Allende will serve as executive producer on the series as the company starts the process of finding a screenwriter and director. The House of the Spirits is a multi-generational tale following the Truebas, a Chilean family that goes from rags to riches in their quest for love, money, and power. Along the way the family encounters elements of magical realism. Hollywood’s taken a stab at adapting the novel before. In 1993, director Billie August’s adaptation of the novel was released to theaters starring a non-Latino cast including Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep, and Winona Ryder as the Truebas. The film was critically and commercially unsuccessful.
The House of the Spirits is definitely in need of another adaptation. The 1993 version is laughably bad, with Jeremy Irons in brownface making no attempt at covering his English accent. Streep and Ryder are as lily white as they come in their performances, and the only Spanish-speaking actors in the bunch, Antonio Banderas and María Conchita Alonso, stick out like a sore thumb. It’d be fantastic for this new take to actually get a Latino writer and director, if only to truly allow Allende’s magical realism and historical grandiosity to come through. The House of the Spirits is a sweeping novel that could benefit from a long-form television series, as opposed to a two-hour movie.
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Did you know that Hispanics contribute $1 trillion to the economy every year?
Two years into his second career as a business executive and baseball analyst, Alex Rodriguez—always a student, always a numbers cruncher—knows all too well.
And he’s looking ahead.
“I think… we should be having really smart conversations on how to double that number,” he said.
Rodriguez was one of the greatest players in Major League Baseball history, finishing his career with 696 dingers and winning a World Series with the fabled New York Yankees, but this is A-Rod 2.0.
Owner and CEO of A-Rod Corp. Investor. The first Hispanic to swim with the big fish on Shark Tank.
Rodriguez has gone from baseball star to business supernova.
“When people think about my career, they think about the championships, the RBIs, the home runs, but what they don’t realize is that I’m fifth all-time in striking out, so that means I have a PhD in failing,” Rodriguez, 43, said. “But I also have a master’s in getting back up and that’s what America is all about: getting back up, not getting defined by your mistakes. That’s what I try to push and encourage.”
Rodriguez, the father of two daughters, started A-Rod Corp, a private holding company with multiple businesses in the United States and Latin America, when he was 26. His motivation? “Fear.” He’d already seen too many players go broke.
His first investment was in a type of infrastructure he knew all about from his modest childhood: rental properties.
“We find ’em, we vet ’em, we underwrite ’em, we close ’em, we manage ’em, and then we rehab ’em,” he said. “We buy in secondary markets where job growth is growing. Millennials don’t want to own a house. They want to own an app. The last five or six years have been very healthy in the multifamily apartment sector.”
Today, A-Rod Corp owns or manages about 20,000 properties in 12 states and has branched out to fitness centers and automotive dealerships. The man who made hundreds of millions in his playing days also invests in Google, Amazon, Facebook, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, among others.
He espoused his investing strategy on his first appearance as a guest judge on Shark Tank.
“I always invest in jockeys, not horses, because business—like sports—is just about people and I always tell people that I want entrepreneurs and partners with a PhD, not from Harvard or Yale, which is nice, too, but I mean poor, hungry and driven. I want entrepreneurs that are scrappy, that are gritty, and that can think outside the box, and that are winning players.”
Rodriguez retired from Major League Baseball after the 2016 season, and after Sports Illustrated named him one of the 30 most influential Hispanics in sports. The shortstop/third baseman won three MVP awards, was named to 14 all-star teams, and knocked out 3,115 hits in a 22-year career.
He was known for putting up staggering numbers; he was also revered as a student of the game.
He had been in business for years while he played for Seattle, Texas, and New York. He even took marketing classes at the University of Miami and value investing at Columbia University.
Now, it was time to do a deep dive into business. Rodriguez did what he’d done in sports: stepped into circles of greatness.
He asked questions. He listened.
His mentors include Lennar CEO Stuart Miller, JPMorgan Asset Management CEO Mary Erdoes, billionaire Warren Buffett, and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who once said Rodriguez’ most impressive quality was “incessant curiosity.”
Rodriguez has never forgotten—and always applied—a simple lesson about business he received from Buffett: Never personally guarantee any debt and never hold too much cash, but rather put your money in great businesses.
Buffett also taught him that you can be a great businessman and a great guy.
“Always be a gentleman,” Buffett told him.
“That was simple, but it was genius,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez first appeared on Shark Tank in 2017 and is returning as a guest judge for its tenth season.
As usual, he looked like a natural, as if he’d been swimming in those waters all his life. Truth be told, his success is a result of hard work and preparation.
He says starring on the show with the likes of Mark Cuban, Daymond John, and Lori Greiner is a thrill.
“Of course, being the first Hispanic on Shark Tank is something to be really proud of,” he said.
In one of his investment victories, Rodriguez teamed up with Cuban to invest $150,000—for a 15 percent stake—in an Ice Shaker business, which sells insulated bottles that are an upscale version of plastic cups used to mix up protein shakes.
Chris Gronkowski—brother of famous New England Patriot Rob—said Ice Shaker sold about $80,000 worth of shakers in the first few months after he, Rob, and his three other brothers appeared on Shark Tank.
Rodriguez has stayed involved in baseball, honing his skills as a broadcaster for FOX before ESPN named him their lead analyst in early 2018. During his playing days, Rodriguez was versatile enough to switch from shortstop to third base when he joined the Yankees. As a broadcaster, he seamlessly goes from color commentator during games to studio analyst.
“It’s an exciting time in baseball and now I get that front row seat to tell that the story,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez has proved to be studied, insightful, and articulate in his off-the-field role. Listen to him for ten minutes and you’re bound to learn something about the national pastime. Recently, in a studio appearance on the morning sports show Get Up!, Rodriguez named the five greatest hitters he’d ever seen.
His take went viral. Many agreed. Many disagreed. Nobody questioned his baseball acumen, or his reasoned arguments, however.
For Rodriguez, life is never business as usual. There’s parenting, and there’s giving back to the community.
Rodriguez has spearheaded the Alex Rodriguez All-Stars in Education Scholars, offering hundreds
of thousands in scholarship money to those determined to be the first in their families to earn a college degree.
He also premiered a TV show called Back in the Game earlier this year, designed to help athletes who are down on their luck, financially speaking. His co-star? Former NFL great and current TV superstar Michael Strahan.
“Michael and I, something we’re really passionate about is taking athletes who have run into some bad luck … [and] lend a helping hand and hopefully they can get back on their feet,” Rodriguez said. “If you look at the data, they suggest that a lot of our players are going bankrupt way too soon. You make 90 percent of your money between age 20 to 30. Less than 5 percent of our guys in the major leagues have a college degree. What happens from age 30 to 80?”
Alex Rodriguez seems to have packed several lifetimes into his 43 years. And he’s come a long way from his early life as a child of Dominican immigrants who was raised by a single mother and had to move every 18 months “because the landlord would raise the rent.”
He was born in New York City and spent time in the Dominican Republic and Miami, Florida. He has never forgotten his Hispanic roots.
In 2005, amid confusion about his ethnicity, Rodriguez stated: “I want to say it out loud. I am Dominican.”
He has gone the extra mile to help Dominican baseball players thrive in “The Show.”
When Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017, he and Jennifer Lopez visited the country and raised more than $30 million to help victims and rebuild infrastructure.
His mission is to improve financial literacy among Hispanics and athletes in general.
What comes next for A-Rod?
If past is prologue, as Shakespeare said, he’ll surprise us with yet more accomplishments.
If humility is wisdom, as Proverbs says, he’ll continue to grow wiser, because he’s got two secret weapons named Ella and Natasha.
“My girls are great at making fun of dad,” he laughed. “They’re never impressed with anything I do. I love that.”
The Hall of Famer gave his life trying to help victims of a massive earthquake.
Roberto Clemente’s legacy as one of baseball’s greatest players is matched only by the memory of the selfless sacrifice he made trying to help others in need.
The son of a sugar cane worker in Puerto Rico, Clemente showed athletic promise at an early age, joining the Puerto Rican amateur league in 1952 at the age of 16 and signing a minor league contract with a Brooklyn Dodgers affiliate two years later. In July 1954, Clemente’s first home run in North America resulted in an extra-innings walk-off win for the triple-A Montreal Royals.
Later that year, the Pittsburgh Pirates made Clemente its first selection of the rookie draft. As a Pirate, Clemente would go on to win 12 Gold Gloves (tied for most among outfielders), four National League batting titles, two World Series rings, and the World Series MVP for 1971. He had a batting average of over .300 for 13 seasons and is credited with professional baseball’s only inside the park, walk-off grand slam.
He recorded his 3,000th and last hit during the final regular season at-bat of his career in 1972.
Hall of Fame numbers, for certain. But it’s also for Clemente’s humanitarian efforts that Google, in the spirit of Hispanic Heritage Month, dedicated its Doodle on Friday to the first Latin American player enshrined in Cooperstown.
Clemente spent much of his off-season involved in charity work, delivering baseball equipment and food to those in need in Latin American and Caribbean countries. After a 6.3 earthquake killed thousands and caused widespread damage to Nicaragua on Dec. 23, 1972, Clemente began arranging emergency relief flights to deliver aid to survivors.
After learning that the aid packages were being diverted by corrupt government officials, Clemente decided to accompany a New Year’s Eve flight to ensure the supplies were delivered to earthquake victims. But the plane, with a history of mechanical problems and overloaded by more than two tons, suffered an engine failure and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean immediately after takeoff.
The body of the pilot was found a few days after the crash, but the bodies of Clemente and three others who were on the DC-7 were never recovered. He was 38.
The next March, the Hall of Fame waived its candidate waiting period for Clemente, and he was posthumously inducted into Cooperstown with 393 out of 420 available votes.
In Latino countries such as Mexico, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic, baseball is king. Kids grow up playing it, and the chosen ones who live out a dream to play in the Major Leagues, become icons.
In America, those players play in a foreign country. They face challenges such as language barriers and the hardship of playing far away from home.
Throughout history, Latino players have become iconic stars. In the 1960’s it was Roberto Clemente. Recently, David “Big Papi” Ortiz has been an icon both in the U.S. and in their home countries.
La Vida Baseball is here to raise the profile of these Latin players, and grow their brand in the social media age.
“Baseball throughout the Caribbean region, throughout Venezuela, northern parts of Colombia, is something that connects Latinos across nations, even as we take great pride in the work of those players from our own homelands and countries,” said Adrian Burgos, editor in chief of La Vida Baseball. “There are these moments of transcendence. For example, seeing a Francisco Lindor, who leaves Puerto Rico as a teenager for Florida and when he returns and hits that Home Run, the roar of the crowd is a roar that was so much about connection across a generation. It is similar to those Cubans who see the success of the Gurriel brothers and of Puig and Cespedes. Whether they’re on the island or they’re in the U.S., they take pride, ‘That’s one of us.’”
La Vida Baseball is a website that runs features on Latin stars. The site also profiles future stars. They also do not shy away from issues of prejudice and any other stories that would pertain to a Latin player or be of interest to fans of said players.
“The goal of La Vida baseball is to serve what we believe is an underserved market and create a sense of community for the Latino baseball fan by celebrating baseball,” said Jay Sharman, creator, and CEO of La Vida Baseball. “Creating that nexus of baseball culture and identity. We just saw that there was just an unmet need there and it seemed logical to all of us that it wasn’t being served and that we could engage a critical mass of fans around subject matter that they cared deeply about. If you can do that, there’s usually business that follows.”
The website does run ads and is a business. The question though, is how does La Vida Baseball properly measure success? If people love Jose Altuve of the Astros, does that mean the mission statement is working?
For us, we look at engagement,” said Sharman. “If you step back and look at the digital media publishing landscape right now, there’s still a lot of lip service given to the size of audience or size of followers and things like that. We are really about people engaging with the content consistently on a daily basis. Whether it’s Javier Baez or Jose Altuve, what we want to do is find an angle on what’s going on in the baseball world that isn’t being covered by the major sports media companies. That tends to be the human interest stories, at that intersection of culture and Latino baseball.”
La Vida Baseball is in partnership with the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Storytelling is what the Hall does best, and they can help with the production of content.
“There are multiple ways that we measure our success,” said Burgos. “We do look at our social media follows on Facebook and on Twitter and on Instagram and how our audience is growing that way. But another measure of success is, we look to see how the players themselves are engaging our content. Are teams sharing our content? We will always produce quality work, but do the players find it compelling?”
Burgos added, “ A few weeks back, we posted a graphic of Yadier Molina with the Puerto Rican flag as a backdrop. And Yadier re-posted that on his Instagram. All these other players were commenting on how beautiful it was. It’s like, one person is like, “Who did that?” And it’s like, it’s La Vida (Baseball). Part of how we measure our success is both by the audience and also knowing, that the players make time to share our work, to sit with us, to talk with us and help them tell their stories.
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“It instantly becomes business, and that’s what it’s all about,” Cowser told Gehlken. “I think that’s a testament to her and who she is because she’s able to get us to switch into work mode. We don’t think about male-female whatever. It’s just business and how can we get better.”
That’s what Martinez tries to bring to the Raiders‘ practice facility every day. According to Gehlken, she’s helping offensive linemen keep pace with Gruden’s faster offense, helping Cowser and his fellow linebackers bulk up.
She’s also helping to pave the way for an underrepresented group in the league. Martinez may want to focus on coaching, but she knows she’s setting an example as well.
“Don’t create limits on yourself,” Martinez said. “There’s many excuses or whatever that can be made, but at the end of the day, what do you love to do? I was able to find what I love to do, and that’s working for Jon Gruden every day. Why limit yourself?”
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The new original production honors the victims and heroes of one of Mexico’s most devastating earthquakes
A year after one of Mexico’s most tragic events, Discovery en Español premieres “SEPT19MBRE: RELATO DE UN SISMO”, a documentary featuring testimonies that portray the endless horror, strength, and solidarity of the Mexican people during one of the country’s most devastating natural disasters. The special premieres Sunday, September 16 at 10pm E/P.
The new original production highlights the value, nobility, and integrity of thousands of Mexican men and women cherished for their teamwork and humanitarian aid during this tragedy. The special shares the story of a family who witnessed the collapse of their children’s school, a survivor of a falling building in Mexico City, and the story of a man who lost one of his loved ones. The documentary also showcases the scientific approach and explains why Mexico has suffered this catastrophe.
“SEPT19MBRE: RELATO DE UN SISMO” was produced by Pacha Films in co-production with Cromática and Scopio. Michela Giorelli and Rafael Rodríguez are the executive producers for Discovery en Español and Luis del Valle is the executive producer for Pacha Films. The documentary will also be available in the “Discovery en Español GO” app. For more information, follow us on facebook.com/discoveryenespanol, Twitter @DiscoveryenESP and Instagram @discoveryenespanol.
Long before Will & Grace normalized the LGBTQ community for TV audiences, Winnie Holzman’s one-season drama, My So-Called Life gave us Rickie Vasquez, a perfectly coiffed gay teenage boy who had a love for bold patterns and dark eyeliner. More than 20 years later, Wilson Cruz’s portrayal of Rickie remains relevant, highlighting how ahead of its time the character was for a ‘90s audience.
The teen drama followed Angela Chase (Claire Danes) and her group of friends at the fictional Liberty High school. As the show’s protagonist, Danes perfectly captured the isolation and confusion of growing into one’s own. In a voice-over, she describes high school as “a battlefield, for your heart,” and throughout the course of the show, the writers captured the complexities of teen angst and self-identity. In the pilot episode, we’re introduced to Rickie Vasquez in the girl’s bathroom as he’s rummaging through his best friend’s backpack in search of eyeliner. As Angela and Rayanne (A.J. Langer) dissect every move that heartthrob Jordan Catalano (Jared Leto) makes, Rickie is out of focus in the background meticulously applying eyeliner, indicating that it’s not the first time he’s slayed a smokey eye. The scene is so casual in that it doesn’t shine a spotlight on Rickie’s sexual identity, but rather, empathetically weaves it into the larger storyline.
Throughout 19 episodes, we followed Rickie as he worked his way through the emotional complexities that come with being gay in predominantly straight surroundings. He lived with an aunt and uncle who were emotionally and physically abusive, he was made to feel alienated in the girl’s bathroom in which he sought solace, and he had to find some semblance of normalcy after his family moved away without telling him. We learn – after his English teacher asks him what Rickie is short for – that his real name is Enrique.
Never really feeling 100 percent comfortable in his own skin, Ricky confides in a friend, “You blend in, unlike me, who basically never will.” Ricky’s family, school, and emotional dilemmas were never neatly wrapped up at the end of an episode. Just like real life, they are constant threads that flowed with the overall narrative and didn’t propel the story forward as a “special episode” so common in teen shows of the ’80s and ’90s.
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“I saw the possibilities of things that I could have never imagined without reading,” Sotomayor, the first Latina Justice to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, said.
She has one of the most influential positions in the country, but as a girl who did not grow up privileged, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor credits her incredible journey to one thing.
“The key to success in my life, it’s the secret that I want to share with kids and how I became successful. I’m here as a Supreme Court Justice only because of books,” said Sotomayor.
The first Latina Supreme Court Justice spoke to a packed main hall of over 2,000 people at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Saturday at the 18th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival.
Organizers said Sotomayor is the first children’s book author invited to speak on the main stage at the festival. After the main hall filled up, several hundred more watched on monitors in the hallways.
“I wish every kid here could see that if I can do it so can you!” said Sotomayor.
An avid reader growing up, Sotomayor’s new book for young readers, “Turning Pages: My Life Story,” is a richly illustrated book that chronicles her life growing up in New York City.
“Reading books opened the world to me. Especially for children growing up in modest means as I did, books give you the chance to explore the wider world. Television and especially now the Internet don’t let you imagine,” said Sotomayor.
As a young girl growing up with limited economic means, it was a chance to explore and imagine a world beyond where she was living, with endless possibilities at her fingertips as she turned the pages.
“The power of words is in creating pictures in your mind and that is very special. As a child, I explored the world through books. I saw the possibilities of things that I could have never imagined without reading,” said Sotomayor. “I could have never imagined traveling to faraway places and now I do it, but that wish to meet other people and go other places came from reading. Books were the key to deciding to become what I am today.”
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Hernandez will be the newest doll in Mattel’s Barbie “Shero” line.
Calling all Laurie Hernandez fans: You will soon be able to buy a Barbie doll made in her likeness.
Barbie is creating a doll that looks like the Olympic gymnast for Mattel’s “Shero” line, which includes dolls in the likenesses of director Ava DuVernay, dancer Misty Copeland and fellow Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas and fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad. Hernandez’s Barbie is fully posable (so everyone can do gymnastics with her) and comes with two leotards and a gym bag.
“Girls need more role models like Laurie, because imagining they can be anything is just the beginning, and seeing that they can makes all the difference,” a spokesperson for Mattel told HuffPost.
Hernandez, 18, told HuffPost she is honored to have her very own Barbie and to be in the company of such amazing women.
“I was so excited to know that I would have a Barbie that looks like me,” she told HuffPost.
“It’s such an honor knowing that I’m a Barbie Shero along with many other incredible women like Misty Copeland and Ashley Graham,” Hernandez continued. “I am so excited that kids are going to be able to grow up with people that I looked up to as well, and hopefully they can see me as an inspiration too.”
Aside from ensuring that the doll looked like her, Hernandez said the most important detail of the design process was her Barbie’s curly hair.
“I remember always wanting to straighten my hair as a kid, but now that I’m older I’m embracing these curls. I love how crazy and messy they are,” she said. “Now that there’s a doll that has my curls, little girls out there with curls are going to look at her too and be able to say ‘Wow she looks like me’ and find comfort in that.”
Hernandez added that she’s on “cloud nine” knowing that she’s in the company of trailblazing women like Douglas, Copeland and Muhammad.
“I think that all of these women are big catalysts for the younger generation to watch and see how they do things and to know that we’re all so different,” she said. “I definitely see it as a responsibility as well. I recognize that I do have a platform and that people are watching what I do and I can use that for good.”
With Independence Day just having passed, many reflected about how the holiday – alongside Memorial and Veterans Day – seems to solely focus on Anglo-Americans who lived and fought to make the country what it is. In 2014, author Dave Gutierrez self-published Patriots From the Barrio, a thoroughly researched story about the Mexican-American men who fought in the Thirty-Sixth Division, 141st Regiment, Second Battalion, Company E during WWII; most of whom were from El Paso.
Towards the end of 2017, Deadline reported that Venezuelan-Colombian actor Wilmer Valderrama had secured the film and TV rights to Gutierrez’s book with the intention of developing it. When asked about the project Valderrama stated, “I’m honored as a proud Latin American to amplify the courage and contribution of these incredible men.” Earlier this year, during a series of speaking engagements Gutierrez went on to promote the novel, it was revealed that the actor’s production company WV Entertainment is leaning towards turning the book into a series.
The war feature, whether it be television or film, is still an incredibly white-centric story with Latinos and African-Americans often playing cursory characters. Gutierrez’s book seeks to open up the kinds of stories we associate with war, showing us the men who sacrificed much and just happened to be Latino. Development takes time, so here’s hoping WV Entertainment is actively working on this to give audiences something new to watch in the near future.
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Marysol Castro remembers a hot and humid summer day between third and fourth grades. She was playing stickball with her brothers and neighbors in her native Bronx, New York, and she remembers some boys looking at her with disdain when she hit her first home run.
She noticed the looks, but it didn’t stop her, and it certainly hasn’t stopped her yet.
Castro, who’s about to turn 44, has spent a little over a month in her job as the first female public address (PA) announcer for the New York Mets and the first Latina PA announcer in Major League Baseball.
“This month has been incredible,” said Castro, speaking to NBC News from her new “office” in Citi Field. “The minute I open this door and look at this view, I realize how incredibly fortunate I am.”
During her two-decade career, Castro has worked in local TV news and has been a national network weather anchor on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” and on the “The Early Show” at CBS, as well as a reporter on ESPN — all positions often dominated by men.
“I’ve worked really, really hard,” said Castro.
Sporting feminine wedge sandals and bright red nail polish, Castro is petite, yet she speaks with an authoritativeness and power that shows she’s used to hanging with the guys and isn’t afraid to speak her mind.
Castro was ambitious at an early age; she recalls first wanting to be the shortstop for her hometown team, the Yankees, and then wanting to go into politics. At 12, she decided on her own that she would get a full scholarship to boarding school, and she did. Castro says she knew the world was bigger than the Bronx, and she wanted to see it and learn about it.
She taught English at Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, and it’s there, Castro says, where she learned the power of real communication. After attending Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, she began her career in broadcasting.
A ‘BRIDGE BUILDER’ FOR MLB’S GROWING LATINO AUDIENCE
The new PA announcer is proud of her job and of being a Latina role model.
“In almost every job I’ve had, I’ve been the only Latino,” said Castro. “We have to reflect the eyeballs that watch us.”
Both of Castro’s parents were born and raised in Puerto Rico. Her father, who passed away when she was 10, was a U.S. Navy veteran, a NYC bus driver and was active in the Young Lords, a groundbreaking civil rights group, as well as other community organizations.
Landing her new position “means everything,” said Castro, because she gets to “be a bridge builder for other Latinos” at a time when Hispanic-viewing baseball audiences are at an all-time high in the U.S.
A study showed that the addition of international players to MLB teams, many from Caribbean and Latin American countries, have resulted in a jump of millions in profits. As of last year, MLB players hailed from 19 countries, including the Dominican Republic (93 players), Venezuela (77) and Cuba (23).
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