Latin superstar Juanes’ enduring impact through music and philanthropy
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Juanes performing on stage with his guitar during a concert

By Jovane Marie

When Colombian superstar Juanes takes the stage, the atmosphere shifts. His influence is apparent, from the fanatic cheers of the audience as they sing along word-for-word to the permanent fixture of phones poised to capture each moment. With more than 15 million albums sold worldwide, to say he is a legend is undebatable.

This was the exact scene this past September at L’ATTITUDE, a business-focused annual conference, which focuses on how U.S. Latinos are fueling American economic growth. The artist was in attendance not only to serenade the crowd with a moving rendition of “La Camisa Negra” (a favorite from his ground-breaking album “Mi Sangre”) but also to share his thoughts on how Latinos are dominating mainstream music and the importance of their contributions.

It’s a perspective Juanes is more than qualified to speak on.

With a career spanning longer than three decades, 26 awarded Grammys and Latin Grammys combined, a history of philanthropic endeavors, and his naming last June as the 2019 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year, Juanes has firmly positioned himself as one of Latin music’s leading global ambassadors and a committed voice for advocacy and inclusion.

It may seem a massive undertaking to be such an influential artist—maintaining a long-standing industry presence, constantly expanding your creative artistry, supporting new artists, and managing philanthropic efforts—but Juanes insists that only one thing is necessary to make it so.

“Si quieres ser artista, sigue tu corazón,” he told the L’ATTITUDE crowd. “If you want to be an artist, stick to your heart.”

Follow the Music

Considering Juanes’ background, it comes as no surprise that he ended up so fully enraptured by the magic of music. Raised in his native Colombia, he began playing the piano when he was only 2 years old, and at 7 learned the guitar from his father and brothers.

Juanes and Camillo Cabello perform on stage
Juanes and Camila Cabello perform onstage during The Latin Recording Academy’s Person of The Year Gala. (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

“I started to play guitar and sing because of my family, really—my brothers, sisters and parents all loved music,” he told NPR. “They were always singing folk music, so those beginning years were filled with sambas and chacareras and vallenatos and tangos.”

By the time his teenage years rolled around, however, his tastes had changed, leading to the start of a career with a musical sound far removed from the folk songs of his youth. At age 17, along with friends André García, Fernando “Toby” Tobón and José David Lopera, he formed the rock band Ekhymosis (Greek for “bruise”).

Inspired by the music of Metallica, the band aimed to “create

Colombian rock” through their thrash and heavy metal rhythms. Their first demo spoke to a simultaneous effort to describe the troubled environment of their hometown in Medellín, marking the beginning of a consistent pattern of speaking out against injustice and violence through socially conscious songs.

At the time, Medellín, influenced by the reign of Pablo Escobar and civil war, had the highest homicide rate in the world. Juanes was not spared from the effects of this harrowing environment, losing a cousin to violence in the early 90s. The experience encouraged him to try to use his gift of music to effect change.

“I realized that music has the power to bring people together, to change things,” he said. “That has been my mission.”

By the time Juanes made the decision to go solo in 1998—ten years after the band’s formation— the award-winning group had released eight albums.

“I just felt like I was missing something—that I needed to go back to my roots, my essence,” Juanes said of his solo journey. “And that’s what I’ve done ever since. I try to mix both the folk side and the rock side to create a contemporary sound.”

The formula has certainly paid off…in spades.

Juanes holds his big donation check for his Fundacion Mi Sangre foundation
Juanes poses for a photo with a donation made to his foundation, Fundacion Mi Sangre, at Hard Rock Cafe – Times Square in New York City.(Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

Released in 2000, his first solo album, “Fíjate Bien,” earned him two Latin Grammy Awards, while his second, “Un Día Normal” (released in 2002), was certified multi-platinum in multiple countries across Latin America.

It was his third album, however—”Mi Sangre”—that positioned him as an international force and cemented him as a global ambassador for the Latin music genre. The album debuted at number one on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart, produced three consecutive number one singles, was certified Gold, Platinum, or Multi-platinum in 14 countries, and won three Latin Grammy Awards.

Since the release of “Mi Sangre” in 2004, Juanes has released four more albums, including 2017’s “Mis Planes Son Amarte,” a full visual concept album featuring the artist’s first song in English.

His eighth solo album, set for release in November 2019, has already produced a Latin Grammy- nominated single in “La Plata”—a Colombian folkloric tune mixed with pop reggaeton that is close to the singer’s heart.

“This song is light and happy…I’m very excited,” he gushed about the single, which features emerging Columbian trap artist Lalo Ebratt of the collective Trapical Minds. “It has to do with Colombia, and with my roots, and with who I am.”

The Juanes Effect

Juanes’ worldwide appeal is undeniable. He has performed everywhere from the Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo to Sesame Street, and has been recognized by TIME Magazine as one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People.

And while many Latin artists eventually “cross-over” to record English language albums in an effort to expand their audiences, he waited almost 30 years to record “Goodbye for Now,” his first English song. The move was deliberate and based, he said, on a desire to respect his fan base while adapting to the changing musical landscape.

“Singing in Spanish is very important because it is the language in

Karla Martinez, John Cena, Juanes and Ana Patricia Gamez are seen on the set of ‘Despierta America’ to promote the film ‘Ferdinand’in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/WireImage)

which I think and feel,” he explained. “But I am also conscious of the fact that the world and the way we communicate is changing. I do love Anglo music, and now that I’m a little bit more familiar with the language, I feel like it’s more honest for me to do it.”

It may have taken him some time to release a track in English, but Juanes has effortlessly maintained a presence in the mainstream American music scene, nabbing several groundbreaking firsts in the process of building his musical empire.

His performances at the 84th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (2010), The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (2014), The TODAY Show Plaza concert series (2014), and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (2017) marked the first time any of these platforms had featured a performing artist singing exclusively in Spanish. And, in 2015, he performed “Juntos”—the first Spanish song featured in over a decade at the Grammys.

For Juanes, these historic performances speak to the ability of music to transcend language.

“It’s really a magical feeling,” he explained. “People come to our shows or listen to these performances, and they respect the fact that we sing in Spanish. They are paying attention to the melodies and the arrangement and the music itself, and it’s a beautiful gift. It’s just the magic of music.”

A Voice for Change

Growing up a witness to prevalent violence in his hometown of Medellín had a profound effect on Juanes that has reverberated beyond his lyrics into a passion for philanthropy.

In 2006, he created the Mi Sangre Foundation in response to Colombia’s needs in the treatment of landmine victims. Under the umbrella of psychosocial support, peace education, and peace building project programs, the organization “helps children, teenagers, and youth heal wounds of the soul by creating safe environments and strengthening social fabrics while enabling the participation of families, the community, and the educational sector.”  The venture, which has provided support for thousands of landmine victims, is a labor of the heart.

Recording artist Juanes performs onstage during MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Fleetwood Mac
Recording artist Juanes performs onstage during MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Fleetwood Mac at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

“The name Mi Sangre [My Blood] is inspired by the same sentiment as my album of the same name—it’s about my children, my children’s children, my land, my roots. It’s what’s important to me,” Juanes said of the foundation. “When I heard firsthand the stories of people who had been directly affected moved me to the point that I said, ‘I want to do something.’”

The artist also co-founded the Paz Sin Fronteras (Peace Without Borders) effort, a series of free outdoor concerts aimed at uniting people across borders and promoting non-violent conflict resolution.

His efforts have earned him a multitude of humanitarian awards, appointments, and recognition, including Colombia’s National Peace Prize, a position as a Goodwill Ambassador for nonprofit organization United for Colombia, France’s highest cultural honor for social activism (L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres), and a namesake recreational park in Medellín, which provides rehabilitation space for people with disabilities.

For Juanes, however, the recognition isn’t the end goal. In his eyes, it’s all about making a difference.

“I do these things because they matter for me and to me,” he explained. “I often think about what we as a people are doing here in this world and why we are here. And what I know for sure is that we are not alone…we need to help each other.”

A Continuing Legacy

Juanes’ legacy of artistic innovation, support for emerging artists, and humanitarian recently manifested into yet another recognition—one reserved for the most culturally impactful Latin musicians.

Last June, the Latin Recording Academy announced that as part of its milestone 20th anniversary, the singer, composer, musician, and philanthropist would be named the 2019 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year.

Juanes performs at the 2nd Annual L'Attitude Conference
Juanes performs at the 2nd Annual L’Attitude Conference – LatiNExt Live on September 26, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images)

Bestowed upon musicians of Ibero American heritage in acknowledgement of their artistic achievements in the Latin music industry, fellowship, and philanthropic efforts, past honorees have included Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Shakira, Ricky Martin, and Carlos Santana.

“Juanes is young, but legendary, an artist who has inspired us through his amazing music for many years and—while doing so—he vigorously campaigned for political, social, and positive change around the world,” said Gabriel Abaroa Jr., president/CEO of The Latin Recording Academy. “His leadership and his philanthropic work, in addition to his positive messages that transcend music, speak volumes about his many contributions to the community, and we are truly honored to recognize him as this year’s Latin Academy Person of the Year.”

The designation is just the latest addition to the multi-talented artist’s ever-growing legacy, and a reaffirmation that he is fulfilling his destiny.

“I’m doing what I believe I was brought to do—to create music that raises awareness, renews hearts, and generates change,” Juanes shared. “And I hope I have many years left to connect through art, to play my guitar, and to continue chasing the sun.”

When it Comes to Advancing Latinos, Adam Rodriguez Gives 100 Percent
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Adam Rodriguez at the "Empire" Series Season 2 New York Premiere

By Sarah Mosqueda

Adam Rodriguez is 100 percent that guy.

That guy can be an actor, writer, director, husband or father; he is always trying to give each role 100 percent.

“The best way to learn is by giving a 100 percent of yourself, whether that is in a relationship you are in, your job or as a parent,” says Rodriguez. “The only way to really learn from something is by committing yourself to it. Because if you are only putting half of yourself in, I am sorry, I know it’s cliché, but that is all you are going to get out of it…”

Rodriguez says dedicating himself fully to his acting career, to the advancement of Latinos in Hollywood and to his family is how he’s allowed himself to learn, grow and find success.

“When I learned to give that same 100 percent of myself, I wanted to give it to everything,” he pauses and then amends, “actually maybe I want to give my family more. Maybe I give them 110 percent,” he laughs.

Where it all Started

Rodriguez was born in Yonkers, New York, to a Puerto Rican/Cuban family. His father, Ramon Rodriguez, serves as an executive at the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and helped him advance his acting career early on.

“I moved to LA when I was 21,” says Rodriguez, “I had been doing some extra work and working in theater, trying to find my way into the business for about three years. My father had been in the military with a guy who ended up as a technical advisor for a show called NYPD Blue.”

Through a series of events, his father got in touch with his connection, Bill Clark, which led to an audition for Rodriguez.

“He gave me an opportunity that might have taken me a few more years to get. I will always be grateful to him for that. I got a show called Brooklyn South, and that was really the beginning of my career.”

He followed Brooklyn South with roles on Roswell, Felicity, Law & Order and eventually CSI: Miami, where he joined the main cast and even had the opportunity to write and direct an episode. He has appeared in Jane the Virgin and Empire. In 2016, he took on the role of Luke Alvez on Criminal Minds, where he stayed until the show ended this year.

“I was there for three seasons and I had a great time with that group,” he says. “We really bonded and we all really understood how lucky we were to be there.”

Adam Rodriguez poses with the Magic Mike XXL cast
Adam Rodriguez poses with the Magic Mike XXL cast

Rodriguez hasn’t only made his mark in television. He has appeared in music videos like Jennifer Lopez’s “If You Had My Love” and films including Magic Mike XXL and Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself.

“I loved playing the character of Sandino in Tyler Perry’s movie,” he says, “I felt like he had something really important to say.”

Penny Dreadful: A Game-Changing Role

This past spring, Rodriguez stars as Raul Vega on Showtime’s Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, a supernatural crime drama set in 1938 Los Angeles. The show focuses on the political and social tension, the rise of radio evangelism, and the powerful forces that attempt to pull a Mexican-American family apart.

Starring on the show is a game-changer for Rodriguez. He feels a kinship with the character of Raul. “I really believe in everything Raul believes in,” says Rodriguez.

Of Penny Dreadful, Rodriguez stated, in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith, “This is the most incredible production I’ve ever worked out. There are some important themes that people really need to pay attention to right now more than ever.”

“This show takes place in 1938 and here we are 92 years later and we’re dealing with all the same challenges without having made very much progress in almost 100 years,” Rodriguez continued. “We’re dealing with compromising people who we believe have lesser value than us and we come up with every reason under the sun to decide why they have lesser value. They have a different socioeconomic class, different skin color, different ethnic origin, you name it. We do that as human beings, and it makes it easy to really dehumanize people and move them out of the way for whatever we think out grand cause is.”

Creating Space for Latinos

Miami Walk of Fame-Adam Rodriguez
Adam Rodriguez at the Miami Walk of Fame

Aligning himself with characters with a message is important to Rodriguez. And getting involved in writing and directing, like he did on CSI: Miami and later Criminal Minds, is one way he is making an effort to create space for Latinos in Hollywood.

“I think that we [Latinos] have to increase our presence on the creative side,” he says. “We have to grow writers and directors and executives and people that become people of influence within the system. We can’t expect a business that is not run by us to all of sudden decide they want to include us. We have to do the work to get in there and make ourselves important.”

And Rodriguez says we have to support each other.

“When we do get into those positions of power, when we are creating the content we want to see; we have to show up to consume it,” he says, “We have to show up for ourselves. For instance, a show like Penny Dreadful comes out, we have to show up and watch it.”

Rodriguez says the show as a whole is tackling big and timely issues.

“I really love that the show is addressing some things that were very relevant in the news cycle before COVID hit in terms of who we want to consider to be American,” says Rodriguez. “And how you are treated when you are considered not to be American, even though you very well may be… I was really happy to participate in telling this story.”

Flourishing Family

Another role Rodriguez has flourished in is fatherhood.

“Becoming a husband and father more than any other event, has changed my life,” he says.

He has three children with his wife, Grace Gail. Their newest addition, Bridgemont Bernard Rodriguez, was born on March 16, 2020 amid California’s stay-at-home order because of COVID-19. While Rodriguez admits it hasn’t been easy, it has afforded him more family time.

“I am sure it is a thing in many cultures, but I know it is a thing in Latin cultures, where you stay in for the first 30 days with a new baby. So, we would have been doing some version of that anyways,” he says. “I have enjoyed this time tremendously. I don’t know that I will ever get this much time to be with my family and have no one expecting me anywhere else…I have really chosen to look for the silver lining.”

Adam Rodriguez & Wife pose together at entertainment event
Adam Rodriguez & Wife

Growing through Positivity

Looking for the positive angle is one way Rodriguez has been able grow.

“I have learned something in every single job. Some of things that I have been in that were bad, that I wouldn’t consider high quality that I have been a part of, I have learned plenty doing those,” he says. “And I have learned plenty doing things that I thought were extraordinary. The challenge of constantly working to get better and never letting the ego get in the way of me learning – that is a challenge to me every day.”

Which he says goes back to giving it all you’ve got.

“You are not going to get the full lesson out of it unless you are giving 100 percent of yourself.”

¡Mi Triunfo!
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Meet the Latino and Latina Power Houses that are gaining the world’s attention.

Patty Rodriguez

Patty Rodriguez is best known for her role as on-air talent for KIIS.FM’s morning show with Ryan Seacrest.

“I never saw myself on-the-air,” she tells HipLatina. After 13 years On Air With Ryan Seacrest, she finally became comfortable with telling stories of local heroes. “People on social media would always tell me, ‘oh you don’t have the voice for it’ and I guess I just believed it,” she adds. She didn’t pursue it for a long time because imposter syndrome was holding her back.

Rodriguez is co-founder of “Lil’ Libros”, a bilingual children’s publishing company, and founder of the “MALA by Patty Rodriguez” jewelry line.

Rodriguez found it difficult to find bilingual first concept books she could enjoy reading to her baby, and so she and her childhood friend Ariana Stein came up with the idea of “Lil’ Libros”.

Sources: Hiplatina.com, Lillibros.com, Malabypr.com

Sergio Perez

Mexican driver Sergio Pérez, also known as Checo Perez, has amassed more points than any other Mexican in the history of the F1. But Perez is yet to match his hero Pedro Rodriguez and take the chequered flag in first.

Perez recently committed to a long-term deal with Racing Point beyond 2021. Perez has been with the team since 2013, when he signed with the group, then called Force India. The group reformed as Racing Point in 2018.

“I feel very confident and very motivated with the team going forwards,” Perez said, “with how things are developing, with the future of this team, the potential I see.”

It was also recently announced that the Mexican Grand Prix, an FIA-sanctioned auto race held at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, in Mexico City, will stay on the F1 calendar for the next three seasons.

“It was great news,” Perez said of the renewal. “It’s a massive boost on my side to know that for the next three years I’ll be racing home. Three more years to have an opportunity to make the Mexicans very proud.”

Source: formula1.com

Juanes

The 2019 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year gala honored 23-time Latin GRAMMY and two-time GRAMMY-winning singer, composer, musician, and philanthropist Juanes for his creative artistry, unprecedented humanitarian efforts, support of rising artists, and philanthropic contributions to the world.

Juanes (born Juan Esteban Aristizábal Vásquez) is a Colombian musician whose solo debut album Fíjate Bien won three Latin Grammy Awards. According to his record label, Juanes has sold more than 15 million albums worldwide.

Source: Latingrammy.com, Voanews.com

Remembering Silvio Horta

Silvio Horta, best known as an executive producer of the hit ABC television series Ugly Betty, died in January. He was 45. Horta was an American screenwriter and television producer widely noted for adapting the hit Colombian telenovela Yo soy Betty, la fea into the hit series, which ran  2006–2010. Horta served as head writer and executive producer of the series.

Source: Wikipedia

Photo by Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Latinas on the Rise
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Selena Gomez smiling at the camera at a press event

From the arts to activism, here are five Latina Woman that are making strides, breaking boundaries and that you should be paying attention to.

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez

Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez is an American labor organizer and author. On August 12, 2019, Ramirez announced her intention to challenge incumbent United States Senator John Cornyn in the 2020 United States Senate election in Texas. Tzintzún began organizing with Latino immigrant workers in 2000 in Columbus, Ohio, and then moved to Texas. At graduating from University of Texas, Austin, she helped establish the Workers Defense Project (WDP), serving as its executive director from 2006 to 2016. Following the 2016 election, Ramirez launched Jolt, an organization that works to increase Latino voter turnout. Her bid for the Senate has been endorsed by New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Texas representative Joaquin Castro, and actor Alec Baldwin.

Mariah

A rising star in the male-dominated world of urbano (Ozuna, J Balvin, Bad Bunny), Mariah Angeliq, who goes simply by her first name, is here to prove that the girls can be bosses, too. On debut single “Blah,” the Miami-born and raised singer of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent lets the men know that their money (and their bragging) don’t impress her much, while her latest track “Perreito” is dripping with swag as she boasts about stealing the show with her flow as the one that shoots and never fails.

Lineisy Montero Feliz

Lineisy Montero Feliz is Dominican model known for her work with Prada. She is also known for her natural Afro hair. She currently ranks as one of the “Top 50” models in the fashion industry by models.com, including Balenciaga, Marc Jacobs, Oscar de la Renta, Roberto Cavalli, Versace and Céline.

Rico Nasty

Rico Nasty is one of the leading voices in the current style of hip-hop that adopts elements from hardcore and punk rock. Rico released a new song in January titled “IDGAF;” it’s built around softly echoing electric piano sounds and finds the DMV rapper in melodious sing-song mode.

Selena Gomez

The singer announced the summer launch of her cosmetics company, Rare Beauty, via Instagram on Feb. 4. The cosmetics company shares a title with her most recent album of the same name.

“Guys, I’ve been working on this special project for two years and can officially say Rare Beauty is launching in @sephora stores in North America this summer,” she captioned in the Instagram video.

“I think Rare Beauty can be more than a beauty brand,” the singer says in the video. “I want us all to stop comparing ourselves to each other and start embracing our own uniqueness. You’re not defined by a photo, a like, or a comment. Rare Beauty isn’t about how other people see you. It’s about how you see yourself.”

Selena Gomez Photo: TIBRINA HOBSON/GETTY IMAGES

Mario Lopez: Renaissance Man
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Mario Lopez pictured with arms spread out, smiling, Ashley Garcia poster in background with pictures of the cast

By Brady Rhoades

Who is Mario Lopez to you?

Access Hollywood host?

Creator of the Latinx series, The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia, which debuted on Netflix in February?

Saved by the Bell icon?

Radio personality?

Best-selling author?

Broadway star?

Latino pioneer?

Lopez is many things to many people—a modern-day Renaissance Man.

Currently, he’s rebooting Saved by the Bell—which stole the hearts of a generation during its run from 1989 to 1993—and overseeing the already-popular Ashley Garcia, about a teenage robotics engineer and rocket scientist who works for NASA.

Lopez said Saved by the Bell, which features many of the original cast members, is off to a rousing start.

“We’ve gotten great reviews,” he said. It’s a fun, charming, sweet show that shows us in a great light.”

Ashley Garcia is a different animal. There have been other programs about young geniuses (Doogie Howser, MD comes to mind), but this series features a Latina lead and layered storylines. For one thing, Ashley, who earned a PhD at 15, has a complicated relationship with her mother, so she moves from the East Coast to Pasadena to live with her uncle Vito, a high school football coach (Lopez made an appearance in the show’s pilot episode, as uncle Vito’s friend Nico).

“The actors have great charm and the whole show has gentle tween appeal with strong pro-girl messages,” a review in Common Sense Media stated.

Lopez is indeed a Renaissance story, and it traces back to Dick Clark, the original host of the iconic Bandstand and a staple in the lives ofMario Lopez pictured with a quote that reads about opportunities TV viewers.

“He persuaded me to look at myself as a brand, as a host,” Lopez, the 46-year-old husband and father of three, said. “He influenced me in a big way.”

Taking advice from a legend was a pivotal moment in Lopez’ career. It’s easier to list what he hasn’t done than what he has done.

Across many platforms, Lopez has served as a role model for Latino and Latina entertainers and entrepreneurs.

He prefers to lead by example. Becoming a powerhouse brand is what allowed him to create the groundbreaking Ashley Garcia.

“We need more people to tell our stories,” he said of the Latinx community. “And that comes from writers and producers.”

Asked about Latino values, he chuckled.

“I just celebrate good values,” he said. “Good values are good values. We raise our kids in a faith-based environment.”

Lopez, who in 2018 was baptized in the Jordan River, said his own faith plays an important role in his prosperity as well as his peace.

Mario Lopex holding up his book Extra Lean
Lopez signs copies of his new book Extra Lean at Barnes & Noble on May 11, 2010 in Huntington Beach, California. PHOTO BY JOE SCARNICI/FILMMAGIC

“It helps me be still,” he said. “It helps me be humble and focused. It balances me.”

Mario Lopez Jr. was born on October 10, 1973, in San Diego, California, to Elvira, a telephone company clerk, and Mario Sr., who worked for the municipality of National City. Lopez was raised in a large Catholic family of Mexican descent. He started to learn to dance at the age of 3, training in tap and jazz. He also did tumbling, karate, and wrestling at his local Boys and Girls Club when he was 7 years old.

A fitness fanatic to this day, he competed in wrestling in high school, placing second in the San Diego Section and seventh in the state of California in his senior year while attending Chula Vista High School, where he graduated in 1991.

Lopez was discovered by a talent agent at a recital when he was 10 years old and landed jobs in local ads and commercials.

In 1984, he appeared as younger brother Tomás in the short-lived ABC comedy series a.k.a. Pablo. That same year, he was cast as a drummer and dancer on Kids Incorporated for three seasons. In March 1987, he was cast as a guest star on the sitcom The Golden Girls as a Latino boy named Mario who faces deportation. He was cast in a small part in the movie Colors.

Mario Lopez and Saved By The Bell cast
Lopez in a private photo shoot at Ron Wolfson’s Studio on June, 17, 1990 in Studio City, CA. PHOTO BY RON WOLFSON/GETTY IMAGES

Then came his big break. In 1989, Lopez was cast as A.C. Slater in the hugely successful sitcom Saved by the Bell.

His career was off and running.

In 1997, Lopez starred as Olympic diver Greg Louganis in the television movie Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story. The following year, he was cast as Bobby Cruz in the USA Network series Pacific Blue. In In 2006, Lopez joined the cast of the daytime soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful, playing the role of Dr. Christian Ramirez.

In the fall of 2006, Lopez appeared on the third season of Dancing with the Stars, where he placed second in the competition and once again stole the hearts of women across the country.

Lopez began hosting Access Hollywood in 2019.

Asked about his most memorable interviews as a radio and TV host, he mentioned President Barack Obama.

Mario Lopez with his two children pictured at Hollywood event
(L-R) Dominic Lopez, Mario Lopez, and Gia Francesca Lopez attend the premiere of Sony Pictures’ Jumanji: The Next Level at TCL Chinese Theatre on December 09, 2019 in Hollywood, California. PHOTO BY STEVE GRANITZ/WIREIMAGE

“He knew who I was and that was pretty flattering,” Lopez said. “He’s very down to Earth and a cool guy. We talked about our kids.”

Lopez branched out to radio in the 1990s. Today, he hosts a nationally syndicated radio show, ON with Mario Lopez. In addition, he’s starred on Broadway and published three books: Mario Lopez Knockout Fitness, Extra Lean, and Mario and Baby Gia, about Lopez and his daughter.

At the end of the day, Lopez is a family man, a businessman, his own brand and an advocate for the advancement in all walks of life for Latinos.

Admirers often cite his heartthrob looks, but Lopez is all about hard work and… no excuses.

He recently cited the fact that Latinos are opening more small businesses than anyone in the United States. Not everyone can build a brand like Mario Lopez, but they can strive to be their best every day.

“No opportunity?” Lopez said, “We’ll make our own opportunities, and flourish!”

The Original Broadway Showing of Hamilton is Coming to a TV Near You
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Lin-Manuel Miranda standing on stage as Alexander Hamilton

By Natalie Rodgers

A fully taped production of the Broadway hit, Hamilton, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, is being released to Disney+ in its entirety on July 3, 2020, just in time for Independence Day.

Originally due to premiere as a theatrical release on October 21, 2021, the movie has been moved up to provide a sense of hope and comfort due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because of the cultural and historical impact that Hamilton has had since its Broadway debut in 2015, Disney plans to make the experience more captivating and to include as Disney quoted, “the best elements of live theater, film, and streaming.”

Creating this kind of atmosphere will not be a difficult task, due to how the filmmakers have already produced it. The production was filmed from various camera angles from the show’s original Richard Rodgers Theatre home and filmed across three different performances in in 2016.

The production will include all of the original Broadway cast members, including Leslie Odom Jr., Renee Elise Goldsberry, Phillipa Soo, Jonathan Groff, Daveed Diggs, upcoming In the Heights star Anthony Ramos, and of course, Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton.

Photo: Getty Images 

The Human Evolution of TikTok
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tikTok text on smartphone with girl giving the ok sign

Since the beginning of time, humans have thrived through social interaction. While bonding with friends still consists of getting together to talk, laugh and share with one another, the physical aspect of social interaction is no longer necessary. TikTok’s content and ability to connect people mimics what we love about interacting with each other.

The most popular videos on the app usually fall into two categories: comedy and dance. To this day, some of our most important social gatherings, such as birthday parties and weddings, still revolve around laughing and dancing with one another. While done in a more virtual setting, TikTok’s algorithm has allowed for the same enjoyment to take place within the app. Comedy skits or joke setups are mimicked, built upon and applauded by other members of the community. Dancing on the app is easy to do and can be filmed with multiple people from around the world, with a “duet” feature that allows creators to film their own content to coincide with an original video they have found.

So, while TikTok may not be the traditional form of bonding that we are used to, it is still the type of bonding that we seek. Plus, given the climate of today’s world, perhaps social bonding on TikTok is even the best form of socializing, as we are doing our part to self-isolate and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

J-Lo and Alex #waitforit
https://www.tiktok.com/@jlo/video/6802043441015442693

Jenga with Golden Retriever #levelupchallenge
https://www.tiktok.com/@goldenretrieverlife/video/6811469447929269510

Natalie Rodgers
HISPANIC Network Magazine contributing writer

‘Gentefied’ leading actresses talk about Spanglish, tacos and being ‘Latina enough’
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The cast from Gentefied are seated on a couch during an NBC interview

The three leading female stars of the new Netflix series “Gentefied”say there’s a reason why the bilingual, bicultural show has been so fun to make.

“It’s fun because it’s us,” says Karrie Martin, who grew up in a Honduran-American household and plays a young artist, Ana, on the show. “The world is now seeing what we see at home.”

The series, executive produced by America Ferrera, features three Mexican-American cousins living in the predominantly Latino neighborhood of Boyle Heights in L.A.

They’re trying to figure out their own lives, which are intricately intertwined with their grandfather’s taco restaurant — and the struggle to keep the business viable amid rising rents and the slow gentrification of the neighborhood.

Annie Gonzalez, who plays Lidia, a Stanford-educated, brainy young woman on the show, was born and raised in East LA. She is now an actress in Hollywood, and uses her own life as an example of the show’s title, which is a play on words.

“If I were to go back and want to buy a piece of property, I would essentially be replacing or displacing a group of people that live there — for my benefit,” she said. That’s gentefication: the process by which more affluent Latinos are gentrifying working-class Latino neighborhoods. The title is a play on the words gente, which means people in Spanish, and gentrification.

The issue of younger, affluent professionals displacing working-class Latino families is an ongoing issue in several parts of the country, whether it’s in Brooklyn, Los Angeles or San Francisco.

The show delves into serious topics about work, gender, economics and family, but with humor. It’s also one of the few shows that move seamlessly between languages, with the older Latinos speaking Spanish to the younger generation, who answer in English.

The bilingual nature of the series is personal for Gonzalez who, as a fifth-generation Mexican-American, didn’t learn Spanish at home because her family was reluctant to teach it.

“We were forced to assimilate,” said Gonzalez. “My grandma would get hit if she spoke Spanish in school.”

“Gentefied” deals with the themes of Latino identity and authenticity, which Gonzalez said were relatable for her. Growing up, she experienced being questioned by other Latinos over whether she was embarrassed by her culture or how Mexican she really was.

“I couldn’t be more Mexican if I tried,” she said.

Continue on to NBC News to read the complete article.

Oscars 2020: Jonas Rivera makes history as first two-time U.S.-born Latino Academy Award winner
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Toy Story 4 latino producer Jonas Rivera stands outside in Disneyland with two other producers

After winning the Oscar for animated feature, “Toy Story 4″ producer Jonas Rivera was stunned and pleased to be reminded that he is now the first U.S.-born Latino to win multiple Oscars.

Rivera previously won for the 2015 film “Inside Out.”

“As if my mind couldn’t be more blown about the last five minutes, thank you for that,” Rivera said. “I’m a little bit out of my body right now. It means the world to me. I can’t even really put it into words.”

And he had an inspirational message for others in the Latinx community dreaming big dreams, even if he couldn’t deliver it in Spanish.

“The only Spanish I learned was when my grandparents would fight,” he joked, before adding, “You work hard, you put your guts into it … and it does happen.”

Pictured left to right: “Toy Story 4’s” Oscar-winning producers Jonas Rivera, from left, Josh Cooley and Mark Nielsen at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Fla.

(Matt Stroshane / Disney)

Continue on to The Los Angeles Times to read the complete article.

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira delivered a red-hot Super Bowl halftime performance in Miami
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Jennifer Lopez Super Bowl draped in Puerto Rican flag during Halftime show

The Latina powerhouses were joined on stage by J Balvin and Lopez’s daughter.

Ever since Shakira and Jennifer Lopez were announced as headlining the Super Bowl LIV Halftime show, it was expected that the two would bring the Latino Power, and the singers did not disappoint.

The divas delivered a nearly 15-minute performance that began with Shakira, who opened with “She Wolf,” followed by a medley of her hit songs, including “Whenever, Wherever” and “Hips Don’t Lie.” Viewers at home and in the stadium were surprised to hear Shakira launch into “I Like It,” the song made famous by Cardi B., until Puerto Rican singer Bad Bunny, who was featured on the track, joined in on a Super Bowl remix of sorts. Shakira also wowed with her guitar playing — or slaying — skills, nodding to Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” as she belly danced atop a fiery projection.

J. Lo’s performance followed with a demonstration of her pole dancing talents, courtesy of the movie “Hustlers,” in which she stars. It was just one of a dozen-plus choreographed pieces which showed her versatility as a performer and, yes, as a singer. Among her greatest hits mini-set were the classics “Jenny from the Block” followed by snippets of “I’m Real,” and “Get Right.” She then changed into a silver and nude one-piece and launched into “Waiting for Tonight.”

Colombian artist J Balvin joined Lopez for a performance of “Que Calor,” while she sang “Love Don’t Cost a Thing.” The two switched to “Mi Gente,” on which Balvin collaborates on with Beyoncé, who was also in the building. As Balvin exited the stage, Lopez went into “On the Floor” and touched hands with her daughter Emme, who led as a vocalist in a chorus of children performing a slowed-down moving version of “Let’s Get Loud.” This was followed by Emme, whose father is Marc Anthony (also present in the stadium), delivering the chorus to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” Referencing her own heritage, Lopez was draped in a coat bearing the Puerto Rican flag.

Continue on to Variety 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.