Culture

Wands Were Raised At Universal Orlando Resorts In Memory Of Pulse Shooting Victim Luis Vielma

Credit: Attractions Magazine / YouTube

Luis Vielma got the most magical send off.

Luis Vielma, 22, was one of the 49 victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. More than that, he was one of the people that made Harry Potter fans smile when they visited the Forbidden Journey ride at The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resorts. On June 14, co-workers, guests and Universal Orlando Resorts employees gave Vielma a memorial send off fit for a true wizard. Just like what happens in the stories of Harry Potter, wands were raised near the Hogwarts castle as saddened friends remembered the young man that made countless Harry Potter fans so grateful. Since the the news broke of Vielma’s death on June 12, Harry Potter fans and those who worked on the stories have offered an outpour of condolences.

“Tonight we remember a team member, a brother, a son, a friend,” one woman told the crowd. “Tonight we remember someone that created a type of magic that we can never replace.”

Vielma, known as Luisito to his closest friends, was a student at Seminole State College to become an emergency medical technician. But on the day of the memorial at the amusement park, Vielma was remembered not as gay, Latino or even a student. Instead, he was revered as “one of the bravest and best Gryffindors the world has ever known.” After the raising of the wands, mourners gathered in a circle with wands laid in a circle and remembered their fallen comrade.

The very day that Vielma’s name was released as a victim, author J.K. Rowling took to Twitter in grief.

Credit: @jk_rowling / Twitter

As Albus Dumbledore said, “Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all, those who live without love.”

You are very missed, Luis. R.I.P. young Gryffindor.

READ: He Survived The Shooting In Orlando And He Is Now Telling His Story

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This TikTok User Went Viral For Making a Video About What a Latino Character in the Harry Potter Universe Would Look Like

Entertainment

This TikTok User Went Viral For Making a Video About What a Latino Character in the Harry Potter Universe Would Look Like

Recently, a TikTok video went viral for spoofing what a Latino character would look like if he or she were written by JK Rowling. 

The minute-long video, entitled “If JK Rowling wrote a Latino character”, was created by TikTok user @Munchy_Monk, who also goes by the name “Louie”.

The video (which has now been viewed over 2 million times), starts with Munchy_Monk reading a “script” that JK Rowling sent him.

“Um, Ms. Rowling, I’m not really sure about this character,” he says, his voice full of trepidation. In the video, the imaginary “Ms. Rowling” responds by telling him to “read the bloody script before I call immigration.”

The video continues to be more outrageous from there. His tongue firmly in his cheek, Munchy_Monk runs through the gambit of stereotypes that the media typically portrays Latinos as doing.

With an exaggerated semi-Spanish-sounding accent (one that is all-too familiar for people who watch TV), the TikTok star pretends to be a gardener (“I’m-gardening-leviosa”), a line-cook (“Accio tacos and burritos!”), and a trouble-making student (“I ain’t take no potions. I ain’t even in potions class, foo.”). 

The video is also littered with punny jokes that play on Rowling’s whimsical word-choice. For example, Munchy_Monk pronounces the spell “stupify” as “estupify” and claims he comes from the Hogwarts house “Gryffindor-a the Explor-a”. 

via munchy_monks/TikTok

The TikTok video perfectly illustrates the way Rowling has depicted BIPOC characters in the past, as well as how the media generally portrays characters who have identities outside of what the media considers to be “standard” (i.e. white and straight). 

For a few years now, there have been subsets of the internet who have taken issue with Rowling’s portrayals of BIPOC and queer characters in the the Harry Potter universe. Many consider these characters to be tokenized depictions of what real non-white, non-straight people are actually like. 

Some fans have also grown frustrated to her public statement about Harry Potter characters–specifically how she publicly and retroactively “changedtheir backstories to “gain inclusivity points” without doing the the more meaningful work of writing inclusive characters in the first place. 

Although some fans celebrate Rowling’s fluid approach to the culture and identity of her characters, some claim that the post-publication changes feel inauthentic.

“The problem is we never see those elements of characterisation in the books themselves,” writer Kayleigh Anne wrote in The Independent. “The faith, race and sexuality of her characters has been shoe-horned in retroactively, and it can’t help but ring hollow.”

Of course, the icing on the problematic cake has been the recent transphobic comments and forthcoming book JK Rowling has made about and against trans people. All of these circumstances put into question JK Rowling’s status as an ally to queer and BIPOC people–if she ever was one in the first place.

But one thing is worth admitting: all of the above make Munchy_Monk’s TikTok video especially poignant and darkly hilarious.

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Halloween Horror Nights Canceled For The First Time In 30 Years Thanks To Covid

Things That Matter

Halloween Horror Nights Canceled For The First Time In 30 Years Thanks To Covid

Octavian Cantilli / Universal Orlando Resort via Getty Images

Halloween Horror Nights, a Universal Studios staple, is not happening this year and there is only one thing to blame: Covid. The virus, which is still spread wildly in the U.S., has forced so many things to be canceled. People are not happy with the decision.

For the first time in 30 years, Halloween Horror Nights is not happening.

Halloween Horror Nights is one of the biggest events of the year at Universal Studios in Florida and California. The sudden (and not surprising) cancelation is a devastating announcement for the fans of spooky culture.

Honestly, people are ready to throw their tantrums over this.

Florida and California, home to both Universal Studios, are dealing with major Covid outbreaks. California had an explosion of Covid cases that forced the state to reverse some of its rapid reopenings. Florida is another state dealing with a major Covid outbreak that has forced some places to reclose as Disney pushes forward with the reopening.

There’s a lot of pain out there right now.

It really is another blow in a very devastating year. So many people hoped that Halloween would still happen yet the patchwork response we’ve had against the virus isn’t helping. The loss of a Halloween tradition is just too painful right now but we will be alright.

All we can do now is wait “patiently” for Halloween 2021…

All it took was wearing masks and social distancing to avoid this yet, here we are. Remember to take care of yourself, your health, and your community. This means wearing masks and social distancing to protect each other.

READ: Republican Senator Blames Latino Community For Disproportionate COVID Case Numbers

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