Selena Gomez Surprises Students at Her Texas Middle School: ‘Know That Anything’s Possible

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Selena Gomez hugs a surprised in classroomstudent at her old middle school

Selena Gomez went back to her roots and surprised students at her old middle school in Texas.

On Monday, the award-winning artist went back to where it all began at Danny Jones Middle School in Mansfield, Texas, stopping by her old stomping grounds to encourage current students and reconnect with some of her past teachers.

“Hello, students at Danny Jones Middle School. This is Selena Gomez talking to you,” the 27-year-old said over the intercom, in a video shared by the school on the Mansfield Independent School District’s website.

According to the school, Gomez had returned to her hometown to film for a new documentary about her childhood.

“This trip, I wanted to take my best friend Courtney, and also some of my people from my label, just to show them where I grew up and how proud I am of where I’m from,” Gomez explained. “Some of my teachers I got to see again, and they were part of my life for so long.”

While the former Disney Channel star greeted students in a montage of videos — taking selfies and granting hugs —  her seventh-grade basketball coach recalled the type of student the singer was when she walked the halls.

“As a student, Selena was so humble and she was very kind,” Gray said. “She had a really kind, soft spirit. Hard, hard worker. Real humble. Just a real neat kid.”

Gray also described the day Gomez told her she was withdrawing from school to move to Florida and pursue her acting career. “I remember the day that she was leaving Jones,” Gray recalled. “She said ‘Oh I’m just going to Florida.’”

“And I said ‘How come?’ She said, ‘Oh I’m just going to be in a little Disney film.’” Gray added. “I said, ‘Oh. OK.’ Because sometimes middle school kids kind of exaggerate.”

Continue on to People 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.

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.

Finding a Place to Belong at Yale and Beyond

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Alanna Pyke headshot

By Susan Gonzalez/Yale News

“Community” is the word graduating senior Alanna Pyke utters most often when reflecting on her time at Yale College.

“What I really came to value here is a sense of community and being a part of something that is bigger than myself,” says Pyke of her Yale experience.

For Pyke, one of the most valuable communities was the one she found at the Native American Cultural Center (NACC), the place that inspired her to choose Yale out of the more than 15 colleges that accepted her, and where she experienced a deep sense of belonging. She was impressed by the fact that an entire building was dedicated for the NACC.

“The Native community and also Dean [Kelly] Fayard [assistant dean of Yale College and director of the NACC] were such a huge part of my Yale experience,” says Pyke. “The NACC at 26 High St. is a welcoming place, where you can go to relax or study or see friends. I spent a lot of time there.”

Pyke — the first Native student to be valedictorian of Massena Central High School in New York — says that no one in recent memory from her high school or her reservation had gone to Yale. Feeling supported on campus, while maintaining a connection to her indigenous roots, was important to her.

A member of the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation, Pyke grew up in upstate New York on the Akwesasne Reservation, which straddles the New York and Canadian border along the St. Lawrence River. Prior to seventh grade, she went to an elementary school on the reservation where she was taught the Mohawk language.

At her next school, which was predominantly white, Mohawk was not taught; Pyke was told that she could study French or Spanish instead.

“I remember crying when I found that out,” the Yale senior recalls. “I didn’t know why I was crying at the time but I know I thought it was a big deal that I couldn’t continue learning Mohawk. I eventually realized why it was a big deal: At school, I was no longer connected to my culture.”

As a first-year student at Yale, Pyke had a job as a first-year liaison at the NACC, helping new students feel welcome at the center. She soon found herself spending time there after her shift, and was encouraged by other Native students to attend special events or meetings or to take on leadership roles.

While she says she was initially “a little too shy” to hold an official post, she quickly found herself a member of the NACC-affiliated Association for Native American Students at Yale (ANAAY), the American Indian Science & Engineering Society, Yale Sisters of All Nations, and the Yale Native American Arts Council.

Pyke, who is majoring in molecular, cellular, and development biology (MCDB), acknowledges that it was sometimes challenging to balance her studies, research commitments, and leadership duties in the Native community. She says she is grateful for having the opportunity to study Mohawk at Yale (via the Native American Language Program) and was active in a student campaign to lobby the Yale administration to offer for-credit courses in indigenous languages.

As a woman of color in STEM, the Yale senior says the mentors she had in the sciences were vital to her success, and she is particularly thankful for the Science, Technology and Research Scholars (STARS) Program, which supports women, minority, economically underprivileged, and other historically underrepresented students in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics.

In addition to mentoring, the program provides research opportunities, networking, courses and workshops, and career planning to undergraduates in STEM disciplines.

While participating in a STARS Summer Research Program, she took a science course co-taught by a group of faculty members including Marina Moreno, associate research scientist and instructor in MCDB, who became Pyke’s faculty adviser. Moreno is also one of the STARS coordinators.

“She helped me through this entire endeavor of getting an education,” says Pyke. “Without the STARS program, there’s a big chance I wouldn’t have stayed in STEM. I don’t think I would have made it without Dr. Moreno and STARS mentor Rob Fernandez.”

This summer, Pyke will begin Harvard University’s Research Scholar Initiative, a post-baccalaureate program to enhance scholars’ competitiveness for Ph.D. programs. She is interested in continuing genetics or genomics research in the future.

“Many Native communities have a distrust of science generally and of genetic science in particular,” says Pyke. “It’s been used wrongly in the past, or used without consent.”

Pyke hopes to give back to her own community through scholarship. “Representation is important because it will inspire future generations of Native scholarship and scientists, and add diverse perspectives to different fields,” she says.

Source: news.yale.edu

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.

I Was ‘Too Much’ for Boarding School. But I Had the Garcia Sisters.

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Vanessa Martir novelist pictured The author and her family at Palmetto Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Reading books by Latina writers taught me our stories were worthy of being told.

I grew up in Bushwick, Brooklyn, in the 1980s, in what felt like a forgotten neighborhood. Abandoned buildings loomed over piles of garbage and rubble. Playgrounds were overrun by drug dealers. But for me, Bushwick was a place imbued with my culture. There were piragua carts with multicolored umbrellas selling shaved ice on every corner. The bodeguero Miguel gave my mother credit when our food stamps ran out. The Puerto Rican flag hung from almost every window.

My mother migrated from Honduras to New York in 1971. When I was 2 years old my mother met and fell in love with another woman, Millie, which was then widely considered taboo. Two years later we all moved into a two-bedroom railroad-style apartment. The paint cracked and peeled off the walls, but we always had food on the table, even if it was white rice, fried eggs and canned corned beef. I spent most of my time then in our backyard, climbing the plum tree and telling myself stories.

My life took a turn at 13 when my social studies teacher saw promise in me and suggested I take part in A Better Chance, a program that places low-income minority students in top schools around the country. I applied and was offered a four-year scholarship to attend a boarding-school-type program at Wellesley High School in Massachusetts.

Millie’s brother drove me to school in a beat-up blue Pentecostal church van. I remember gazing out the window in awe as gorgeous mansions with perfect manicured lawns came into view. I moved into a four-story house with other students complete with a study and fireplace. It felt like I was living in an episode of The Facts of Life.

But I soon realized that I was different. My guidance counselor would often pull me aside and tell me I was “too loud” and “too much.” My classmates would chant “Tawk, Rosie, tawk!” as I’d walk down the hallways, my eyes glued to the ground. Rosie Perez as Tina in the 1989 film “Do The Right Thing” was the only exposure to a Latina many of my classmates had ever had.

Growing up, I’d read the “Sweet Valley High” series, Encyclopedia Brown mysteries and all the Judy Blume books. The characters in them didn’t look like me, but I was too young to understand the difference or know it could matter. One day in my junior year, I was reading on the mezzanine overlooking the cafeteria, when my English professor, Mr. Goddard, approached me. “You should read this,” he said and handed me “How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents.” My eyes stopped at the writer’s name, Julia Alvarez. “That’s a Spanish name,” I thought.

I saw myself reflected in the story of the Garcia sisters, who had fled to the United States from the Dominican Republic with their parents. They went to boarding school and, like me, had trouble fitting in. It began to dawn on me that there must be other writers like Ms. Alvarez out there. I asked teachers for recommendations and dug through the library shelves on campus.

Later I would discover the work of Gloria Anzaldúa, Cherríe Moraga, Sandra Cisneros. What was missing for me was the narrative of the Latina who left the ’hood to pursue an education only to find that she no longer fit in anywhere. I was too loud at boarding school and a sellout in the place I had once called home.

Continue on to the New York Times to read the complete article.

Photo: The author (in blue shorts) and her family at Palmetto Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn, in June 1983.

Photo Credit…New York Times/Meryl Meisler

Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation Announces the Julio Iglesias Scholarship

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Julio Iglesias in tuxedo smiling clapping hands with joy

A Music Student with Financial Hardship Will Receive a Four-Year Scholarship, Worth up to $200,000 USD Toward a Bachelor’s Degree at Berklee College of Music in Boston

Deadline to Apply is April 10, 2020 

MIAMI (DEC. 16, 2019)— The Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation® announced today that it is accepting applications for the Julio Iglesias Scholarship from music students admitted to Berklee College of Music who are interested in Latin music. The four-year Prodigy Scholarship, which holds a maximum value of $200,000 USD, was created five years ago in an effort to support music education and Latin music genres, and will be awarded to a student who is exceptionally gifted and needs financial assistance to complete a bachelor’s degree in music starting in the Fall 2020 semester.

Julio Iglesias is considered an enduring star on the world stage and the best-selling Latin artist of all time. Recipient of a GRAMMY®, 2001 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year™ honor, and the Recording Academy® Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019, the singer/songwriter has recorded in multiple languages and sold more than 300 million records worldwide.

“I’m proud to offer a promising student the opportunity of a formal music education at one of the best schools in the world through the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation,” said Iglesias. “Through this scholarship, I hope to expand my legacy helping to build the next generation of Latin music ambassadors.”

“We are pleased to announce our sixth annual Prodigy Scholarship in association with music legend Julio Iglesias,” said Manolo Díaz, Senior Vice President, Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation. “We are grateful for Julio’s support and commitment to inspire future generations of Latin artists to achieve greatness.”

Every year, the Foundation’s Scholarship Committee carefully evaluates applications from a highly competitive pool of aspiring musicians on a variety of skills and under rigorous policies. As of today, the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation has allocated a remarkable $5 million USD in scholarships, grants, musical instrument donations, and educational events worldwide. Previous artists who have co-sponsored Prodigy Scholarships include Enrique Iglesias (2015), Juan Luis Guerra (2016), Miguel Bosé (2017), Carlos Vives (2018), and Emilio and Gloria Estefan (2019).

For application, guidelines, and for the latest news, please visit the official website of the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation at www.latingrammyculturalfoundation.com.  As part of the process, students must complete two audition videos, submit two letters of recommendation and answer two essay questions. The materials can be submitted in English, Spanish or Portuguese.  The deadline to apply is April 10, 2020, by 11:59 p.m. EDT. After reviewing the guidelines that can be found on our website, submit any questions to LGCF@grammy.com.

ABOUT THE LATIN GRAMMY CULTURAL FOUNDATION:
The Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation was established by The Latin Recording Academy® to promote international awareness and appreciation of the significant contributions of Latin music and its makers to the world’s culture, and to protect its rich musical legacy and heritage. The Foundation’s primary charitable focus is to provide scholarships to students interested in Latin music, as well as grants to scholars and organizations worldwide for research and preservation of diverse Latin music genres. Take action in supporting our mission by donating today via our Facebook page. For additional information, please visit us at www.latingrammyculturalfoundation.com. For the latest news and exclusive content, follow us at @latingrammyfdn on Twitter and Instagram, and Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation on Facebook.

ABOUT BERKLEE COLLEGE OF MUSIC:
Berklee was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music is through the study and practice of contemporary music. For 70 years, the college has evolved to reflect the current state of the music industry, leading the way with baccalaureate studies in performance, music business/management, songwriting, music therapy, film scoring, and more. In June 2016, the Boston Conservatory merged with Berklee, creating the world’s most comprehensive and dynamic training ground for music, dance, theater, and related professions. With a focus on global learning, the Berklee campus in Valencia, Spain, offers graduate programs and study abroad opportunity, while Berklee Online serves distance learners worldwide with extension classes and degree-granting programs. The Berklee City Music Network provides after-school programming for underserved teens in more than 40 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. With a student body representing more than 100 countries, abundant international undergraduate and graduate student populations (33 and 53 percent respectively), and alumni and faculty who have won more than 360 GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY Awards, Berklee is the world’s premier learning lab for the music of today—and tomorrow. Learn more at berklee.edu.

ABOUT JULIO IGLESIAS: 
Julio Iglesias is the most celebrated artist in Spanish and Latin music history. Recipient of a GRAMMY, The Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year in 2001, and the Recording Academy™ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019, Iglesias is the best-selling Latin artist of all time with more than 300 million records sold in 14 languages. Photo Credit: Jesús Carrero

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ‘In The Heights’ Trailer Celebrates Latinx Stories On The Big Screen

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Lin Manuel Miranda pictured in suit and tie at a premeire event

Piraguas, acrylic nails and the GWB! The first full-length trailer of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s upcoming “In The Heights” film has dropped, and for fans of the hit Broadway show, which the movie is based on, it feels like they’ve won the lottery.

Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon Chu has joined Miranda in recreating the Grammy and Tony award-winning musical about a Dominican bodega owner and his neighbors in the New York City barrio, Washington Heights. The star-studded and nearly all-Latinx cast includes Anthony Ramos, Marc Anthony, Dascha Polanco and Stephanie Beatriz.

The trailer depicts a dramatic, lyrical day-in-the-life narrative of the Hispanic-American community in Washington Heights. The Heights is vibrant and bustling, and this first trailer promises to stay true to the neighborhood’s spirit.

The film also nods to the growing threat of gentrification to New York City neighborhoods — “the story of a block that was slowly disappearing,” as the main character, Usnavi, says in the teaser.

The trailer suggests that the movie will put a new spin on the original musical. The narrative follows Usnavi as he tells modern-day stories about his neighborhood to a group of children.

The characters in his tales face timely Latinx issues that have become part of the national political and social conversation, including immigrant rights and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

With “In The Heights,” Miranda and the cast are taking a rare step in a predominantly white Hollywood by centering powerful and gripping Latinx stories on the silver screen.

A recent study from the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California found that only about 3% of lead or co-lead roles in the top movies have gone to Latinx actors in the last 12 years. And Latinx speaking roles were nonexistent in almost half of the sampled films. The community’s small presence on the big screen is a harsh contrast to the growing Latinx population in the United States. Nearly 60 million Hispanic people live in the U.S., and they account for almost 17% of the population.

Continue on to Huffington Post Latino Voices to read the complete article.