The Struggles of Young Lords Community Activism…a story continues


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.




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
  • Actress
  • Musicians
  • Supreme Court
    • Justice Sonia Sotomayor
  • The hammock and the cooking grill were first invented and used in Puerto Rico by the Taino Indians.

Jennifer Lopez y Pitbull en The AXIS Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino


By Florentina Narchet

Es que no se puede poner en duda que cuando se trata de química en la tarima, Jennifer López de origen puertorriqueño y el artista cubano Pitbull son la pareja perfecta.

Una vez más estos dos artistas se unen en la tarima y causan sensación en su concierto, Jennifer Lopez: All I Have, a The AXIS Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino en Las Vegas, Nevada, recientemente. Esta vez los artistas cantaron junto la canción On the Floor, que se convirtió en un hit en el año 2011.

La Diva del Bronx y Mr. Worldwide, como también se le conocen, han colaborados en otras exitosa canciones: Dance Again (2012), Live it Up (2013), We Are One (Ole Ola) con Claudia, la canción oficial Copa Mundial de la FIFA Brasil 2014.


Su más reciente participaciones fue cuando se unieron junto al artista dominicano Prince Royce con su tema Back it Up (2015). ¡Ya te puedes imaginar la combinación de estas tres sangres caribeña en un proyecto musical!

Estos dos artistas han enloquecido al público desde que pisan la tarima.

jlo-prince-royce-y-pitbull-diario-palm-beach - candela

Pitbull y JLo han cantado sus exitosas canciones en eventos como Billboard Awards, American Idol, American Music Awards, la abertura de la Copa Mundial del FIFA, entre otros.

Pitbull también está realizando conciertos todo el mes de marzo en el mismo The AXIS –  Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino PITBULL – TIME OF OUR LIVES LAS VEGAS.

Sin embargo, Jennifer López seguirá realizando 29 conciertos más en todo el año en Las Vegas The AXIS –  Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Su próxima presentación será este 22 de mayo.

Mario and JLO – Two of Hollywood’s Fittest Celebrities



Originally published in December 2014, Issue 114 of LatinTRENDS Magazine

By Clara Galvano Rivera

Jennifer Lopez exudes sex appeal and looks younger every year! How does she do it and when does she find the time? The singer, actress, dancer, entrepreneur who just turned 45, is always on the go. Tracy Anderson, trainer to the stars, helped her get rid of the post-baby fat and continues to help her stay fit. She changes her workout every 10 sessions to trick the muscles and challenge them constantly.

With the grueling schedule Lopez keeps, energy and vitality are a must. Something that seems to be giving her a lot of energy lately is the fact that she has become vegan! Last year she tried the 22 Days Nutrition Vegan challenge and loved how it made her feel. She felt like she had more energy and woke up feeling great. Lopez has been on a salt and sugar-free diet for some time. She doesn’t smoke and avoids alcoholic beverages. Her new regime is working and it shows. Her skin glows with good health and her body is lean. Wepa!

Mario Lopez is about as hot as anyone can get. One of the hosts of “Extra,” the award-winning entertainment news program, he practically sizzles on screen and looks better today than he did in his 20’s. He is the envy of many men who wish they could have abs like him. And how does he do it? He works at it, that’s how. Constantly! Lopez has been seriously training for over 20 years. He has a schedule and he sticks to it as much as he can, given that he has a torn rotator cuff –a boxing injury. On Mondays, for instance, he does a total body circuit & cardio routine. Tuesdays is boxing circuit day. He alternates these two types of workouts on the remaining weekdays. Exercising can be boring as all heck, so he likes to mix it up and shock his system so any day of the week you may find him swimming laps in the pool or in the squat rack working the legs. Lopez has co-authored several books with celebrity exercise physiologist Jimmy Pena. His “Extra Lean Family: Get Lean and Achieve Your Family’s Best Health Ever,” features healthy recipes for the entire family. He’s also the fitness ambassador for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, helping kids understand that adopting a healthy lifestyle now will benefit them for life. Eating the right foods and moving the body has worked for this sexy man who just turned 40. Will it work for you?

Premios Performances a Powerhouse Success!!


It seems to me that Premios have taken its tone of repetiveness. Every year or more like every season we look forward to seeing out favorite artists perform their hit single on that main stage full of lavish lights and sexy standstill performances. One of biggest hits this year was ‘6am’ by J Balvin. This urban youth stole the night from his platform performance on the red carpet to winning numerous awards and dynamic performances on Stage during the cncert with Prince Royce.

Ricky Martin along with Univision producers had us in suspense during the pre concert moments. With mentions of an annnouncement, fans were full of crazy ideas.. “New Baby coming?” “Marriage?” Even my favorite, “Is Ricky switching teams? God would I love him to play on my team for a few bases and home runs. This ballad performance of ‘Disparo al Corazon‘ had me praying during every close that cupid would come target me.

Pablo Alboran came on stage with a very relaxed fit look. With his rustic voice he put his foot on the pedal of this baby grand piano and began to sing his heart out that fans became nostalgic even in the dark. This Spanish superstar has vocals to tell a story of broken heart and brave combat to conquer the one he loves.

Becky G. and Thalia performed a collaboration that I haven’t seen in a while. Thalia angelic appearance with sensual induendo in contrast to Becky G.’s moxiness kept the audience on their feet mimicking the chorus and chaos on stage from the creative choreography put together for this performance.

Marc Athony and Romeo, what can I say? Awesome!! I have to admit I was not a true fan of Romeo with Marc. I love the music and their story moment. But.. it kind of reminded me of Romeo’s collab with Don Omar of “Ella y Yo” The girl that loves to men. The guy that says I’m better.

Premio lo Nuestro was a great event.. From Pitbull’s opening performance to the closeing with Chiqui, Jenny Rivera’s daughter, I can honestly say that the performances we awesome. Some colors and styles of of red carpet sexy attires, suits and ties, I would of stayed away from, but every artists has their own way of feeling true to their deliverance.


Can Levy & Lopez play that love game?

jlo and william levy

when it comes to hot and sexy Latinos, many yummy men come to mind. Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias, Derek Jeter, I can go on and on and on. But when it comes to steamy and sweaty only one man can put you in a trance. Can you guess? He has dirty blonde hair, piercing eyes, perky pecks, and Oh-So toned up thighs! WILLIAM LEVY! “YUMMMM!”

When rumors spread of the break up between William Levy and Elizabeth Gutierrez, all I could say is “AGAIN?” What is it with these celebrity couples? How did it go from being their love-at-first-sight to becoming their guest-over-night? What burns out their fire of endless desire? Many celebrity break ups occur by only two reasons. One, their contractual commitments. Filming, producing, and performing all play a big part when it comes to building a strong trust foundation in a relationship. And two, depending on the status of the celebrity, ie.. A-Lister w/ a C-lister, the insecurities are a nightmare. That optimistic climb up the ladder, not necessarily moving at the pace they projected or their partner had hoped for. Leaving them all the way back there when they are all the way up here.. “HEELLOO DOWN THERE!” (Echo)

Whatever it may be, these couples are made aware clearly by their family,friends and of course their annoying publicists of the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’t’ when it comes to dating in the industry. Passing judgment of it being portrayed the real deal, a ‘red carpet romance’ or a ‘pow in the face’ publicity stunt.

All this dramatization doesn’t apply to everyone. See, as I mentioned before, the Ricky’s, and Enrique’s and the Levy’s of the world don’t fall into that publicity stunt to stay afloat. They don’t need it. Truth is, no matter who they date we at one time or another, have been caught kissing the TV or smooching the Iphone for one of them.

Well, it seems like we aren’t the only ones sending love sparks through technology. There is a rumor that Cuban Casanova, William Levy has been caught cuddling with the infamous for her ‘Big Booty’ Jennifer Lopez. Seems, that Casper has really just become her friendly ghost.

JLo and Levy met shooting her music video “I’m Into You.” Their chemistry was definitely noticeable on and off the set. Both with a track record of mixing business with pleasure, do you think this is a match made in heaven or a race for the red carpet to kick off the new year?

Between Me & You, let’s Get It Poppin’ @ the Resorts World Casino in NYC!


When you think about casinos what comes to mind? Multi-deck Blackjack, Roulette, Craps, and Slot machines, right? Well, at the Resorts World Casino in NYC they bring more then just roulette wheels spinning and dices rollin’. Resort World Casino along with their parent Genting Americas, Inc., “BRING IT!” They are not all about money and momentum they are about involving the community through a common ground. Who doesn’t like music, money and a Mojito moment once and while?

Resorts World Casino wants to ‘Make it Rain’ on you with the presence of Fat Joe and Ja Rule next Saturday on December 13th.

For those of you who are not familiar with the infamous Fat Joe this NYRican was born and raised in the Bronx, NY. Born and raised around the hip hop music he became a true legacy not only in Hop Hop market but in the Latino world as well. His recent release “Stressin” featuring Jennifer Lopez is a hit. And I am not surprised when everything single he has released has broken records. I know you remember “Lean Back” What’s Luv”, “Make It Rain”, “Get it Poppin” and many more. And let’s not forget his family, Terror Squad.

We most definitely cannot forget, Grammy-nominated artist, Ja Rule growing up in Queens, Ja knew how to treat a lady. Recording with the hottest female Pop, R&B and Hip Hop Divas, releasing hit after hit after hit and making Billboard Top 10. “I’m Real” featuring Jlo “Always on Time” with Miss Ashanti and “Between Me and You” with Cuban mami, Christina Milian. What great times! Ja Rule’s talent was definitely taking him places. His raspy voice and urban swag had him casted in The Fast and the Furious and Assault on Precinct 13.

There is so much to look forward to at this Resort. This Hip Hop event will surely make me ‘lean back’ and remanence when these songs were on my Ipod Nano.

Oh My! Oh My! Oh Dear Ojani!


We all are familiar with the infamous ‘Big Booty’ JLo‘s track record for her many boy toys, Ojani Noa, Diddy, Ben, Cris Judd, Marc and not too long ago, ex-boyfriend CasperSmart. If Jennifer has the mentality I do, she would agree when I say, “We women have the right to be selective!”

She has her standards and whether its based on stardom that she decides who her next playmate will be, each special guy in her life played a significant part.

But who forgets your first love? I don’t think ‘Jenny from the block’ has.

After almost 20 years of media mayhem, you will be glad to Ojani Noa is no longer hosting tables in that old restaurant in Miami, Florida where he and JLo made beautiful memories. And no, you will not find him scheming about that notorious sex tape scandal. You will be excited to know that the Cuban Casanova is in closed production. He is putting pen to paper and working on a few pilots based on his life as a successful model, actor and business entrepreneur.

Though his history in the industry unfortunately has been based on the aftermath of the relationship with the Latin Diva, Ojani has branded himself as eye-candy. Hitting the gym hard-body, can you see the results? Nice! With a list of castings and endorsement opportunities I can honestly say that I have no objection seeing him on a billboard or two.

So is he Single? Wouldn’t you want to know!

JLo shares her ‘True Love’ secrets!

Jlo - true love book

Who comes to mind when say these words? Icon, Latina, singer, actress, fashion designer, and NY. If you thought of JENNIFER LOPEZ, you are correct. As if this busy diva doesn’t have enough on her plate, we can now add author to that list.

Currently in promotion of her autobiography, ‘True Love’, Jlo shares her most deepest emotions with her intense relationships with Marc, Ben and a others. JLo talked about her breakup with actor Ben Affleck which at that time were known to us as ‘Beniffer’. During that time she maintained a relationship for 10 years with Grammy Winning superstar, Marc Anthony.

“Ben was probably my first great unrequited love, and having one of my best friends Marc , whom I had known for years, and who in fact I loved and I had chemistry with, come to my life and say ‘ I’m here!'” says Jlo

“What we need to know is that no one can save you or cure you . Only you can do that for you, I’m open to love but now think it’s better to be alone for a minute to learn more about me .” says this NYrican.

In addition to Affleck , and Marc Anthony , Jenny from the block past relationships with Cuban model and actor, Ojani Noa , Hip Hop Artist and business entrepreneur, Diddy and dancer/choreographer, Cris Judd, Marc Anthony and Casper Smart. All relationships that she learned from and she truly has no regrets. After all you can’t control who you fall in love with right?

“Someone could look at my life from the outside and think that everything was wonderful. She had a husband and two beautiful children. It was on ‘Idol ‘ and my single ‘ On The Floor’ was in the No. 1 position worldwide. But what people did not know was that my life was not happy. My relationship was falling apart and I was scared , “he says .
“I do not think I can stick with Marc ” says Jlo.

“When things do not work and you are not trying the way you want them to treat you , stop and analyze things because it’s not anyone’s fault , but yours ,” reflects on ‘True Love’

Jen’s autobiography depicts her human side. Her heartfelt emotional side. The one that cries, loves, is angry. The one that is on her sofa with fleece wrapped around her and her family wiping her tears of the heartache of the breakups. Which to her defense, we all do it. We all have our ‘He’s The One!’ moments then we come to realize he’s not. Whether it was a betrayal or just an illusion of an emotion that was never there.

Regardless it hurts. And not just us, it hurts the other party involved as well. We all make mistakes. We all have regrets. But one thing we always fail to remember is that when going into a relationship, we should start as who we are, not who we assume the interested party wants us to be. Because at the end of the day, mix emotions and illusions is why the myth of ‘the good part of the relationship is the first 3 month’s’ is recycled. Because we are not who we really are. It not only confuses them, it confuses you as well and at the end we suffer a broken heart not because they are not the one but because we lost more then just a future mate, we lost a friend.

I can’t wait to pick up this book. Its definitely one that most of us can relate too. Not only would it be a great learning experience but a portion of the funds will go to The Lopez Family Foundation, founded in the interest of the health and welfare of women and children.

Are you a “Jennifer Lopez Way” supporter?


Jennifer Lopez fans are looking to rename Blackrock Avenue in the Bronx to Jennifer Lopez Way. The street is close to J.Lo’s home growing up in Castle Hill. The petition was started by fan, Edgardo Luis Rivera on and currently has more than 1,400 signatures.

Rivera will meet with Community Board 9 next month about his cause in hopes to get this approved. According to the Daily News, the city council has been reluctant to name streets after still-living people, though exceptions have been made in the past.

Interested in supporting the cause? CLICK HERE