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.

Alfonso Cuarón Made History at the 2019 Oscars

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This year’s Oscars ceremony may not have ended with what would have been an historic win for Roma as Best Picture, but the Alfonso Cuarón film did manage to break a couple of records with its three wins.

Scoring statues for Best Cinematography, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director, the black-and-white period film spoken in Spanish and Mixtec was part of a rather multicultural telecast. There were various firsts, with Black Panther’s costume and production designers becoming the first black women to win in their category; female filmmakers dominating the Shorts races; and winners like Rami Makek (Best Actor for Bohemian Rhapsody) speaking powerfully about being the child of immigrants in this country.

Moreover, in between appearances and speeches by Diego Luna, Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo de Toro and Javier Bardem, there was plenty of Spanish to be heard throughout the telecast. So much so that by the time Luna joined chef José Andrés on stage to present a clip from Roma, he went off-script in Spanish (“Buenas noches,” he quipped, “Ya se puede hablar Español en los Oscares!”) before being nudged back into their scripted banter.

 

For the complete article, continue on to Remezcla.

Culture Circuit: Latinos & Film – A Sundance Film Festival Perspective

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The Sundance Film Festival is known for championing eclectic, independent work from artists around the world. Given their specific diversity-driven initiatives of years past, the 2019 edition of the festival was no exception, particularly with respect to cinema of interest to the Latino community. To the contrary, if you spent any time in the last few days in the snowy, mountainous air of Park City, you saw that this year showcases an embarrassment of riches when it comes to quality cinema from Latin America.

But, like all things involving Latino culture, Latino-related films at Sundance defy reductive simplifications. The picture that emerges is of a vibrant, diverse, and complex community of films and filmmakers. As told through the eyes of these artists, Latinos experience much of the same angsts as all other members of society. At the same time, we have a unique set of anxieties—and a beautiful, distinctive perspective—that makes Latin American cinema rewarding.

For the complete article, continue on to Awards Circuit.

Under Alex Gallardo, New Artistic Direction For Sony Music US Latin

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At a time when Latin music is experiencing unprecedented popularity and Sony leads the Latin category in U.S. market share, according to Nielsen Music, Nir Seroussi’s unexpected exit from Sony Music U.S. Latin — on Jan. 18, after four years as president and another four as managing director — came as a surprise to the Latin music community. Sony did not give a reason for the change, although both the label and Seroussi said they were parting on amicable terms.

But the announcement of Alex Gallardo, 43, as the division’s new president puts an artist favorite at the helm of the company and reinforces its commitment to investing in A&R.

“Sony Music Latin Iberia is the home of the artists and will always be. It’s my most important flag,” Afo Verde, Sony Music Entertainment’s chairman/CEO of Latin America, Spain and Portugal tells Billboard. “[Alex] is a consummate professional, musician, A&R, lover of music and all of its creative process from start to finish.”

Gallardo, who spent six years as senior vp A&R for all of the company’s regions and is known as firm and even, will oversee a staff of nearly 100. “What’s important is to understand artists, their needs and motivations, and to create the best environment possible for their creativity to flow,” he says. And his appointment was met with praise from many in the artist community. In a statement, Shakira called Gallardo a “professional” who is “in touch with the musical landscape and understands artists,” while Ricky Martin says, “His focus, knowledge and passion makes artists trust the process.”

To read the complete article, continue on to Billboard.

The Hispanic consumer has a major impact on the 2019 U.S. markets

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If one thing is clear as we start 2019, it’s that America is changing. According to a Claritas report (registration required), in the United States today, there are 131 million multicultural Americans, making up 37.5% of the U.S. population, with Hispanics accounting for the largest portion at 19.6%.

Minority groups now represent the majority of the population in more than 400 U.S. counties. There can be no doubt that America is becoming multicultural and that Hispanics are a significant part of this change.

Although some brands are starting to face the facts, there is a still a long way to go before advertisers understand the U.S. Hispanic market and unlock its potential.

What’s Changed

From the enormous success of Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians to the rising popularity of Hispanic celebrities like Cardi B, America has changed a lot in the past year. We’ve seen advancement in film representation, a resurgence in cultural and political movements, and the continued popularity and application of technology like smart homes and streaming media. And 2019 will be no different, with these changes impacting not only the people living in the U.S. but also brands across industries that will have to evolve with the changing American landscape.

According to 2017 estimates from the Census Bureau, there are over 58.9 million Hispanics living in the United States, and by 2030, U.S. Hispanics are expected to reach more than 72 million. More than that, this growth doesn’t just mean more Hispanics, it also means a transformation of the Hispanic market.

Hispanic consumers today are not the same as Hispanic consumers from years back. They are now the youngest ethnic group in America with the median age being 28. Realizing their youth is crucial for advertisers as it influences their media consumption habits, the technology they use, their abundance in prime spending years, and much more. Hispanics — especially in the younger age groups of the U.S. population — are also increasingly more diverse than older Americans. As a matter of fact, almost half of the U.S. millennial population will be multicultural by 2024 (registration required).

To read the complete article, continue on to Forbes.

Schoolteacher Yalitza Aparicio earns Oscar nomination for lead role in ‘Roma’

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Yalitza Aparicio, who was just nominated for best actress in a leading role, gives a compelling and honest performance in her role as the family’s nanny, Cleo.

She is now the second Mexican best actress Oscar nominee.

“From the very first casting call to this morning, my Roma journey has been extraordinary,” she said in a statement to ABC News. “As a daughter of a domestic worker and an indigenous woman myself, I am proud this movie will help those of us who feel invisible be seen.”

“I am eternally grateful to the Academy for recognizing Roma,” she added.

The 25-year-old told Variety that she related to the character, “because of her background and how she managed to keep going despite adversity.”

However, Aparicio wasn’t on the path to becoming an actress before taking on this big role.

She’s actually a schoolteacher and only auditioned for the part after going to the audition with her sister, who is a singer and wanted to try for the role herself.

Continue on to Abc News to read the complete article.

Young adults are hyped for ‘Carmen Sandiego’ Netflix series with ‘badass Latina’

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“When I see that cute little girl with her pretty brown skin, it makes me melt,” said actress Gina Rodriguez, who is Carmen in the animated series.

Carmen Sandiego and Maria Vargas Aponte don’t have much in common. One is a fictional criminal mastermind who travels the world to avoid capture, while the other is a very real Texas-based video game blogger who makes an honest living as a computer engineer.

But when Netflix released the trailer for its new series “Carmen Sandiego,” which drops on Jan. 18 and features actress Gina Rodriguez as the voice of the main character, Vargas Aponte watched it “more than 15 times.”

Like other young adults who grew up in the 1980s and ’90s loving computers and gaming, Vargas Aponte relates to Carmen for many reasons, though one sticks out.

“Many Latina characters are secondary characters, but with Carmen Sandiego, we have this badass Latina character,” said Vargas Aponte, 28, who grew up playing a version of the “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” computer game.

Rodriguez, a native of Chicago who is of Puerto Rican descent, views her character as one that bridges cultures, something that resonates among the increasingly diverse younger generations.

“Carmen gets to travel to so many different places all over the world, and you see her empathy and desire to learn other people’s languages and cultures and religions, and she teaches that,” Rodriguez said. “The show fuses two things I love the most, which is art and education, and when I see that cute little girl with her pretty brown skin, it makes me melt. I almost want to cry when I think about it.”

Carmen Sandiego was introduced to the world in 1985 as a character in a computer game.

The character has since appeared in multiple iterations of the game, such as “Where in the U.S. Is Carmen Sandiego?”; “Where in Europe Is Carmen Sandiego?”; “Where in Time Is Carmen Sandiego?” and others.

The character also inspired a PBS game show where middle-schoolers won prizes for successfully answering questions about geography, as well as an animated television series, “Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?” Rita Moreno was nominated for three Daytime Emmys for her voice work as Carmen in the latter series. On Thursday, fans found out that Moreno will be voicing the character of Cookie Booker in a few episodes of the new series.

Duane Capizzi, one of the new show’s executive producers, told Variety that “Gina just wigged out at the prospect of having both Carmens in our show, past and present.”

Though Carmen Sandiego was the center of a sprawling franchise, she was perhaps best known to young people like Vargas Apointe from the educational computer games where she first appeared — and where there were hardly any young women of color.

Continue onto NBC News to read the complete article.

First LGBTQ Latinx Talk Show on Nationwide Television

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LATV Network, the original national, bicultural television network — which recently kicked off its second decade of programming — is excited to announce the launch of its groundbreaking weekly talk show “Glitterbomb”, premiering on the network this fall.

“Glitterbomb” is an explosive pop-culture talk show hosted by an entirely gay, Latino, Hollywood-insider panel featuring “Entertainment Weekly” senior editor Patrick Gomez, iHeartRadio personality Alexander Rodriguez, and actor Enrique Sapene.

Their queer Latino perspective — drizzled with wit, humor and first-hand insight into A-lister life — gives “Glitterbomb” a festive and unique flavor that everyone can enjoy. Combining their experience in acting, radio and journalism, there’s no subject too hot to handle and no scandal too spicy to dig into.

“The LGBTQ Latino community has, for too long, been underserved,” says Luca Bentivoglio, LATV’s COO and Head of Programming. “LATV is proud to foster an environment of inclusivity and we are thrilled to be a pioneer in LGBTQ Latino programming by airing the first-ever talk show with an entirely gay Latino cast. As part of our network’s mission to be as inclusive as possible, ‘Glitterbomb’ is a shining example of our network’s commitment to serving diverse and alternative audiences.”

Produced at LATV’s state-of-the-art HD studios in Los Angeles, “Glitterbomb” is an English-language show that features heated discussions about the latest in pop culture news and trends; provides an inside look at the latest celebrity hot spots and events; and welcomes some of the biggest names in entertainment.

“We could not be happier that LATV has given three gay Latinos a platform as big as ‘Glitterbomb,'” co-hosts Gomez, Rodriguez, and Sapene say in a joint statement. “But we hope that people of all races, genders, and orientations will see a bit of themselves in our show — or, at the very least, have a good time watching it!”

About LATV:

LATV is the only remaining Latino-owned TV network in the Hispanic television space. Its programming primarily targets U.S.-born Latinos and the coveted bicultural 18-49 Latino demographic, with content that features originally-produced shows in Los Angeles, as well as licensed content that has never before been seen in the U.S. For more go to LATV.com.

About the hosts:

PATRICK GOMEZ is currently a Senior Editor at “Entertainment Weekly”. As a veteran “People” magazine writer and member of the Television Critics Association, the Texas native has appeared on “Today”, “Extra!”, “Access Hollywood”, “E! News”, HLN’s “Michaela”, and “Nightline” and can be seen frequently on “Good Morning America”.

ALEXANDER RODRIGUEZ is an on-air personality and entertainer. His sense of humor shines on his nationally syndicated radio show, “On The Rocks”, “where celebrities and cocktails” on iHeartRadio and Universal Broadcasting Network. The show is broadcast live weekly from Sunset Gower Studios in the heart of Hollywood. The Southern California native also serves as Entertainment Editor for “Bear World Magazine”, a national LGBT online media source.

ENRIQUE SAPENE is an actor, host and producer. The Venezuela native has entertained audiences internationally as a reporter on Univision, NBC, ABC and Telemundo. As an actor, he has recurred on the Amazon Prime series “Borderline” and his telenovelas ” Pecadora”, “El Alma Herida”, “Eva la Trailera”  and “Tomame o Dejame” have sold worldwide. In 2017, Enrique joined the cast of the docu-series “My Life is a Telenovela”, which aired on WEtv and E! Latin America and is currently available on Hulu.

This 26-Year-Old Latino Biologist Wants to Become Philly’s First Gay Councilman

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Adrian Rivera-Reyes, a democratic socialist, has officially announced his City Council at-large bid as “a nontraditional candidate.”Adrian Rivera-Reyes, a Penn grad and labor organizer, announced on Wednesday his bid for an at-large seat on Philadelphia City Council.Rivera-Reyes says he is running on a progressive platform that centers the working class, people of color, LGBTQ community members, and millennials. He’s already aware that he’s a “nontraditional” candidate (Latino, gay, and millennial) in what is shaping up to be a crowded race — but has hope that his campaign will bring “moral clarity” to the city and secure a victory.

Tell us a little about your background.
I was born in Puerto Rico to a struggling working-class family. Despite the struggles we faced, I was fortunate to receive an education that allowed me to come to Philadelphia to continue dedicating my life to developing cancer treatments at the University of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia is my home. Here I’ve grown as person, came out of the closet, made many friends, and found community. In Philly, I’ve had the opportunity to work on improving healthcare, to organize workers alongside fellow graduate students fighting for proper work protections, and to ensure everyone has a welcoming home in our city through LGBTQ+ advocacy work and diversity and inclusion initiatives. I am also a dues-paying member of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), and I’m running a grassroots campaign as a democratic socialist in the Democratic primary for an at-large seat on Philadelphia City Council. I am also currently working as postdoctoral fellow at Penn doing cancer research while running for office.

You’re currently a cancer biologist. What made you decide to switch from science to politics?
Issues such as housing instability, job insecurity, an underfunded education system and toxic schools, and the opioid epidemic echo those of my own upbringing. Our local government is not investing in and providing the opportunities necessary for working-class Philadelphians to succeed. I decided to switch to politics because people like me don’t have proper representation in City Council, and I will bring a public health and healthcare mentality when finding solutions for our problems. Our local government is overwhelmingly made up of lawyers, businesspeople, and career politicians. It is no wonder that the policies they enact do not benefit the many. I will be a voice for the voiceless, for the working class, for people of color, for millennials and the elderly, for the LGBTQ community, and for immigrants, Hispanics, and Latinos.

You’re entering what has become a crowded City Council at-large race. What do you think makes you stand out from the rest?
It’s not very hard to determine that I’m a nontraditional candidate running for office. I am a cancer biologist running as democratic socialist because I recognize that our current systems favor the few, at the cost of the many. My platform reflects the interest of the many as well as my background in healthcare. My campaign will be radical, bold, and about moral clarity. To paraphrase Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, throughout our history radicals have been the ones to change the country.

Continue onto the Philadelphia Magazine to read the complete article.

‘Si, se puede’: With inauguration, Latina legislators make history in Congress

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Congress’s youngest member, its first two Texan Latinas and first South American were sworn in on Thursday.

The youngest woman ever elected to Congress, first South American and first two Latinas from Texas: With their inauguration on Thursday, a group of Hispanic women made history in the 116th Congress.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., enters the Congress as its youngest woman elected and its current youngest member. Ocasio-Corterz, 29, of Puerto Rican descent, beat a veteran Democratic incumbent in the primaries with a grassroots campaign focusing on progressive policies such as “Medicare for all” as well as free higher education or trade school for all. She has publicly said she willoppose her own party’s rules against deficit spending if it takes money away from areas such as health care.

On Wednesday, Ocasio-Cortez tweeted out a picture of her and other incoming women legislators with the phrase “Si, se puede,” (Yes, we can), the words that were coined by labor activist and United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta and then immortalized by President Barack Obama during his campaign.

Another women in the picture is Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, one of two Latinas who are the first to represent Texas in Congress.

Escobar takes the place of Beto O’Rourke, also a Democrat, in representing Texas’ 16th Congressional District, which includes the heavily Latino border area of El Paso. She was previously a county commissioner and county judge.

On Twitter, Escobar took on Trump’s insistence on $5 billion for a border wall — which has led to the current government shutdown — by writing that “the border has never been more secure” and “immigration is lower today than it was a decade ago.” Escobar instead argued for the need to work with Central American countries to address the root causes of migration.

Continue onto NBC News to read the complete article.

Councilwoman and hotel housekeeper: Latina lawmaker redefines public service

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Carmen Castillo, re-elected to the Providence City Council, has defied political odds as a working-class candidate, say experts.

By day, Carmen Castillo works as a hotel housekeeper, making beds and cleaning rooms. By night, she’s sitting on committees and voting on decisions at City Hall — she was recently re-elected to the Providence City Council.

Sitting at her kitchen table, Castillo laughed with her friend and assistant Martha Siddique when recalling her re-election campaign.

“This was headquarters,” Castillo said, gesturing around her home. “We moved the couches in the living room, hung up charts on the wall, and all the volunteers came over. We would go out knocking on doors in the rain, and then stay up working until 3 a.m.”

“We were always tired,” Siddique added, “because we had to go to work the next day.”

Originally from the Dominican Republic, Castillo immigrated with her three daughters to the U.S. in 1994. After working in a factory, she took a job as a room attendant in a downtown Providence hotel, a job she has held for 24 years. At the hotel, she helped organize a union and became an activist for workers.

After being active in her community and her union for many years, she was elected to the City Council in 2011, then re-elected in 2014 and 2018.

At the local level, Castillo embodies the trend of political candidates becoming more diverse in terms of gender, class and ethnicity.

WORKING-CLASS POLITICIANS? ‘ALMOST NEVER’

According to Nicholas Carnes, associate professor at Duke University and author of “The Cash Ceiling: Why Only the Rich Run for Office — and What We Can Do About It,” it is atypical for a working-class person to run for and win elected office.

“Manual, clerical and service jobs make up a little over a half of our labor force, and working people are still the backbone of our economy,” he said. “But working-class people almost never go on to become politicians.”

In Carnes’ view, people like Castillo and former Wisconsin congressional candidate Randy Bryce are exceptions to this rule.

Although many working-class people are qualified to run for office, Carnes noted, there are structural barriers in the political system working against them. A great deal of moneyand free time is usually needed to run for public office. And the gatekeepers who recruit candidates often pass over working-class people in favor of business professionals.

Continue onto NBC to read the complete article.