Entertainment

Eva Mendes: “I Wanted to be a Nun!”

Cuban bombshell Eva Mendes didn’t always dream of being a successful actress. Mendes reavealed to Digital Spy: ShowBiz that she intially intended to pursue being a nun. According to Eva:

“We didn’t grow up with a lot of money, so I would always tell my mom, ‘Mommy I am going to buy you a big house when I grow up and a car,’ ” says Mendes, who explained that she gave up on her convent dreams to pursue the more lucrative profession of acting.

“My sister said to me one day when I was ten, ‘How are you going to buy mom all these things? You are going to be a nun and nuns don’t get paid,’ ” explained Mendes. “I said, ‘What?’ and that was it.”

Alpo Martinez: Where is the Infamous Harlem Drug Kingpin?

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Alberto “Alpo” Martinez is a name that most will not know, however if you happen to be a New York City resident or are a history enthusiast with a preference on the War on Drugs plight within the United States of America then you may have heard of his name as the legend, the myth, as one of the Drug Kingpins of Harlem.

However, like all popular Drug Kingpins–like El Chapo–who earn themselves a recognizable legacy the empire they’ve built tends to fall as does the legend who sits upon it.

But whatever became of Alpo?

For the last 25 years, Alpo has been believed to have been a resident of ADX Florence which is a federal supermax prison located in Fremont County, Colorado serving a 35-year sentence for 14 counts of homicide. However, according to those who are connected to Alpo that is no longer the case.

It is rumored that for the past few years Alpo has been out of prison, but the last place you may ever see him is back in New York City.

Back in the mid-1980s, during the early days of when the USA began its quest to combat drug-trafficking into the country in what has become known as the War on Drugs13-year-old Puerto Rican boy named Alberto Martinez—Alpo to those on the streets—rose in prominence within Harlem as a Drug Kingpin.

With a drug trade that consisted of transporting hundreds of kilos of crack-cocaine through various parts of New York City, other Northeast cities, and most noticeably Washington D.C.—where he lived during the last few days of his drug empire—Alpo became somewhat a street legend due to his dangerous lifestyle. Alpo’s life was eventually adapted into a 2002 movie entitled Paid in Full that starred rapper Cam’ron as Alpo.

 

 

He brought attention to himself. He was charismatic and outgoing. He had a party always going on around him and people gravitated to him,” remembers Kevin Chiles, a former Harlem drug dealer who knew Alpo, in a recent interview with Vice magazine back in 2015 where he disclosed that Alpo is no longer in prison.

While he was a legend for flashing his millionaire wealth with expensive cars, clothes, and jewelry, Alpo was also widely known for committing several murders during his drug kingpin reign.

In the 1990s, Alpo was involved in several murders that made him notorious. However, there was one murder that would begin the dismantling of both his drug empire and his legacy.

On January 3, 1990, Alpo and an accomplice murdered Rich Porter who was Alpo’s one time friend and actually sold drugs with when teenagers. It was Alpo murdering Porter that led those who once revered him to turn their backs on him.

Rich’s death had a huge impact on Harlem. The timing couldn’t have been worse,” said Chiles, “Richard was in the middle of negotiating the release of his 12-year-old brother, Donnell, who had been kidnapped and was being held for $500,000 ransom. Rich was killed, and then a few days later the body of his little brother was found in the same vicinity.”

While the death of Porter dented Alpo’s reputation, the silver bullet that would destroy his legacy would come after Alpo choose to testify against his former enforcer. Before an open court, Alpo turned on his former Washington D.C. enforcer in order to avoid serving a life sentence for the murders he had been arrested for committing.

After breaking the street law of snitching, Alpo was to serve as reduce sentence of 35 years for 14 counts of murder. However back in September of 2015, according to Don Diva magazine—a magazine developed by Chiles in prison that is devoted to the drug underworld and New York City street life—Alpo has been out of prison for the last few years.

Despite being rumored to being out of prison, the chances of Alpo returning to New York City is very slim.

I am most certain that Alpo won’t come back to New York. He knows he has a bullseye on him. That situation with Rich left Harlem scarred and people have strong feelings about it,” said Chiles, talking about the possibility of Alpo returning to NYC. “I could see a younger dude, on the come-up, try to make a name for themselves by taking Alpo out. They would be instantly infamous. I’m sure these are things he should be considering.”

So, where is Alpo Martinez? That is a question that may not be answered.

Remembering David Ortiz Last Game against the Yankees

Image: upi.com

Image: upi.com

Famed baseball player of the Boston Red Sox, David “Big Papi” Ortiz, played his 117th and final game against the New York Yankees in the Bronx on Sept 29th 2016. A pregame ceremony was held to honor the DH (designated hitter) with his family and teammates. Yankee retiree Mariano Rivera, along with the NY team, presented him with a gift of a painting, highlighting the Yankee-Red Sox rivalry. Ortiz’s baseball career in the US started in 1998, playing for the Minnesota Twins. His tenure with the Red Sox began in 2003, where just a year later, he helped “break the curse” for Boston, winning their first World Series since 1918. The Red Sox won two more World Championship games since.

Other than baseball, Ortiz is quite the philanthropist. He helped his city heal after the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing, including his assertive statement as the start of a game, “This is our f***ing city!”, which he said too quick to be censored during the live broadcast.

With a heart for children, he founded the David Ortiz Children’s Fund, which is committed to helping children in New England and the Dominican Republic with critical pediatric needs. He also appeared in an episode of the YouTube series “Undercover Lyft”, where celebrities disguise themselves to be a Lyft driver for a day and surprise their passengers! Check it out below:

Ortiz is now officially retired as a major league baseball

U.S. Secretly Infiltrated Cuba’s Hip Hop Scene To Trigger Youth Rebellion

Los Aldeanos in their video "No Le Tengo Miedo".

Los Aldeanos in their video “No Le Tengo Miedo”.

It is known that Hip-hop started in the park and not in a U.S. agency’s spy program. Yet, the U.S. Agency for International Development tried to trigger a youth rebellion with anti-government music, reports the Associated Press.

According to an investigation by the AP, the USAID contracted a Serbian music promoter to infiltrate Cuba’s underground hip-hop scene. The promoter, who convinced rappers to hire him, pushed the anti-Castro agenda to groups like rap duo, Los Aldeanos. But the rap group, in 2009, weren’t aware of music promoter Rajko Bozic’s true intentions, which was to “spread democracy” by creating a hostile youth movement in Cuba.

Documents show the U.S. agency continuously put “innocent Cubans and its own operatives in jeopardy despite warning signs.” The report continues to say that Cuban authorities “detained or interrogated musicians” and confiscated computers and thumb drives that linked them to the USAID.

USAID wrote a response to the story stating, “Any assertions that our work is secret or covert are simply false.”

Fortunately, the U.S. secret program didn’t hurt the Cuban underground hip-hop movement that showcases talents like Danay Suarez, who I interviewed and profiled in LatinTrends magazine.

This is not the first time the agency is caught trying to use people to create an anti-Cuban government movement. The AP has reported on how the USAID tried several times to use prominent Cuban musicians and members of the Castro family to create a “revolution”.

Currently, Los Aldeanos, a two-brother rap group, live in Florida. Their music is less political than before, especially in their new single “No Le Tengo Miedo” (I’m not afraid). The song focuses more on conviction as it hit YouTube late August and has over 1.2 million views.

Trump Chooses Jovita Carranza as the 7th Latina US Treasurer

President Trump has named Jovita Carranza treasurer of the United States.

The White House said Carranza is the founder of JCR Group and previously served as deputy administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. She previously worked at the United Parcel Service.

Jovita Carranza will be the 7th Latina to hold this position

According to its website, the treasurer of the United States “has direct oversight over the U.S. Mint, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and Fort Knox and is a key liaison with the Federal Reserve. In addition, the Treasurer serves as a senior adviser to the Secretary in the areas of community development and public engagement.”

Mexico is Still the Top Pick for US Vacationers

In the U.S., Americans’ perception of Mexico has reached a 10-year high, according to a recent Gallup, Inc. poll. The statistic further highlights the country’s record-breaking 2016 tourism year that saw more than 35 million international visitors – up 9% from the year prior – enjoying its world-class beaches and cultural offerings, according to the Mexico Tourism Board.

Credit for the country’s recent successes in tourism is largely due to the Mexican people – widely recognized as some of the friendliest and most welcoming in the world, and their centuries-old spirit of hospitality. Mexico Tourism Board’s internal consumer tracking studies showed more than 94 percent of visitors reported an experience that “exceeded their expectations” and 86 percent said they would “like to come back again” in the next six months– some of the highest scores in the industry, attesting to the popular Mexican adage, ‘mi casa es su casa’ (my home is your home)

As the summer months approach and vacation planning starts, American families of all shapes and sizes seeking the perfect trip, can look no further than our neighbor to the south for one of the friendliest, most welcoming vacation experiences.

Here is a peek at other numbers that exemplify the warm nature of the country:

  • Mexico was awarded #1 country in the world for Family Travel and Puerto Vallarta as #2 destination in the world for LGBTQ travel by the global Travvy Awards
  • International Living named Mexico as the #1 retirement destination in 2017
  • For the third year in a row, Mexico was ranked as the friendliest and most welcoming country in the world by the John Mason survey of expatriates in 191 countries
  • San Miguel de Allende, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Mexico, makes guests feel right at home and was named the 4th friendliest city in the world by Travel + Leisure
  • Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best Awards” reader survey named five Mexican cities in its Top 10 Best Cities in Latin America rankings, including San Miguel de Allende (#1), Oaxaca (#3), Mexico City (#4), Merida (#5), and Guadalajara (#8)
  • National Geographic named Baja California as one of its top places to visit in 2017
  • The New York Times named Tijuana (#8) and Puerto Escondido (#32) in their 52 Places to Go in 2017. Mexico City was featured as the #1 place to visit in their 2016 list
  • “Halal Mexico” is a special program to help prepare airlines, hotels, restaurants and the wider Mexico tourism industry to cater to travelers from around the world that maintain a halal diet

For more information about Mexico go to visitmexico.com

Eva Longoria – “Latinos in America Must Unite”

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What do Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Ecuadorians, Colombians, and Peruvians all have in common?

The answer is simple: they are all Latino. The only thing that truly makes anyone from the above group different from each other is the cultural background associated to each group. For those who aren’t Latino may not think we are different and few Latinos as being a united group.

However, that idea is not exactly true.

While there is a strong sense of Latino pride for many Latinos, when it comes to being or feeling a sense of unity to others who are not of the same national background it seems non-existent. It is this sense of division among Latinos which has some Latino stars are suggesting that if we remove, Latinos could only benefit and progress forward as a united people.

Since becoming a superstar in her own right, Eva Longoria has used her fame earned by her stint as a Housewife on ABC’s Desperate Housewives into becoming a philanthropist to aid the Latino community within the country. And one way that Longoria has aided Latinos is through her very own foundation.

Since its establishment back in 2010, the intention of the Eva Longoria Foundation is to encourage and help Latinas across the country succeed through either educational and/or entrepreneurial pursuits. According to Longoria, the foundations mostly focuses on Latinas because she sees the growing demographic of Latinos in this country and believes that women in the community need more of a push because they “make the world go round.”

I grew up with a family of strong, accomplished, and educated women. I believe, as they say, that you can’t be what you don’t see, and since I saw a lot of smart women in my life, education being at the center, I just mimicked that behavior. There was never a question that I’d go to college. In fact, I was the last person in my family to get a master’s degree, so that tells you I’m actually the underachiever!

Although her foundation may be devoted to aiding the growth of Latinas, Longoria strongly feels that both women and men could both benefit in progressing upward if only we as a community come together to help one another out.

We have to support and lift each other up. Latinos have not historically been a culture that unites easily. We’re very factioned—you have your Mexican Americans, your Puerto Ricans, your Cuban Americans, your Central Americans—and sometimes we focus on the differences more than the commonalities.

And Longoria is not alone in this ideology. At the recent PaleyFest held this weekend, Gina Rodriguez the star of Jane The Virgin took part of a panel that discussed Latinos on Television and the actress gave advice to other Latino actors.

We need to unite,” said Rodriguez, suggesting one way to do so is by Latino actors opting to portray characters of different Latino nationalities beside their own to show this unity. “They see us as one community—we need to be one community. Let’s do that, use our power as Latinos, whatever culture you identify with and celebrate.

Being of Latino origin I have experienced, and seen, that there are fractions that exist within the Latino community. There are some Latinos, mostly Latinos of South America, who are being stereotyped or persecuted for being immigrants due to the country’s heated debate regarding how immigration—for some—harms the country or—for others—betters it. With this issue and others that are race-related and plagues the Latino community, the unifying of Latinos could aid in eliminating this issue.

Street Art & The Latinos That Influenced The Culture of Writers

By Ottoniel Campos
Originally published in LatinTRENDS Magazine

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Before hipsters scattered around urban areas like organic roaches. Before Bansky. Before 3-D images, bubble, boxed and futuristic typography sprayed on subway cars were called street art by mainstream art collectors and gallery curators, the 1970s spurred an army of devoted graffiti artists called “writers” who just wanted to showcase their art, talent and bomb their names all over New York City.

OK, so bomb and New York City is not the thing to say, especially after September 2011. But during the ‘70s and ‘80s the term “bombing” meant that your tag, name or artwork was spray-painted on one of the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s subways that traveled all over the concrete jungle of New York City. Along with break dancing, DJing and rapping, writers no older than 19, considered this unlawful, risky and dangerous act as one of the four elements of hiphop.
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One of the pioneers who paved the way in creative expression while using his name as a tool to capture the attention of haters, fanatics and subway riders oblivious to the incoming artistry arriving at their station is Lee Quiñones. The Puerto Rican-born and Lower East Side-raised Quiñones debuted his unsolicited artistry in 1974. His underground fame became mainstream once “Wild Style,” a 1984 film that followed a group of New York graffiti writers and hip-hop artists, hit theaters. By the late ‘80s he was already selling urban style art pieces in galleries all over New York City. The graffiti icon is not only immortalized by films and documentaries but also by the art book “Subway Art,” which is one of the top selling art books to date.

The film “Wild Style” also featured Sandra Fabara, better known as Lady Pink. This Ecuadorian writer, who was raised in Queens and graduated from the High School of Art & Design in New York City, made her mark in the male dominated graffiti world from 1979 to 1985. Like most writers, Lady Pink traveled and entered the darkest and most dangerous subway tunnels to display her artistry. Quickly, the graffiti community recognized her creativity and fearlessness. Now, more than 30 years later, the respected, beloved and admired Lady Pink is still a highly sought-after painter, muralist and graffiti writer with works featured in art galleries, museums and sponsored building walls all over the U.S.

Most associate the history of graffiti with only New York. But Philadelphia, D.C. and Los Angeles also had writers showcasing their talents on billboards and vacant buildings. During the early ‘70s Mexican-American Chaz Bojórquez brought his style of Asian calligraphy and the Chicano graffiti style of the ‘50s to the streets of East Los Angeles. Bojórquez is now considered the godfather of The “Cholo”-style letters seen on the hoods of pimped-out rides, motorcycle jackets and tattoos that usually goes along with an image of a skull or a red rose placed next to them.

Mario Lopez: I Workout for Sanity, Not Vanity

 

 

 

By Giselle Rodriguez-Forte

Mario Lopez is underrated. Not so much as Hollywood stock—the media and public love him—but there’s more to the Mexican-American public figure than his audience may appreciate. Ironically, the bright light his shiny star casts may shadow Lopez’s altruistic efforts.

What some people don’t realize: Lopez is a humanitarian. This is a man who deserves to be on every Latino list concocted by everyone from HBO to People, Sabado Gigante, and abuelas in Washington Heights; he is genuinely interested in creating positive projects and he always keeps his Latino roots at the forefront of those endeavors. His dear friend, Eva Longoria, always makes the popularity and groundbreaker lists! As “they” say, show me who you roll with and I’ll show you who you are (I paraphrase loosely), then it’s suffice to acknowledge Lopez is worthy of the same accolades and recognition.

People reveal themselves without realizing it. This is how I knew Mario Lopez remains grounded despite the uphill trajectory he’s riding: when the phone interview for this article was scheduled, his camp told me to call him directly. It’s a simple, almost unnoticeable detail, but it’s the sort of thing that discreetly says; I am down-to-Earth. There is no phantom yellow tape between him and the world. And bottom line, there’s enough success under his belt to activate his ego. But he remains humble, and the man works.

Ryan Seacrest is rumored to be the hardest workingman in the entertainment business; I’m going to throw Lopez’s name into the ring as a contender. It takes a lot of stamina and energy, both physically and spiritually, to have the wherewithal to not only show up for the activities in his insanely busy life, but to excel at all of them. And not only does he do it, he makes it look easy.

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Before speaking with Lopez I did a little journalistic homework. I take that back, a ‘little’ is an understatement because he has a lot going on, and most of it always circles back to the empowerment of his Latino community, celebrating his roots, and following a healthy lifestyle.

Let’s begin at the obvious. Saved by the Bell, which has to be mentioned because, well, it’s a new-school classic playing on the television all the time. Lopez has been a household name since we saw him pirouette in spandex back at Bayside High. These days you can see him hamming it up with Maria Menounos on E!’s Extra!, and as of late, as host of X-Factor (which he just wrapped). But there’s more, there’s a whole bunch of other stuff you may not have heard of yet, but should really take the time to check out.

Did you know he’s penned numerous children’s books, a fitness book, and two cookbooks (published by Celebra, Penguin Books)? One of which, Extra Lean: The Fat-Burning Plan That Changes the Way You Eat for Life (written with Jimmy Peña) made the NY Times bestseller list! There’s no tell-all memoir on his literary resume, nothing to avenge, they are all books written from a positive place – one of them is about him and his daughter, Mario and Baby Gia! Get
more adorable, please.

When I ask about his constant affiliation with health and family, Lopez remarks, “I workout for sanity, not vanity. And that sort of lifestyle, although it obviously helps you physically, it also helps keep my energy up with everything I do, and in turn helps me come home and enjoy and appreciate what I have there.”

Even his literary accomplishments spotlight the family unit. The children’s books and cookbooks are all family friendly. And the recipes and lifestyle he celebrates focus on eating in a nutritious way, rather than limiting oneself to a restrictive diet.

Lopez has also been hard at work on his new series with NuvoTV, Mario Lopez: One on One. He not only serves as laid-back interviewer for the project, he’s also an executive producer on the show (along with his cousin—there goes the family card again). He seems effortless in the room with the A-Listers he’s speaking with; as a viewer you feel like you’ve been allowed to sit in on a private conversation with Mario and a buddy (sometimes his buddy is Mark Sanchez, sometimes it’s Gloria Estefan). And although it’s candid, there’s none of the awkwardness that sometimes comes with one-on-one interviews in which the reporter attempts to have some deep secret revealed on the show; it’s obvious Lopez is not interested in airing out anyone’s dirty laundry.

He says it best when describing his efforts for the project, “I hope it inspires. I want to showcase Latinos who have been successful… and give other Latinos someone to look up to. If they can relate to who I’m sitting with, then hopefully that will make it easier to inspire them.”

There’s something to this theory. Watch his interview with Gloria and Emilio Estefan and you’ll comprehend what he’s saying; he makes these untouchable public figures accessible. Suddenly Gloria reminds you of your sister, or tia, and the wall of “they’re better than me” dissipates. It’s an unconscious way to inspire; feeling equal to those you look up to can help with self-esteem, motivation, and make acquiring your own goals more attainable.

I almost forgot! He also has a radio show on 104.3MYfm, and is the animated voice of a rag doll for Sprout’s The Chica Show. I am literally running out of space to talk about everything he does. He’s not all talk, and not all preachy either. Lopez is no stranger to controversy—but who isn’t. The difference is he’s had his challenges in the public eye. We all have a past, what matters is the present.

These days, if you go to his Twitter page you’ll find photo after photo of his lovely daughter Gia, gorgeous wife Courtney, and a variety of cute nephews and nieces (he’s Latino, as you can imagine, family members run deep). He’s a good ol’ Catholic boy who loves his family, appreciates where he’s come from, and walks the line. He’s also admitted to being an active member of his parish. I asked him about his faith, he responds, “…it’s helped me with structure, clarity…I owe everything to being very blessed, and I don’t take that for granted.” He doesn’t push any religious talk on me; it’s a simple declaration of how faith continues to fortify his foundation of gratitude. It’s a little cynical to think this way, but often I question a celebrity’s affiliation with particular organizations and charities. Intentions can sometimes be fuzzy. Are they representing this or that because it’s fashionable, or an applicable tax write-off—because in Hollywood charities are trendy, too.

Yet even with his organization of choice, Mario’s connection runs deeper than the surface. He is a fitness ambassador for the Boys and Girls Club of America. “My parent’s were great, but they worked. I used to go to the Boys Club after school, it still hadn’t merged with the Girls Club at the time. I spent my time there. That’s where I was introduced to wrestling. It kept me busy, focused, and off the streets.” Mario is not the only celebrity to fondly recall the Club as a safe haven; Latinos Victor Rasuk and Rosario Dawson are also ambassadors for the organization.

Mario’s actions showcase faith in his Latino community, and his commitment to being a positive force for not only us, but for everyone. Luckily, he is a Latino focused on the empowerment of society more so than the personal gratification of his ego. More than anything he wants us, his fellow Latinos, to elevate and have a voice. How can we not support that?

[Originally published in LatinTRENDS Magazine]

Canelo vs. Chavez Jr. Cinco De Mayo War

The first weekend in May has often been called the busiest in all of sports with the Kentucky Derby, the NBA playoffs and early-season MLB series heating up. It’s also typically the weekend of the biggest boxing match of the year, coinciding with the Mexican holiday Cinco de Mayo.

This 5 de Mayo superstars Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will square off at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (HBO PPV, 9 p.m. ET).

Taking a glance at their respective fighting styles reveals that this 164.5-pound catch weight bout has all the makings of an action-packed battle, in addition to the bad blood between these two warriors that includes years of trash talk, this fight has a shot at living up to its billing as the biggest fight in Mexican boxing history.

Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) is 6-0 since his lone loss, a decision defeat to Floyd Mayweather in 2013,he has headlined five pay-per-views during that span, winning all to become the sport’s biggest draw.

Chavez (50-2-1, 32 KOs), meanwhile, is looking to redeem himself after 5 years spent damaging his career through drug suspensions, missed weight, laziness and an overall lack of professionalism.