle of downtown Vancouver. He decided to remind Trump of who helped build his multi-billion dollar empire: immigrants.
He starts the video by giving viewers a “tour” of the view from atop the tower when he points out a Mexican flag that he placed at the top for the world to see. After all, many of Trump’s towers would not be here today if it was not for the immigrants who built them, and some of those immigrants wereundocumented. Heck, even some of his regular employees in the hotels are undocumented immigrants, like Ricardo Aca.
“From the drywall to the concrete finish to the steel framing to the cleaning and the scrap, this building is standing here today thanks to us, to our hard work and out labor,” Reyna says in the video. “There’s a little present for Mr. Trump so that every time you judge us you can think who is building your towers? We are.”
Here is the Facebook post at the center of the story.
WHY DID I PUT A MEXICAN FLAG ON THE ROOF TOP OF TRUMP TOWER VANCOUVER, ?????? Because from the concrete pouring,…
“MR Trump, we did our best work, your tower here in Vancouver is premium quality, and we were a crucial part of it, not just Mexicans but immigrants as a whole,” Reyna wrote. “The comments Trump has made about us, did not stop us from doing the high quality work we have always done, in our home country or when we migrate to the US/Canada.”
“American Dirt” is one novel grabbing all of the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The book, written by a Puerto Rican woman, has been dragged for relying on stereotypes and tropes about Mexicans to tell a tale of migrating to the U.S. Several celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, have praised the book sparking a more severe backlash from people. The novel has led to a Twitter trend of Latinos writing their own Latino novels using the same kinds of stereotypes found throughout the book.
Latinos on Twitter are dragging “American Dirt” author Jeanine Cummins.
Social media has been calling out Jeanine Cummins and everyone who has endorsed “American Dirt.” The main complaint has been the insensitive and stereotypical writing trying to tell a Mexican story from a non-Mexican writer.
It wasn’t long until Latino Twitter users took to the micro-blogging site to show how ludicrous the book is.
Several creatives have shared paragraphs playing up tired and offensive stereotypes to shine a light on what they see in “American Dirt.” Some stars, like Salma Hayek, have had to apologize for promoting the book without reading it.
Latinos from all walks, not just Mexican, have joined in on the social media trend.
There have long been discussions about the proper representation of Latinos in media. From books to movies to television to comics, the conversations have long revolved around the lack of the people telling the stories. “American Dirt” is another example of someone not from an experience writing about the experience and totally missing the mark.
Some of the tweets are short and sweet but pack a punch.
The backlash against “American Dirt” has been so strong and sustained that even Oprah Winfrey has had to change her tune. The media megastar has announced a deeper panel discussion about the book to really bring to light the underlying frustrations with the books.
Latinos have long been underrepresented and ignored but it seems critics are on track to win this battle.
What do you think about the controversy around “American Dirt” and the celebrities who praised and promoted it without reading it?
We love it when someone is going about their day and suddenly become ephemeral celebrities thanks to a photographer who was there in the right place at the right time. Such is the case of a Mexican mariachi who was immortalized while he was walking amidst a snowstorm in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Latin American musicians, mainly Mexicans and Peruvian folk singers, have migrated all around the world and make a living showcasing the cultural richness of their countries. They often have to survive for years as street performers, but many of them have found a way to build a musical career from scratch. It is common to see mariachis and Andean musicians in squares and plazas all around the world, particularly in Western European cities such as Madrid and Paris.
So this is the photograph that made its rounds in social media and turned this mariachi into an online celebrity.
Just look at him, super regal walking as if he was strolling down the streets of Durango or San Miguel de Allende. There is a mythical quality to the photo. The way that he is carrying his guitar case reminds us of Antonio Banderas in Desperado. His gaze, serenely looking at the snow-covered floor, is reminiscent of old Westerns. But above all his white and red mariachi suit makes a perfect contrast with the environment. The onlookers on the background also give this great image a bit of drama. We just want to print and frame it, eh!
The image reminds us of the work of great photographers of the seemingly mundane such as Henri Cartier-Bresson or the Mexican great Manuel Alvarez Bravo. The photo was captured by photographer Cameron Frazier during a shooting to promote the 17th anniversary of this mysterious mariachi’s band… Yes, we know you want to find out who he is and we are keeping you en suspenso!
But who is this mysterious mariachi?!
When the photograph became viral due to its mythical quality, the question was who on Earth was this amazing musician. Well, his name is Alex Alegria and he has Oaxacan heritage. He has a mariachi band called Los Dorados and he has been living in Canada for 23 years. He has employed non Mexicans in his mariachi band, showing that music is universal and that when there is passion involved it doesn’t matter where you are from. Everyone owns music, right?
Alex arrived in Canada when he was only 20 years old as an international student. But he decided to stay and has made the Pacific coastal town of Vancouver his home. He plays with his band twice a week in two restaurants. He discovered his passion for mariachi music when he became a street performer, as Mexico Desconocido found out. He used to work in a factory and was at risk of depression, but Mexico’s most famous musical genre helped him regain his passion for life and improve his mental health. His band is made up of 12 musicians, only three of which are Mexican. The rest come from Canada, Poland, South Korea, Taiwan, Ukraine and China.
Such a diverse group! We love it! They have played in various consulates and embassies in the United States and Canada. And the white and red colors on the mariachi suit? You guessed it: they are an homage to the Canadian flag. This is a great example of the wonders that can happen when multiculturalism is promoted and celebrated, as is the case with Canada and its inclusive migration policies from which a lot of Global North countries could learn.
You might not be aware, but there are professional mariachis all around the world.
In the United States one only has to Google “mariachi near me” to find multiple listings. European cities are the same: mariachis are constantly sought after to play at parties, embassy events and all sorts of social gatherings. Even as far as Australia there are Mexicam musicians who have migrated and made a living out of singing classic tunes like “El Rey” and “La Puerta Negra.”
As Hector Patricio, founder of Fiesta Viva in Sydney, explains: “Traditional mariachi is a type of music that is strong, loud, and represents us as Mexicans. It is joyful and sad at the same time. People in Australia love it. 80% of my bookings are made by white Australians. We work with the best talent agencies. Mariachi music brings happiness and sadness together. We even play at funerals. We migrate to work hard, we always find a way to make things happen. Us Mexican migrants are constantly tested and we have to make it happen through hard work and dedication.”
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