Afro-Latinx Artist Reyna Noriega Is Using Art to Uplift Brown and Black Women
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Afro-Latinx Artist Reyna Noriega

By Shayne Rodriguez Thompson, Pop Sugar

In 2017, Afro-Latinx visual artist Reyna Noriega began her career as a full-time creator. Little did she know that in just a few short years, she would have over 100,000 followers on Instagram, would be working with huge brands like Apple and Old Navy, and would design a cover for The New Yorker. Born and raised in Miami to a first-generation Cuban father and a Bahamian mother, Noriega, who is best-known for her bold, vibrant, graphic work, was destined to be an artist.

“My father is also an artist, and I became interested early on in just the magic of it all, being able to bring ideas to life on paper and communicate in a universal language,” Noriega told POPSUGAR in a recent interview. “I was always the ‘sensitive kid’ feeling a lot and thinking a lot, so art and writing were great outlets for me to get all of that under control and to be able to process my emotions.”

Now, Noriega’s art is being seen on a much wider scale and impacting thousands of people who follow her on social media or see her art on city walls and T-shirts. To get there, she had to put in a lot of work, including studying and learning on her own, despite the fact that she took art classes throughout high school and minored in art in college. Using the help of books and YouTube, Noriega honed her skills and eventually left her job as a teacher, with the full support of her parents.

“I was very fortunate that my family believed in me and my ability to make my passion a career and even help me make it happen! To this day, my mom is the person that helps me run my online shop, and they encourage me to strive higher,” Noriega told us.

By 2019, Noriega started doing brand work, after getting comfortable with her style and what she wanted to represent as an artist. It gradually became easier for her to align herself with brands that had the same mission. She is currently working on Amex’s “Always Welcome” design collective launch, which will provide businesses with signage for their storefronts and indicate their stance on inclusivity.

“Honestly, every time I get an email, I am honored and humbled that my name enters rooms I never thought would. From companies whose products I used to save up for at one point, like Apple, to legendary publications like The New Yorker, or having thousands and thousands of people wear a shirt I designed with Old Navy. It really is a dream come true,” she said.

Ultimately, it was Noriega embracing her culture and her commitment to advocating for Black and brown people through her art that got her there. She says her Afro-Caribbean culture is what brings “vibrancy and flavor” to her art. But we think it’s so much more than that. With just a single glance, it’s obvious that Noriega’s background informs her work. Her use of color, the way she showcases the female form, the various complexions and skin tones she celebrates in her work, and the stunning, tropics-inspired botanical scenes she often creates speak to exactly who she is and where she comes from.

“Art has always been a place I look to boost my mood, museums, galleries, [and] learning about art history. But unfortunately in those spaces, rarely did I ever feel I belong, because my story wasn’t told on those walls, and in the rare occasion it was, it only highlighted the struggles and traumas,” she said. “I wanted to create work that would lift moods and raise the self-efficacy of Black and brown women with positive representation and vibrant depictions of joy.”

Noriega describes the art she creates with a tremendous amount of care and respect. Her mission is to create art that represents and uplifts communities that are often left out of the conversation. “I focus on women because as a woman, I know all of the challenges and barriers we face,” she said. “Inequalities in pay, harmful messaging on body image, the ongoing fight for body autonomy . . . it can be really exhausting. Add on to that the challenges being a BIPOC, and it just magnifies. My art is meant to celebrate women, inspire joy, and a reclamation of peace and rest.”

Noriega recognizes how important it is to not only amplify voices like hers but also to use her gifts and resources to speak up for people who don’t have the same advantages that she does. Even as a Black Latina, she’s cognizant of the privileges she has and the responsibility associated with them. “For me personally, I often look at my identities as a privilege, which pushes me to amplify Black voices even more. I am all too aware of the advantages I have received being a Latina in Miami, and even being ethnically Caribbean, although my race is Black,” she said. “Being able to say where your lineage comes from is a privilege many Black Americans don’t have. I have been unfairly judged and treated and had some very hurtful comments said to me, but I must also be aware of how my skin tone provides privileges, how my heritage provides privileges, and how knowing more than one language is a privilege.” And in recognizing that, she’s able to leverage her position to empower others in really visible ways.

Click here to read the full article on Pop Sugar.

This Afro-Latina Never Saw Herself Represented Growing Up — Here’s How She’s Working To Change That
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Afro Latina - Bianca Kea

By Refinery 29

Growing up in the suburbs of Detroit, Bianca Kea was acutely aware that outside of her family, there were no other Afro-Latinxs that looked like her. No one she could relate to or look up to. But that all changed when she moved to New York City.

“Moving to New York City was such an eye-opening experience,” she recalls. “And it was the first time somebody actually identified me as Afro-Latina — I had never heard the term before, and I was able to learn about my heritage, my history as an Afro-Mexicana.” Her experience — the realization and recognition of being Afro-Latina, of being both Black and Mexican, and not feeling like she had to choose one or the other — led to her launching Yo Soy AfroLatina, an online platform and lifestyle brand that celebrates “Afro-Latinidad in the Americas and validates our hermanas’ experience.” It was born out of not seeing herself represented and wanting to create something that would not only make an impact on the culture, but also cultivate a community. “We all have different experiences — we’re not a monolith — and it’s important for people to understand what it means to be at the intersection of two beautiful cultures,” Kea says. “I hope we’re able to break down stereotypes, empower people, and allow them to be Afro-Latina. Just be yourself.”

That’s why Refinery29 is partnering with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple to produce Valiente Y Fuerte — a video campaign designed to amplify the voices of Latinx creatives like Kea who inspire us every day. Watch the video above for more information about Yo Soy AfroLatina — and how Kea is turning her passion into a legacy.

Click here to read the full article on Refinery 29.

First Latina to go to space announces bilingual STEAM board book series
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Dr Ellen ochoa smiling and posing in front of a gray background for the camera. She is wearing a blue button up. Ochoa is writing a STEAM board book series

By The Downey Patriot

Lil’ Libros Publishing has acquired world rights to a bilingual five-board book STEAM series, Dr. Ochoa’s Stellar World, researched and written by Dr. Ellen Ochoa, American engineer who became the first Latina woman to go to space.

Inspired by her experiences as a NASA astronaut, Dr. Ochoa’s books will celebrate the joy of scientific curiosity, the fundamentals of STEAM topics, and the American Latino experience for the youngest of readers.

“I wish I had known when I was little that science [or STEAM] is all about curiosity and creativity,” said Dr. Ochoa. “Those skills come naturally to young kids, and I hope this series engages kids and parents alike, in both English and Spanish, about STEAM concepts and excites them about exploring the world they inhabit.”

“We are excited to work alongside Dr. Ochoa to help create an environment where our littlest readers are introduced to STEAM concepts confidently and in two languages,” said Patty Rodriguez, publisher at Lil’ Libros. “Becoming a scientist is no longer just a dream for our children, it is a possibility and Dr. Ellen Ochoa is an example of that.”

“It is an honor to welcome Dr. Ellen Ochoa to the Lil’ Libros family. Bringing bilingual STEAM topics to children will open a world of possibilities,” added Ariana Stein, Lil’ Libros co-founder. “We are confident that Dr. Ochoa’s Stellar World will inspire curiosity and leave a lasting impact on children.”

Publication for the first book, Dr. Ochoa’s Stellar World: We Are All Scientists, is set for August 30, 2022.

Lil’ Libros is a bilingual children’s book publisher based out of Los Angeles. In a world lacking bilingual books for children, two best friends-turned-mothers – Patty Rodriguez, of Downey, and Ariana Stein – began their mission to celebrate the duality of the American Latino experience through picture board books and now hardcovers.

Click here to read the full article on The Downey Patriot.

Here’s What Mexican Tequila Brands Really Think About Celebrity Tequilas
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Bottles from different brands of tequila on a table

By Rosie Bell, Fodors

For many years tequila has been a man’s game. Increasingly, it’s narrowing further to a non-Mexican celebrity’s enterprise. A-listers are converting their cult followings into tequila drinkers and causing ripple effects in the industry, which is now said to be worth US$10.8-billion-a-year.

These days you can sip on stylish agave drinks from the likes of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Elon Musk, P. Diddy, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Justin Timberlake, Nick Jonas, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan and Chris Noth (also known as “Mr. Big” from Sex and the City). Just a handful of women are on the celebrity tequila guest list including Canadian actress Shay Mitchell of Pretty Little Liars fame, sometimes-singer Rita Ora, and Kendall Jenner (who surely needs no introduction). More and more famous faces are cashing in on this protected centuries-old tradition, but what’s driving the boom, and what do Mexican women, who are traditionally sidelined in the industry, make of it?

What’s Behind the Gold Rush”
One brand is largely credited with triggering the celebrity tequila influx: Casamigos. Hollywood megastar George Clooney “accidentally” founded the drinks company with property tycoon Mike Meldman and Rande Gerber (his long-time friend and the husband of supermodel Cindy Crawford) in 2013. Just four years later, it was sold to drinks conglomerate Diageo for a whopping $1 billion, proving that there was serious money to be made from agave. The U.S. is now so head over heels for the legendary spirit that sales of full-proof tequila soared by almost 200 percent since 2002 according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). In 2020, Mexico produced 60 million gallons of this liquid gold, which is 800 percent more than it did two decades ago.

George Clooney’s star quality might have certainly helped attract the glitterati. However, the female master distiller of Mexico’s top ultra-premium tequila cites the heightened focus on actual product quality from distillers for the drink’s rising popularity. Clase Azul is the Chanel of tequila brands and Viridiana Tinoco is the master distiller for all its products. “The tequila industry has changed and the work that is being put in behind the scenes to make the products incredible is part of the reason it’s growing exponentially,” she remarks. Gone are the days when you would take shots of unpalatable tequila just to get drunk. “Now you want to sip the tequila neat and simply enjoy it,” she adds.

Click here to read the full article on Fodors.

Latinx? Latino? Hispanic? A linguistics expert explains the confusion
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latinx language dictionary pointing to the spanish word for grammar (gramatica)

The many pan-ethnic labels used to describe the group of people who trace their roots to Latin America or Spain — terms like Hispanic, Latino, Latinx or Latine — have left some confused, some angry and many people debating what word to use.

Hispanic and Latino remain the dominant terms to refer to people from this group, according to the Pew Research Center, but a term growing in the public consciousness is Latinx, a gender-neutral version of the masculine and feminine words for Latino and Latina. But the term has been criticized by some Latinos and Latino organizations who call the term elitist and non-inclusive.

ABC News spoke with language researcher, author and TikTok sensation Dr. Jose Medina about why it’s so hard to describe such a vast, complex group of people in a single term.

“As an openly queer, Latinx, Latine, Spanglish-speaking language researcher of the world, to me that intersectionality is really, really important,” said Medina.

“The reason why that’s so important is that no one really gets to choose how somebody self-identifies,” he added.

For nonbinary, gender-fluid, queer people and others, Latinx is an inclusive term that rejects the gender binary. It can also be used to refer to a group of people without using the masculine- or feminine-dominant pronouns.

Others have criticized the term because they say it “anglicized” the Spanish language, ignores the language’s roots, and “is not representative of the larger Latino community,” according to a Pew Research Center survey.

“There is no definite beginning to the term Latinx here in the United States. Some people feel like it started to appear in academia, specifically Latinx writers, around 2004,” said Medina. “But the truth is that there are others that point to scholars and researchers in Puerto Rico, in Central America, South America and other parts of the Caribbean that were actually using the ‘X’ and also the ‘at’ sign to be more inclusive in their studies and in their work.”

Only 23% of U.S. adults who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino had heard of the term Latinx, according to a 2020 Pew Research Center poll.

And a recent Gallup poll found that 4% of people surveyed preferred “Latinx” as the label of choice to describe their ethnic group.

Recently, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the oldest Hispanic and Latino civil rights organization in the U.S., and Congressman Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., stated that they would no longer use the term Latinx because it was offensive to some and failed to prove that it had a wide acceptance.

When Latino politicos use the term it is largely to appease white rich progressives who think that is the term we use,” Gallego tweeted last month.

Medina, however, disagrees.

“There are a lot of folks that actually are saying that the Latinx term should not be used because it cannot be conjugated in Español. But the truth is that, if we really stop to think about it, we were colonized from the moment that the Spaniards came to the Americas and took away Indigenous tongues,” said Medina. “All of these attacks on really utilizing and leveraging linguistic liberation as a way to value intersectionality — [it’s] something that each and every one of us should defend, not oppose.”

The word is mostly known and used by younger Hispanics — 42% of those surveyed between the ages of 18 and 29 knew the term, but only 7% of those ages 65 or older have heard of the term, Pew reports.

Click here to read the full article on ABC News.

Education leaders serving Latino students rethink college equity post-pandemic
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education institute sign at the entrance to California State University, Northridge on Jan. 23

By 

As higher education leaders mark 25 years since the creation of Hispanic-serving institutions, they’re assessing how these colleges and universities can enroll and graduate more Latino students amid the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last fall, colleges saw a 5 percent drop in Latino undergraduate enrollments. The dramatic decrease came one year after Latino college enrollment had increased by nearly 2 percent, according to Deborah Santiago, CEO of Excelencia in Education, a nonprofit that analyzes how higher education institutions are enrolling, retaining and graduating Latino students.

“There was a lot of progress and accelerating enrollment. We were seeing increases in completion as well,” Santiago said during a virtual briefing on Hispanic-serving institutions held on Wednesday. “In one year, we saw a precipitous drop, scaling back some of the enrollment progress.”

While HSIs make up only about 18 percent of all colleges and universities, they enroll and graduate over 60 percent of the nation’s Latino college students. HSIs are defined as institutions where at least a quarter of the student body is Hispanic.

In the briefing, education officials and Latino members of Congress reflected on the growth of these institutions while discussing how they can step up to recent challenges.

“Equity is a big focus for us moving forward,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said during the briefing. “Institutions like HSIs play a major role in that. So when we’re talking about recovery as a country, we need to acknowledge HSIs and the important work that they do to promote equity and access for all students.”

In their 25 years of existence, HSIs have grown exponentially, from about 189 colleges and universities to 539 as of last year. This is due to an increase in Latino college students who are mainly concentrated in several predominantly Hispanic areas, cities and states.

In the last 25 years, over 835 unique federal grants, totaling $1.9 billion, have provided educational opportunities for over 1.1 million Latino students enrolled in HSIs.

Santiago said while federal funding is not parallel to the growth HSIs have seen over the last decades, there’s an opportunity to assess what kinds of investments should be done to meet the growing demand and ensure successful results.

Roadblocks, then Covid

While college enrollment among Latino students has been increasing over the past decade and reached a record high in 2017, Hispanics still lag behind in college completion, according to Excelencia’s research. At least 22 percent of Latino adults have earned an associate degree or higher, compared to 39 percent of the general population. High costs, a limited knowledge of college and trying to balance work, family and academics are the most common barriers preventing Hispanic students from finishing college on time.

But the panorama gets more complicated as the Covid-19 pandemic heaps great economic stress on Latino families.

Click here to read the full article on NBC News.

How Rising Latino Artists Maria Isabel, Destiny Rogers, and Jay Wheeler Have Made Their Dreams Come True
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Rising Latino Artists Maria Isabel, Destiny Rogers, and Jay Wheeler

By Alvin Blanco, Genius

It’s all about talent, education, and the willingness to take risks. Music is meant to inspire, and a new wave of fresh, exciting, ridiculously talented Latino artists understands this fact.

Maria Isabel, Destiny Rogers, and Jay Wheeler are up-and-coming singer-songwriters with the talent and desire to achieve greatness. This next class of stars succeeded by tapping into education to make their dreams come true—and they’ve inspired their fans and followers in the process.

The three artists embody the spirit of the McDonald’s HACER National Scholarship, established in 1985. The goal of the scholarship is to help Latino students break barriers and make their parents and those around them proud. Over the years, McDonald’s has helped more than 17,000 Latino students—and given out more than $32 million—through the HACER program. The initiative is especially important in tough times like we’re facing now. Given the state of the world, it’s crucial for young people to keep moving forward and do more.

Isabel, Rogers, and Wheeler are certainly moving in the right direction. But they come from different places and represent the breadth of the Latino diaspora. Isabel grew up in Queens, New York, as the daughter of parents from the Dominican Republic, while Wheeler was born and raised in Salinas, Puerto Rico. Rogers, who is half Mexican on her mother’s side, held down the West Coast, growing up in Lodi, California. They all knew early on that creating music was in their future.

Dreams of rocking stages don’t always line up with the plans of parents who want more practical, and safer, careers for their children. Isabel, who dropped her debut EP, Stuck In The Sky, in October 2020, seamlessly blends her Dominican ancestry’s bachata and merengue with R&B and hip-hop and her lush vocals. She is particularly thankful that her parents had no issue supporting her aspirations.

“My parents took four-year-old me seriously when I said I was going to become a singer,” says Isabel, who attended NYU. “They never argued with that dream or told me I had to be anything different. Obviously, I had to go to school, get good grades, and all that stuff, but it was never a matter of like, pick something. I think with any first-generation kid watching your parents make sacrifices or work extra hours or whatever it may be to make it possible for you to do what you want to do, I think that was the biggest motivating force to be successful.”

While Isabel’s parents had faith in her talents, Wheeler’s classmates in school were less kind. The reggaeton crooner has spoken candidly about the bullying he faced, but he was still able to persevere and become a certified star. By posting his music on the Internet, Wheeler jump started his career. Fans dubbed him “La Voz Favorita,” and he earned praise and hands-on guidance from reggaeton legend DJ Nelson, who executive produced his two critically acclaimed albums: 2019’s Platónico and 2020’s Platónicos.

Those school bullies couldn’t knock Wheeler off his path. “I always loved music [but] I knew that it was going to be hard,” he says. “Living for something that you love is harder. I learned English in school and watching TV and movies. I knew at some point in my life I wanted to do something in the English world because [I have] a lot of respect for American music. A lot of kids [take education] for granted—I don’t know need to learn this, I don’t need to learn that—but when you get older, you realize that all the things that they gave you, you do need to educate yourself in everything, because life puts you in a different position everyday.”

Click here to read the full article on Genius.

Inspired by Family and Driven by an Entrepreneurial Spirit, Here’s How This Latina Baker Is Forging Her Own Path
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Inspired by Family and Driven by an Entrepreneurial Spirit, Here's How This Latina Baker Is Forging Her Own Path

BIRENE SAN SEGUNDO, Pop Sugar

Ten years ago, Danira Cancinos was a busy single mom of three who dreaded going to work every day at an arcade. During her 9-to-5, all she could think of was her dream job: baking. “I would just think of new things I wanted to add to my menu, my orders, new classes. It was all I wanted to do,” she said. Today, that side hustle is now her full-time career.

Danira’s passion for baking started when, as a child, she watched her aunt Irma and her cousins whip up the most creative cakes and cupcakes. She insisted she could have never gotten to where she is today without the support of her family — or her “backbone,” as she calls them — never doubting her drive or her love for baking. Her family helped watch her kids while she was building her business, and her grandmother set the stage for how she approaches her work ethic and cultivates her ambition.

“My grandma was a hard worker,” Danira said. “She was super independent. She owned her own little shop where she would sell drinks and candy, and she worked until she was 90.” Danira also said the other women in her family, like her mom and aunts, take after their grandmother as well. “That has been such a great influence on me. I have big shoes to fill in,” she said.

An introvert with a tendency to worry, Danira said the hardest part of taking the leap to become a business owner and chase her baking dreams was putting herself out there and believing that she could achieve it. She decided to read, listen, and learn from other entrepreneurs who had found success. “Surrounding myself with people who had gone before me, who were killing it as entrepreneurs, was crucial,” she said. These people gave her the inspiration she needed, even though they were total strangers.

It is this same inspiration that drives Danira to want to spark the entrepreneurial spirit in others. “I want to be able to help other people believe in themselves and reach for more,” she said. So through her company, Dani’s Dulce Confections, Danira not only teaches her students to bake a perfect cake pop but also gives tips and advice on how to grow their baking businesses.

Click here to read the full article on Pop Sugar.

Latino Businessman Empowers Communities Of Color
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Latino Businessman Empowers Communities Of Color

By Birmingham Times

Hispanic businessman George Burciaga enjoys serving on the board of directors of Chicago United, an organization seeking to empower entrepreneurs from Chicago’s communities of color.

“As a member of the board of directors, I can make a change by supporting other Latinos, other African Americans, and other business leaders of color,” said Burciaga, who also serves as the organization’s treasurer.

“Chicago United allows me to assist them. It is my responsibility to help others.”

He knows that his role allows him to give back to the community some of what he received while growing up in a poor home in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood.

Chicago United promotes and encourages entrepreneurs of color to join its board of directors, said Burciaga. “I am a Latino who is not only a member of the board of directors but the treasurer. … They recognize the importance of empowering Latinos, African Americans, Asians, and other minorities.”

The 45-year-old businessman won a “Business Leaders of Color” award in 2017. Chicago United grants these awards annually. Receiving it was an honor that boosted his career, Burciaga said.

“Chicago United is taking an empowering position showcasing and highlighting business leaders of color. We are making sure that they … are recognized and more visible so that they have better chances to grow,” said Burciaga.

These entrepreneurs create jobs that help support their communities, he said.

The boost Burciaga received from the award led him to launch Ignite Cities, a consulting company designed to support mayors across the country with critical issues facing cities today. Burciaga is Ignite Cities’ CEO and managing partner.

“I’m working directly with the mayors of Los Angeles, Denver, Houston, Atlanta, Miami, among other great mayors. I provide them with new technology that gives all vulnerable communities of color the ability to compete. It also empowers them,” said Burciaga, who sold his software company, Elevate DIGITAL, to the CIVIQ corporation in 2016.

Burciaga hopes that with his input, the communities of color he serves can “receive funds to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic, or broadband to connect students.”

“From being poor in Pilsen and needing help, I grew up to a place where I can give back [some of] what I have received and help the city, the community, the mayors, and Chicago United,” Burciaga said.

Click here to read the full article on Birmingham Times.

Latina Entrepreneurs Are Forcing Beauty Giants to Pay Attention
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Latina entrepreneur and beauty giant

By , Bloomberg

Almost nine years ago, Jessica Torres launched a style blog to help build her resume as an aspiring fashion journalist. A self-described plus-sized Latina from the Bronx, she didn’t see herself reflected among staffers at the magazine where she interned. She eventually came to the conclusion that the path to success would require striking out on her own.

Today, Torres has 138,000 Instagram followers. Instead of writing stories, she’s paid by the likes of Sephora and Ugg to promote their products, raking in as much as $25,000 for posts and projects on behalf of some brands. But Torres isn’t your typical online influencer: she’s part of a wave of Latinas looking to expand their online footprint and boost corporate respect for one of the largest U.S. consumer demographics.

Especially in the realm of beauty products, Hispanics are increasingly driving and shaping the industry as consumers and business owners. In 2020, Latinos spent 13% more than the average shopper on beauty and personal care, according to research firm NielsenIQ. And there’s a growing number of internet personalities and Hispanic-owned startups getting the message out, from influencer Mariale Marrero and her 6 million Instagram followers to Treslúce Beauty, a makeup brand launched in June by Billboard top 5 Latin female artist Becky G.

Now 31, Torres finally does see herself—she’s part of a burgeoning group of Hispanic entrepreneurs and social media stars. “It’s been really cool to see how much power Latinos are having—and taking,” Torres, who is Ecuadorian-American, said. “It’s game changing.”

This growing prominence in the retail space has accelerated a push to dispel media portrayals that often ignore the diversity and evolving identity of Latinos. Hispanics boast a wide range of skin tones and hair types, which means that no single commercial approach can meet all beauty needs.

“There’s still a lot of education that needs to be done,” said Marrero, who was born in Venezuela and last year launched an eye and cheek palette in collaboration with Too Faced. She said there’s still an outdated idea “of what a Hispanic or Latina has to look like.”

Natasha Pongonis is the chief executive officer of multicultural consumer research firm O.Y.E. and a partner at marketing agency Nativa. She said most advertisements featuring Hispanic models don’t reflect the wide spectrum of Latino looks, like hairstyles ranging from locks in tight curls to pin-straight. The range of shades for certain skincare and makeup products also remains limited, while marketing campaigns by big skincare companies often feature models with lighter complexions, Pongonis said.

Representation of Hispanics in content across platforms was 6% in 2020, according to analytics company Nielsen, even though they make up almost 19% of the U.S. population. And when Hispanics do appear online or in a magazine, they’re often depicted as “exotic,” according to Deyanira Rojas-Sosa, an associate professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz.

Indigenous and Afro-Latino people in particular get little representation in personal care and makeup ads, said Danielle Alvarez, founder of public relations firm The Bonita Project.

Despite the rise of Hispanic-owned brands, they’re still a small part of the beauty market. In a recent panel featuring Latino entrepreneurs by think tank Ready to Beauty, 88% said improved access to capital was critical to expanding the sector. But some entrepreneurs are done waiting for investors.

“I think many people are going ‘well, what the heck?’ I might as well just do it myself,’” said Margarita Arriagada, who served as Sephora’s chief merchant for nine years.

Arriagada, 68, launched refillable-lipstick company Valdé Beauty in the fall of 2020. The name is an homage to her mother, Carolina Valdelomar, who immigrated with her children from Peru. She always wore lipstick as a “glamorous coat of armor” while working three jobs to make ends meet, Arriagada said.

Bloomberg Digital: Why Skin Lightening Is Big Business In Some Parts of the World

Then there’s Latina music star Rebbeca Marie Gomez, better known as Becky G. Her song “Mayores,” featuring Puerto Rican sensation Bad Bunny, has racked up more than two billion views on YouTube.

A former CoverGirl, the 24-year-old realized she didn’t just want to be one mainstream brand’s Hispanic face, saying she’d rather show that Latinas could start their own product lines and craft their own narratives. Like Torres, she too saw minimal representation of people like herself in the media and advertising.

Click here to read the full article on Bloomberg.

Voice of OC Director of Photography Julie Leopo Named One of the Most Influential Latina Journalists in California
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BY SONYA QUICK, Voice of OC

Voice of OC Director of Photography Julie Leopo is one of the most influential Latina journalists across the state in the 2021 finalists announced by the Latino Journalists of California.

Leopo is an award-winning journalist from Santa Ana who has developed Voice of OC’s visual journalism to document Orange County’s critical quality of life news issues in photos, essays and videos.

“Her images told the story of the pandemic in the Latino community. She captured struggle, fear and hope.”

Independent judges on Leopo’s nomination
In addition to working as Voice of OC’s photojournalist Leopo also has focused on opening up opportunities for others, working with Omar Sanchez and Jose Hernandez as developing young visual journalists.

Leopo stands among Latina journalists at Telemundo, CNN, NBC4, Good Morning America, the Fresno Bee, LAist and LA Taco. Finalists were selected based on work accomplished during the past year, the impact of that work and how many people in the community the journalists were reaching with their work.

“We recognize their reporting ranging from climate change to social justice, politics and many other topics that affect the communities they represent.”

Click here to read the full article on Voice of OC.

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Upcoming Events

  1. City Career Fair
    January 19, 2022 - November 4, 2022
  2. From Day One
    February 9, 2022
  3. The Small Business Expo–Multiple Event Dates
    February 17, 2022 - December 1, 2022
  4. From Day One
    February 22, 2022
  5. Prospanica 2022 Leadership Summit
    March 10, 2022 - March 12, 2022
  6. 2022 Prospanica Leadership Summit
    March 10, 2022 - March 12, 2022
  7. CSUN Center on Disabilities 2022 Conference
    March 13, 2022 - March 18, 2022
  8. HACR 2022 Latina Empow(h)er Summit ™
    March 21, 2022 - March 23, 2022
  9. UNIDOS US Changemakers Summit & Capital Awards
    March 28, 2022 - March 30, 2022
  10. From Day One
    March 29, 2022