LT Magazine

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.

How to Flirt, According to Science

 

By Kimberly Moffit

USE FLIRTATIOUS BODY LANGUAGE

Most of the lasting impression we make on others is related to our body language, while only 7% is related to what we actually SAY! If you want to be approached in a bar, sit up straight with your shoulders back. Studies show that this way you’re more likely to be viewed as approachable. Be sure to not close yourself off physically, making you appear standoffish. Mirroring your partner’s body language also signals interest and intimacy. If you’re interested in someone, whether on the train, at Starbucks or at the gym, cross your legs toward as opposed to away. Lean in. And don’t be afraid to let your hands do the talking!

USE GENTLE TOUCH

Touch is important to effective flirting, because while words are processed through the “thinking” part of our brains, touch goes directly to our emotional centers. Touch can immediately heighten arousal, so touching your date/partner’s hand, arm, hair or hip initiates physical contact which immediately ups the ante leading to passion. The right time to lightly brush your crush’s arm or shoulder is when they are giving you physical indicators of interest, such as smiling and prolonged eye contact.

USE YOUR EYES

Eyes are historically known as the most magnetic part of one’s personality. Large eyes signal high fertility from a biological perspective and this may explain why study after study shows that women with larger eyes are seen as more attractive. This is why batting the eyelashes has been used for centuries to get attention as well as make the eyes stand out. You can also try looking your crush in the eye for a few seconds to get their attention.

USE YOUR LIPS!

Smiling, puckering, pursing, licking, and biting are all subtle but VERY effective ways to draw attention to your lips and get your date thinking about kissing them. RED lips also go a long way. Ovulating women have redder lips than when they’re not ovulating; making red lips an evolutionary preferable trait!

LAST BUT NOT LEAST – WEAR RED

People who wear red on first dates are statistically more likely to get into a relationship. The color red actually stimulates the heart to beat faster and has a tendency to evoke confidence in the person wearing it. Our brains are also conditioned to think ‘sexy’ when we see someone wearing red.

Kimberly Moffit is often recognized for her E! News and VH1 appearances. She has become one of the most sought after relationship experts. Additionally, Moffit shares her expert advice through the Huffington Post and Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger’s blog.

 

[Originally published in LatinTRENDS Magazine]

The Struggles of Young Lords Community Activism…a story continues

Pa'Lante

Originally published in LatinTRENDS Magazine

By Eddie Olmo

The mid ‘60s and early ‘70s was the height of the civil rights movement, and many people today remember the names of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party. But ask anybody today if they ever heard of the Young Lords Party. “The young who?” Is what most people will say except for Jennica Carmona, who is the writer/director of the movie “Millie and the Lords.” Jennica, along with her twin sister Jessica, have gone back into the archives to bring us a fictional story about a girl named “Millie,” performed by Jessica, who discovers herself while learning about the very real Young Lords.

Jennica uses original Young Lords members Felipe Luciano and José “Cha Cha” Jiménez and the fictitious character of “Mateo” to tell the plight of the Young Lords Party. Jessica’s character “Millie” joins community center “El Puente” where “Mateo,” portrayed by Mateo Gómez, is teaching a class about the Young Lords. This is where Jennica connects the modern day struggles to the struggles of the Young Lords. LatinTRENDS was able to sit with Jennica and Jessica to talk about this movie.

Millie and The Lords

Tell me about the movie “Millie and the Lords”

Jen – “Millie and the Lords” is a coming of-age story about a Latina woman living a mediocre life in Spanish Harlem, NYC. Her life begins to change for the better when she takes a daring step of enrolling in a Latino History Class, taught by a former Young Lords Party member named Mateo. The film blends the past with the present, by showing how a young person of today can grow when they from people from the past. It is a beautiful story of courage and self-empowerment.

Why the Young Lords?

The Young Lords was a very important activist group that fought for social change, and fought for the rights of Latinos. Many Puerto Rican and Latino people today don’t know about this important part of Latino History. We don’t learn about the Young Lords in school. It is a part of our history that is hidden from us. We want this film to pay tribute to this group of people that sacrificed their lives for a better world.

How did the Young Lords change your life?

The Young Lords changed my life by showing me how a group of people can come together to fight for a common goal and achieve it.

Do you think the Young Lords are still relevant in today’s society?

We are witnessing a new social justice movement, and the movement of today is struggling against some of the same issues that the Young Lords were fighting. Today, we are fighting police brutality and racism in Ferguson, MO, Wisconsin and here in NYC. We are also witnessing a fight for the rights of immigrants to have a future here in the US, without being separated from their families. We can learn from the way the Young Lords organized themselves, educated themselves, educated others and stood up for their rights.

What are your plans for this movie?

Our plans for this movie is to get it as widely distributed as possible. We especially want young Latinos of today to see the film, to inspire them to fight and work for a better world. We want teachers to show it in their classrooms, we want it screened at theatres across the country and across the world. I would love to see the film endorsed and promoted by well-known Latino artists such as Marc Anthony, JLo, Luis Guzmán, Jimmy Smits, Chayanne or Calle 13.

How did it feel to play Millie?

Playing the part of Millie was a challenge. She was very different from who I am in real life. The one thing I had in common with Millie was my love of reading and writing. And of course, as a Puerto Rican I dealt with strong Latino male family members who tended to be controlling. Millie’s character is tough, rude, mean with a bad attitude. Growing up, I was more like the shy nerdy one, but I did have a lot of anger about the world around me. I did question things a lot. I think I expressed it differently. When I was working with young Latinos in upstate NY and The Bronx, I did see these types of young women, though. And I was able to hear them and understand them. They were tough, really tough and hard to relate to. But over time, I began to understand them.

What did you learn from this experience?

I learned that indie film making is hard work! But I learned what a good feeling it is to work so hard on something and see the fruits of your labor.

How did it feel to win the Viva Latino Film Festival?

It was such a surprise and such an honor to win at Viva Latino Film Festival!! We were so excited when we got that news. It feels good. I see us as “the little engine that could” because we faced so many obstacles along the way. So it was a good feeling to get that news.

 

LOS HERMANOS ROSARIO ESCRIBIENDO LA HISTORIA DEL MERENGUE POR CASI CUATRO DECADAS

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Los Hermanos Rosario, es una de las mas importantes agrupaciones musicales de La Republica Dominicana, un verdadero icono del merengue que ha podido mantenerse en los primeros lugares de popularidad por 38 años consecutivos y ganarse la preferencia del pueblo durante  generaciones.

Es imposible hablar de Merengue sin mencionar a Tony, Luis y Rafa Rosario, las caras de esta popular agrupación

Los Rosario llevan a sus millones de seguidores un merengue con estilo, un sonido que se renueva constantemente, que se adapta a los nuevos tiempos e increíblemente sus integrantes han desafiado la ley del tiempo y hoy lucen más jóvenes y en mejor forma física que el primero de mayo de 1978, día en que se formó oficialmente su orquesta.

 

Este ha sido un camino largo y duro, nos confiesan los hermanos, cayéndonos y levantándonos tantas veces como ha sido necesario. Crear merengue para las nuevas y no tan nuevas generaciones ha sido una labor de amor, de disciplina militar, de hacer las cosas bien y sobre todo de respetar al público.

La unión y la hermandad han sido la clave transcendental del éxito para este grupo, la manera en que fueron criados estos 14 hermanos por un padre zapatero y una madre que realizaba trabajos esporádicos de limpieza en el pueblo de Higuey, en medio de carencias económicas que nunca sintieron porque estaban demasiado ocupados divirtiéndose, siendo niños y soñando a ser músicos.

 

A pesar de las altas y bajas han sabido mantenerse en el gusto popular, algunos de los momentos mas dificiles fueron el asesinato de su hermano y director musical, Pepe Rosario en 1982 y la salida de la agrupación de otro de los hermanos: Toño Rosario,

 

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“Toño era muy inquieto, esta ha sido ha sido su personalidad siempre, llegamos a Puerto Rico y se enamoró de esta muchacha, la Cintrón y quiso formar tienda aparte”,

 

Hoy, Los Hermanos Rosario disfrutan de un lugar preferencial dentro de la historia del merengue. Rafa entiende que su grupo y los merengueros de antes han luchado mucho para que el ritmo continúe vigente y que ahora le toca a la nueva generación hacer su parte.

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 CUAL ES SU GRUPO DE MUSICA PREFERIDO?

Nos gusta mucho nuestro hermano, Toño Rosario, Eddie Herrera está haciendo también un muy buen trabajo.

Johnny Ventura, Sergio Vargas y Fernando Villalona se mantienen trabajando. Peña Suazo y Kinito Mendez también siguen luchando para que el merengue se mantenga pegado. Y a Joseito Mateo hay que incluirlo en los Records Guinnes, porque aún sigue cantando merengue a sus 96 años de edad.

 

QUE LES PREOCUPA DE LOS DOMINICANOS EN LA ISLA Y DE LOS DOMINICANOS EN USA?

Me preocupa mucho la falta de educación, hacen faltan talleres, institutos técnicos y programas educativos para acabar con la delincuencia en Rep. Dom.

El dominicano en USA se ha superado mucho en los últimos anos, me siento muy orgulloso de nuestra gente que se ha dedicado a trabajar y a superarse. Tenemos muchos dominicanos destacados en la política, los negocios, el arte y estudiando en las más prestigiosas universidades.

 

QUIEN ES EL MAS BUENMOSO DE LOS ROSARIO:

Rafa: Yo, por supuesto

 

Y EL MAS FEO?

Toño, es tan feo que el mismo se llama el cuco (carcajadas)

Rueda de prensa en la que Toño Rosario y Los Hermanos Rosario anunciaron su reencuentro en los escenario después de casi 20 años, en un show que formara parte de los premios El Soberano. Foto: Ariel Díaz-Alejo/acento.com.do Fecha: 04/04/2013.

Warriors in the Cage: Dominick Cruz & Henry Cejudo

Originally published in the Jul/Aug 2016 issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine

Photos courtesy of UFC/Getty Images

The Latino Faces of the UFC

Latinos have a long and storied history in the world of combat sports. In boxing, legendary figures such as Julio Cesar Chávez and Oscar De La Hoya proudly touted their Latino heritage while winning championships and glory. At the dawn of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and mixed martial arts, Royce Gracie was its first dominant superstar, more recently followed by Anderson Silva, long considered the best in the world.

Carrying the banner for Latinos in the sport are now two rising stars: Dominick Cruz and Henry Cejudo. Cruz is the reigning UFC Bantamweight Champion while Cejudo is an Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler. Both are budding megastars and both are keenly aware of their status as Latino stars in a sport that gains popularity every day.

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“The Dominator” Dominick Cruz

Growing up in Tucson, the man they call “The Dominator” was introduced to combat sports quite literally by accident. “I got into wrestling in the seventh grade and I got into [it] because I walked into the wrong room,” he said. “The coach said I wasn’t a soccer player, I was a wrestler. I started practicing that day and haven’t stopped since.

After an undefeated amateur career, he had a successful career in the now defunct World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) promotion, becoming its last bantamweight champion before it was absorbed by the UFC. It wasn’t long before Cruz achieved glory in the UFC, capturing the bantamweight championship twice.

I come from Tucson, Arizona, which is 70 percent Hispanic,” Cruz said. “It’s in me, that pride of being Hispanic. I feel it. In the way that the Mexicans always fought, they’re just tough and stubborn. I feel that’s in my bloodline and I’m proud of that.

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“The Messenger” Henry Cejudo

The youngest of six children, the Olympian Henry Cejudo was introduced to the sport of wrestling by his older brothers. “I loved that wrestling was all about one-on-one combat,” he said. “I was always too small to play football, too short to play basketball, but when I saw that wrestling had weight classes, I knew I was home and I fell in love with it from the start.

Cejudo was an amateur superstar, winning four state wrestling championships. After winning gold at the Pan American Games in 2008, he set his sights firmly on Olympic glory, winning Gold at the 2008 Beijing Games. He retired from the sport in 2012 to compete in mixed martial arts. His pedigree and his impressive skills caught the attention of the UFC. Settling in as a flyweight, Cejudo has amassed a 10-1 record and is now one of the coaches on the upcoming season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

“I want to become the best in the world,” he said. “What else is there to do in sports, but to want to be the best?”

It’s Time To Talk About Breast Cancer

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Originally published in LatinTRENDS Magazine

By Daisy Cabrera

October marks National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it’s time to talk about this deadly disease. Breast cancer is the most common cancer, and the leading cause of cancer death among Latinas. Latinas tend to be diagnosed with more advanced breast cancers. Although breast cancer is not preventable, there are steps you can take to lower your risk. We spoke with Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, Chief Medical Officer of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and board certified obstetrician-gynecologist. As a leading healthcare provider to women across the country, the nonprofit organization provides up-to-date, expert information and supportive, confidential care.

 

Why is breast cancer prevalent in the Latina population?

Latinas in the U.S. face more barriers to accessing health care, are less likely to get preventive screenings, are more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, and are more likely to experience worse health outcomes when it comes to breast cancer. A recent national Planned Parenthood survey showed that when asked what prevented Latinas from getting checked for breast cancer, the following barriers played a role: 40% said the cost of the test, 26% said time to go to the doctor, 22% said the distance to the doctor’s office, 25% said fear of the test, and 32% said fear of the test results.

 

Is breast cancer linked to other gynecological cancers?

Certain types of breast cancer are linked with other types of cancer. The most well studied types are related to the BRCA gene, which is associated with a hereditary type of breast cancer, and can lead to an increased risk of ovarian cancer. There are other hereditary types of breast cancer that are linked with other diseases such as brain cancer, leukemia and colon cancer.

 

How important are breast self-examinations and mammograms?

Finding breast cancer at its earliest stages is important to improve survival and the chances of living a long, healthy life. Be aware of how your breasts normally look and feel. Simply looking at, touching, and feeling your breasts from time to time will help you notice any changes. Talk to your health care provider if you have any concerns about changes in the look, shape, or texture of your breasts, or nipple discharge, or if there is breast cancer or other types of cancer in your family history. You and your health care provider can decide together whether getting a mammogram is right for you. Clinical breast exams are recommended every one to three years for most women in their 20s and 30s. Mammograms are recommended yearly for women starting at age 40 and may be suggested sooner if a woman has a history of breast cancer or has abnormalities discovered during a clinical exam.

 

What are some common misconceptions about mammograms?

There are many misconceptions about mammograms: that they are very painful, or they take a long time, or are only necessary for older women. In terms of discomfort, you will feel some pressure. Pressing your breast in this way helps spread out the breast tissue and prevents movement. It also helps get a sharper image of the breast tissue. The compression for each breast only lasts a few seconds — the overall procedure takes about 15 minutes. Most women feel uncomfortable when their breasts are being pressed. Some women find it painful. But the discomfort only lasts a few seconds each time. Some women may also feel sore after a mammogram.

 

What happens if the mammogram finds an abnormality?

Not all abnormal results are breast cancer. Your health provider will tell you what other tests you might need, including another mammogram or another test. There are several other diagnostic tools to confirm mammogram results including: biopsy, core-needle biopsy, and ultrasound.

 

If you can’t afford a mammogram, what local resources are available?

Planned Parenthood provides affordable breast cancer screenings regardless of whether or not you have health insurance. Our health centers provide clinical breast exams and refer patients to other facilities for mammograms based on breast exams, age, and/or family history. If an abnormality is found during a clinical breast exam, our health centers will help patients get the follow-up care they need from specialists. Understanding the importance of breast health, and early detection is key to battling breast cancer. The disease doesn’t discriminate, and Latina celebrity survivors include Daniela Romo, Ana María Polo, Adamari López, Angélica María, Alejandra Guzmán, and Bárbara Mori. Talk to your medical provider about breast cancer, share your family history of cancer, and visit www.plannedparenthood.org for more information.

*Editor’s note: former LatinTRENDS digital editor Shelley Mendoza is also a breast cancer survivor.

ANTONIO LOPEZ: A Tribute to the Puerto Rican–Born Fashion Illustrator and Artist

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Antonio Lopez and his partner Juan Ramos changed the fashion world forever with their open celebration of difference—racial, ethnic and even gender difference. They permanently broadened high-fashion’s definitions of beauty by focusing attention on men and women that were often marginalized from the industry. We are thrilled to celebrate their phenomenal body of work with this exhibition that features over 400 images, many of which have never been exhibited or published before.”

–           Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, Senior Curator at El Museo del Barrio

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Orgullo – What My Family Taught Me About Pride

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Originally published in the June 2016 issue of LatinTRENDS magazine

By  Nancy Arroyo Ruffin

When I was a young girl I spent every Sunday at my grandfather’s house in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. While dinner brought us together, it was not the principal reason everyone gathered in the railroad-style apartment. The time spent together was critical to nurturing our family bond. Being part of a large Puerto Rican family instilled in me a strong love for familia, cultura, and orgullo. To me, pride is love for the culture, food, and music. It’s the reason my eyes tear up every time I hear Preciosa or Qué Bonita Bandera.

Cultura is rooted in family traditions like the sleepless nights spent in my abuelo’s house watching the adults make pasteles for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. It was watching my aunts become transfixed to the television whenever Walter Mercado came on and revealed to them their fate through their horoscopes. Orgullo was me proudly wearing the brown leather chancletas with Puerto Rico inscribed on them in bright golden letters. It was being able to brag to my friends that I’d spent my summer vacation on the island even though I could barely communicate with my Spanish-speaking tia. And familia didn’t necessarily always mean someone in your bloodline, but instead could be found in that one friend who you proudly claimed as your cousin even though there was no ancestral relation.

While the island is now suffering the greatest financial crisis in its history we must remember Puerto Ricans come from a long line of hardworking individuals, many who have made indelible contributions to the world, be it on the island or here in the States.

There’s a long list of Boricuas who have contributed to politics, science, medicine, music, and the arts. Our contributions are everywhere. It is our responsibility to honor and preserve our history while also adding to it, so that we leave our children a legacy they can be proud of.

My family showed me by their example to be orgullosa of my Puerto Rican heritage while simultaneously teaching me to love everything this great country of ours has to offer. I’ve learned that pride is instilled. It is what you carry with you every day of your life.

 

Puerto Ricans Who Make Us Proud!

  • Poet Julia de Burgos
  • Astronaut Joseph Michael Acaba
  • Scientist Olga D. González-Sanabria
  • Inventor Ángel Rivero Méndez (He invented Kola Champagne soda.)
  • Athlete Roberto Clemente
  • Actress Rita Moreno
  • Musicians Jennifer López, Marc Anthony, Tito Puente
  • Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

 

The hammock and the cooking grill were first invented and used in Puerto Rico by the Taino Indians.

 


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La India Is still the Princess of Salsa

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Originally published in the May 2016 issue of LatinTRENDS magazine

By Deyanira Martínez

When she was still a teenager, Linda Viera-Caballero took her first steps in the music industry with the Latino freestyle group TKA. That shy Puerto Rican girl eventually turned into La India, one of the most popular and successful women in the history of salsa music.

She arrived in The Bronx, New York, when she was just a few months old, and family problems forced her to stand on her own two feet from early on. However, loneliness and inexperience did not prevent her strong, impressive voice from being discovered by one of salsa’s greatest, pianist Eddie Palmieri. Their pairing kicked off the success story of “The Princess of Salsa,” a nickname Celia Cruz, her music godmother, gave her.

Thirty years have passed since then, and La India just returned from recording with one of the greatest singers of all time, Juan Gabriel.

La India is back and full of energy to present an album written especially for her by the Mexican crooner. She is also planning a large-scale concert in her native Puerto Rico, and her theme song for Colombian hit telenovela “Sin tetassi hay paraiso” is currently being played on the radio throughout Latin America.

A beautiful Caribbean woman of indigenous features, strong, decisive and radiating tropical flavor, La India spoke passionately about her life, her career and her plans.

 

30 YEARS IN MUSIC

“I find it amazing that I’m still here. I was the first one to cross over from Latin freestyle dance music to tropical music.”

 

CUBA’S GUARACHERA: CELIA CRUZ

“She baptized me along with her husband, and made me her godchild. Celia was like a mother to me. I was estranged from my own family. I was kicked out of my home when I was very young, and suffered a lot.

Celia was an important figure in my life. She never had children, so she saw me as her daughter. We had a very spiritual connection. She was a beautiful human being, and she gave me the advice and support I didn’t have from my mother at that time.”

 

MUSIC IN YOUR LIFE

“Music is sacred to me. It’s a way to vent, to feel the emotions many people have inside but are afraid to feel. I have a wonderful following who love me. It’s not just about making it, but about staying there, and I am here to stay. I love what I do. After Celia, I have been the only woman who has sold albums, who has had her own orchestra.”

 

WORKING WITH JUAN GABRIEL

“I am very proud of this album. Working with him was incredible. We have very similar chemistry; we’re both intense. His songs have been popular for decades, and he was the one who chose the songs for me for this album.

Juan Gabriel is such an incredibly intelligent, brilliant person… it was so cool of him to give me this opportunity.”

 

THE FUTURE OF SALSA

“It is important to preserve salsa now that we have this new urban music boom. In the 80s, Dominican meringue arrived in New York and salsa declined a lot but, for some reason, it returned. In the 90s, we had romantic salsa, and the rhythm was reinvented by people like Eddie Santiago and Frankie Ruiz, and revived. Later, the new generation came: La India, my hit Vivir lo nuestro” with ‘El Flaco’ (Marc Anthony), a song that took both our careers to the next level.”

 

GENDER DISCRIMINATION IN-TROPICAL MUSIC

“Financially, I am not at a man’s level in music, but I am still here, giving love to my audience. Unfortunately, men have more opportunities and make more money. Even Celia earned less than men, and she told me that this was the down side of the business. Still, she always pushed me to keep going.

Singers such as Celia and La Lupe are no win the world of truth, with God in heaven, but they have left their legacy behind. I am alive, and I will not stop until women are supported the way we deserve.”

POLITICS

“I am a Republican, but I am going to vote for Hillary Clinton because I am a feminist, because she is a woman and because she deserves it. Clinton can represent the United States honorably.

As a Republican, I am very disappointed in the Party, and I will support a woman to become president. On Election Day, I will fly in from Puerto Rico to vote for and support Hillary Clinton in New York.”

 

LOVE LIFE

“At the moment, I am single. Not because I want to, but because I feel that, ever since I became famous, many men approach me because I am La India, not because I am Linda Viera-Caballero. I decided not to fall in love again and to focus on my work, reach goals and get where I deserve to be.

All my love and passion are dedicated to my work and my career right now. My arms are open, and I have faith that, one day, my moment will come and a gentleman will show up who understands my work and is not intimidated by my successor by me making more money than him.”

 

PLAN AND PROJECTS

“I will not stop until awards recognize my trajectory and what I am doing with this album, and I will not accept excuses that salsa is not the way it used to be. We have released two number-one hits, and we’ll continue working because the world needs to know that SALSA IS ALIVE.”

The New GEORGE LOPEZ in “Lopez,” for TV Land

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Originally published in the May 2016 issue of LatinTRENDS magazine

By Christine Stoddard

If you think fame and fortune will solve all of your woes, just ask George Lopez. But you don’t have to put on your best high heel sand trot over to Madison Avenue’s Lotte New York Palace Hotel in a frenzy like I did. In fact, you would probably prefer hearing Lopez‘s story from the comfort of your own home, not a hotel room set up like a television studio, with lights in your face and a sudden stutter wrestling your tongue. (I’m told it’s normal to be nervous when you finally meet your heroes.)

Instead, grab a drink and your favorite soda and park yourself on the sofa, because George Lopez has a new show on TV Land. Yes, like his other material, this show is semi-autobiographical, but that doesn’t mean you know exactly what to expect. This is “Lopez,” a half-hour comedy starring and executive produced by George Lopez himself. And “Lopez” is about George Lopez now.

Lopez” explores George Lopez as a man who’s made it: He has the mansion, the adoring fans, the fancy clothes. He’s living the pie-in-the-sky American dream. Yet, he still struggles because it seems the American dream cannot be fully achieved without white privilege. He doesn’t fit in with his old barrio buddies in the San Fernando Valley.

Even if, culturally, he’s a fit, money has changed him. But Lopez doesn’t fit in with the predominantly white, upper-class Hollywood crowd,either. Even though, it’s where he now “belongs” due to his financial position,they don’t accept him and he doesn’t exactly like them. As a brown-skinned Latino from a working class background, wealth alone can’t buy Lopez the respect he wants from fellow parents and teachers at his daughter’s private school. People still confuse him for the valet driver.

Does this make Lopez mad? Sure, but George Lopez being George Lopez, he can find the humor even in racism and classicism, and that’s the big selling point of the show. If those kinds of jokes make you uncomfortable, this isn’t the show for you.

It’s not all laughs, though. During our interview (which is available online) the actor told me that he thinks “Lopez” can add to America’s conversation about race. Whether you end up enjoying “Lopez” or not, people are already talking about it. Just google“George Lopez TV Land,” and you’ll end up with half a million search results. In a social and political climate in which #Black Lives Matters has taken off, why can’t#Brown Lives Matters take off, too? And why can’t “Lopez” be the show that unites Latinos and non-Latinos across the Twitter verse?

To watch my interview with George Lopez, see below.