MTV VMAs 2019 Artists Like Rosalia and J Balvin Remind Us That Latin Music Is a Part of America’s Identity

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Rosalia onstage performing at the MTV VMA Awards

On Monday night, there was no shortage of show-stopping performances, including Rosalia, during the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards.

But last night’s award show also became a noticeably momentous evening for some of Latin music’s biggest stars. Performances — and wins — from artists such as J Balvin, Bad Bunny, Rosalia, and Ozuna elevated the importance of Spanish-speaking artists fully showing up as themselves and not translating for English-speaking audiences.

During Rosalía and J Balvin’s acceptance speech, after winning the “Best Latin” category for their song “Con Altura,” the pair expressed how grateful they were to be able to perform their music for viewers — proudly and unapologetically — in their native language of Spanish, without needing to dilute their respective cultures for American consumption. Rosalía, by descent, is not a Latinx artist, but her recording songs in Spanish and collaborations with Latinx artists have placed her under the umbrella category.

“I’m super proud of being Latino right now,” J Balvin stated simply, while Rosalía thanked fans for embracing her modern take on classic flamenco music from her hometown of Barcelona.

“It’s such an incredible honor,” said Rosalía. “I come from Barcelona. I’m so happy to be here representing where I come from and representing my culture. … Thank you for allowing me to perform tonight singing in Spanish.”

In the past, there have been VMA performances from Latin music superstars — Ricky Martin, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, and Camilla Cabello were all mega-stars when they graced the stage — but these performances have almost always been performed in English to cater to the awards show’s American audience.

Continue on to Teen Vogue to read the complete article.

 

Selena Gomez, Cardi B and more Latina celebs you can find on this rising social platform

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Selena Gomez pictured smiling looking casual in a sweatshirt

Move over Instagram! Tik Tok is becoming the new IT app and some Latina celebs are already getting on board – including Selena Gomez, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez and more. If you were one of the millions of users who had Vine, then you might already love Tik Tok without knowing it.

The addictive app is a space where creativity abounds and you’ll get trapped in a rabbithole of hilarious clips that will make you LOL, see some serious dance moves and wild viral trends.

To get to know a little more, we spoke with the CEO of The Influencer Marketing Factory, Alessandro Bogliari, to get some insights on how the video app works. “You don’t even have to sign up and the app will show you some of the best videos,” he told HOLA! USA when asked why people are eagerly tapping to download.

“Then, when you sign up, the AI [algorithm] will recognize your behavior in the app and will start showing you only videos that you should like based on what you engage with. I can easily spend one hour just scrolling on the ‘for you page’ without getting bored, [the] contents are so original and funny that it’s highly addicting,” he added.

Continue on to HOLA! to read the complete article.

Why Bad Bunny Matters to a New Generation of Latinx Fans

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Bad Bunny performs before large audience

I switched off my uncle’s playlist of classic salsa tunes and turned up Bad Bunny. We sat poolside in Dorado, Puerto Rico, with a small Bluetooth speaker beside us. My uncle, a conservative lawyer in his 60s, rolled his eyes when he heard “Bad Bunny, baby.”

With sold-out stadium tours and features from top American artists like Drake on his records, Bad Bunny has graduated from Puerto Rican grocery store clerk to international sensation in the last three years. Millennials have embraced him, but many old-school Boricuas are turned off by the Bunny explosion.

Upset by the lewdness of the lyrics of “Sensualidad,” my uncle picked apart each sexual innuendo and remarked on the raunchiness of today’s reggaeton culture. On a mission to change his mind, I chose to play to him Bad Bunny songs with underlying depth. First, I played “Estamos Bien,” an uplifting anthem released nearly a year after Hurricane Maria. Next up, “Desde el Corazón,” a love letter to Puerto Rico dedicated to his neighborhood and the local artists who inspired him to write music.

As a rebuttal, my uncle put on “Burbujas de Amor” by Juan Luis Guerra, a melodic, classic love song full of imagery. He rocked back and forth proclaiming, “He is a poet.” I had to admit, Bunny to Guerra was a stark contrast, but then again so were we.

For Latin Baby Boomers like my uncle, the archetype of a man was the head of the household who rarely showed his vulnerable emotions. There was dignity in the unity of marriage, and cursing was seen as inappropriate or low-class. The lyrical, heartfelt singers of my uncle’s childhood provided a way for those same men to connect with and express the deeper romantic sentiments in the clean music.

The themes in Latin music are largely the same throughout the generations — love, loss, hardship — only with different mouthpieces using forms of expression that reflect their audience.

In the 1990s, Latin music in Puerto Rico fused with reggae and American hip-hop to create reggaeton. This new wave of music, created by underground youth culture in the clubs of Puerto Rico, was a creative outlet during inner-city sufferings. Typical of Caribbean culture, it was done with a great dance beat. From the streets of the island to worldwide dominance, reggaeton burst through the English-speaking Western market, and now we are all living in a post-“Despacito” world.

Our music today is a celebration of Latinx culture. What was once understated is now screamed from the rooftops, or rather rapped to sold-out crowds at Madison Square Garden. Latinx Millennials and Gen Z are unapologetically ourselves. We choose our pronouns, our lovers, and express ourselves freely.

This is mirrored in one of our hottest artists, Bad Bunny. His music videos and style defy gender norms and pave the way for further inclusivity and acceptance for all. Bad Bunny is a part of the movement of today’s youth to speak up and speak out. His uniqueness emulates this generation’s custom-made individuality and Latin pride.

As my uncle and I playfully debated the rise of Bad Bunny, taking turns as DJ, I realized why his music means so much to me personally. In not taking himself so seriously, I’ve learned to do the same. It’s OK that I’m a mix of cultures both Puerto Rican and European. It’s OK that I’m the gringa of the family. It’s OK that I was born on the mainland, where I’m not American enough, yet on the island I’m not Boricua enough. It’s OK that when I can’t think of a word in Spanish, I switch to English. It’s OK for me to be exactly as I am.

Continue on to Pop Sugar to read the complete article.

Demi Lovato Will Sing National Anthem at Super Bowl LIV

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Demi Lovato singing on stage

Demi Lovato will sing the National Anthem before kickoff at Super Bowl LIV, taking place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on February 2nd.

The news comes shortly after she was announced as a performer for the 62nd Grammy Awards on January 26th.

The singer confirmed the news on Instagram, writing, “Singing the National Anthem at #SBLIV 🏈 🏈 🏈 See you in Miami 🌴 @NFL.”

The National Anthem will be broadcast around the world as part of the Super Bowl’s pregame show. Past National Anthem performers include Whitney Houston, the Dixie Chicks, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Gladys Knight, Mariah Carey, the Backstreet Boys, Pink, Alicia Keys and Idina Menzel.

Christine Sun Kim will sing the National Anthem in American Sign Language on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).

The NFL and Fox previously announced that Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will be the halftime performers for Super Bowl LIV.

Continue on to MSN to read the complete article.

‘Ugly Betty’ Gave Television An Unlikely Latina Heroine

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Silvio Horta pictured with America Ferrera on red carpet at Hollywood event

Betty Suarez, the lead character in the ABC dramedy “Ugly Betty,” was the unlikeliest of heroines and everyone ― from those who taunted her on the job at an upscale fashion magazine to her close-knit family to the audience watching the show at home ― thought so.

“All the stuff you want to do, owning a magazine … it doesn’t happen for people like us, unless you’re J.Lo or something,” her nephew Justin (Mark Indelicato) told Betty (America Ferrera) on the stoop of their home in Jackson Heights, Queens, where they lived with her undocumented father, Ignacio (Tony Plana), and her spirited sister, Hilda (Ana Ortiz).

Justin was only in middle school and yet he already understood that success was limited to a select few from his family’s working-class background. For him and so many others, the American Dream was exemplified by the beautiful Jennifer Lopez, one of the few examples of U.S. Latino representation in Hollywood in the 2000s.

But Silvio Horta, the creator and showrunner of “Ugly Betty” who died earlier this month, offered an alternative version of prosperity for new generations of Latinos through a character who was less aspirational and more relatable, a young woman who wasn’t conventionally attractive but was still the daring protagonist of her own life.

Betty had bushy eyebrows, braces, glasses and frizzy hair — pop culture’s hallmarks of the ugly duckling. She was also curvy, which was unfortunately groundbreaking for a show in 2006, as evinced by the second episode of the series. Drama arose over releasing an actress’s unretouched photos at Mode, the fashion magazine where Betty worked. Sure, there had been curvy girls on television before, but they somehow always seemed to be the butt of the joke, a caricatured sidekick to the more traditionally good-looking lead. Not Betty.

Let’s not sugarcoat it. Betty was harassed by her co-workers because of her looks, lack of fashion sense and Latinidad. It was no secret around the office that everyone knew she had only been hired because her supervisor’s father didn’t want his son, Daniel (Eric Mabius), sleeping with his assistants anymore. In an attempt to embarrass her and drive her to quit, Daniel has her fill in for a model at a photo shoot. Watching Betty stand alongside those models, attempting to strike sexy poses in a revealing outfit she is wholly uncomfortable in while everyone laughs at her, is one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the series. She is also routinely called fat and one of her co-workers, Amanda (Becki Newton), has a penchant for using an exaggerated Spanish accent around her and warning her not to get chimichurri sauce on important documents.

Yet somehow Betty remained strong. She never buckled under the pressure of her hostile work environment — though doing so would have been understandable. Instead, she focused on her dream of writing for magazines.

Continue on to Huffington Post to read the complete article.

How to decide if your social circle needs an upgrade in 2020

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Latino Business team going through some paperwork in office

You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, motivational speaker John Rohn once said. If you’re not happy with your current situation at work, you may want to take a closer look at your inner circle.

“We have to be really good at [deciding] who we allow into our life,” says Ivan Misner, author of Who’s In Your Room: The Secret to Creating Your Best Life and founder of the global business network BNI. “Imagine your life is one room and the room had one door. The door could only let people enter, and once they’re in the room, they’re there forever.”

It’s a scary metaphor, but it’s true, says Misner. “Think about a person you let into your life and then had to let out because they were toxic, difficult, or angry,” he says. “If you can remember the emotions and what they did, they’re still in your head. If they’re in your head, they’re still in your room.”

For this reason, it’s important to surround yourself with the right people from the start—or they’ll be in your “room” for the rest of your life.

“When you realize that this happens, you can get better at screening out people before they get in and dealing with the ones you already let in,” says Misner.

Letting people in

Opening the door to the right people means getting clear with your values. “If you don’t know your values, you don’t know where to start,” says Misner.

Start with deal breakers—behaviors that  you hate, such as dishonesty or drama. Look for people who demonstrate these behaviors, and don’t let them into your social circle.

“Pretend your mind has a doorman or bouncer,” says Misner. “Train your doorman—your subconscious and conscious mind—to identify people with these behaviors. By understanding your deal breakers, you’ll be better able to start understanding your values.”

A common mistake people make when letting others in is weighing too quickly “what’s in it for me” and disregarding the things that go against their values. When we make decisions based on short-sighted gains, we also choose values that don’t resonate with who we are.

“In physics, resonance is a powerful thing,” says Misner. “It’s a phenomenon that occurs when an extra force drives something to oscillate at a specific frequency.”

To understand how it works, imagine two pianos sitting side by side in a room. “If you hit the middle C key on one piano while someone presses the sustain pedal on the other one, the middle C of the other one will vibrate on that second piano, without [it] being touched,” says Misner. “That’s resonance. People are like that.”

When you make a decision based on what you think we can get instead of your values, you invite values that don’t align with yours to resonate in your life.

“Be mindful about creating relationships with resonance and get your values down,” says Misner. “Companies often recognize the importance of knowing your values, but people don’t always think about them. Values should be at the foundation of everything you do. Otherwise, you’ll create the wrong room.”

Dealing with people you’ve already let in

If you have people in your circle that are creating a bad environment, decide if they have to be there or if you can exit the relationship. If they must be there, it’s time to draw a line in sand.

“Evaluating your social circle means recognizing that someone may be in your life but their baggage needs to stay out,” says Misner. “Draw a line in the sand by saying that you’re not letting their behavior continue around you.”

For example, if you have a coworker who demonstrates toxic behavior such as frequent gossiping or complaining, establish boundaries. Say, “Starting now, if you start talking badly, I will walk away. I respect you and will talk to you again, but only if you can have a mature adult conversation.” Then follow through. It may take a while for the person to understand the new boundaries and rules, but once you draw the line in the sand, you can eliminate the toxicity from your circle.

“Stand firm,” says Misner. “Part of that is learning how to say ‘no.’

Continue on to Fast Company to read more.

MBEs: Get Certified Today

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Young Hispanic couple, woman with laptop computer

Why certify? Businesses that are certified as minority owned are subject to different laws and regulations than other businesses and as such are very different entities from typical enterprises. Unlike a standard business license or registration, a minority-owned business enterprise certification is not required to run a minority-owned business, although certification can provide many benefits for a company—especially in regards to government contracting.

Below are some of the certification processes your company can expect to navigate when seeking minority-owned business enterprise certification. Also listed are the requirements that must be met by businesses that are seeking certification.

  • Manufacturers – Maximum number of employees must not surpass 500 or 1500, depending on the product being manufactured.
  • Wholesalers – Maximum number of employees must not surpass 100 or 500, depending on the product being provided.
  • Service providers – Annual sales receipts must not be higher than $2.5 or $21.5 million, depending on the service being provided.
  • Retailers – Annual sales receipts must not be higher than $5.0 or $21.0 million, depending on the product being provided.
  • General and Heavy Construction businesses – Annual sales receipts must not exceed $13.5 or $17 million, depending on the type of construction the company is engaged in.
  • Special Trade Construction businesses – Annual receipts must not be higher than $7 million.
  • Agricultural businesses – Annual sales receipts must not be higher than $0.5 to $9.0 million, depending on the agricultural product being produced.

Business Requirements

1) The company applying for certification must have a racial minority owner who owns at least 51 percent of the company.

2) The same owner must hold the highest position in the company.

3) The company must pay a fee based on company annual gross sales and also file an application that details basic company information, such as what year the business was founded.

4) The company’s primary business locations must be available for site visits.

Getting Bids

Build Relationships. When it comes to winning bids in the government contracting marketplace, contacts are everything. Business owners are advised to take the time to make connections, build relationships and network extensively. The contacts a business develops are often the key to furthering their success in government contracting. Proactively networking with larger companies, agencies and even competitors can lead to subcontracting opportunities while also showing agencies that you are a trustworthy and reliable business partner.

Subcontract. Building a reputation as a professional enterprise is crucial to the success of any business. Winning a government bid isn’t only about the monetary aspects involved with a contract; other factors are evaluated, too. An agency will often look at company financials, work history and reputation before selecting a winning organization. It helps to have contacts who can vouch for your company and the work that you do. By subcontracting, you build your reputation and gain valuable experience.

You never know when the contacts you develop will come in handy. Therefore, you should make each and every relationship meaningful because in the long run, these are the relationships that will further your company’s success.

Government RFPs are a great way for minority-owned business enterprises (MBE) to win spot and term contracts. Every year, the U.S. federal government spends more than $200 billion on goods and services, all of which are provided by private companies and many of which are minority-owned businesses. From federal to state, local and special districts, all levels of government have programs in place to increase their involvement with certified minority-owned business enterprises. Only companies who have gone through the MBE certification process are eligible for the money that is made available through such programs.

Source: BidNet

Historic rock festival at sea to benefit Native American Heritage Association (NAHA)

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Poster promo for the 2021 Rock Legends Cruise

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida – Since 2010, Native American Heritage Association (NAHA) have chartered an entire Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship, and created a historic rock festival at sea known as Rock Legends Cruise (a “cruise for a cause”).

Now in 2021, (The Rock Legends 2020 cruise is sold out) Don McLean will join Styx, Blue Öyster Cult, Warrant, Lita Ford, Walter Trout, Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush along with to be announced artists for the Rock Legends Cruise IX setting sail from Ft. Lauderdale on February 18, 2021. For cruise packages, pricing and more go to www.rocklegendscruise.com!

With previous performers like Sammy Hagar & The Circle, Bad Company, Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo, REO Speedwagon, ZZ Top, Foreigner, The Doobie Brothers, Alice Cooper, Paul Rodgers, Peter Frampton, Gregg Allman and so many more, each cruise is a guaranteed blast, while raising awareness about NAHA’s Mission. Although the cruise has drawn adults of all ages, most are of an age that placed them at the beginning of the rock revolution and who appreciate our artists’ places as cultural icons. After all, rock and roll is for everyone!

About NAHA:
For nearly a quarter century, Native American Heritage Association (NAHA) has been front and center in responding to a quiet crisis among our Nation’s Forgotten People, the Lakota (Sioux) on Reservations in South Dakota and Wyoming. Founder David Myers literally began NAHA by delivering food & clothes in the back of a station wagon on weekends. From those humble beginnings, and through the commitment of NAHA’s faithful donors, staff, and affiliates, the most recent fiscal year saw over $52 million in direct aid (food, clothing, and basic life necessities).

These Reservations are on some of the most desolate and remote acreage in the country, remaining out of the sight and headlines of mainstream America. With desperation, hope is easily lost, and leads to statistics most people would say, “Can’t possibly be true in America.” But it is. Up to 80% unemployment, suicide rates 70% higher than the population at large, infant mortality exceeding many third world countries, diabetes and resultant death at twice the national rate…these and many more statistics are the bitter reality that face this proud group of people every day. Pine Ridge, Rosebud, Crow Creek, and Cheyenne River are not mythical names in some western novel. They are real places, with real people, who often live out tragic lives.

An immigration question for Alexa? This teen Latina coder created a Skill for it

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Suguey Carmona is seated at desk,smiling while working on laptop

By Gwen Aviles

Alexa, am I allowed to get a driver’s license? Alexa, how long does it take to get a visa? These are the kinds of questions immigrants are now able to ask the virtual Amazon assistant in Spanish and English, thanks to “Immigration Bonds,” an Alexa Skill created by a 14-year-old Latina high school student at KIPP Brave High School in Austin, Texas.

Suguey Carmona first developed an interest in coding after taking a computer class in the sixth grade. She then joined Hello World, a K-12 computer science program based in Austin and San Francisco. She became exposed to different programming languages and discovered a way to meld her love of coding with an idea to help out immigrant families in her community.

“I chose to work on this technology because I see my own friends and family who have questions and who are struggling to make a living, and I thought maybe I should do something about it,” Carmona, whose family is from Mexico, told NBC News.

Language barriers and lack of access to information can be a major source of confusion for immigrants and can prevent them from accessing the services they need, according to numerous studies. Carmona’s technology addresses those challenges by providing a judgment-free zone to ask questions at people’s pace and in their own language.

After interviewing people about their most pressing immigration questions and conducting research on the logistics of obtaining paperwork, finding employment and navigating other areas of life as an immigrant, Carmona began working on the technology, which she named “Immigration Bonds.” And so began a months long process paved with coding challenges.

“I’d work on it for hours each day,” Carmona said. “I’d start a new paper and it would crash and break and I’d be like, ‘Oh, shoot. Now I have to start over again.”

Continue on to NBC News to read the complete article.

This Latina Entrepreneur Shares 4 Things She Kept In Mind As She Built Her New Venture And Raised $4 Million

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Latina entrepreneur Shadiah Sigala pictured smiling wearing a blue dress

Shadiah Sigala co-founded HoneyBook back in 2013 as a business management tool for creative entrepreneurs. Under her leadership, HoneyBook helped creatives navigate everything from invoicing to building community. As the company grew, and Sigala with it, she realized that everyone from the company’s employees to its users were graduating into different chapters of their own lives as well.

“Kinside was inspired by my experience as a first-time-founder and first-time-mother at my previous startup, HoneyBook,” shares Sigala, while explaining the inception of her second venture, Kinside. “As a cofounder and as one of the early parents on the team, my pregnancy left me responsible for determining many of our company policies. Soon, more babies would start springing up in our employee population, and our family leave, parental benefits and workplace culture matured to meet the need. However, when we sought out a child care benefit to enhance our efforts, we found that nothing quite fit our modern workforce. So I decided to do something about it and start Kinside out of the famed Silicon Valley accelerator, Y Combinator.”

Closing in on a year and a half, Kinside has graduated out of Y Combinator and has publicly launched with a total of $4 million in VC funding raised over 18 months. The solution it is offering is both for parents and the companies that employ them — a child care app that works for both the person just launching their career to the executive leading the company.

“I’ve learned that the desire to be the best for your children is universal, and it transcends job title, salary, race, personal beliefs, location,” explains Sigala.

Below Sigala expands on 4 key areas that played the biggest difference in starting and raising funds for her second startup.

Learn from your past experiences

“My first startup, HoneyBook, was a crash course in scaling a product and company quickly—from learning about organizational best practices to managing teams, and making executive decisions,” shares Sigala. “Today, I have the benefit of pattern recognition in a way that’s doubled our pace. We have gone from 10 beta employers to over 1,000 in fewer than 18 months.”

As Sigala noted, don’t be afraid to use prior experiences and transferable skillsets — whether from past startups or corporate settings — to help set yourself up for success in future endeavors.

The right co-founders

Sigala’s first company, HoneyBook, emphasizes how important it is for creatives to build supportive communities around themselves and how the same can be said for founders of startups.

“My secret weapon is my cofounders,” explains Sigala. “I lean on them to steer the ship, make important decisions, and think through tough challenges. It doesn’t hurt that they are both black-belts, wicked smart, and incredibly funny.”

Figure out what grounds you

An entrepreneur’s journey isn’t full of only highs, figuring out what will ground you during the lower moments is what will help you hold on and keep going. Sigala credits her experience growing up Latinx with helping inform her perspective as an entrepreneur.

Continue on to Forbea to read the complete article.

Actress Dania Ramírez: It’s a ‘dream’ playing an avatar in ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’

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Actress Dania Ramirez on red carpet at Jumanji movie premiere

By Arturo Conde

Video games allow ordinary users to transform into extraordinary heroes. For Dominican American actress Dania Ramírez, who plays an avatar in “Jumanji: The Next Level,” video games made her American dream come true.

“I grew up in a crowded apartment with my family living in one bedroom, and a second family living in another bedroom,” she told NBC news. “And for a Dominican girl who played video games for the first time in the United States, and is now acting in a big movie about a video game, this is my American dream.”

The actress emigrated from the Dominican Republic to the New York City neighborhood of Washington Heights when she was almost 10 years old. She said video games can help players build up confidence to follow their dreams.

Dania Ramirez arrives for the premiere of “Jumanji: The Next Level” in Hollywood.Jean-Baptiste Lacroix / AFP – Getty Images

“We live in an age where everything is electronic. And many kids are not ready to be judged by the Internet and social media,” said Ramírez, known for her roles on TV shows including “Heroes,” “Devious Maids” and “Entourage” and whose movie credits include “X Men: The Last Stand.”

“But video games can make them feel more confident, teach them to solve problems, move faster, and go after their dreams,” Ramírez added.

“Jumanji: The Next Level” opened last Friday, and is the sequel to the 2017 adventure comedy blockbuster that pulled four high school friends—Spencer, Martha, Bethany and “Fridge”—into a video game console. Locked inside, they had to survive dangerous and at times ridiculous obstacles to find a way out.

Now in 2019, Spencer has been sucked back into the fantastic world of Jumanji. And this time, Martha, Bethany and “Fridge” will team up with Spencer’s grandpa (Danny DeVito) and a family friend (Danny Glover) to help bring him home.
On screen, Ramírez plays an avatar in Jumanji that guides players with clues. And off screen, she says that video game avatars are also guiding players on a journey to explore their identity.

“When my children play video games, they sometimes get excited figuring out how they can make their avatars look more like them,” she said. “As a Latina, representation in video games and media is important because they need to represent the diversity we live in. And avatars are helping players explore who they are.”

Continue on to NBC News to read the complete article.