Things That Matter

Oprah Helps Bring The Focus On Latinx Podcasts In Her Magazine And We Are Totally Here For It

Oprah — yes, that Oprah — has released a list of the best Spanish and Latinx podcasts in Oprah Magazine. Latinx folk are gaining visibility in the mainstream. While it is certainly not at the pace we all would have hoped (we have been in the states for quite some time now), it is always great to celebrate our continued come up in the cultural zeitgeist. 

Oprah Winfrey is a black woman who propelled herself through adversity, using grit and tenacity, into the hearts and minds of Americans. She created a magazine, named it after herself, and puts herself on the cover of every issue. To grace the pages of Oprah Magazine is an honor exclusively reserved by Oprah, and can only be earned by a lucky few. 

So for those who want light-hearted or heartfelt adventures deeper into Latinidad, you might want to add a few of these podcasts onto your lists. 

What is a podcast?

A podcast is an episodic digital audio series that can be downloaded or streamed. I use Spotify to listen to my favorite podcasts but you can use iTunes or a podcast app like Stitcher. Basically, podcasts are episodic talk “radio” shows, except they’re not transmitted through radio waves. It’s kind of like how we still call Netflix series “TV shows,” when they don’t exist on television networks. Like streaming TV, podcasts are an old format on a new medium. 

Why do Latino podcasts matter?

Podcasts have become a growing and profitable industry in the last 15 years. Breakout podcasts like SerialPod Save America, and Welcome To Nightvale, have spawned television series and HBO documentaries. However, they have largely been operated by white people even when the subjects of the podcasts have not been. Podcasting is another path to greater Latinx visibility. The comedy duo Desus & Mero, who are Jamaican and Dominican Americans respectively, have risen to fame largely earned by their popular Bodega Boys podcast. The pair now have had late-night talk shows on VICE and Showtime. 

It goes without saying, where ever there are people talking about culture from the frivolous to the political, Latinx voices need to be there taking up space. When you’re left out of the conversation, there’s no way you can be heard. As a recent study by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative on Latinx representation in Hollywood discovered, over the past 12 years only 4.5% of 47,268 speaking or named roles in films were portrayed by Latinx actors. Moreover, in a time where we Latinxs are being politically targeted, our voices and stories matter even more. Representation can normalize the Latinx experience and further humanize us during a time of extreme, radical, dehumanizing language being weaponized against us. So, shout outs to Oprah! 

Scratch Your Political Itch with… 

In The Thick Of It

Hosted by the award-winning journalists Maria Hinojosa and Julio Ricardo Varela, In The Thick Of It doesn’t shy away from difficult conversations about race, politics, and identity. If you’re itching to get a Latinx perspective on news and events Hinojasa and Varela have got you covered.

Listen here.  

Radio Ambulante

For those fluent in Spanish who want a deeper look at the Latin American experience, Radio Ambulante will fill that bottomless void in your life. The series focuses on untold stories and uses investigative journalism to uncover heartfelt and moving narratives about Latinidad. 

Listen here

Super Mámas

For moms with a sense of humor (doesn’t every mom have to have a sense of humor? Kids are weird.), Super Mámas is here to drop some major funnies. Hosted by sisters Paulina and Bricia Lopez, the talk show provides comedic commentary on motherhood. However, the show has still got a lot of heart and insight. Prepare to be hit in the feels with profound conversations about postpartum depression, Latinx parenthood, and being a working mom. 

Listen here

Brujaja Podcast

Listen to comedians Anna Valenzuela, Vanessa Gritton and Cindy Aravena as they hilariously discuss everything from growing up Latinx to stereotypes to cannabis to Selena. 

Listen here

Scratch Your LGBTQ+ Itch with… 

Locatora Radio

Diosa and Mala host a “radiophonic novela” that highlights the experiences and contributions of femmes and women of color. Discussions of gender, sexuality, consent, and technology abound on this popular podcast.

Listen here

Brown Bitter Femmes

Cassandra Alicia and Rubén Angel discuss women’s and LGBTQ+ issues to dismantle bigotry and oppression. Their motto is “dismantling shit while talking shit,” and that sounds like an excellent brunch to me. 

Listen here

These are just a few of many incredible Latinx podcasts. For more suggestions check out Irina Gonzalez’s list at Oprah Mag

Lady Gaga Gave A Very Candid Interview To Oprah In Which She Shares Her Trauma Of Being Raped ‘Repeatedly’ At 19

Fierce

Lady Gaga Gave A Very Candid Interview To Oprah In Which She Shares Her Trauma Of Being Raped ‘Repeatedly’ At 19

Oprah Vision Tour / Billboard

Oscar-winner Lady Gaga sat down for an interview with Oprah as part of the talk show host’s 2020 Vision: Your Life In Focus tour. Gaga was not afraid to get real. Although she did not give a detailed summary of the events, the “Shallow” singer discussed being raped repeatedly at 19 years old. She described suffering from PTSD, a psychotic break down, and self-harm. 

However, the Grammy-award winning singer did so with an important message: get help. Throughout the conversation, Gaga was very transparent about how necessary it is to seek treatment and be unafraid of receiving it. This isn’t the first time she has opened up about past traumas, Gaga admitted to being sexually assaulted upon the release of her song “Til It Happens To You” which is an anthem for assault survivors inspired by the documentary The Hunting Ground. She’s been forthcoming about her struggles with past addiction issues, eating disorders, and fibromyalgia. 

Consider this your Trigger Warning, because Gaga gets real here. 

Gaga opened up about being raped at 19 years old.

“I was raped when I was 19 years-old, repeatedly. I have been traumatized in a variety of ways by my career over the years from many different things, but I survived, and I’ve kept going. And when I looked at that Oscar, I saw pain. I don’t know that anyone understood it when I said it in the room, but I understood it,” Gaga told Oprah. 

While she doesn’t go into the specifics, she revealed before that after being raped for months she was dropped off on a street corner. The 33-year-old said she began to suffer from PTSD after the horrific incident. The pain of her rape still appears to haunt her body until this day. 

“The trauma response is much heavier and actually feels the way I felt after I was dropped on a street corner after I’d been raped repeatedly for months. It’s a recurring feeling,” she said. 

The singer recounted having a psychotic break during a difficult period in her life to Elle last year.

“So I had a psychotic break at one point, and it was one of the worst things that’s ever happened to me. I was brought to the ER to urgent care and they brought in the doctor, a psychiatrist. So I’m just screaming, and I said, ‘Could somebody bring me a real doctor?’ And I didn’t understand what was going on, because my whole body went numb; I fully dissociated,” Gaga told Elle in November. 

The physical and psychic trauma she endured caused her brain to disassociate. The pop star needed serious help and hospitalization. 

“My whole body started tingling and I started screaming. I was in a hospital. It’s very difficult to describe what it feels like other than that you first start to tingle from head to toe and then you go numb. The brain goes, ‘That’s enough, I don’t want to think about this anymore. I don’t want to feel this anymore.’ Boom. You break from reality as you know it.” Gaga said, “I know this is controversial in a lot of ways, but medicine really helped me.”

Gaga also shared that she used to self-harm.

“I was a cutter for a long time, and the only way that I was able to stop cutting and self-harming myself was to realize that what I was doing was trying to show people that I was in pain instead of telling them and asking for help,” Gaga told Elle.  

Much of Gaga’s interview is about how her traumas could only be managed by seeking support and professional help. Most importantly, she doesn’t want to glamourize mental illness, she simply wants to help others who are struggling with it. She even suggested that those suffering from self-harm or traumatic pain can put their hands in a bowl of ice water to shock the system and bring them back to reality. 

“I have PTSD. I have chronic pain. Neuropathic pain trauma response is a weekly part of my life. I’m on medication; I have several doctors. This is how I survive. But you know what, Oprah? I kept going, and that kid out there or even that adult out there who’s been through so much, I want them to know that they can keep going, and they can survive, and they can win their Oscar. I would also beckon to anyone to try, when they feel ready, to ask for help,” she told Oprah.

Gaga’s final message to those listening was to accept life’s challenges and be kind in times of extreme cruelty. 

“Accept the challenge of kindness. It’s hard in a world the way that we are; we have a very, very grave history. We’re in trouble, and we have been before. But I think life asks us amid these challenges, this hatred, this tragedy, this famine, this war, this cruelty: Can you be kind and can you survive?”

Princess Nokia Runs A Podcast, A Non-Profit And Is The Face Of A Major Fashion Brand

Entertainment

Princess Nokia Runs A Podcast, A Non-Profit And Is The Face Of A Major Fashion Brand

princessnokia / Instagram

Rapper Princess Nokia, whose real name is Destiny Nicole Frasqueri, is the Boricua Bruja who refuses to abandon Puerto Rico during this extended crisis after Hurricane Maria. She is still fighting and raising money to provide aid to the devastated island.

For the last few weeks, Frasqueri has been working with NYC based non-profits to launch “Hood to la Genter.” This is a GoFundMe aimed to combine Frasqueri’s charitable efforts with the NGO’s organizing resources to actually help Puerto Ricans.

Here’s what we know about the cause and its champion.

Princess Nokia is a proud New York raised Puerto Rican woman.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

She grew up around East Harlem and the Lower East Side of New York City and was born as on June 14, 1992.

She is best known for her unapologetic feminist music.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

With lyrics like, “I love my little titties and my fat belly” under titles like “Tomboy y Bruja,” Princess Nokia has made herself known as a shameless intersectional feminist badass.

She even has a podcast called “Smart Girls Club” to talk about the realities of urban feminism.

CREDIT: Soundcloud

She told VICE that Smart Girl Club is “a safe space for me to decompress and turn my anger and my dissatisfaction into positive outlets. And I think that’s why safe spaces are always important; it’s one thing to feel the anger, but it’s always about finding a healthy solution for it.”

She started making viral music when she was 20 but her album, “1992 Deluxe” is what has launched her career.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

She told The Guardian, “Growing up in the 90s was the coolest thing to me. Listening to metal with my gothic babysitter, dancing to Kriss Kross, hanging out and listening to the music at the block party downstairs from my house, the cartoons I’d watch, seeing black representation and Latina representation on Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel, going to summer camp; oh, God, it’s so vivid, so significant.”

Princess Nokia’s mother died of AIDS when she was 10 years old.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

The rapper was in the foster care system after her mother died and dealt with abusive foster parents. She was in foster care between the ages of 9 and 16 until she could live with her grandmother.

Her foster mother was so physically abusive, she had to use makeup to cover a black eye in a school photo.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

Princess Nokia calls her a “succubus.” She ran away with “three dollars in my pocket and 75 percent on my cell phone battery” to live on the streets.

The FADER released a documentary called “Destiny” that shares Princess Nokia’s unimaginable life story.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

In the documentary, she shares what it was like growing up in the foster system. She thanks that queer community around her that helped her harness her true self, even amidst the chaos of her violent home life.

Princess Nokia identifies as bisexual and is an avid advocate of LGBTQ+ rights.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

That girl is a tomboy and it looks great on her. In “Destiny,” she sums it up pretty easily when she yells at her dad in the kitchen, “Dad, I always been gay, right? [Dad:] Yup!”

The artist has always been real about what’s going on in her life.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Twitter

Her feed is a real treat. Plus, she really does fight the Trump administration and racists in the flesh. She has no issue with being loud about the injustices she encounters in her day-to-day life.

She made headlines when she threw hot soup on a racist subway passenger.

CREDIT: Evan Eddington / Twitter

It’s all on video. The person in question was shouting the “N” word on the train so passengers kicked him off at the next stop. When he tried to board the train again, Princess Nokia came at him with some hot soup. Dale.

The rapper has launched a relief initiative to help the still struggling Puerto Rico.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Twitter

In an Instagram video, Princess Nokia wrote, “When the government intentionally neglects and actively works to hurt our people for profit, it’s on us to organize and fight for our communities. We understand as working class and oppressed peoples living in America, we are struggling in so many ways under the same system that is hurting the people of Puerto Rico. But when we combine the little bit we’ve got as individuals, we can make a huge impact.”

“We know we cannot trust the government or the millionaire non-profits aligned with it to fight for our people.”

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

How do we know? Because, “Almost a year after Hurricane Maria, the nation of Puerto Rico is still in a massive crisis. Puerto Rico has a higher poverty rate than any state in the U.S. Poverty has increased from 44 percent to 52 percent after the hurricane. Suicide rates have doubled.”

She even cancelled her Mexico City show to focus on her work for Puerto Rico.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

In the GoFundMe, the musician wrote, “It is expected that Puerto Rico will lose close to a half million people by next year, resulting in ‘brain drain,’ which means leaving the island without doctors, nurses, teachers, scientists, and other trained professionals.”

No wonder she’s taking time to focus on the island.

The fund has raised more than $7,000 of it’s $12,000 goal.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

This is a grassroots initiative. If every person with a dollar to spare donated it to the organizations that have always been closely tied to Puerto Rico, lo mejor.

Princess Nokia is inspired by her daughter.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

Caption: “The God Mother & Her Apprentice. Teaching her magic and self love every single day. Teaching her the importance of kindness, self esteem, and inner beauty. And what she teaches me… words could never explain. My little witch and old soul. My daughtaaaaaaaa, my twin 🌙✨🌻”

She’s been named the face of Betsey Johnson’s 2018 Fall Catalog.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

That means she’s bringing Boricua beauty even more mainstream. Princess Nokia has modeled for Calvin Klein and isn’t afraid to rap about it. (See: Tomboy)

She is also a big advocate for decriminalizing marijuana.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

I mean, there are the obvious reasons and then there is the fact that brown people are incarcerated far more often than white people for possession of marijuana.

While Princess Nokia gains worldwide fame, she isn’t turning her back on her roots.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

Somos Americanos, pero por siempre somos Latinos. With more Puerto Ricans fleeing the island for a better life on the mainland, we’re responsible for maintaining what’s left of our mami’s homeland. There’s nobody else.

She released a powerful PSA that tells the world we’re on our feet and we’re fighting.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

Caption Part 1: “Despite the attention Hurricane Maria has brought to the current struggle of my people in Puerto Rico, many are unaware of the centuries-long suffering Boricuas have endured in the form of colonialism. We created this campaign to spread knowledge on the poverty and exploitation Boricuas have survived under the boot of the US government.”

When you’re already sick about the negligence, get sick about Americans profiting off PR disaster.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

Caption Part 2: “This video is a call to act in speaking out for the independence of the Puerto Rican people and to support organizations working to actually help the people. We can not stay silent while Puerto Ricans continue to suffer under the colonizer American government, which consistently places profit over the lives of the people and silences those who rise up to defend the people.”

Princess Nokia wants you to know that you can help.

CREDIT: @princessnokia / Instagram

If you want to help, you can donate to Hood 2 la Genter or donate directly to these organizations: Sol es Vida, el Hormiguero, Luis Llorens Torres projects, Urbe Apie, the Puerto Rico Trans Youth Coalition and el Centro de Apoyo Mutuo de Utuado.

READ: J.Lo And A.Rod Share Moments From Their Trip To Puerto Rico And Announce A Donation Of 2 Million Dollars

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