Things That Matter

Griselda “The Godmother” Blanco Was The Colombian Druglord Who Once Was One Of The Richest Women In The World

The Medellin Cartel dominated the global trade of cocaine for a good part of the 1980s. Besides its influence in shaping the drug cartels as we know them today, the Colombian traffickers have had an enormous impact on the cultural, political and social lives of Latin America. Sure, when he hear “Medellin Cartel” we immediately think of Pablo Escobar (and even more so since Netflix released its highly acclaimed show Narcos). However, there is another figure of mythical qualities that has come out of cartel lore: Griselda Blanco, The Godmother. Equally vilified and revered, Blanco’s story has recently caught the attention of Hollywood and shows about her rapid rise in the echelons of criminality has attracted stares of the caliber of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Jennifer Lopez.

This is what you need to know about Blanco:

1. Griselda Blanco Restrepo was born in Cartagena, Colombia

Credit: Instagram. @eyecandibaby

She was born on February 15, 1943. She and her mom moved to Medellin when Griselda was just three-years-old. Griselda survived in the streets by being a pickpocket and allegedly even by kidnapping other children when she was as young as 13. She left home when she was 16. Biographers claim that her mother’s boyfriend tried to sexually abuse her, so she left the household.

2. She is a pop culture icon

Credit: Instagram. @honkeykonger

She is an icon of rap culture. The Game, Pusha, and Jacki-O have all dedicated lyrics to her. Lil Kim created the alter ego Kimmy Blanco as a tribute. Nicki Minaj sings: “Drug lord, Griselda/ I used to move weight through Delta”.

Some people carry her around everywhere they go. Literally.

Credit: Instagram. @kiko_tatoos

Just look at this hyperrealistic tat!

And she has inspired some pretty out there nail styles!

Credit: Instagram. @nailsyulieg

Blanco’s fandom reaches the US: this nails were styled by Yulie G., a nail technician working in Ontario, California.

3. At her height, she was one of the richest women in the world

Credit: Instagram. @michaelcorleoneblanco

She was a billionaire who made her fortune during the Miami Drug War in the late 1970s. Her network of operations reached from Florida to California, and brought in $80 million dollars per month! There were various attempts on her life when she lived in Florida, so she moved to California.

4. She named her son after the Corleone family from The Godfather movie trilogy

Credit: Instagram. @michaelcorleoneblanco

Yes: Michael Corleone Blanco. He has a clothesline and is a social media influencer, where he openly discusses having grown up in the world of global narcotics trafficking. Griselda went to prison in 1985, but she continued to run her business with the help of her son Michael. Griselda was released in 2004 and deported to Medellin.

5. By the way: Michael Corleone Blanco is also a reality TV star

Credit: Instagram. @michaelcorleoneblanco

Yes, he stars in Cartel Crew, a new VH1 reality show in which he comes to terms with the thug life he has known since he was a little kid growing up in Miami, where his mom controlled a millionaire flow of cocaine to the United States.

6. Michael’s show, Cartel Crew, has been VERY controversial

Credit: Instagram. @

But Blanco defends the show, saying: “We are not trying to glorify anything. We’re just trying to move on with our lives and make our own means in a legitimate way. … We’re not showing the past, we’re showing the present and the future.” Ver para creer, mijo! 

7. She has been played on the screen by Catherine Zeta-Jones

Credit: Instagram. @lifetimetv

Catherine Zeta-Jones, who had already played a dealer in Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic, played Griselda Blanco in a Lifetime movie. She said about the character: “It was so liberating. I didn’t want to play a caricature of her and do like a Mrs. Doubtfire’s fat suit. I wanted to play her from the inside out. Her attitude was much more than whether I didn’t wear mascara or lipstick. She had a power and a strength of character that of all the things that I do not relate to, I do relate to that. I do admire that in her. It was, where are the cracks in her? I don’t want to make every one like her. I don’t like her”. Damn, that’s deep, eh!

8. And Mexican starlet Ana Serradilla

Credit: Instagram. @teamserradillard

Serradilla is the lead actress in the Televisa-Univision coproduction La viuda negra, which is an adaptation of the book La patrona de Pablo Escobar, written by José Guarnizo. The series had two seasons that ran from 2014 until 2016.

9. And Jennifer Lopez is starring, and possibly directing, in a new movie

Credit: Instagram. @bossipofficial

J-Lo told Variety: “I’ve been forever fascinated by the story of Griselda Blanco and jumped at the chance to play her on-screen. She is all things we look for in storytelling and dynamic characters — notorious, ambitious, conniving, chilling. In a genre dominated by legendary kingpins, I’m eager to shine a spotlight on this anti-hero and excited to partner with STX for the third time, so we can bring this compelling, complicated story to life.”

10. Her life is the stuff of underworld legends

Credit: Instagram. @ceritadanmitos

She was one of the most creative smugglers in the height of the Colombian trade. As El Pais recalls: “Griselda began her cocaine business at a time when Escobar was just an apprentice smuggler. In the Antioquia neighborhood they say that there was a very famous shoemaker called Toño, who the godmother once instructed: “Toño, I need you to take these shoes and this powder in the heels. And afterwards, I need you to do the same with my husband’s shoes.”

11. Griselda Blanco was also known as “The Black Widow” 

Credit: Instagram. @befaoner1

Blanco’s romantic partners suffered terrible fates. People reports: “Generally, things didn’t turn out well for Blanco’s paramours. She supposedly murdered her first lover as a teenager and had her first husband, Carlos Trujillo, killed a few years after divorcing him. She shot her second husband, Alberto Bravo – who was instrumental as a partner in her rise to power – herself, in the parking lot of a Bogota nightclub. Another husband, Dario Sepulveda, was killed in 1983”. These events led her to be called “Black Widow”, a species of spider famous for their mating habits. As LiveScience explains: ” black widows get their name because females carry out sexual cannibalism after mating. The female often kills and eats the male, which explains the males’ short lifespans”

12. Some women feel inspired by her story: they see her as a strong woman, a female Robin Hood

Credit: Instagram. @eyecandibaby

Some Latino women see a role model in Blanco: there is no denying that sexism permeates the lives of many Latinas. Blanco fended for herself and had it all: money, power and a family.

13. This 1997 mugshot is one of the most famous in history

Credit: Instagram. @themobmuseum

Just like the Pablo Escobar and the Al Capone mugshots, this image of Griselda will go down in the annals of mob history.

14. But things are not always black and white: like Pablo Escobar, Griselda Blanco is remembered in a shade of gray 

Credit: Instagram. @la_vida_es_mi_maestro_1967

Drug lords are vilified by the media and by governments but are sometimes loved by people. This is due to the charity work that they do in some vulnerable communities and by what they represent” rags-to-riches stories that make some people believe that anything is possible. Of course, this brings many ethical questions: does the end justify the means? Is the blood of hundreds worth it?

And some people visit her grave

Credit: Instagram. @deckermen7

It is a sort of pilgrimage for some Colombians who admire the fact that she reached the top in a tough and merciless business. As reported by the Spanish newspaper El Pais upon her dead: “Two days later her body was placed in a casket decorated in golden Arabesque designs. She was buried in the Jardines de Montesacro cemetery – the same resting place as that of Pablo Escobar. Two buses filled with neighborhood kids from Antioquia – the suburb in which Griselda worked as a prostitute and drug dealer, and won a reputation as a husband killer but also where she passed around gifts to needy children at Christmas – came to pay their respects”.

15. She was murdered aged 69 in Medellin 

Credit: Instagram. @ogabel

Griselda met her fate on the night of September 3, 2012. She received two bullets fired from a motorcycle. She was buying meat at the butcher’s when a man walked towards her, shot her twice in the head and left.

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Ben Affleck & Marc Anthony Spoke Frankly About J.LO And My Nostalgic Aughts-Self Is Giving A Toast

Entertainment

Ben Affleck & Marc Anthony Spoke Frankly About J.LO And My Nostalgic Aughts-Self Is Giving A Toast

No doubt, as the Latina Queen of Hollywood, Jennifer Lopez has played the better half of quite a few relationships and not just on-screen. From Diddy, formerly known as Puff Daddy and P Diddy, to Casper Smart Lopez has been The Strong Woman behind some pretty well-known men.

Her exes Marc Anthony (whom J.L o shares twins Emme and Max, 13 with) and Ben Affleck know it, and in a recent interview, they opened up about what they really think of her.

For her recent May cover of InStyle magazine, Lopez’s feature story included insights from her former loves Anthony and Affleck on everything from her drive to her ageless beauty.

In honor of the singer and actor’s 30-year run in the entertainment industry, the magazine featured her and her most prolific exes. For the interview, both Anthony and Affleck commented on Lopez’s character, heart, and business savvy. “The thing about Jennifer is her ability to see and understand things before they happen,” Anthony, explained in his interview.

Anthony, a singer and actor who starred in the 2001 film In the Time of the Butterflies was married to Lopez from 2004 to 2014.

“Before she even brings an idea up, she has visualized it a thousand times. And if anyone says it might not be the greatest idea, she’ll say, ‘You just don’t see it yet.’ Nine times out of 10, she’ll nail it. She’s the first one in the room and the last to leave. The hardest worker I’ve ever met,” Anthony went onto share. “When we were together, it was quite the opposite for me. That has changed since. I learned so much from her. She’s the original!”

Affleck who dated J.LO in 2002 and starred alongside her in the films “Gigli” and “Jersey Girl” also spoke openly about Lopez.

“I thought I had a good work ethic, but I was completely humbled and blown away by what she was committed to doing day in and day out, the seriousness in which she took her work, the quiet and dedicated way she went about accomplishing her goals, and then how she would go back and redouble her efforts,” Affleck, whose romance with Lopez earned him the other part of the nickname “Bennifer” by the media, explained.

“She remains, to this day, the hardest-working person I’ve come across in this business,” he revealed, “She has great talent, but she has also worked very hard for her success, and I’m so happy for her that she seems, at long last, to be getting the credit she deserves.”

At one point Affleck commented, relatably, that he felt J.Lo appeared as if she hadn’t aged since they dated.

“Where are you keeping the fountain of youth? Why do you look the same as you did in 2003 and it kind of looks like I’m in my 40s…at best?” he joked.

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Today, Puerto Rico Celebrates Emancipation Day–the Day When the Island Officially Abolished Slavery

Things That Matter

Today, Puerto Rico Celebrates Emancipation Day–the Day When the Island Officially Abolished Slavery

Photo via George W. Davis, Public Domain

Today, March 22nd marks Día de la Abolición de Esclavitud in Puerto Rico–the date that marks the emancipation of slaves in Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico, enslaved peoples were emancipated in 1873–a full decade after the U.S. officially abolished slavery. But unlike the U.S. mainland, Puerto Rico celebrates today as an official holiday, where many businesses are closed.

The emancipation of Puerto Rican slaves was a very different process than the United States’. For one, the emancipation was gradual and over three years.

When the Spanish government abolished slavery in Puerto Rico 1873, enslaved men and women had to buy their freedom. The price was set by their “owners”. The way the emancipated slaves bought their freedom was through a process that was very similar to sharecropping in the post-war American south. Emancipated slaves farmed, sold goods, and worked in different trades to “buy” their freedom.

In the same Spanish edict that abolished slavery, slaves over the age of 60 were automatically freed. Enslaved children who were 5-years-old and under were also automatically freed.

Today, Black and mixed-race Puerto Ricans of Black descent make up a large part of Puerto Rico’s population.

The legacy of enslaved Black Puerto Ricans is a strong one. Unlike the United States, Puerto Rico doesn’t classify race in such black-and-white terms. Puerto Ricans are taught that everyone is a mixture of three groups of people: white Spanish colonizers, Black African slaves, and the indigenous Taíno population.

African influences on Puerto Rican culture is ubiquitous and is present in Puerto Rican music, cuisine, and even in the way that the island’s language evolved. And although experts estimate that up to 60% of Puerto Ricans have significant African ancestry, almost 76% of Puerto Ricans identified as white only in the latest census poll–a phenomenon that many sociologists have blamed on anti-blackness.

On Puerto Rico’s Día de la Abolición de Esclavitud, many people can’t help but notice that the island celebrates a day of freedom and independence when they are not really free themselves.

As the fight for Puerto Rican decolonization rages on, there is a bit of irony in the fact that Puerto Rico is one of the only American territories that officially celebrates the emancipation of slaves, when Puerto Rico is not emancipated from the United States. Yes, many Black Americans recognize Juneteenth (June 19th) as the official day to celebrate emancipation from slavery, but it is not an official government holiday.

Perhaps, Puerto Rico celebrates this historical day of freedom because they understand how important the freedom and independence is on a different level than mainland Americans do.

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