Things That Matter

Two Sisters Are Using Their Black Girl Magic And Facebook Live To Read Stories To Children With Working Parents

For Latinos, the power of storytelling has a unique value. For us, stories are often used to instill a greater sense of culture and understanding of our current circumstances. Stories are told not just around the table at dinner, they’re told in car rides, during lectures, in the kitchen to supplement a recipe. But nothing quite stands the test of time as the stories told at our bedsides while we’re children. Delaware Sisters Zaria, 13, and Hailey Willard,8, know the power of this tradition well and are using the practice of reading books to help children that are younger than themselves.

The two sisters love books and reading so much that they read bedtime stories to American children on Facebook live, every night.

The Willard sisters’ primary goal is to pick out books with characters that look like them.

                                                                   @ZariaxHailey/Instagram

Once every Sunday,  the two sisters, whose love for literacy was passed on to them by their mom, Victoria, head off to their local Dover, Delaware library to pick out a week’s worth of books for their growing audience of young children online. Of course, in an age where online bullying is not only rampant but severe, their mother had hesitations. Still, the sisters were able to convince her that reading and streaming live would be worth it.

For their part, the sisters’ main goal is reaching children whose parents might not have time to read to their children at night. In a post to their Facebook page, the two girls state that “Parents sometimes work late or are too tired for stories. We are not only helping children, we are giving parents a nice break after a long day of work.”

Their love for reading is not uncommon among African American women. According to a Pew Research study, College-educated Black women in the US are the most likely people to read. They even read a bit more than educated white women. The same study, which was originally focused on the types of media formats that people read, also found that black women read more of any type of media, women from all backgrounds read more than men, and people who went to college read more than those who didn’t.

                                                              @brownbookshelf/Twitter

According to reports, African American women and girls are leading the way when it comes to reading and making changes for literacy and representation in literature.

In January 2018, Marley Dias, organizer of the #1000blackgirlbooks campaign, published her first book Marley Dias Gets It Done: So Can You, a book about social justice activism for kids. Dias, fourteen, won Smithsonian Magazine’s American Ingenuity Award in the Youth category in 2017, became known for her #1000blackgirlbooks campaign which she launched in 2015 when she was in sixth grade. The campaign brought attention to the startling lack of representation in children’s literature, to which children’s book literature agents have since responded.

                                                                 @ZariaxHailey/Instagram

This year its Delaware sisters, Zaria and Hailey, who have taken up the campaign for spreading a love for books, reading, learning, helping others, and representation. And Twitter users agree. Several gave well-deserved props to Zaria and Hailey in response to David Muir’s July 17, ABC news feature on them and their literacy project.

This Twitter user congratulated Zaria and Hailey’s parents.

https://twitter.com/KennyHargrove1/status/1151648204942925825

“That’s Dope as hell I know there parents are proud of them and shout out to there parents for raising some Beautiful young ladies..!” said @KennyHargrove1.

Esa señora agrees that the two are changing the world

https://twitter.com/angelimaquilim1/status/1151716513537298432

“That is so precious! Thank you girls for what you do! You’re changing the world.”

Another Twitter user found what Zaria and Hailey are doing “inspiring.”

https://twitter.com/TDKdweller/status/1151644941702979584

“Very inspiring, keep up the good work girls.”

What are Zaria and Hailey doing next? Continuing their work on a children’s book series and moving their storytime from 8:30 to 8:00 PM once school starts up again after summer.

In their own words, “We have huge plans for our ventures and we hope you follow along and share with your network of people. We are brown girls who read!!”

Gloria Estefan Will Be Hosting A Latinx Spinoff Of ‘Red Table Talk’ Alongside Her Daughter And Niece, ’La Flaca’

Entertainment

Gloria Estefan Will Be Hosting A Latinx Spinoff Of ‘Red Table Talk’ Alongside Her Daughter And Niece, ’La Flaca’

gloriaestefan / Instagram

Facebook Watch announced just this week, that they will be creating a spin-off of their original series Red Table Talk —except this time it will feature Latinx musical icon Gloria Estefan. The Miami based show which will feature latinx celebs will be titled; Red Table Talk: The Estefans. Here’s everything we know so far. 

Facebook Watch is turning Red Table Talk into a franchise.

With the green light for a second series from Pinkett Smith and Westbrook Studios, señores y señoras, we’re getting a Latinx spinoff. Set in Miami, Red Table Talk: The Estefans, will feature music icon Gloria Estefan, her daughter and rising musician Emily Estefan and her niece and Daytime Emmy Award-winning TV host Lili Estefan. 

We’ll see all three generations of the Estefans talk about things that matter.

Like the original program, the spinoff will feature the three women of different generations discussing social and personal issues with family, celebrity guests and experts. Pinkett Smith and Gloria Estefan will both serve as executive producers.

“I’m incredibly proud of Red Table Talk, and thrilled to build upon this franchise with my family and with Gloria, Emily and Lili.” 

In a Deadline article Jada Pinkett Smith added, “Red Table Talk has created a space to have open, honest and healing conversations around social and topical issues, and what’s most powerful for me is hearing people’s stories and engaging with our fans in such a tangible way on the Facebook Watch platform. I’m excited to see the Estefans put their spin on the franchise and take it to new places.”

The new and fresh version will likely help keep “Red Table Talk,” one of the most popular shows on Facebook Watch.

Red Table Talk is available exclusively on the Facebook platform with new episodes of the talker streaming through 2022. 

Pinket Smith’s show was nominated for a 2019 Daytime Emmy.

Red Table Talk debuted in May 2018 and has aired 50 episodes on Facebook Watch over two seasons. The show has over 7 million followers on Facebook and spawned a main discussion group with over 600,000 members as well as other group forums. “Red Table Talk” promises candid conversations of current social and cultural issues including race, divorce, domestic violence, sex, fitness and parenting.

Facebook did not announce an expected premiere date for “Red Table Talk: The Estefans.” 

In a statement, Gloria Estefan said: “I’m incredibly excited to carry the ‘Red Table Talk’ torch with my family in Miami. Jada and I have spoken about this a lot and feel my daughter, niece and I can tackle issues important to us and our fans with a new and fresh voice.”

Gloria Estefan’s journey to becoming one of the biggest Latin American pop stars began in 1959.

In 1959, Gloria’s family fled Cuba for Miami. She met Emilio Estefan in 1975; the two married in 1978, and shortly after that Emilio’s band, the Miami Latin Boys, changed their name to Miami Sound Machine —the biggest crossover act of the 80s and 90s.

Gloria Estefan has had one of the longest and most successful careers of any contemporary pop star.

And she’s done it in two languages, recording numerous Spanish-language albums, such as Mi Tierra (1993), Abriendo Puertas (1995) and Alma Caribeña (2000)all of which won Grammys for Best Tropical Latin Album. In 2015, President Barack Obama presented Gloria and Emilio with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 2017, it was announced that Gloria is one of the recipients of the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors

We can’t wait to see what the Estefans bring to the (red) table.

Not to disregard the Pinket Smith efforts because they brought much needed discussions to the public with the creation of this show. The original Red Table Talk discussed race, relationships, culture, mental health and more —but we’re excited for the Estefans to discuss issues that affect the Latinx community specifically.

Facebook Watch knows that by giving the show a different angle, they can target another demographic group —and the Latinx community is on board with the representation. 

“We’ve been fortunate enough to be in business with such wonderful partners and are thrilled to expand the Red Table Talk franchise with Jada Pinkett Smith, the Estefans and Westbrook Studios,” said Mina Lefevre, head of development & programming for Facebook Watch. “Red Table Talk is a shining example of how content, community and conversation come together on Facebook Watch. We’re proud to keep this conversation going around topics our fans care about.”

Latina Writers On Twitter Her Upset About The POV The The Hunger Games Prequel Is Giving

Entertainment

Latina Writers On Twitter Her Upset About The POV The The Hunger Games Prequel Is Giving

Lionsgate Films

When news that beloved dystopian Hunger Games series was getting a prequel novel, fans were thrilled. After all, it had been years since the last of the Suzanne Collins trilogy had ended leaving devotees of the series with quite a few questions and heartbreaks. Welp, an excerpt from The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, is finally here and fans on Twitter are– well- unsurprisingly nonplussed. 

The upcoming science fiction novel by Suzanne Collins has already caught some fire for its content. 

Due to be released on May 19, 2020, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will revisit the world of Panem sixty-four years before the events of The Hunger Games, starting on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games.”

Sounds all fun and good but fans are proving to be the exact opposite of tickled by news of the prequel which was confirmed back in October. At the time,  author Suzanne Collins said that “With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival,” she said in a press release. “The reconstruction period 10 years after the war, commonly referred to as the Dark Days — as the country of Panem struggles back to its feet — provides fertile ground for characters to grapple with these questions and thereby define their views of humanity.”

Set 64 years before the first Hunger Games novel, the book won’t see characters like Katniss Everdeen.

In fact, as readers learned on Sunday, via the excerpt shared by Entertainment Weekly, the protagonist for the prequel ill be the villainous President Snow.

According to Entertainment Weekly, at the start of the book Coriolanus Snow is “a teenager born to privilege but searching for something more, a far cry from the man we know he will become. Here, he’s friendly. He’s charming. And, for now anyway, he’s a hero.”  In the excerpt shared by EW, Snow is seen becoming a mentor to a girl tribute from District 12,. 

Of course, the concept for the book has not boded well with fans on Twitter. 

Fans of the original series are expressing their outright contempt for the book which erases all of the work the original series did to inspire young female action heroes. Author Aiden Thomas of Cemetery Boys summed up the sentiments best saying  “I couldn’t be more disappointed by the next HUNGER GAMES being about f*cking President Snow and trying to paint him as a ‘misunderstood hero’ are you kidding me. the very last thing i’m interested in is humanizing a fascist dictator because he has a tragic past.”

Welp. That’s it for the prequel, here’s hoping that it all turns out way better than we had expected. Until then, at least we can ohh and ahh at the hope of one day seeing one of our very own represented in the series.

When Hollywood doesn’t have the courage to cast women or people of color in new films, they make reboots of older box office hits starring women or a more diverse cast. While we’d like to suggest that Hollywood simply make original films starring Latinos, especially since Latinos buy the most movie tickets than any other demographic groups in the US, but we also wouldn’t mind seeing a few reboots with a full Latino cast and not just playing token roles. The Hunger Games, a movie about children who grow up in extreme poverty who are taken from their families to a an opulent city that appears to be full of happiness and promise, but where they have to fight for their lives, is a good start, especially if Yalitza Aparicio played Katniss Everdeen.

Katniss Everdeen (originally played by Jennifer Lawrence)

Credit: The Hunger Games/Lionsgate

Little girls all over the world wanted to be like Katniss, played by Jennifer Lawrence, after The Hunger Games released in theaters. Vulnerable, tough, and caring, Katniss was the female hero we all needed in 2012, but as a young Xicanita, my niece wanted to be Katniss years before when she read all the books all the books in the The Hunger Games series written by Suzanne Collins

Katniss played by Yalitiza Aparicio

Credit: Pinterest

Freshly nominated for an academy award, Yaltiza Aparicio who can rock a braid like no other, could easily inhabit the role of Katniss, who volunteers a tribute when her sister Primose’s name is drawn at the reaping, is a great shot with a bow and arrow, and is no nonsense about doing what’s right. We can’t wait to see Aparicio in a less quiet role, and playing the scrappy Katniss shouldn’t be a stretch for her at all.

Gale Hawthorne (originally played by Liam Hemsworth)

Credit: The Hunger Games/Lionsgate

Gale, played by Liam Hemsworth, is Katniss’ faithful friend who also, of course, has romantic feelings for her, which complicates matters when she allows to go along with the fabricated love story between her and Peeta to gather attention from viewers.

Gale played by Juan Pablo Di Paci

Credit: Pinterest

Juan Pablo Di Paci’s smudge-print eyes alone are enough to get him the role, but he also resembles Liam Hemsworth, the square jaw, the thick head of hair, the movie-star good looks. His looks, however, won’t be enough to win Katniss over who ultimately winds up marrying Peeta. None of this will hurt, Di Paci, the Argentinian actor who played Fernando on Fuller House and who can also sing, dance, and direct.

Primrose Everdeen (originally played by Willow Shields)

Credit: The Hunger Games/Lionsgate

In order to protect her younger sister, Primrose, or Prim, Katniss volunteers to fight in her place. The sensitive Prim is spared fighting at a young age, but is still tormented by the fact that her older sister and stable member of the family must leave her side and go to the capital.

Primrose Everdeen played by Juliana Gamiz

Credit: juliannagamiz / Instagram

Up and coming child actor, Julianna Gamiz, would make a great Primrose, and hermana to Aparicio’s Katniss. A role in the Fierce by Mitú production of The Hunger Games could help Gamiz, who plays the adopted child of a white couple inInstant Family, broaden her roles.

Peeta Mellark (originally played by Josh Hutcherson)

Credit: The Hunger Games/Lionsgate

Peeta, also from District 12, is the male tribute chosen to fight in the Hunger Games with Katniss. As per the cruel Hunger Games’ rules Peeta and Katniss should have fought one another until the death, two teens from the same district, but they outsmarted the Capital with their manufactured love story.

Peeta Mellark played by Diego Boneta

Credit: Pinterest

Diego Boneta from Rock of Ages and Pelé could play Peeta Mellark, whose name we’d have to change to Pedro Mellark because this is our reboot. Like Hemsworth and Di Paci, Boneta and Hutcherson look similar, Boneta the Mexican version.

Cinna (Originally played by Lenny Kravitz)

Credit: The Hunger Games/Lionsgate

Lenny Kravitz is great in the role of Cinna, Katniss’ stylist and confidant who makes it possible for the taciturn Katniss to be likable by the masses.

Cinna played by Oscar Issac

Credit: Pinterest

With the kindly, wise Cinna, it’s all in the eyes, and as Oscar Isaac, certainly has the eyes. As much as we’d hate to replace Lenny Kravitz, especially when he wears leather pants, replacing Kravitz for the internet’s favorite boyfriend totally works for us.

Effie Trinket (originally played by Elizabeth Banks)

Credit: The Hunger Games/Lionsgate

Elizabeth Banks’ Effie Trinket is a great character, frivolous and self-absorbed but also a shrewd business woman and no nonsense.

Effie Trinket played by Salma Hayek

Credit: Pinterest

Salma Hayek, who isn’t afraid to fully inhabit a role, would make a great Effie Trinket, she looks great in pink and pastel pallets and is great at no-nonsense characters. Like Hayek, Effie Trinket has penchant for fashion and having moved to Paris and married a François-Henri Pinault who heads a company that represents luxury designer clothes, Hayek has plenty to choose from.

Haymitch (originally played by Woody Harrelson)

Credit: The Hunger Games/Lionsgate

Mentor to Katniss and Peeta, a former winner of the games, Haymitch, now an alcoholic, seems to believe that it’s futile to train young people to kill when they have very little chance of winning. Clearly scarred by his own experiences, Haymitch vacillates between apathy and wisdom

Haymitch played by Eugenio Derbez

Credit: Pinterest

Eugenio Derbez has been making Latinos laugh for years, but he can also play it straight like he does as the skeptical Enrique in the Latinx favorite Under The Same Moon. Enrique’s skepticism in Under the Same Moon, is not unlike that of Haymitch toward Katniss and Peeta and the whole barbaric process that is the annual Hunger Games.

President Snow (Originally played by Donald Sutherland)

Credit:The Hunger Games/Lionsgate

President Snow is a classic totalitarian who believes he knows better than his citizens and has no care for the will of the people. His primary concerns are power and his image, sound familiar?

President Snow played by President Trump

HuffPost
Credit: Pinterest

Let’s face it, the current state for Latinos in the US, or those hoping make the US a home in order to escape extreme poverty, violence, and failed states, is pretty dystopian. As much as we hate his face, Trump would make a great President Snow, especially because Snow says this:  “Why do we have a winner? Hope. It is the only thing more powerful than fear. A little hope is effective. A lot of hope is dangerous. A spark is fine as long as it’s contained.”

Portia (originally played by Latarsha Rose)

Credit: The Hunger Games/Lionsgate

In The Hunger Games, Portia is Peeta’s stylist. While she does not speak many lines in the first movie of the trilogy, the distinctive style of her make-up and costumes cause her to jump off the screen, so to play her we choose Tessa Thompson, duh.

Portia played by Tessa Thompson

Credit: Pinterest

Tessa Thompson’s Afro-Latina beauty and smoldering eyes are perfect reasons to put her in the role of Portia. In our Latinx version, Portia will definitely rebel against The Capital by using her knowledge of the inner workings of the games to dress Peeta in items that will send messages of hope to District 12.