The Legacy of Rickie Vasquez, ‘My So-Called Life’s Groundbreaking Gay Latino Character

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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.

Continue onto Remezcla to read the complete article.

Raiders hire first female assistant coach in franchise history

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Like every member of Jon Gruden’s new staff, Kelsey Martinez’s first focus is coaching.

Then, every so often, the league’s only female strength and conditioning coach is approached by one of her peers; running backs coach Jemal Singleton, special teams coach Rich Bisaccia, and more.

They all want to thank Martinez for blazing a trail their own daughters can follow.

“That’s when it started to hit: ‘Oh, wow. This is a big deal,'” Martinez told Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “To be an inspiration for them is huge to me.”

It’s a rarity to see a woman in on an NFL team’s coaching staff. Recently, Kathryn Smith (Bills) and Katie Sowers (49ers) became full-time staff employees.

But the Silver and Black has a history of trailblazing NFL hires, including Art Shell as the league’s first black coach and first Tom Flores as the league’s first Hispanic coach.

Oakland is currently the only team to list a female strength and conditioning coach on their team website, though. Linebacker James Cowser said he’s thankful he gets to work with Martinez.

“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?”

Continue onto the NFL Newsroom to read the complete article.

Discovery En Español Presents: “Sept19mbre: Relato De Un Sismo”

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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.

The key to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s successful journey? It’s books

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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.”

Continue onto NBC News to read the complete article.

Olympic Gymnast Laurie Hernandez Is Getting Her Very Own Barbie

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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.”

Hernandez competed on the U.S. women’s gymnastics team during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro where she won gold in the team event and silver on the balance beam. At just 16 years old, Hernandez became the third Latina in history to make the women’s Olympic gymnastics team, and the first U.S.-born Latina to make the team since 1984.

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.”

Continue onto the Huffington Post to read the complete article.

Wilmer Valderrama Set to Produce Series About Mexican-American WWII Heroes

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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.

Continue onto Remezcla to read the complete article.

Marysol Castro, Mets’ first female PA announcer and MLB’s first Latina, hits it out of the park

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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).

Continue onto NBC News to read the complete article.

Netflix Orders Mexican Drama Series ‘Monarca’ From Salma Hayek

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Netflix has greenlit another international series.

The streaming giant has handed out a series order to Mexican drama Monarca, starring Irene Azuela (Quemar las Naves, El hotel de los secretos, Las oscuras primaveras). The new series, which will begin production this fall and will launch globally in 2019, will follow the world of wealthy Mexican elites riddled by corruption, scandal and violence.

Produced by Salma Hayek’s company Ventanarosa, along with Lemon Studios and Stearns Castle, Monarca is described as a high-stakes, multi-generational family saga about a tequila-born Mexican business empire and the battle that ensues when a member of the family decides to fight the dirty system her family helped create.

In addition to Azuela, the series will star Juan Manuel Bernal. Monarca was created by Diego Gutierrez and written by Fernando Rovzar, Julia Denis, Ana Sofia Clerici and Sandra García Velten. Michael McDonald from Stearns Castle will serve as a producer.

“I’m extremely excited to partner with Netflix, and to be working with amazing Mexican talent in front of and behind the camera,” said Hayek. “We are proud to show Mexico as a vibrant, sophisticated and culturally rich nation fighting to control its own destiny.”

Added creator and showrunner Gutierrez: “This is the definition of a passion project for me. Having been born and raised in Mexico, I’m humbled to have the opportunity to tell this story with Netflix and the incredibly talented team of people we’re assembling, both in the U.S. and Mexico.”

Continue onto The Hollywood Reporter to read the complete article.

These Are the Latinos Invited to Join the Academy of Motion Pictures This Year

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When it comes to the Oscars, we know it’s just an honor to be nominated. But we should also remember that getting invited to be part of the Academy is as rare and welcome an honor. Continuing its mission to shake up the near 100-year-old organization, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences added 928 new members from 59 countries this year. Each member gets to join one branch and vote within that branch to dictate nominations (everyone votes for winners in their branch as well as for Best Picture). 49% of the invited members are female, which will nudge the overall female membership to a record-breaking (though still cringe-worthy) 31%. The same group is made up of 38% people of color (that overall percentage is unsurprisingly bleak: it sits at a paltry 16%). It’ll take time for the Academy’s make-up to mirror anything remotely resembling the United States’ demographics but these are all moves in the right direction.

There are, thankfully, a whole lot of Latino and Latin American filmmakers making their way into the Academy’s ranks this year. We decided to spotlight our favorite ten (all actors) which include a Jane the Virgin father-daughter duo, one of Mexico’s biggest comedic stars and two of Sebastian Lelio’s muses. Check them out below, as well as an added list of other talented folks from all across AMPAS’ branches that will get to decide what will follow The Shape of Water as next year’s Best Picture.

Alice Braga, Actress

Jaime Camil, Actor

Ricardo Darín, Actor

Continue onto Remezcla to read the complete list of actors and actresses.

Gloria Estefan will play Rita Moreno’s feisty sister in Season 3 of ‘One Day at a Time’

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Estefan will play the baby sister and archnemesis to the show’s grandmother, Lydia, played by the legendary Rita Moreno.

Fans of the Netflix show “One Day at a Time” will have even more to look forward to in Season 3 — renowned singer, songwriter and actress Gloria Estefan announced on Instagram that she will be guest starring in the show.

“So excited to announce that I’ll finally be guest starring on @odaatnetflix,” Estefan said in her Instagram video caption. “I’ll be playing Mirtha, Lydia’s baby sister and archnemesis. I’m coming for you, Alvarez family!”

Estefan has previous ties to the show as the theme song’s singer.

“I’ve been waiting three seasons for this people. Oh my gosh, get ready. It’s hilarious,” Estefan said in the video she posted on Instagram.

Estefan’s future co-stars also showcased their excitement in response to her announcement.

“We are so excited and ready for you @gloriaestefan @odaatnetflix #alvarezfamily,” responded lead actress Justina Machado in an Instagram comment.

“One Day at a Time” is a reboot of the iconic ’70s show, now featuring a Cuban-American family in California. The plot revolves around a divorced military vet (Justina Machado), who lives with her mother (Rita Moreno), her two teenage children and their friend and building manager, Schneider. The show incorporates funny scenes of life in a bilingual and bicultural Latino household but also tackles serious issues like military vets’ PTSD, racism, discrimination and LGBTQ issues.

But mainly, it’s a relatable show about an American family.

“I hope that non-Latino families watching our Latino family on television can see that we are more alike than we are different,” said Machado in a previous interview with NBC News.

Continue onto NBC News to read the complete article.

Gina Rodriguez Funds College Scholarship for Latinx Student With Emmy Money

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This year, the ‘Jane the Virgin’ star decided to put her allotted FYC spend from CBS TV Studios toward paying for the education of an undocumented high school student.

Gina Rodriguez will be throwing her hat in the Emmy ring for the fourth (and penultimate) season of her CW comedy, Jane the Virgin. She just won’t be spending studio money on glam for campaign events or themed swag — though, as a recent episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt suggests, a Jane-branded pregnancy test would be quite a novelty.

“FYC is a bizarre dance,” says the star. “Whatever you do requires an insane amount of money.”

So this year, Rodriguez decided to put her allotted FYC spend from CBS TV Studios toward a college scholarship for an undocumented high school student.

“Our show has always jumped at any opportunity to help me do something for the Latinx community,” says Rodriguez. “So I asked my showrunner, Jennie [Snyder Urman], if we could do something different with the money this year.”

Rodriguez, 33, who won a 2015 Golden Globe for Jane, partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles to find the right applicant — a Princeton University-bound young woman who’ll now be able to complete all four years without financial burden.

And while Rodriguez says she’s been invigorated by her decision, she had mixed feelings about revealing it.

“It’s taboo to talk about the money being spent, but it’s the reality,” says Rodriguez. “I think sharing this might inspire other people to do something similar. You can desire recognition and, at the same time, decide to not play in the confines of the game as it’s set up.”

Continue onto The Hollywood Reporter to read the complete article.