Looking To Create More Content For Latinos, John Leguizamo Expands Media Company

John Leguizamo

Most people know John Leguizamo as an actor and comedian. But for decades, the star of the recent Broadway one-man show Latin History For Morons has also focused on the business side of entertainment.

A vocal critic of the underrepresentation of Latinos in the entertainment industry, Leguizamo is a founding partner of NGL Media, a company that produces digital video content and marketing for bilingual and bicultural U.S. Latinos.

“The face of America has changed, and media and entertainment hasn’t kept up to reflect the growing number of Latinx and other multicultural faces that are driving growth in this country in so many ways,” says Leguizamo.

That’s why he and NGL Media founder and CEO David Chitel are doubling down on the audience they’ve been catering to since they launched the company in 2010. They are expanding their joint venture, which will now be called NGL Collective. As part of a restructuring, NGL Media and NGL Studios will be divisions of NGL Collective.

“It’s a step towards making the company an even bigger player in the Latino media, marketing and entertainment space,” says Chitel. “Currently we have three projects in the works, including a non-scripted TV show, a documentary and a soon to be announced project involving an iconic Latinx intellectual property.”

To help further their expansion goals, they hired advertising industry veteran and former Telemundo network executive Joe Bernard as Chief Revenue Officer of NGL Collective.

Chitel, who coined the term “New Generation Latino” (NGL), and has worked in the Latino media space with Leguizamo for 18 years, believes they can fill a void and address the needs of a long-neglected audience – in both Spanish and English.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

María Celeste Arrarás Joins Las Vegas Walk Of Stars

Maria Celeste

MIAMI – April 19, 2018 – The host of Telemundo’s “Al Rojo Vivo” news magazine, María Celeste Arrarás, will soon add her name to the Las Vegas Walk of Stars. She is the first person born in Puerto Rico to receive this honor, held by a select group of superstars such as Juan Gabriel, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Luis Miguel, Vicente Fernández and Jenni Rivera.

María Celeste’s star will be unveiled in a special ceremony on Tuesday, April 24, and installed in its permanent sidewalk home for public viewing the following day, Wednesday, April 25.

“I owe this star to each and every one of the individuals who have stood alongside me during my career, and especially to the viewers who accompany me from home every day,” María Celeste acknowledged.

Emmy-award winning journalist and investigative reporter María Celeste Arrarás is one of the best-known figures in Spanish-speaking television.  The lead anchor of “Al Rojo Vivo con María Celeste,” one of the most acclaimed news magazines on Hispanic television, she has also served as guest anchor of “Noticias Telemundo” and NBC’s “Today Show,” and as a contributor to “Dateline” and “NBC Nightly News.”  She has appeared on the cover of People en Español more than 14 times and graced the front of Newsweek’s special issue on “Women and Leadership: The Next Generation.”  She has been profiled in numerous prestigious publications, among them The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post and The Miami Herald.

María Celeste began her television career as a local reporter for Puerto Rico’s Canal 24 in 1986.  She was hired by Telemundo’s New York affiliate and in 1994 went on to work for “Primer Impacto” on Univision, rejoining Telemundo as anchor of “Al Rojo Vivo” in 2002.

Her career is distinguished by a number of prestigious awards, including three Emmys™ and the Rubén Salazar Award for Excellence in Journalism.

About NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises:

NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises is a world-class media company leading the industry in the production and distribution of high-quality Spanish-language content to U.S. Hispanics and audiences around the world. This fast-growing multiplatform portfolio is comprised of the Telemundo Network and Station Group, Telemundo Deportes, Telemundo Global Studios, Universo, and a Digital Enterprises & Emerging Business unit. Telemundo Network features original Spanish-language entertainment, news and sports content reaching 94% of U.S. Hispanic TV households in 210 markets through 27 local stations, 51 affiliates and its national feed. Telemundo also owns WKAQ, a television station that serves viewers in Puerto Rico.

Telemundo Deportes is the designated Spanish-language home of two of the world’s most popular sporting events: FIFA World Cup™ through 2026 and the Summer Olympic Games through 2032. Telemundo Global Studios is the company’s domestic and international scripted production unit including Telemundo Studios, Telemundo International Studios, Telemundo International, as well as all of the company’s co-production partnerships.  As the #1 media company reaching Hispanics and millennials online, the Digital Enterprises & Emerging Business unit distributes original content across multiple platforms, maximizing its exclusive partnerships with properties such as BuzzFeed, Vox, and Snapchat. Through Telemundo Internacional, the largest U.S.-based distributor of Spanish-language content in the world; and Universo, the fastest growing Hispanic entertainment cable network, the company reflects the diverse lifestyle, cultural experience and language of its expanding audience. NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises is a division of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.

Lin-Manuel Miranda: ‘Bring all of yourself into a room’


At Harvard, ‘Hamilton’ creator tells Latino students and leaders to make their voices heard

roadway theatergoers know that tickets to the musical “Hamilton” can cost more than a month’s rent, except for winners of the show’s $10 online lottery. But the hit’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, played to a different kind of packed house on Thursday night at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), speaking about Latino identity and activism.

Miranda, who is also the force behind “In the Heights,” kicked off the second “America Adelante” conference, hosted by the Center for Public Leadership. The conference drew together Latino students from across the University, as well as more than 40 Latino leaders in business, arts, and government. Through a series of panel discussions and networking events, the conference tried to foster connection and collaboration between the students and guests.

“I feel really underqualified to be here,” Miranda joked as he took the stage with Amanda Matos, M.P.P. ’19, an HKS student and co-founder of the WomanHOOD Project, a Bronx-based mentorship program for girls of color.

Since both Matos and Miranda are proud Nuyoricans — New Yorkers of Puerto Rican descent — Matos fired off a few home-based warm-up questions: Yankees or Mets? The A train or the 1? Once they’d covered the basics (Yankees and the A train), Miranda settled in for a more serious discussion on code-switching, activism, and staying true to one’s roots.

“I’m in a roomful of would-be Nina Rosarios right now,” Miranda said, referring to a character from “In the Heights” who leaves her neighborhood to attend Stanford University, becoming the first person from her block to attend college. Miranda shared some of his experiences of attending Hunter College and Wesleyan University, and gradually coming to see his dual cultural identity as “a superpower.”

Miranda began work on “In the Heights” as an undergraduate at Wesleyan, mixing the salsa and merengue beats of his heritage with the musical theater and freestyling hip-hop he also loves. The result, he said, was a realization that “you have to bring all of yourself into a room, not just the parts that fit in.” He cited the problematic stereotypes of knife-wielding Puerto Ricans from “West Side Story” and Paul Simon’s 1998 musical “The Capeman” as a wake-up call, adding, “I realized: No one’s making your dream musical. You have to make your dream musical.”

Matos asked Miranda how Latinos can create solidarity and stay connected to their heritage while building bridges with non-Latino allies and supporters. “Give us some best practices,” she urged.

Miranda’s response was simple. “I think continuing to support ourselves and our humanness is so important,” he said. “That’s what ‘Hamilton’ does: It represents the other strand of the American story that we export. It celebrates the one founder who wasn’t from here — who grew up in the Caribbean. We’re a nation of immigrants, and we ought to be proud of that story.”

“Latinos in the U.S. — both immigrant and native-born — are a group that has been growing in size and influence and will continue to grow,” said Erika Carlsen, the assistant director of fellowship programs and Latino initiatives at the Center for Public Leadership, who organized “America Adelante.” “How do future public leaders understand this community, and the challenges and incredible potential benefits related to it?” She cited the great economic power of Latinos, and the need to build networks among young and seasoned Latino leaders to address key policy issues.

Continue onto Harvard University’s Newsroom to read the complete article.

Google Doodle Celebrates Astronomer Guillermo Haro


Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 105th birthday of astronomer Guillermo Haro, who discovered a new class of nebula and helped promote astronomical research in Mexico.

Haro, born on March 21, 1913, discovered a type of nebula now known as Herbig-Haro objects. These bright clouds form when jets of ionized gas from young stars collised with nearby clouds of gas and dust. Herbig-Haro objects are short-lived by astronomical standards; they last just a few thousand years, and they change dramatically over just a few years. Haro was one of the first to realize that these objects were the result of the cosmically violent process of star formation; astronomer George Herbig, working independently, came to the same conclusion at around the same time, so the two astronomers share the honor of the name.

And Haro also discovered a type of star, now called flare stars, which flares bightly across the whole electromagnetic spectrum for a few minutes at a time, on apparently random intervals. Today, astronomers believe that most flare stars are dim red dwarf stars, although there are some more massive exceptions, and their flares are high-intensity versions of solar flares, caused by changes in the stars’ magnetic fields. Our two nearest neighbors, Proxima Centauri and Barnard’s Star, are flare stars.

In addition to new classes of astronomical objects, Haro also discovered several planetary nebulae, a number of young variable stars called T Tauri stars, a supernova and ten novae, and a comet. He also spent much of his career composing a catalog of blue stars toward the north galactic pole and a list of blue galaxies.

When he wasn’t looking skyward, Haro advocated for astronomical research in Mexico, and in 1959 he became the first person from Mexico to be elected to the Royal Astronomical Society. He died on April 26, 1988.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Guillermo del Toro Launches Scholarship for Aspiring Mexican Filmmakers

guillermo del toro giving speech at the oscars

The Oscar-winning ‘Shape of Water’ director also announced that his eerie ‘At Home With Monsters’ exhibit will travel to his native Mexico next year.

Mexican writer-director Guillermo del Toro is bringing some of that feel-good Oscars love to his hometown, Guadalajara.

After his romance-fantasy film The Shape of Water took home four Academy Awards last Sundayincluding for best picture and director, the affable filmmaker has returned to his native city for the weeklong Guadalajara International Film Festival, where he’s imparting a series of free master classes to thousands of fans.

Following the first class on Saturday, the festival inaugurated a state-of-the-art cinema named after del Toro, and then organizers announced the creation of the Jenkins-Del Toro International Film Scholarship, a $60,000 annual award for an aspiring Mexican filmmaker to study abroad at a prestigious film institute.

“If we change a life, if we change a history, we change a generation,” said del Toro, whose genre filmmaking has inspired a new generation of talent in Mexico.

Del Toro and fellow countrymen Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) and Alejandro G. Inarritu (Birdman) regularly produce films from up-and-coming Mexican filmmakers.

“The first push is very important,” said del Toro, who will oversee a jury that awards the scholarship at the Guadalajara fest each year.

Continue onto The Hollywood Reporter to read the complete article.

7 Autobiographical Works Written by Latinas That Will Inspire You


Since 1987, March has been designated Women’s History Month in the United States. The celebration has roots in the socialist and labor movements, starting with February 28, 1909 – a year after garment workers strikes took place in New York – which marked the first Women’s Day. By the 1970s, feminist activists lobbied for a week-long celebration, in part because history books overlooked the contributions of women. But it wasn’t until 1987 that March became Women’s History Month, thanks to the Women’s National History Project.

As we continue to celebrate the holiday, Latinas – much like other women of color – continue being disregarded. That’s why there’s no better way to celebrate the month than by reading about women who have changed their worlds, created art, and lived intensely. Below are seven memoirs, book of essays, and poetry books that tell the stories of incredible Latinas in their own words.

1. Sonia Sotomayor’s My Beloved World

You may know Sotomayor as the first Latina on the United States Supreme court, but My Beloved World shows you a Sonia growing up Boricua in the Bronx. Sotomayor writes about her tough relationship with her parents, and early health problems: a diabetes diagnosis at a young age that makes her work all the harder. There’s also a delight in seeing her push her way through other challenges: She responds to hard classes by taking harder ones, she gets over heartbreak by learning to salsa, designing her own course of study at Princeton to catch up to more privileged classmates. Sotomayor offers readers a vulnerable self-portrait of a woman she describes as “ordinary,” but is really anything but.

2. Diane Guerrero’s In the Country We Love

When Diane Guerrero’s In the Country We Love was published in early 2016, it predated the threats to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program, Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) ramping up its activities, and the injustices of deportation being on the news daily. Guerrero’s memoir shows more deeply and personally the scars that deportation leaves on families – the story centers around her parents deportation when she was only 14, and the struggles that ensued. You may also be able to watch this memoir soon; Guerrero, best known for her work in Orange is the New Black and Jane the Virgin,was recently cast as the lead in a project based on her book.

Continue onto Remezcla to read the complete article.

It’s Gabriel García Márquez’s 91st Birthday. What to Know About the Master of Magical Realism

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

On what would have been his 91st birthday, Google Doodle is celebrating Gabriel García Márquez, or “Gabo,” as the man once called “the greatest Colombian who ever lived” was affectionately known.

In García Márquez’s novels angels fall to Earth and become carnival attractions, magic carpets fly and priests levitate. The Colombian author defined the genre of magical realism, in which the mundane and the fantastic occur with equal plausibility. He said he was inspired by the unbelievability of Latin American history — an illusory Eldorado plagued by conquistadors, despots and revolutions.

“We have had to ask but little of imagination, for our crucial problem has been a lack of conventional means to render our lives believable,” he said in his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature, which he won in 1982.

Born in Aracataca, Colombia On March 6, 1927, he was raised by his maternal grandparents. He attributed his gift for storytelling to his grandfather, a hero of the Thousand Days War, when Liberal generals revolted against the ruling Conservatives. García Márquez attributed his fascination with the supernatural to his grandmother’s belief in ghosts, omen and portents.

He showed a passion for writing early on, and studied journalism, as well as law to please his father, at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Bogota. After bloody riots and the assassination of a popular presidential candidate led to the closure of his university in 1948, García Márquez quit school to become a journalist.

“I’ve always been convinced that my true profession is that of a journalist. What I didn’t like about journalism before were the working conditions,” he told the Paris Review in 1981.

After more than a decade as a reporter, columnist, foreign correspondent and editor, during which he covered, and by some accounts assisted, in the coup in Venezuela in 1958, García Márquez moved his family to Mexico City and launched into his career as a novelist. In 1967, he published One Hundred Years of Solitude, which catapulted his literary career to an international stage. The book became a touchstone for magical realism, and a defining moment for literature in the 20th century. García Márquez went on to pen more than 25 books, including short-story collections, non-fiction works and screenplays.

Continue onto TIME to read more about this revolutionary writer.

Robert Lopez Is The First Double EGOT Winner


With his latest Oscar victory, Robert Lopez makes history by becoming the first person to achieve the EGOT twice.

At the 90th Academy Awards on Sunday night, Lopez and his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez collected the best original song honor for “Remember Me” from the animated film Coco, meaning he’s now bagged at least two coveted awards from each of the fields of television (Emmy), music (Grammy), film (Oscar), and theater (Tony).

Mel Brooks, Whoopi Goldberg and the late John Gielgud are among the 12 showbiz legends to have “EGOT’ed,” though technically 17 people have achieved this special all-round achievement if you count “special” or “honorary” awards. Lopez is the only person to officially do it twice.

The New York native was the youngest person ever to complete an EGOT when, in 2014 and at the age of 39, he won a Grammy for Frozen song “Let It Go,” which he co-wrote with Anderson-Lopez. And it took him just under 10 years to achieve, also a record.

His trophy cabinet now stacks up with two Emmys, three Tonys, three Grammys and two Oscars. At just 43 years of age, Lopez should be confident of hogging more industry prizes in the years ahead.

Continue onto Billboard to read the complete article.

Marvel hired Gabby Rivera, a queer Latina writer, for its queer Latina superhero


Gabby Rivera never thought superhero comics would become a part of her writing career, but when the call came, she answered with geeky enthusiasm.

Marvel Comics reached out to Rivera, perhaps best-known for her novel “Juliet Takes a Breath,” and asked whether she’d be interested in being the writing voice behind America Chavez, a Latina, queer, superpowered and super-popular character who made a name for herself in the pages of super-team titles “Young Avengers” and “The Ultimates.”

Rivera says the chance to write such a character is like the dream she never knew she had coming true.

“Superhero comics seemed so out of my league that I never even imagined it as something I could do. But the second the opportunity came my way, it felt so right,” Rivera told The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs. “I’ve always dreamt up wild, powerful and carefree superheroes that look like me and my family: thick, brown, goofy, beautiful. And now I get to see them come to life. ‘America’ is going to be all those things and it’s [going to] be wild.”

Before beginning to write “America,” the new solo series (illustrated by Joe Quinones) that debuted in print and digitally last week, Rivera dived into stacks of comic books featuring the superstrong heroine who can fly and punch star-shaped dimension-hopping holes into the air. Rivera called it her “crash course” on all things America.

The biggest difference for Rivera between writing novels and superhero comic books? Time.

“I take my sweet old time writing my stuff. But working on ‘America’ has been like riding a jet or a Jet Ski or something fast and fun,” Rivera said. “I’m churning out 20-page scripts while working full time at a national LGBTQ nonprofit. It’s intense and challenging and I love it.”

Rivera says it is “dope as hell” to be the first queer Latina writing for Marvel Comics. She is aware that her presence at Marvel represents efforts by the publisher to make sure their diverse heroes have diverse creative talent on the production side as well. Especially in the current comic-book-reading era that includes social media, where diversity decisions are praised or critiqued.

“I mean, folks have been wanting intersectional representation in literature and the creative arts since forever,” Rivera said. “Social media just heightens the scrutiny and gives people a space to connect. [Online] groups like Black Girl Nerds, Latinx Geeks, and Geeks of Color are doing their thing.”

Just where exactly America descends from is something that hasn’t been publicized yet. Is she Puerto Rican? Dominican? Cuban? Mexican? None of the above?

Rivera, who grew up in the Bronx, infuses some of her Puerto Rican culture into the first issue of “America,” adding some “wepas” and having America study (in another dimension) at Sotomayor University (named after Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor). But she won’t say where America descends from just yet.

The series “is definitely going to tackle America’s ancestry and ethnicity. But it won’t be as neat as some folks might want it to be. For me, being Latina is really damn complicated, especially when it comes to tracing my roots,” Rivera said. “America’s going to wonder where she really came from and who her people are. She’s going to explore what it means to be brown across the dimensions. And like many people who’ve had to leave home at a young age, she’s dealing with that feeling of disconnect, the you’re a foreigner here and out of place when you go ‘home’ type of feeling.”

Continue onto the Washington Post to read the complete articles.

Rudy Galindo, figure skating’s Latino, LGBT pioneer


Rudy Galindo’s life story of joy, heartbreak and triumph over adversity is legendary in the skating world, and he’s seen as a Latino and LGBT pioneer.

Throughout his childhood and adolescence, figure skating was a way for Rudy Galindo to escape his hardscrabble upbringing and dysfunctional home life. As a young man, he medaled in national and world championships, becoming America’s most decorated Latino figure skater and a pioneer for LGBT athletes. Now with the eyes of the world on the skating events at the Pyeongchang Olympics, Galindo is still making his mark on the sport he loves, coaching and nurturing a new generation of hopeful skating champions.

At 7:30 in the morning at the cavernous Solar4America Ice at San Jose complex, Galindo, 48, has already been on the ice for several hours. Swathed in a heavy parka and a thick scarf, he watches one of his students practice her moves.

“We have to work on your axel, those are big points,” he calls out. “Good! Now do one more!” As a dozen skaters practice their routines, the frosty air is filled with the sound of blades skimming over the ice.

Galindo raises his voice so his young charge can hear him. “Hey, why are you looking down at the ice? Don’t look down, there’s nothing down there for you!”

His student skates over for a swig of water. “Very nice, high five! Now go back and do the footwork at the end.” Galindo eyes the skater’s ponytail with a sly smile. “Hey, why are you wearing a scrunchie?! That’s very ‘80s!”

While coaching is the latest chapter in Galindo’s life, over the years he has experienced spectacular professional highs and devastating personal lows. His life story of joy, heartbreak, and triumph over adversity is legendary in the skating world.

Of Mexican-American descent, Galindo was born in the working-class neighborhood of East San Jose. His childhood was far from idyllic. His family lived in a trailer, his truck driver father was on the road for long stretches and his mother suffered from bouts of mental illness. Galindo found his escape on the ice, where his older sister was taking skating lessons at a local rink. Before long, Rudy was taking lessons too, and participating in local competitions.

His aptitude for skating came at great cost. “My dad gave everything, his whole paycheck, so my sister and I could have skating lessons and stay off the streets,” Galindo said. “He worked hard, and we never could afford to move into a house because all of his earnings went for our lessons.”

Before long, Galindo was paired up with another promising young skater from the Bay Area, Kristi Yamaguchi. “I was 11, and he was 13. He was very energetic, even at that young age,” Yamaguchi told NBC Latino. “Once we started skating together, things took off, and he was so creative. We would choreograph our own programs, and he was always full of ideas.”

Galindo even lived with Yamaguchi’s family for several years so that they could focus on their training; a typical day found them training for 6 to 8 hours, and doing their homework in the backseat of Kristi’s mother’s car as she drove them to practice sessions. “Rudy was like my brother,” Yamaguchi recalled.

Continue onto NBC News to read the complete article.

‘One Day at a Time’s’ Justina Machado reflects on the evolution of the all-American family

one day at a time cast

“I hope that non-Latino families watching our Latino family on television can see that we are more alike than we are different,” says Machado

Netflix’s hit comedy series “One Day At A Time,” now in its second season, is taking some of our most polarizing and hot-button topics — racism, immigration, LGBT issues, PTSD and even how we care for our veterans — and making viewers not only think but laugh along the way.

The show’s lovable family is unapologetically Hispanic, specifically Cuban American, and yet the more we come to know them, the more we all see ourselves in this typical ‘American’ family. And that’s the point.

“I hope that non-Latino families watching our Latino family on television can see that we are more alike than we are different,” said the show’s lead actress, Justina Machado, who spoke to NBC News about the show’s recently released second season. “We love the same, maybe a little louder,” she said laughing. “We feel the same, we cry the same, we’re a lot more similar than we are different.”

The show is a remake of Norman Lear’s hit show, “One Day At A Time,” which ran from 1975 to 1984. The groundbreaking comedy featured a divorcée and her teen daughters, as well as the building’s lovable super or handyman.

The show’s modern ‘reboot’ has legendary actress Rita Moreno playing a feisty widowed grandmother, Lydia Rivera, and her daughter Penelope Alvarez, a veteran of Afghanistan struggling with PTSD and combat-related injuries and a marriage that unraveled mainly due to her husband’s PTSD and related issues. She is grappling with work and parenthood as she raises two teenagers: Elena, played by Colombian-American actress Isabella Gomez and Alex, played by Marcel Ruiz, who is the grandson of famed Puerto Rican actor and artist Silverio Pérez.

The show has been praised for its details that so accurately portray its Cuban-American household, touches that will draw chuckles from those who grew up with them: the ever present cafetera (coffee pot) and the specific way the grandmother beats the sugar and coffee to make the morning drink, the ropa vieja (shredded beef) that Abuela takes to a sports outing in a tub of margarine.

These kinds of touches were important to the show’s co-creator and showrunner, Gloria Calderón Kellett, who was tapped by Lear when they decided to make the remake with a Hispanic American family.

Continue onto NBC News to read the complete article.