Latino Population Rising in the South

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America is becoming more Latino these days, but no area is getting more of the Latino settlers than the good ole South.

 

According to data released last week by the Pew Hispanic Trends Project, Alabama was at the very top of the list out of a listing of 10 States with the fastest growing Hispanic Populations from 2000 to 2011.

 

Also, the gathered data showed that not one state amongst the list or research showed a significant decline of their Latino population. However, the data is not up-to-date regarding the time in-between 2011 and to the present.

 

While Alabama may be at the top having the most Latinos living in the state, the state just passed one of its strictest laws some are calling Draconian (Harsh). Aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration, the law follows in the footsteps of Arizona’s SB 1070 bill which permitted law enforcement to “question” any “suspected” illegal citizens.

 

According to the New York Times, the introduction of the law caused an exodus of Latinos residing in the state which may require a re-research on the findings.

 

Despite the immigration laws being passed that is upsetting the livelihood of Latinos, there is a booming growth in the south. The U.S. southwest remains the leading region of Latinos residing with states like New Mexico holding the highest population of 46.7% Latinos. Following after New Mexico is Texas, California, and Arizona.

 

While the data may not include 2012 and 2013, the surveys regarding the Latino population rising in the country since the result of the 2012 election showed Latinos being the powerhouse for votes is steadily coming true.

 

9 Power Questions that Will Help You Build Better Business Relationships

 

Just a few years ago, globalization was in full swing, and the world seemed to be bursting with an infinite supply of business. All this bounty lulled us into taking our customers for granted, maintains Andrew Sobel—until the economy tanked and shattered the illusion of endless prosperity. Suddenly, the old-fashioned “trusted relationship” started to look good again.

“In this post-Madoff era of unpredictability and suspicion, people are looking for deeper, more intimate, and more engaged relationships—the kind that reduce risk,” says Sobel, author (along with coauthor, Jerold Panas) of Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others (Wiley, February 2012, ISBN: 978-11181196-3-1, $22.95) and three other books on long-term business relationships.

“This is true of customers but also vendors, employees, and other business partners,” he adds. “The days of getting in, making money, and moving on to the next guy are over. When times are tough and the future is uncertain, people want to put down roots and partner with people they truly like and trust.”

Bottom line: In today’s markets, the most valuable commodity is the ability to connect with others and rapidly build trust. And that begins by asking the right questions.

“Asking questions and letting people come up with their own answers is far more effective than spouting facts or trying to talk someone into something,” Sobel explains. “Telling creates resistance. Asking creates relationships.”

In his book Sobel explores dozens of questions that light fires under people, challenge their assumptions, help them see problems in productive new ways, and inspire them to bare their souls (which, of course, strengthens the bonds in the relationship).

Here are nine ways questions can transform professional and personal relationships:

  1. • Questions turn one-dimensional, arms-length business relationships into personal relationships that endure for years. “When a relationship is all business and there is no real personal connection, it lacks heart and soul,” says Sobel. “And therefore you are a commodity—a kind of fungible expert-for-hire. A client—or your boss—can trade you out for a new model with no remorse or emotion. But when you’ve connected personally, the situation is transformed because clients stick with people they like. Bosses hold on to team members they feel passionately about. Your expertise and competence get you in the door, but it’s the personal connection that then builds deep loyalty.”Sobel tells the story of a senior partner in a top consulting firm who had to meet with the CEO of a major client. Other consultants were nipping at their heels to get more business from this company. This powerful, confident CEO, who was in his 60s and near retirement, had seen hundreds of consulting reports. At the end of a routine briefing, the senior partner paused and asked the CEO, “Before we break up, can I ask you a question?” The CEO nodded. The partner said, “You’ve had an extraordinary career. You have accomplished so much, starting at the very first rung of the ladder, on the manufacturing floor. As you look ahead—is there something else you’d like to accomplish? Is there a dream you’ve yet to fulfill?”The CEO was nearly stunned. He thought for a moment and replied, “No one has ever asked me that question. No one.” And then he began talking about a deeply held dream he had for his retirement. That question was the turning point in building a long-term, deeply personal relationship with an influential business leader.
  2. • They make the conversation about the other person—not about them. Most of us don’t care what other people think—we want to know first if they care about us. The need to be heard is one of the most powerful motivating forces in human nature. That’s why one of Sobel’s power questions is, What do you think? Another is, Can you tell me more? “There’s an anecdote I love about a woman who has dinner, in the same month, with two great rival British statesmen of the 19th century, Gladstone and Disraeli,” says Sobel. “When asked to compare the two men she says, ‘After my dinner with Mr. Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in the world.’ And then she adds, ‘After my dinner with Mr. Disraeli, I felt as though I were the cleverest woman in all of England!’ “When you make the conversation all about you, others may think you are clever,” he adds. “But you will not build their trust. You will not learn about them. You will squander the opportunity to build the foundations for a rich, long-term relationship.”
  3. • They cut through the “blah, blah, blah” and create more authentic conversations. No doubt you can relate to this scenario. A person says, “I want to bounce something off you.” Then, he proceeds to spend ten minutes telling you every detail of a very convoluted situation he is enmeshed in. You do yourself and the other person a favor by getting him to focus on the true kernel of his issue. Simply ask: What is your question? “This is a tough-love question,” admits Sobel. “People will resist it—often strenuously. But you must ask it. It forces them to take the first step toward clarifying what the issue is and what advice they really need from you. You’ll reduce the amount of posturing people do and will move faster toward an authentic conversation.”
  4. • They help people clarify their thinking and “get out of the cave.” The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates said that we perceive reality as if we are chained inside a dark cave. In that cave, we see only the blurred shadows of life outside the cave as they are projected on a dark wall at the back. Our understanding of reality is filtered and distorted. By asking a series of questions, Socrates would engage his students’ minds in the learning process. In this way he uncovered assumptions and slowly but surely got to the heart of the issue. The “Socratic Method” is still used at Harvard Business School—and it can enable you to help others see the true reality instead of shadowy representations of it. Instead of saying, “We need to improve our customer service!” Sobel suggests asking: “How would you assess our customer service levels today?” Or, “How is our service impacting our customer retention?” If someone at work says, “We need more innovation,” ask, “Can you describe what innovation means to you? How would we know if we had more of it?” Or if there is a call for more teamwork, ask, “What do you mean when you say ‘teamwork’?”
  5. • They help you zero in on what matters most to the other person. The next time you’re talking to someone and realize you’ve “lost” her—she’s fidgeting, she’s stopped asking questions, maybe she’s sneaking glances at the clock—ask this question: What is the most important thing we should be discussing today? You will instantly connect with what really matters to her—and the conversation that ensues will help her see you as relevant and valuable. “Even if your agenda doesn’t get met, hers will,” asserts Sobel. “And then she will want to enthusiastically reciprocate. In business it’s critical to be seen as advancing the other person’s agenda of essential priorities and goals. When time is spent together on issues that are truly important to both parties, the relationship deepens and grows.”
  6. • They help others tap into their essential passion for their work. One of the highest-impact power questions you can ask is, Why do you do what you do? It grabs people by the heart and motivates them. When they seriously consider and answer this question, the room will light up with passion. Dull meetings will transform into sessions that pop with energy and generate ideas that vault over bureaucratic hurdles and create real impact. “We do things for many reasons,” writes Sobel. “But when you put ‘should’ in front of those reasons, you can be certain all the pleasure and excitement will soon be drained away. No one gets excited about should. In contrast, when you unveil the true why of someone’s work and actions—when you get them to start sentences with ‘I love to’ or ‘I get excited when’—you will find passion, energy, and motivation.”
  7. • They inspire people to work at a higher level. The late Steve Jobs was notorious for pushing employees. He asked people constantly, Is this the best you can do? It’s a question that infused Apple’s corporate culture from the beginning. It’s one that helped revolutionize the desktop computing, music, and cellular phone industries. And it’s one that you can use too—sparingly and carefully—when you need someone to stretch their limits and do their very best work. “Often, we settle for mediocrity when we need to do our best,” reflects Sobel. “Mediocrity is the enemy of greatness. Asking, Is this the best you can do? helps others achieve things they did not believe possible.”
  8. • They can save you from making a fool of yourself. Before responding to a request or answering someone’s question to you, it’s often wise to get more information about what the other person really wants. When a potential employer says, “Tell me about yourself,” you can bore them to tears by rambling on and on about your life—or you could respond by asking, “What would you like to know about me?” When a prospect asks, “Can you tell me about your firm?” the same dynamic applies. Most people go on and on about their company, but the client is usually interested in one particular aspect of your business, not how many offices you have in Europe. Ever seen someone answer the wrong question? It’s painful to watch. Asking a clarifying question can save you huge embarrassment. “A potential client asked me for the names of three references to call,” Sobel tells us. “Instead of running around and drumming up the names, I pushed back, and asked, ‘What particular information are you seeking? Any references I give you are only going to rave about me!’ It turned out the prospect had no interest in actual references. And in fact, had she called my past clients under that pretense, it could have been potentially embarrassing to me for them to make such a big deal about a small speaking engagement. What she really wanted to understand was how other clients of mine had tackled the organizational resistance she was expecting. This question—and the subsequent conversation—turned a small lead for a keynote speech into a major, year-long project.”
  9. • They can salvage a disastrous conversation. Sobel’s coauthor, Jerry Panas, recalls the time he asked a man named Allan for a million-dollar donation to his alma mater’s College of Engineering. Though he knew better, the author failed to gain rapport and explore Allan’s true motivations before jumping in with the big request. When Allan rebuked him for his presumptuousness, Panas realized he had made a serious error. He apologized, left the room, and twenty seconds later knocked on the door and asked the power question, Do you mind if we start over? Start over they did, and Panas ultimately discovered that Allan might indeed be interested in making a gift—but to the University’s theater program, not its engineering program!

“Things like this happen all the time in business—and at home,” reflects Sobel. “Interactions get off on the wrong foot, and someone gets angry or offended or just shuts down. But people are forgiving. They want to have a great conversation with you. Asking, Do you mind if we start over? will disarm the other person and make him smile. That smile will ease the way to a new beginning.”

One of the greatest benefits of becoming a master questioner is that it takes a lot of pressure off us, notes Sobel. It’s a huge relief to know that you don’t have to be quick, clever, or witty—that you don’t have to have all the answers.

“All business interactions are human interactions,” he says. “And part of being human is acknowledging that you don’t know everything about everything—and that you certainly don’t know everything about the other person and her needs. Questions help you understand these things more deeply.

“The right questions unleash a cascade of innermost feelings and vibrant conversations,” he adds. “They help you bypass what’s irrelevant and get straight to what’s truly meaningful. They make people like you, trust you, and want to work with you—and once you’ve achieved that, the battle is already won.”

Kim Kardashian look-alike leads a cartel killing squad

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When you look at Claudia Ochoa Felix you may think ‘wow, she kinda looks like the Latina version of Kim Kardashian’ and you wouldn’t be alone in that thought. However, when you look at Ochoa Fox would you ever think that she could be the leader of an elite murdering squad used regularly by a Mexican drug cartel?

If you said no, well you’re not alone in that thought either.

With long sleek brown hair, intense eyes, and a curvy body, Ochoa Fox has become somewhat of a media sensation. Apart from being described as the doppelganger of Kim Kardashian, Ochoa Fox recent popularity stems from allegations that she is the new ruler of a known Mexican killing squad known as, Los Ántrax .

Reports have been circulating that Ochoa Fox, aged 27 and mother of three, is now the leader of Los Ántrax which has been reported as being under the employ of the Sinaloa Cartel, a coldblooded drug cartel, in Mexico to do their murderous bidding.

Listed as one of Mexico’s most powerful drug-trafficking organizations in the world, by the U.S. authorities, The Sinaloa Cartel has protected and have hired members of the killer squad Los Ántrax to carry out their assignments and to ensure their reign remains.

Allegedly, Ochoa Fox—also known as La Emperatriz—acquired the leadership of Los Ántrax after her well-known hit-man boyfriend, Jose Rodrigo Arechiga Gamboa was arrested and taken to prison. After Gamboa’s arrest, Ochoa Fox is said to have taken over Los Ántrax despite the Latina vehement denial that she has any affiliation to the cartel.

Photo of Claudia Ochoa Felix, or La Emperatriz, the alleged new leader of Los Ántrax surrounded by armed men.

Photo of Claudia Ochoa Felix, or La Emperatriz, the alleged new leader of Los Ántrax surrounded by armed men.

Despite making claims that she and Gamboa are nothing more than friends, Ochoa Fox’s word has been questioned due to an incident and photos of the Latina.

On her social media accounts, particularly Instagram, Ochoa Fox there are photos of Ochoa Fox posed in ways similar to Kardashian while wielding AKA-47 that has been personalized colored pink. Also, on such sites Ochoa Fox has posted updates discussing her luxurious yet reportedly dangerous lifestyle.

But sites like Facebook and apps like Instagram aren’t the only things linking Ochoa Fox to being the new leader of Los Ántrax. Another reason as to why Ochoa Fox may be connected to Los Ántrax is due to a murder-gone-wrong incident.

Recently, there was an alleged hit made on Ochoa Fox’s life when gunmen grabbed a young woman who looked similar to Ochoa Fox. The young woman hooded gunmen snatched was named, Yuriana Castillo.The woman’s body was later found behind a school body; she had been tortured before her death.

But for Ochoa Fox the claims regarding her link to Gamboa and reports that she is the new leader of Los Ántrax is simply false.

According to Ríodoce, a Mexican newspaper that focuses on the Drug War in Sinaloa, Mexico and based in Sinola’s city of Culiacán, a press conference was held by Ochoa Fox and her attorney in response to the recent attention she has received in the media.

During the press conference, Ochoa Fox and her lawyer stated that Ochoa Fox’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts had been cloned and were being used to defame her.

According to Ochoa Fox, the photos in questions are a discredit to her life since she does not live a life of luxury and does not have armed men surrounding her; the latter statement refers to a photo of Ochoa Fox posed in a chair surrounded by hooded men wearing bulletproof vests. Also, Ochoa Fox has stated that many photos on the cloned accounts are not photos of hers at all.

Since the released statement at the press conference the social media accounts where these photos were once posted have been deleted. Ochoa Fox’s lawyer has also stated in the press conference that Ochoa Fox will be working with Mexican authorities to uncover the true culprit who created the accounts and published the false photos.

Now, in the matter of Yuriana Castillo there are reports that Castillo, much like Ochoa Fox, was a close associate of Gamboa. But the true nature of their relationship is yet unknown.

Whether Ochoa Fox is the new leader of Los Ántrax or merely an innocent Instagram users who likes talking selfies with guns, time will tell since it seems like Ochoa Fox will not be going anywhere any time soon much like her overnight sensation counterpart Kim Kardashian.

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.

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.

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]

New York’s Mom & Pop Businesses are Being Replaced by BIG Corporations

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Hey! Want to grab a bite to eat at the original 2nd Avenue Deli in the East Village?

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How about we grab some lunch at Manatus restaurant on Bleecker Street?

Then maybe grab something from Ralph’s Discount City up in TriBeca?

And why not stop by the great home of punk rock CBGB in the East Village, yeah?

Well, you kind of can’t anymore since these notable New York City landmarks are no longer around.

Considered local fixtures in the neighborhoods, familiar and popular mom-and-pop stores, diners, restaurants, and shops are slowly becoming extinct in the evolving city due to staggering rent hikes and a lackluster economy. Unable to withstand the hardship, many of these familiar shops are being replaced by big name corporations like Subway or Dunkin Donunts or banks like Chase and Capital One.

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In their photo book Store Front – The Disappearing Face of New York, photographers James T. and Karla L. Murray take readers on a visual tour of some of the familiar and irreplaceable store fronts that line street after street of New York City.

Choosing places that “look like they’ve been around forever” the duo has in a way allowed such locales to exist forever in photographic form. Organized by borough and then subdivided into neighborhoods, the photographic book poses as an encyclopedia of sorts that manages to preserves the now extinct shops that have become replaced by commercial businesses.

“The purpose of the photos in the before and after project is to clearly spell out and provide documentation of not only what storefronts have been lost but also what is often lacking in what replaces them,” said the photographers.

The book depicts the dramatic alteration in the appearance of many familiar local spots in New York City. From 2001 to 2007, the book contains a good decade of how scathing rental prices are forcing out mom-and-pop shops which are being replaced with chain stores belonging to commercial businesses.

The shop-owners frequently acknowledged that they were at the mercy of their landlords and the ever-increasing rents they charged,” and if the shop-owners could not meet the increasing rent, “big rent hikes meant that many small businesses closed to be replaced by chain stores or banks, which could afford the higher rent.

According to the book, Max Fish, a bar located on the Lower East Side is an example of being a victim to rising rent costs. The bar opened in 1989 and its rent was a mere $2,000 a month, however after a series of rent increases and being opened for a good 24 years the bar closed with a reported $16,000 rent cost. The rent was due to increase again if the bar remained opened.

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Until you place them side-by-side and really look at the two photos, you cannot get the true sense of loss,” explained the Murrays, discussing how powerful the images taken are when you show what was beside the what is.

The two also add, “the trend we noticed very early on while photographing the original stores was that if the shop-owner did not own the entire building, their business was already in jeopardy.

Mom-and-pop shops are not the only familiar local spots being replaced by commercial businesses. Late last year, 5 Pointz–5 Pointz: The Institute of Higher Burnin’ or the 5Pointz Aerosol Art Center–was an outdoor graffiti haven considered an art cultural center to many was white-washed—the numerous art pieces that were spray-painted on its wall was marked out with white paint—by the builders owners.

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The white-washing came after 5 Pointz owner and supporters lost am ongoing battle to remaining standing. The building is scheduled to be torn down and make way for new condos and business shops in its place.

While the book can be a bit grim showcasing the demise of familiar shops, shops that are either replaced by corporations or gutted to the group, the book also contains some hope.

Among some of the photos taken, the Murrays have included side-by-side photos of old shops being replaced not by large corporations but fellow and new mom-and-pop shops. These images show some hope that not all is being taken over by large commercial businesses but there are still regular folk with businesses of their own trying to make it in this ever changing world.

TOBBY LOVE PRESENTA SU NUEVO ALBUM “BACHATA NATION” EN NUEVA YORK

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En medio de prensa, luces, cámaras y decenas de seguidores el famoso exponente de Bachata Pop TOBY LOVE presento formalmente al publico de Nueva York su nuevo sencillo titulado ”Entra en mi Vida”.

Tobby Love es famoso por sus fusiones y mezclas de la tradicional bachata dominicana con ritmos urbanos como el R&B y Hip Hop. Una fusión que el artista a denominado “Crunkchata” – música romántica , corta venas con influencia de soul y jazz norteamericano.

El artista de origen puertorriqueño promociona el quinto sencillo de este álbum.“Entra en mi Vida” es un tema originalmente grabado por el grupo mexicano SIN BANDERA llega con nuevos arreglos vestido de bachata y trópico e interpretado por Toby junto al cantante Karlos Rose.

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Los inicios del este popular cantante se remontan al año 2000 cuando comenzó como vocalista del popular grupo AVENTURA , donde permaneció hasta comenzar su Carrera como solista en el 2006 y lograr posicionarse como uno de los artistas mas exitosos del genero.

Tobby Love ya ha obtenido dos codiciados premios Billboards y varias nominaciones a importantes premios internacionales.

“Entra En MI Vida”es uno de los temas incluidos en el popular álbum BACHATA NATION” lanzado conjuntamente con Elegante Records y que ya ha ocupado los primeros lugares de popularidad.

Sin lugar a dudas, TOBY LOVE con su estilo romántico y su voz melodiosa se perfila indiscutiblemente como el nuevo rostro internacional de la bachata

KARINA ORTIZ: From Santo Domingo to Hollywood

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Image: nydailynews.com

Originally published in the  December 2015 issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine

By Anllelic Lozada

A lot has happened for Dominican actress, Karina Estela Ortiz, since her high school drama classes. At some point, she wanted to sing but was terrified to be in front of a large audience. Then she pursued a business degree—mostly to give her mom the comfort of knowing her daughter would have a stable career. Soon after, Ortiz had a change of heart and switched to her first love, acting, and graduated with a BA in Theatre from the City College of New York.

Upon graduating, she performed on Off-Broadway stages but later focused on TV, with a guest role in shows like “Do No Harm,” “Pushing Dreams” and “Blue Bloods.” Then Ortiz joined the cast of Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” in season 3 as Berto Colon’s girlfriend, Margarita. Most recently, you can see her play a nanny in the USA Network’s “Royal Pains” and she’ll play a reporter in ABC’s new political drama starting next year called “The Family.” We caught up with Karina while she’s in the middle of pilot season auditions, where we talked about Latinas on the big screen, overcoming depression and finding her inner strength.

We have seen a lot more Latino roles in TV and Hollywood lately. What do you think marked the shift?

Producers are realizing how much power we have here in the USA. There is power in numbers. I think what helped the shift is shows like “Jane the Virgin” (which I auditioned for) and “Orange is the New Black,” which show these Dominicanas always lookin’ fabulous. Most of the auditing

I go to is for Latina characters, which a couple of years ago I didn’t see it as much. You may go for a Latina role, but you would be surprised, as some Latinas look American, some Americans can look Latina and even Europeans may also go for the role because they have worked in Latin America.

What do you think about the new TV show, “Telenovela,” produced by and starring Eva Longoria?

I auditioned for it. It sounds very exciting and fun. I admire her for her work in philanthropy, as an actress and as a producer. She’s putting Latinos to work and putting their face out there.

Actors go through a lot of rejection. How have you dealt with it?

At the beginning, I was really hard on myself and fell into depression. I was telling myself why I wouldn’t make it. Especially when you start, there’s so much rejection out there that it can be easy to fall down. I had to fight the demons inside me. We tell each other lies and we are our worst enemy. After a while, you can either give up or prove that you can do it. Look at your inner child and be the person it needs you to be. Keep pushing and don’t victimize yourself because the world is not against you. I’m thankful that I’m not there anymore.

Video Recap of 14th Annual Latino Trendsetter Awards

The Latino Trendsetter Awards is one of various event-marketing opportunities presented by LatinTRENDS, LatinTRENDS is the source that helps shape, guide and tell the stories of those influencing pop culture with a Latin twist. It is the leading platform for acculturated Latinos in New York, producing content that informs, entertains and inspires the forward thinking.

And did we mention…

The Awards was mentioned on the 11pm news! Kristie Gonzales was one of the honorees.