J Balvin Teams Up With UPS to Support Small Businesses: ‘I Know What It’s Like to Start From Scratch’
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J Balvin has partnered with UPS to support Latinx-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs amid the pandemic.

By , Billboard

The COVID-19 outbreak greatly impacted small businesses around the world, including in the Latinx community. As things slowly but surely return to normal, J Balvin has partnered with UPS to support Latinx-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs amid the pandemic.

“My early days in music felt very comparable to getting a small business off the ground so I know what it means to start from scratch and chase your dreams,” he tells Billboard.

The partnership, part of UPS’ Proudly Unstoppable campaign, counts with an exclusive song and video at the helm of Balvin called “Juntos Imparables,” which he hopes will “inspire people to work together and support their local businesses.”

In support, Balvin and UPS teamed up with TikTok to get their message across via a social media challenge that will encourage “entrepreneurs and small businesses to get more exposure, and business,” Balvin expresses, ultimately helping fuel these businesses’ growth.

In addition to Balvin’s new campaign song and video, UPS launched a bilingual limited edition box series (650,000 UPS medium-sized Express boxes and envelopes) called “Challenges Are Our Fire,” by Mexican graphic designer and illustrator, Luis Pinto. UPS is also committed to donating $150,000 to the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) so that the small businesses impacted by the pandemic receive the direct financial support needed.

Click here to read the full article on Billboard.

Jennifer Lopez Steps Out in Hometown of the Bronx to Support Latina-Owned Small Businesses
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Jennifer Lopez posing in Bronx bookstore smiling

By Rachel DeSantis, People

Jennifer Lopez is still giving back to the block that raised her.

The star made an appearance in New York City to support Latina small business owners in her hometown of the Bronx of Sunday, which comes as the first part of a new philanthropy push for Lopez.

The Hustlers actress, 52, stopped by indie bookstore The Lit. Bar alongside Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon and Isabella Guzman, the administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, and announced a new partnership with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses meant to help elevate and support Latina entrepreneurs.

While there, the trio spoke with the store’s founder Noelle Santos and other Latina business owners about growing their businesses and how they’ve navigated the pandemic, just in time for National Hispanic Heritage Month, which kicks off this week.

Lopez’s new partnership with Goldman Sachs will work to recruit more Latina entrepreneurs to 10,000 Small Businesses, a program that offers support and opportunities to help owners grow their companies and create new jobs.

It’s the first initiative for the “On the Floor” singer under an upcoming philanthropy push called Limitless Labs.

Photos and video published by TMZ show that Lopez — who made a surprise appearance at the MTV VMAs hours later as a presenter — was accompanied to the event by boyfriend Ben Affleck, with whom she recently rekindled her romance nearly 18 years after they called off their engagement.

Click here to read the full article on People.

Rosalía’s Performance Stole The Show At The VMAs — & So Did Her Manicure
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Rosalía at the TV VMAs on the red carpet in a black dress

By THATIANA DIAZ, Refinery29

When music artists were asked who they were looking forward to seeing during the red carpet pre-show for the 2019 MTV VMAs, one name kept coming up again and again: Rosalía.

And well, the Spanish singer lived up to all the hype with a show-stopping performance of her hits “A ningún hombre,” “Yo x Ti, Tu x Mi,” and “Aute Cuture.”

But it wasn’t just her soaring voice or impressive dance moves that caught everyone’s attention — her stiletto nails were also worthy of applause.

It was impossible to miss Rosalía’s studded black manicure as she clutched the microphone during her performance and held her trophies for Best Latin Video and Best Choreography at the end of the night.

The extra-long, bedazzled manicure was the perfect addition to her head-to-toe black ensemble with silver detailing.

 

If you’re not familiar with Rosalía, statement nails are her signature.

Rosalía close up of textured spike-like black nailsJust one glimpse at her music videos or past performances, and you’ll see her with the most elaborate manicure designs — like the golden, rose-adorned claws she wore for the “Aute Cuture” music video.

Statement nails were everywhere at the MTV VMAs: Lizzo wore a shimmering grape look that complemented her bright red dress, and Cardi B opted for long, gold-dusted nails.

All the effort the stars put into the small details didn’t go unnoticed, as one fan tweeted with a heart-eye emoji: “The nails tonight.”

Click here to read the full article on Refinery29.

The Naked Truth About Virtual Conferences
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finger pressing on Virtual Event key on keyboard

By Mona Lisa Faris

Over the last year, we’ve found many new and creative ways to network in every sphere. Office meetings are often held through conference lines and Zoom calls, and you’ve probably never sent more emails in your life than you have during the stay-at-home order.

But, one of the biggest changes that came to the professional world was how we would conduct our yearly conferences. Organizations have had to learn how to bring together hundreds upon thousands of people in one space in a way that is accessible for all without too many technical difficulties. While there have been many amazing features to moving conferences to an online platform, the way in which they are conducted are far from perfect.

Here at DiversityComm, we’ve had the opportunity to attend many of last year’s virtual conferences. Here are some pros of what we’ve learned that works – and the cons of what doesn’t.

Pros:

  • Availability: Without the confines of a physical space or the need to travel to a set location, a digital platform allows anyone to be in attendance without ever leaving their homes. Speakers and attendees alike who would not have been able to participate due the physical barriers of the conference space are now readily available to connect, share and grow with individuals they may have otherwise never met.
  • Special Features: Digital contact cards, company video presentations and recorded panels are just a few of the many features online platforms have made available. The annoyance of repeating your pitch, running out of business cards or having to decide between two panels at the same time has become a thing of the past. Even if you can’t attend a virtual event due to other commitments, many of the conferences allow you to watch and re-watch content for up to thirty days after the live event has ended, further increasing audience attendance. This kind of online platform also makes it easier for individuals with varying disabilities to access closed captions, audio adjustments and proper seating in a space where those services may have been more difficult to facilitate.
  • Affordability: Without the need of a physical conference space and its in-tandem travel fees, some of the biggest conferences in the business are now much more affordable than they were in-person. Businesses are able to save on the logistics of shipping cost, booth setup and travel, and send as many attendees as they would like to the conference at no additional cost.
  • Preparedness: From the interviewing process to presentations, digital platforms make it easier to be prepared for any issue that may come your way. Instead of worrying about printing enough resumes or forgetting paperwork, these files can be uploaded ahead of time for easy access, organization and viewing. Pre-recorded videos and quick computer accessibility during the conference also allows attendees and presenters alike to be more prepared to properly answer questions and have all the necessary information at their fingertips.

Cons:

  • Communication: The elimination of face-to-face interaction and an almost full dependence on written communication make it difficult to gauge how your conversations are going. Without the cues that come from body language or voice inflection, it’s harder to tell if you’re speaking to an interested recruiter or business client just based on emotionless words written in a chat box. The ability to miscommunicate is also much easier. Comments that were meant to be simple and understood can now be easily taken as rude or uninterested if misinterpreted by the listening party.
  • Overcrowding: The digital platform allows for more attendees to engage in critical information and resources, but it also means that you can be easily drowned out or forgotten. This has become such a problem that some individuals require you to have an appointment to speak with them. Having the constraints of a time slot or not having an appointment at all can prevent valuable connections from being fully explored. On the flip side, Massive virtual crowds can also mean talking to more individuals than you expected. Impromptu sales pitches to larger groups, or even the incorrect group, can leave both sides with little to gain besides missed opportunities to connect with the proper people.
  • Technical Difficulties: It may be a given, but especially with a platform that is so new and virtually unexplored, technical difficulties are common. Audio issues, visual issues, glitching, internet problems and crashing websites are just a few of the issues that were little to irrelevant in the physical conference space. Though tech support is available at many of these events to fix these bugs as soon as possible, the unavailability of resources can lead to missed opportunities, especially for individuals who depend on accessible technology to fully participate.
  • Difficult to Gauge the Takeaway: Similar to how it can be difficult to gauge the mood of a conversation online, it can be just as difficult to see if there was a takeaway from your conference. Event sponsors are not as visually prevalent in a digital space as they are in a physical setting, causing many of them to see little direct return on their services. Plus, without feedback from decision makers, you yourself can feel lost and unaccomplished in a space where you once felt the opposite.

For a second opinion on everything virtual conferences, check out what some of our partners had to say about attending these special events:

“Nothing will ever replace the bonds made interacting one-on-one at events or feeling the collective passion of a crowded conference ballroom. And yet, the unique shared experience of virtual programming throughout the pandemic has taught us how valuable technology can be to make experiences more equitable.  Since everyone, from the C-Suite to the intern, were home working in sweatpants, the virtual meeting world was far more democratized than real world events have ever been before.  But cutting out travel expenses, speaking fees, logistics planning, etc., attendees from anywhere, from the widest array of backgrounds, with any abilities (both financial and physical) could directly interact with others everywhere. I hope to see virtual attendance options remain at all future conferences and events since we’ve never made it easier for those with disabilities, those with financial restrictions, and those who may benefit more from personal space and privacy to thrive in meetings that may have previously been difficult, if not impossible, to attend before.”

  • Jonathan Lovitz, small business inclusion and policy leader / special advisor to NGLCC

“A virtual career fair, with non-person contact, is the next best thing to in-person recruitment outreach”.

  • Scot Evans, NCUA

“Like many event producers, we had to pivot our popular live Small Business Expos quickly to online Virtual Events.  Though our Virtual Events have been wildly successful, there is nothing like that feeling of meeting face-to-face with people, networking and building new business relationships in person.  At this point, over a year later, I think there is a huge pent up energy for our attendees to get back to our in-person events.  We are human, we need in-person social interaction.  With virtual events, there is a wall between you and the other person.  I think everyone is excited to break through that wall and finally meet face-to-face again!”

  • Zachary Lezberg, Founder & CEO, Small Business Expo

“The one big lesson AISES learned in executing our 2020 National Conference is to keep it simple when moving from an in-person event to a virtual setting. Our conference was successful, but we could have shortened the length of the event, reduced the number of sessions, and incorporated more breaks. Overall, the participants were happy with the cultural components that characterize AISES such as the talking circle, morning blessing, and ceremonial blessings. The 2021 AISES National Conference will be in-person and we plan to stream limited content for those who are only able to attend virtually.”

    Mona Lisa Faris headshot
    Mona Lisa Faris, Author and Publisher DiversityComm, Inc.
  • Katherine Cristiano, AISES Senior Director of Special Events
  • “By hosting the VIB Conference virtually last year we had more participation from smaller veteran-owned businesses that may have never attended due to cost or time. While attendees were still able to connect with corporations or government agencies through a virtual business matchmaking platform nothing will truly beat face-to-face meetings. As things begin to open, I think the future for events is blending the in-person with a virtual element so we can continue to cultivate the smaller veteran-owned businesses”

  • Rebecca Aguilera-Gardiner, CEO of VIB Network          

“Virtual career fairs have become the norm as a hiring strategy for many companies. As a large organization with thousands of job opportunities, virtual career fairs give us the opportunity to meet and learn more about perspective employees. These job fairs are different from the in-person experience, so come prepared and do your research in order to make a lasting impression on a recruiter or employer. Those who can adapt will have a great advantage.”

  • Kamille Morgan of Leidos

As the pandemic continues to show signs of coming to an end, it appears that conferences may be implementing more of a hybrid system where in-person and online attendance are both available. As we continue to grow in this digital space and learn from the mistakes and triumphs of this past year, hopefully we will see a positive change in this new conference world.

Meet The Founders Behind The Latina Power Shirts You’ve Been Eyeing
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Lifestyle brand JZD is an independently owned Latina e-retail brand with more than 40K followers on Instagram that include celebrities

By ANGELA BONILLA,  Refinery 9

Lifestyle brand JZD is an independently owned Latina e-retail brand with more than 40K followers on Instagram that include celebrities like Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Diane Guerrero, and Jessica Marie Garcia from Netflix’s In My Block.

You may have seen the online retailer’s vibrant designs on your friends’ sherbet-colored tumblers and T-shirts printed with slogans like “Vacunada” and “No pasa nada.” Run by spouses Veronica and Jennifer Zeano, this line has become a source of covetable goods as well as a community for its socially conscious customers, many of whom love the Latinx pride and cultura the line espouses. Ever since its launch five years ago, JZD has steadily been attracting a fan base since its launch five years ago.

“Instagram is such a huge part of the business because that’s where we can talk to customers, meet new customers, and really develop this relationship with our customers where they’re our friends,” says Jennifer. “They feel like we know each other and we can hang out and talk.”

The customer response was overwhelming. “I realized that this is what we’re supposed to be doing, and we quickly shifted into this Latina empowerment brand where every product that we were thinking of, creating, and putting out into the world was with that goal and mission,” Jennifer tells Refinery29.

After the shirt, Jennifer and Veronica decided to start their own website, in which their now-iconic Latina Power shirt has become a best-seller. The pair finds inspiration for their wares from their own lives and communities — even the models who appear on the site used are usually their friends. “We make sure the models wearing our clothes are Latina, and really just want to make sure it’s with people that believe in the same mission and have values that align with ours,” says Jennifer. They also draw inspiration from their border town of Brownsville, Texas, which is across the U.S.-Mexico border from Matamoros.

Click here to read the full article on Refinery 9.

Camila Cabello condemns ‘ridiculous’ and ‘toxic’ beauty standards: ‘My weight is gonna go up and down’
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Camila Cabello is setting the record straight when it comes to her opinion of society's beauty standards and how she's not allowing them to control her.

By Kerry Justich, Yahoo! Life.

Camila Cabello is setting the record straight when it comes to her opinion of society’s beauty standards and how she’s not allowing them to control her.

On The Late Late Show with James Corden, the 24-year-old singer recalled a recent body-shaming incident where she explained that she was secretly photographed by paparazzi while going on a run in West Hollywood, Calif. “I had my belly out, I didn’t know anybody was taking pictures of me,” she said. But once she saw photos of her body making the rounds in tabloids, she began to have “anxious thoughts” about having her stomach exposed and not “tucking in” — until she made the decision to speak to the photos directly and control how they were being perceived.

“I was like, you know what, this is normal. It’s like my weight is gonna go up and down, also we have these crazy beauty standards from freakin’ Instagram of people that are photoshopped or if they’re not photoshopped, it’s not every woman’s body,” Cabello said. “And I was just like, you know let me get on TikTok and just talk about this.”

The Cinderella actress posted a video captioned “I luv my body” to her TikTok on July 16 speaking to her 12 million followers about how she was “existing like a normal person” while photos were being taken of her.

“And I talk about in the video like, we’re real women and we have curves and we have cellulite and we have fat. And it’s just like a lot to just have these crazy, unrealistic standards that make us feel bad about ourselves and make us feel like in order to go out I have to hide my body or put on a big T-shirt,” Cabello explained to Corden. “It’s like, why should I have to do that? Why can’t I just like be me?”

By the next day, Cabello was made aware of the impact that the video had made.

“I got so many women coming up to me being like, ‘Woah, that so resonated with me,’” she shared. “These standards are ridiculous and so toxic. I just feel so much more confident now, honestly, after I posted that video because I feel like I just kind of controlled the narrative on it.”

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Life.

Camila Cabello Trades Glass Slippers for Leather Thigh-High Boots at ‘Cinderella’ Premiere
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Camila Cabello at a red carpet event looking at the camera

By Claudia Miller, Yahoo! Life

Camila Cabello gave a whole new meaning to a princess gown at last night’s premiere of Amazon Studios’ “Cinderella.”

Taking the red carpet by storm at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, the film’s leading lady wowed in an edgier-than-expected look. The outfit credits come courtesy of celeb stylist duo Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn, who tapped Oscar de la Renta for Cabello’s wow-worthy evening dress.

The design featured a semi-sheer bodice coated in glittering metallic leafing with a contrasting black high-low puffed skirt.

To contrast the already edgy twist on Cinderella’s style, the “Havana” singer opted against glass slippers or classic pumps and instead broke out a sleek set of boots. The tall leather silhouette skimmed the musician’s thigh for an added level of boldness, all in a Casadei design.

Similar silhouettes from the footwear label clock in at almost 6 inches in heel height and retail for over $1,600 at Farfetch.

Knee-high and thigh-high boots are the must-have boot silhouettes this season. From leather twists on the trend to edgy lace-up styles, you can find the taller shoes on everyone from Ciara to Lily Collins and Gwen Stefani amongst other major names. In colder temperatures, the silhouettes offer coverage to counter skirts, dresses and shorts as well as provides an extra layer to any leggings or jeans look.

As for Camila Cabello’s own style, the Fifth Harmony alumna tends to include footwear styles from a wide range of brands — think everything from Converse to Naturalizer to Ivy Park x Adidas to Christian Louboutin. When it comes to red carpet duds, the former X-Factor star prefers designs from Zuhair Murad, Versace and Givenchy amongst other major labels.

Click here to read the full article on Yahoo! Life

How popular radio personality Geena the Latina realized her voice was powerful and necessary
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Greena the Latina or Geena Aguilar, known to radio listeners as Geena The Latina of the “The Geena the Latina and Frankie V Morning Show” on Channel 933, is the founder of the Girls Empowerment Conference. (Jarrod Valliere/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

LISA DEADERICK, The San Diego Tribune

It may come as a surprise that radio personality Geena the Latina — formally Geena Aguilar — never pictured herself on the air. If it wasn’t for a morning show audition 15 years ago that brought her to the city she considered a second home, San Diego might have missed out on one of the market’s more popular radio hosts.

While her path began as an intern at a Los Angeles radio station in college, she was working as a sales associate for a television station after college, when her two brothers were shot and killed within five months of each other.

“After that, I stopped working altogether for a year because I was so depressed. My old boss from the radio station called me after that year and told me to come back to the station. He said I could work as little or as much as I wanted. He just wanted to get me out of the house,” she says. “I am forever thankful to him for that.”

Aguilar threw herself into her work, befriending colleagues, working late hours and pitching in to help out and learn any aspect of the job that needed an extra pair of hands. Although she was initially resistant to the spotlight that came with the job, it’s helped her realize that her voice matters, and she’s used it to help others.

One of those ways is through her Girls Empowerment Conference with the Positive Movement Foundation. The foundation is a San Diego nonprofit that works with schools and other organizations to provide educational tools, empowerment events, and other resources to vulnerable children. They’re hosting their “Cocktails for a Cause” fundraiser 6 to 10 p.m. today at 1899 McKee St., San Diego. The Girls Empowerment Conference is one of the beneficiaries of the event.

Aguilar is an on-air personality at Channel 933, co-host of “The Geena the Latina and Frankie V Morning Show,” and lives in the East Village section of downtown San Diego. She took some time to talk about her radio career, the Girls Empowerment Conference, and finding her voice.

Q: Most of us who listen to the radio know you as Geena the Latina on Channel 93.3. What led you to choose a career in radio?

A: When I started out as an intern at 102.7 KIIS FM in Los Angeles during college, I was eventually hired in the promotions department, and continued working there throughout college. I never wanted to be on the air; I worked there because it was fun and all of my friends worked there. I always wanted to work in the entertainment industry, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. I thought of myself as more of a behind-the-scenes person.

[After the deaths of her brothers] I started working at the radio station again and completely threw myself into everything I could do there, probably just to keep myself busy. I’d stay at the station all day long, talking to people, helping whoever needed help, or sitting in on show meetings. I became the street reporter for the station and worked red carpet events, which eventually led to morning shows asking me to audition. I didn’t want to audition because I still didn’t think that being on the air could be a career, but one of those auditions was for a morning show in San Diego and I just loved San Diego. I grew up visiting the city, all of my friends had attended college here, and I’d already felt like San Diego was a second home. I got the job 15 years ago and I’ve been here ever since!

After being on Channel 933 for a year, I wanted to quit because I couldn’t handle all of the negative comments, messages, and emails. I hated the spotlight (and still don’t love it), but one morning, I shared the story about what happened to my brothers, and the response was overwhelmingly supportive. People were saying how much my story touched them, helped them, or how they related to me because of it. I finally realized that maybe I was supposed to be on the radio. If people listened to me when I had something serious to say, then I could put up with all of that other stuff. I realized that it was important to have a voice about things that mattered, and there was no bigger platform than on one of the biggest radio stations in San Diego, talking to a million people a week.

Q: Can you tell us about how you came to be known on air as “Geena the Latina,” and what it means to you to represent this part of your identity and culture?

A: When I first started, they were trying to think of a catchy name for me. At the time, there weren’t many Latinos on the radio, if any. They wanted a name that captured who I was, but also communicated that I was Latin. One day, one of the on-air DJs started calling me “Geena the Latina” and it stuck. I like the name, I think it defines who I am, and I am good with that. I am American first, of Latin descent, and my family is Mexican, but I was raised here in the U.S. We speak both English and Spanish, we grew up eating Mexican food and going to low-rider car shows, and my Spanish could be a lot better, but that’s also a product of us growing up with everything American. We grew up heavily immersed in the Mexican American culture, but also grew up very American. We’re an interesting mix of Latino that I feel represents a lot of people who were raised the same way, here in the U.S. We are proud of our Latin/Mexican roots and heritage, but are also proud to be American. I’m part of a generation that grew up with both cultures that shaped us to become who we are, and I’m proud of that.

What I love about downtown San Diego …
I love that it’s right in the middle of downtown San Diego and Little Italy. It’s a five-minute ride either way. Depending on what I feel like doing, everything is pretty accessible. I also love that I’m so close to North Park, as I frequent that neighborhood almost daily. I love having visitors and them being able to be so close to so much to do! Downtown, the harbor, Little Italy, Barrio Logan—I’m close to everything.

Q: Tell us about your Girls Empowerment Conference.

A: I’d been a keynote speaker at conferences for girls at both Mount Miguel High School and at the University of San Diego. After speaking at both conferences, I thought about combining them in order to maximize resources and to provide a massive conference for teen girls from all over San Diego. I spoke to the organizers of both conferences, and we started our Girls Empowerment Conference in 2017. The girls are provided with food throughout the day, along with empowering activities, speakers, performances, and interactive workshops.

During the smaller breakout sessions with a moderator, girls are able to comfortably talk about the issues affecting their lives, like body image, confidence, or life at home. Empowerment groups from different high schools perform spoken word and put together empowering videos that are played during the day. The girls from these high school empowerment groups are highly involved with everything from the topics of the conference to the themes, speakers, and more. We really try to hear them out and listen to what they say they want and need, as we plan the conference. It’s a fully interactive, immersive day, specifically geared to teen girls from ninth through 12th grades, and the costs of admission and transportation are covered at no cost to the girls.

Q: Why was this conference something you wanted to create?

A: We wanted to provide resources and outlets for teen girls who probably wouldn’t be able to have access to them otherwise. We wanted to uplift girls and give them examples of what they can become if they work hard and stay motivated. We wanted to provide a safe place for them to learn, grow, and have fun, and we ultimately wanted to inspire these girls to be the best that they can be. We wanted to allow them to see examples of others who were in their position once, and to see how far those women have come.

Q: What does the idea of “empowerment” mean to you, personally?

A: Empowerment is a state of being. It’s a state of feeling completely comfortable with who you are and what you believe in; of feeling confident that you can do whatever it is you want to do; of being confident in who you are and what you bring to the table; of knowing that your contribution to this world is important; and it’s a state of knowing that anything is achievable when you put your mind to it and dedicate yourself to making it happen. Empowerment gives you the feeling that nothing is unattainable.

Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

A: Don’t take things personally. So many times, we won’t pursue our goals or dreams because someone told us we couldn’t, or because we got turned down or rejected. I think never taking things personally — whether it be a rejection or something said about us — allows us to not be hindered by things we can’t control. All you can do is be you, be a good person, work hard, and everything will happen as it’s supposed to happen.

Click here to read the full article on the San Diego Tribune.

Gil Birmingham: A True Warrior
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Gil Birmingham Collage

By Brady Rhoades

It seems like everyone is talking about “Yellowstone,” Paramount Network’s hit series.

John Dutton. Beth. Kaycee. Rip Wheeler. And Chief Thomas Rainwater, played by renowned actor Gil Birmingham.

It’s the role of a lifetime. And an important one.

“I couldn’t be happier that there’s a Native American that’s portrayed in an educated and powerful way.

That’s more realistic of what our community does have to offer,” Birmingham has stated.

Birmingham said there are more opportunities than ever for Native-Americans to play genuine, complex characters, and that Hollywood is doing a much better job of avoiding stereotypes. What is particularly intriguing about playing Rainwater, he said, is that the chief of a reservation near the Dutton ranch in Montana is a contemporary character. “Yellowstone” is not a period piece.

Birmingham said the show’s creator, Taylor Sheridan, deserves plenty of credit. “I knew Taylor would have a sensitivity with the Native world because he had a lot of interaction with them in his younger life,” he said.

A Body of Talent
Gil Birmingham, of Comanche ancestry, was born in San Antonio, Texas. His family moved frequently during his childhood because of his father’s career in the military. He learned to play the guitar at an early age and considers music his first love.

HOLLYWOOD, FL – FEBRUARY 05: Gil Birmingham Meet And Greet at 45th Annual Seminole Tribal Fair & Pow Wow at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood on February 5, 2016 in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by Ralph Notaro/Getty Images)

After obtaining a bachelor of science degree from the University of Southern California, he worked as a petrochemical engineer. He knew that wasn’t what he wanted to do long-term; in fact, he was pursuing a side-career in bodybuilding.

That’s how he was discovered. A talent scout pegged him for a Diana Ross music video. The Motown icon had hit the charts once again, this time with “Muscles.”

Next was a gig at Universal Studios, where he played Conan on the theme park’s newest attraction: “The Adventures of Conan: A Sword and Sorcery Spectacular.”
Birmingham made his television debut on an episode of the series “Riptide.” By 2002, he had a recurring role as the character Oz in the medical drama “Body & Soul,” starring Peter Strauss. In 2005, he was cast as the older Dogstar in the Steven Spielberg six-part miniseries “Into the West.”

He has appeared in a number of television series, including “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Veronica Mars,” “10 Items or Less,” “Nip/Tuck,” “Castle,” “The Mentalist,” “House of Cards” and the “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” He has also had roles in several television films.

In 2008, Birmingham landed the role of Billy Black in “The Twilight Saga” film series. It’s what he was most famous for before “Yellowstone.” Now, the two might be neck-and-neck.

PASADENA, CA – (L-R) Actor Kevin Costner, producer/writer Taylor Sheridan, and actors Kelly Reilly, Luke Grimes, Cole Hauser, Kelsey Asbille, and Gil Birmingham of ‘Yellowstone’ speak onstage. (Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Viacom)

“Yellowstone,” which is set to start its fourth season in the fall, centers on the Dutton family, most notably, no-nonsense patriarch John Dutton (Kevin Costner). The sixth-generation homesteader and devoted father must juggle running the largest contiguous ranch in the United States and dealing with a family full of problems. Land developers, an energy company and a tribal reservation have eyes on a massive swath of Dutton’s land.

Birmingham’s Thomas Rainwater is a complicated man. He was not raised on a reservation and believed he was of Mexican descent until he was 18 and saw his adoption papers. That was, obviously, pivotal for him. He earned a master of businesses administration from Harvard. He is now chairman of the Confederate Tribes of Broken Rock. He is usually the smartest guy in the room.

And he wants Dutton’s land or, as he bluntly states in the show, he wants to take back what rightfully belongs to the tribes, meaning he wants to expand the Broken Rock Reservation and keep outsiders as far away as possible.

His relationship with Costner’s John Dutton makes for must-watch TV. On one hand, the two have little in common. Rainwater is Native American. Dutton is White. Rainwater and his tribes have, over the centuries, been robbed of land, resources, wealth.

Dutton is a product of generational wealth and, yes, hard work too.

SANTA BARBARA, CA – FEBRUARY 09: Actor Jeff Bridges accepts the American Riviera Award from actor Gil Birmingham onstage at the Arlington Theatre. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SBIFF)

On the other hand, they’re both shrewd, true to their causes, even respectful. And they’re both unflappable; it’s hard to know what they’re going to do until they do it.

“I think Taylor so brilliantly established a character that’s empowered with education, and a means by which he can operate within the guidelines of a system that’s been structured, and empowered that character, to be able to operate and reclaim the resources that have belonged to him for centuries,” Birmingham said.

It takes a great actor to play a worthy foe of the legendary Costner, but Birmingham is pulling it off.

Here are two of his more memorable statements to John Dutton, astensions between the two rise:

— “Nothing we say here is going to change our goals. Our paths will always collide. We fight. One of us will win. But you’ve been a good enemy, John. A fair enemy”;

— “I will erase you from the future… see, I’m the opposite of progress, John. I’m the past catching up to you.”

“Yellowstone’s” Facebook page has a thread that starts with the question, “What is your favorite Thomas Rainwater moment from Season 3?

Wrote Dianne Montgomery Hocut: “I’ve enjoyed watching Thomas Rainwater scene where he is in full ceremonial headgear and dress. He has achieved honor, wisdom and power of many. Just fits him!”

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MORRISON, CO -Actor Wes Bentley and Gil Birmingham on stage at SeriesFest Centerpiece event, featuring Lady Antebellum’s Red Rocks Amphitheater Debut and a special screening of Paramount Network’s “Yellowstone”. (Photo by Tom Cooper/Getty Images for SeriesFest)

Birmingham, who recently turned 68, continues to be a steadfast advocate of Native American rights. In a case, perhaps, of life imitating art, on June 25 he retweeted the Lakota Law Project (@lakotalaw): “The U.S. Department of Interior announced Wednesday the restoration of more than 18,800 acres of land, known as the National Bison Range, so it can be returned to Indigenous tribes in Montana.”

Native Americans in Hollywood and Native Americans in society have come a long way.

Birmingham mirrors that progress. No longer is he relegated to period-piece, revisionist roles. He has become one of the most authentic and powerful Native American voices on television, which he uses as a launchpad for his activism.

“I feel a responsibility to represent a Native character who has that strength and determination,” he told IndianCountryToday.com, “that all of our ancestors, that survived what they have survived, and then to put in the context of a contemporary piece with that soul to come to it, and based on trying to do everything that he can for his people, for his rez.”

NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises Forms Hispanic Streaming Division, Promoting Romina Rosado To Lead It
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Kate del Castillo in Season 2 of Telemundo's "La Reina del Sur," which streams on Peacock.

By Dade Hayes Deadline

NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises has formed a new Hispanic Streaming business division, which will look to spur growth of Latinos on Peacock and across other Telemundo and NBCU platforms.

The new division will be responsible for developing a content slate with more than 50 projects, the first of which will arrive in 2022. Telemundo’s Romina Rosado has been promoted to EVP and GM of Hispanic streaming and will lead the new business unit. She will report to Beau Ferrari, chairman of NBCU Telemundo Enterprises.

Longtime linear rival Univision has been making moves in streaming, bulking up free, ad-supported service PrendeTV and laying groundwork for a subscription tier. Telemundo, by contrast, has not pursued a stand-alone service but instead emerged as a key supplier to Peacock, delivering thousands of hours of programming. Last month, NBCU parent Comcast said Peacock had reached 54 million sign-ups and 20 million monthly active users. It has both a free, basic tier and a $5-a-month Premium level.

“The NBCUniversal Telemundo Hispanic Streaming division immediately unifies and amplifies our unmatched resources and reach to our audience across the company, accelerating our presence on Peacock and the entire NBCU streaming portfolio,” Ferrari said in the official announcement. “Romina is an experienced media executive with a clear vision and knowledge for developing relevant content for the Latino and general market that will serve our company-wide approach to programming for the Hispanic streaming audience.”

In her new role, Rosado will lead cross-company efforts and collaborate with Peacock’s leadership in the development of the service’s Latino content. She will also collaborate with the recently created Telemundo Streaming Studios to develop and produce original content based on Peacock’s content strategy for Hispanics. Like NBCU overall, Telemundo is supplementing its roster of linear hits, like La Reina del Sur, with originals. It has high hopes for the fall of 2022, when it has exclusive Spanish-language rights to the World Cup.

One in four Americans under 35 is Hispanic, Rosado pointed out, “and they are voracious content consumers across languages and across platforms.” Using a company coinage, she described the target audience as “200-percenters” — viewers who are 100% Hispanic but also 100% American. “I look forward to partnering with Peacock and creators across the industry to tell stories that connect and represent this dynamic and vibrant community,” she said.

Click here to read the full article on Deadline.

Catherine Zeta-Jones to play Addams family matriarch Morticia in Netflix’s ‘Wednesday’ series
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Catherine Zeta-Jones will play Morticia Addams in Netflix's ‘Wednesday.’

By Nate Day, Fox News

Catherine Zeta-Jones has found her next big role. The 51-year-old Oscar winner is set to play Morticia Addams, the matriarch of the famously spooky Addams family in a Netflix series, a rep for the Streamer confirmed to Fox News.

According to a press release, she will appear in “Wednesday” as a guest star in the live-action Netflix series, which is being produced and directed by Tim Burton.

Additionally, Luis Guzmán will play Morticia’s husband Gomez while Jenna Ortega will play the title character.

The series is told from the perspective of Wednesday Addams, the daughter of Morticia and Gomez during her days as a student at Nevermore Academy as she works to develop her powers as a psychic in order to save a local town from a killing spree, per Variety.

Zeta-Jones is one of several actresses to play Morticia Addams recently. In 2019’s animated “The Addam’s Family” and its sequel due out later this year, Charlize Theron voiced the character while Anjelica Huston portrayed her in a pair of movies in the early 1990s.

On the television side, Carolyn Jones and Ellie Harvie have played the role in shows based on the family.

Zeta-Jones has carved out a niche for herself in television of late, appearing in the second and final season of Fox’s “Prodigal Son” and starring in Facebook Watch’s “Queen America.” Additionally, she starred in Lifetime’s “Cocaine Godmother” and played Hollywood icon Olivia de Havilland in “Feud: Bette and Joan.”

Click here to read the full article on Fox News.

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