Things That Matter

Tupac Represented For Latinos With Lyrics Like ‘It Wouldn’t Be L.A. Without Mexicans,’ But Here’s Why We Really Loved Him

An entire generation of rappers have come and gone since Tupac Shakur’s 1996 fatal shooting occurred in Las Vegas, Nevada, but the legacy of the slain icon has continued long after his death.

Among many things, history will remember Tupac as someone who almost single-handedly — because of a beef with Notorious B.I.G. — ignited a rap feud between two coasts during the height of the gangster rap era. He’ll also be remembered as one of the most successful rappers in history with a number of platinum albums and thousands of unreleased songs that continue to fill the radio airwaves across the United States.

But while his influence was universal, Latinos were especially drawn to Tupac’s music and made up one of his most loyal fan bases in cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, and Phoenix.

CREDIT: Credit: 2Pac/Instagram

Like many other Latinos who grew up in L.A. during the early 1990s, I, too, was completely consumed by Tupac’s music.

He was the first voice I listened to when I turned the radio on in the morning, and the last voice I heard at the end of a day when I fell asleep listening to his music on my Sony Walkman.

Tupac was a lot of things to different people: He was the best friend who had your back the time Jose and his boys tried to jump you behind McDonalds, the friend who urged you to ditch school every Friday, and, of course, the friend who always seemed to have wisdom far beyond their age.

But he was far from perfect.

Like any other popular figure, Tupac was a complex person with undeniable shortcomings.

He was just as likely to refer to women as  b***** as he was to refer to them as queens. He was an advocate for peace between communities of color while firing back at rivals with threats of physical violence.

As a result, his songs reflected the multiple layers of his personality.

“He was an advocate for peace between communities of color while firing back at rivals with threats of physical violence.”

Songs like “Keep Your Head Up” and “Changes” uplifted us whenever we had a problem at home or school. “Hail Mary” is what you listened to when you finally got the nerve to confront Jose and his crew after school for attempting to jump you behind McDonalds. And “Dear Mama” helped us celebrate the way our mothers always found ways to provide for us beyond their means.

But as I noticed then, and continue to see, I was never alone in my love for Tupac.

Tupac, however, made it very clear about who his message was directed to. His music continued the legacy of African-American artists whose music was tailored for African-Americans in inner city communities who were facing multiple forms of discrimination.

CREDIT: Credit: 2Pac/Instagram

Still, Latinos often worked and lived in similar neglectful conditions, which created shared frustrations.

We’ll never know the moment Tupac started to understand the importance of Latinos to U.S. society, but we can estimate that living in Los Angeles gave him an idea, particularly when he paid homage to Latinos in his hit song, “To Live and Die in L.A.,” claiming that it “wouldn’t be L.A. without Mexicans, black love, brown pride, in the sets again.”

For Los Angeles-based poet Angela Aguirre, 29, it was songs like “To Live and Die in L.A.” that helped her build connections with African Americans in her community and helped her understand that his message was also intended for Chicanas.   

“Seeing how hard he rode for the black community empowered me to ride equally as hard for mine,” she explained to me over email. “I had always been an outspoken Chicana, but Tupac’s music came out during my formative years and the politically conscious nature of that music influenced me to be more conscious of the same types of oppression that he spoke about.”

The 1990s, as Aguirre explains, were, in fact, a particularly challenging time for Latinos in California.

CREDIT: Credit: Tumblr

Border security was being tightened up, police were targeting Latinos in inner cities, and state bills like proposition 209 and 187 negatively impacted the economic and social conditions of Latinos throughout the state.

In addition, we were still living in an era where Latinos were often excluded from mainstream conversations of race.

As a result, Tupac’s lyrics often resonated with Latinos because he gave a growing, and often invisible part of the U.S. population, a vocabulary to express frustration, fears, and hopes for the future.

“Tupac was a lot of things,” Aguirre continued, “which is why I fucked with him so heavy. He was so multidimensional and complex as a person and an artist. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t problematic or even misogynistic at times, but because of his upbringing, Tupac was woke before ‘woke’ was even a thing and the most appealing thing about him was his sincerity.”

What made Tupac’s appeal even more far-reaching, I believe, was that his message also impacted Latinos outside of major California cities like, Mikael Rojas, who grew up in state of Washington, and Alejandro Sanchez-Lopez, 28, who grew up in Ensenada, Mexico.  

“Tupac was one of the most important people in my life,” explained, Rojas, a native of Yakima, Washington. “He said it was OK to be a minority and it connected with me even though I lived in rural Washington.”

“….Tupac’s lyrics often resonated with Latinos because he gave a growing, and often invisible part of the U.S. population, a vocabulary to express frustration, fears, and hopes for the future.”

Sanchez-Lopez, who grew up in Mexico, had a similar connection to Tupac.

“I didn’t even know what he was saying the first time I heard his music,” he explained, “but I knew how his voice made me feel.”

That Tupac was able to connect with fans and listeners outside of Los Angeles and other major West Coast cities should come to no surprise given the way his music was able to transcend race, sex, gender, and class. 

For people like Anaheim, California, native, Jesus Cortez, 37, however, Tupac’s song, “Life Goes On,” represented a form of therapy that helped him cope with the death of two of his friends which he lost to street violence.

“That song helped me get me through and helped me maintain my level of sanity,” he explained to me from his home in Anaheim. “I had just lost two good friends of mine to the streets and he said that life goes on even if you lose your homies.”

“My mind was all over the place and I was able to focus and he got me through.”

For Cortez, who like Tupac, was also raised by a single mother, life often presented challenges for him and his family, Tupac’s song, “Dear Mama,” helped him understand that being a single mother and raising a male teenager was no easy task.

CREDIT: Credit: Instagram/@independent_quotes5 and @2pac

“I was growing up with me and my mom and “Dear Mama” hit home because nobody had talked about their mom like that before in a song. We all loved our moms even though they were sometimes flawed. And a lot of us were growing up in broken homes and he made it OK to say ‘I love my mama.’”

“Dear Mama” indeed brought families closer together and allowed men to express their feelings towards their mothers in a vulnerable way, but Tupac’s legacy also inspired a generation of his fans who named their children in honor of his legacy.

Peruvian-American, Ana del Rocio, 31, grew up in California during the height of Tupac’s career and named her son, Tupac Amaru, in honor of the the rapper’s career and his namesake: Incan general Tupac Amaru II, who led revolts against the Spanish.

“What he stood for — revolution, poetic lyricism, and building up mothers and women of color — inspired me so much that I named my first child Tupac Amaru,” she described from her home in Portland, Oregon where she works as a policy director. “I chose the name to honor both the artist and the indigenous Peruvian warrior-chiefs, my ancestors, that Tupac Shakur was named after.”

“I see so many powerful warrior legacies living and breathing in my son every day, and it gives me so much hope for our resistance as a people.”

CREDIT: Credit: http://celebsofcolor.tumblr.com/post/162942657842/kendrick-lamar-for-interview-magazine and http://caballooscuro.tumblr.com/post/74791927343

Del Rocio reminds us that while Tupac may have directly impacted her life in the 1990s, the legacy of his impact continues in the next generation of Latinos like her son, who will continue to carry his name and his message.

In the same vein, Tupac also inspired an entire generation of west coast rappers like, Compton native, Kendrick Lamar, whose autobiographical albums, “Good Kid M.A.A.D City,” and, “To Pimp A Butterfly,” have individual songs, which continue Tupac’s message about black-brown unity.

Latinos, today, are often drawn to Kendrick’s music for many of the same reasons: sincere, heady, and jarring depictions of the human experience. But, more importantly, Kendrick understands, like Tupac did over twenty-years ago, that Latinos are an important part of U.S. society that continue to grow in size and influence as each day passes. 

READ: Cardi B Reminds Us That Latinos Have A Complicated Relationship To The N-Word

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The Los Angeles Dodgers Are Playing In The World Series And People Are Excited

Entertainment

The Los Angeles Dodgers Are Playing In The World Series And People Are Excited

Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The World Series is still happening despite Covid because baseball just can’t be held down. The Dodgers are playing their first World Series game today and fans are so excited to finally get some more baseball in their lives.

The World Series is here and Los Dodgers are playing their first game.

Baseball is America’s pastime and few teams have a fanbase as energized as The Dodgers. Ask any Dodgers fans about how difficult it is to get to the stadium and their commitment to the team is clear. It is not anywhere accessible by public transportation so you really have to want it.

People are super energized to celebrate and support their team.

The Dodgers made it to the championship game against the Houston Astros in 2017. The Dodgers lost to the Astros that year but three years later the Astros had the title stripped because of a cheating scandal. Now, The Dodgers have a chance to make win a title and Dodgers fans are excited to see it happen.

Even the furry fans are getting excited about the games.

It’s a fact that if a team has furry fans then they have the best fanbase. Who doesn’t want to end up at a stadium or party with these cute fluffers walking around in their Dodgers’ gear? These four-legged fans are better than child fans because they are going to get everyone’s spirits up.

The team has a lot of big names behind them cheering them on.

Los Angeles is home to some of the top celebrities and athletes. It must be nice to know that some of the most influential people are out there pushing for you to make it all the way. Bonus points if they are other athletes who know just how exciting and hard it is to compete at the elite level.

Let’s go, Dodgers!

The Dodgers play the Tampa Bay Rays tonight at 5:11 PST. Be sure to tune in and cheer for your favorite baseball team as they try for the championship again.

READ: From Serving Tacos To Being Signed With The LA Dodgers, Here’s What We Know Of The LA Dodger’s Pitcher

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“Selena: The Series” Trailer Is Here And The ’80s Hairstyles Are Everything

Entertainment

“Selena: The Series” Trailer Is Here And The ’80s Hairstyles Are Everything

contodonetflix / Twitter

Update October 26, 2020

The trailer for Netflix’s “Selena: The Series” is here and it is everything fans have been hoping for. The Netflix Original series is shining a light on the Selena few of us have had a chance to explore. The story will be told of a young Selena as she is starting her music career.

The trailer for “Selena: The Series” is out and it looks magnificent.

The first trailer is here and it is showing us all of the ’80s Selena vibes and looks we love. We never got a real good look at the early years of Selena y Los Dinos so this show is giving us a chance to better know Selena. We all know Selena as the Grammy-winning artist who was tragically murdered by her fan club president, but we have not really known her at the beginning of her career.

Let’s just all take a moment and appreciate those curly-haired looks.

We have all seen the photos of Selena with the curly, ’80s-style looks. Her curly hair always seemed like some intangible moment in her history. For the first time in a long time, we get to know the Selena who worked to become the most famous female Latin artists of all time.

We are just over one month away before the release of the new show.

“Selena: The Series” premieres on Dec. 4 and all the Selena fans cannot wait. Be sure to catch in on Netflix so we all have something to talk about online while still in quarantine.

Original: One of the most popular and cathartic things to do in the time of Covid is to binge-watch shows on streaming platforms. Why drag something out when you can watch an entire season in a day? Well, Selena fans now have one more thing to binge after Netflix announced the release date for “Selena: The Series.”

The world will forever change after Dec. 4.

Netflix is finally releasing the highly anticipated show “Selena: The Series” and we are so stoked to finally see it. The show has been on the radar of Selena fans everywhere since it was announced in 2018. We have all patiently waited for two years to finally see this show.

This is not a drill. This is not a prank. This is a gift from the entertainment deities who want to make sure that we all have something to make these hard times better. All you need is access to a Netflix account, doesn’t matter whose, and the enduring love for Selena that most of us have.

People are marking their calendars for a big day in entertainment.

That’s right. Netflix is releasing “Selena: The Series” and Disney+ is releasing “Mulan” for Disney+ subscribers at no extra charge after trying to rent it for $30 through the app. Dec. 4 is gearing up to be one of the most exciting days for people who just don’t want to leave the house during the current Covid pandemic. What a time to be a live, huh?

Netflix knows exactly what they are doing by releasing this show.

This show is approved by the Quintanilla family so there is that. This show was announced at the same time that Telemundo announced that the Spanish-language network was releasing their own series “El Secreto De Selena.”

The Telemundo show was based on the book written by journalist María Celeste Arrarás. The family has vehemently denied the accusations made in the book multiple times and Telemundo’s decision to make the series, which aired in 2018, angered viewers.

We have been promised a story about Selena that we have not seen in the past.

The Netflix series will not be rehashing what we have already seen. We know the story of Selena’s musical rise and tragic death thanks to “Selena” with J.Lo.

“Selena: The Series” is going to be showing us the life of a young Selena before the fame and musical career. It is truly amazing that after all of these years, there are still new stories to be told about Selena and her important place in American Latino history.

“Before she became the Queen of Tejano Music, Selena Quintanilla was a young girl from Texas with big dreams and an even bigger voice,” reads the description of the show. “The two-part coming-of-age drama ‘Selena: The Series’ explores the once-in-a-generation performer’s journey as a young artist, from singing small gigs in Corpus Christi with her family to becoming one of the most successful Latin artists of all time — and the years of grit and sacrifice the Quintanilla family navigated together before Selena’s meteoric rise to fame.”

So, mark your calendars and gather your loved ones.

This day should be a holiday as we all know that Selena is one of the greatest unifiers in the Latino community. We still sing her songs to this day and her legacy is being passed down to younger Latinos. Selena gave us representations before we knew we wanted and needed it.

It’s like we can already hear those old-school Selena y Los Dinos songs playing in our heads. Dec. 4 can’t get here fast enough and that’s a fact.

READ: Chris Perez Says He’s In the Dark When It Comes To Netflix’s ‘Selena: The Series’

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