Latina Magazine Celebrates 15 years with 15 Latinas We Love


Latina magazine celebrates its 15th anniversary with a special collector’s issue, “15 Latinas We Love,” which highlights fifteen of the most influential Latina celebrities on its October 2011 cover since the magazine hit the stands 15 years ago.

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The Evolving Face of Latino

The old cigarette slogan said, “You’ve come a long way baby.” This is an appropriate statement for the influx of Afro-Latinos in Hollywood.  Although culturally in the hearts of many an “Afro”- Latino there is no divide between being a Latino.  In fact many would never call themselves Afro-Latino no matter how dark they may be,  and even though  a great deal of people both non-Latino and Latino alike simply see them as Black.  It is like somehow you are diminished as of Latin descent the more apparent your African blood may be. 

What is interesting about the increasing successful amount of Latinos in Hollywood including Zoe Saldana, Maxwell(Puerto Rican), Soledad O’Brien(Cuban), Lloyd Banks(Puerto Rican), Rosario Dawson(Cuban and Puerto Rican), Tatayana Ali(Panamanian),  Laz Alonso(Cuban) and more is their desire to bring a  social understanding by vocalizing  they are both Latino and proud in addition to being “Black and proud.”  Probably because of an awareness of the historical discrimination including a marginalization of culture due to color.  

 In the 90’s it was rare as it is today for visibly Afro-Latinas such as Lauren Vélez would be cast as the leading lady as a Latina character on a television show (New York Undercover) but her look made her pefect for a on play romantic chemistry between both  Latin and African American leading men.  She also starred in the classic film, “I like it Like That.”


According to Wikipedia

Black Hispanics are often overlooked in the U.S. mass media and in general American social perceptions, where being “Hispanic” is often incorrectly given a racial value.   The situation is also the same in the U.S. Hispanic media and the Latin American media through their telenovelas.

Since the early days of the movie industry in the U.S., when Black Hispanic actors were given roles, they would usually be cast as African Americans (as in, NON-Hispanic black).For those with Spanish-speaking accents that betrayed an otherwise presumed non-Hispanic African American origin, they may seldom have been given roles as Hispanics.

Hence, this is what makes Zoe Saldana lead role in Colombiana triamphant.   She clearly is a light skinnned Black.  She clearly has a Spanish name.  She is both Dominican and Puerto Rican.  Although not Latino, Blair Underwood was proud to play the role of an American President of Afro-Cuban descent.  (See Interview).  The hope is that Univision, telenovelas and more forms of media will embrace all that makes up the image of Latino.

MCCN’s Erika L. Holmes talks about her Latin Comfort Foods:

Written by MCCN Editor Crystal Johnson

Discuss this Topic on our Forum Page(Click Here)

Scholarly Perspectives on Multi-Culturalism in Media: Part 1

The influence of media is as pervasive as changing from a world of Black and White television to color.   It is infinite as the internet in comparison to even the best cable package offering of channels.  Media is far-reaching and profound.   This is why media plays a critical role of representing  the voices, cultures, food, and representation of people as simply different not superior to one another.  Does media really step up to the call of to whom much is given, much is required?

In a paper by Katheryn Wright, PhD she cites the following  about the influence of film, “The institution of the cinema provides a place where a dialogue concerning power, oppression, privilege, representation, theory, and identity, begins to emerge both simultaneously and synthetically.”  She goes on to say, “Balancing Form and Content in Multicultural Film” deals with the challenge of looking at the cinema as both a vehicle to teach multiculturalism and an art form, which carries with it its own formalistic elements that make it something more than mere content.

Last year Zoe Saldana played the object of affection in both Star Trek and Avatar.  Whether in her own skin or in blue, even in 2010 she is atypical casting meaning against type for a leading lady.  Avatar for the past few weeks has experienced some backlash about racism.  IMHO(In My Humble Opinion) it is definitely not.  Cameron seems to go out of his way to drive the propaganda engine of loving despite color.  (Spoiler Alert: Just case you are in the minority folks who have not seen Avatar)  Clearly, the kiss and affection Neytiri (Saldana) and Jake (Sam Worthington) as a non avatar human demonstrates pure love transcending human race and the alien race.

The boundaries of intimacy still suffer in the real world and on-screen.  From friends to lovers, many people think multicultural casting is convoluted.   The bargaining chip that the original Star Trek series of the 60’s had for multi-cultural casting was that it was set in the future.  It leaps forward to a future of hope depicting race among human as a non issue.  The original Star Trek series is known for its ground breaking strides in multiculturalism in casting and the first Black/White interracial television kiss.   However,  some believe strides began with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.  An article from the Museum of Broadcast Communications states, “The CBS network and prospective sponsors balked at the casting of Arnaz, fearing that his Cuban accent–his ethnic identity–would alienate television viewers. To dispel doubts, Ball and Arnaz created a nightclub act and toured during the summer of 1950. When the show proved to be a huge success CBS agreed to finance a pilot starring husband and wife.

Dinner & The Golden Globes Best Picture Nominee Review

With the Golden Globes on Sunday here is a quick breakdown of the best picture category of the diverse films nominated:

Lightstorm Entertainment; Twentieth Century Fox

The Movie: Avatar is perhaps one of the greatest technical films in cinematic history and has racked up the box office numbers to become the second highest grossing film in history. James Cameron proves that he is a true visionary by turning in a breathtaking film. Avatar is a contender, but due to script issues it could end up on the outside looking in.

The Dinner: Zoe Saldana, Avatar’s star, hails from Puerto Rico. Serve someCrunchy cod fritters) or empanadillas (turnovers with lobster, crab or beef) to sample some of the great cuisine.


Up In The Air
Paramount Pictures; Paramount Pictures

Its strange to say that Up in the Air is a dark horse, but with a unfamiliarly brilliant mix of comedy and drama Up in the Air could either be hailed as a film of the moment and steal the Golden Globe, or it could be slammed as opportunistic and be passed over. Either way it has solid performances and a script that will make you laugh and think at the same time.

The Dinner: Have a cheese tasting session with a good pairing wine to experience a bit of Wisconsin, George Clooney’s character’s home.

The Hurt Locker
Voltage Pictures; Summit Entertainment

The Movie: Directed by Katheryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker is an in depth look at one of the most intense jobs in the War on Terror: Bomb defusing. The Film features Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie in a very intense ride through a tour in Iraq. Look for The Hurt Locker to win if the Hollywood Foreign Press can get around the public perception of current war films.

The Dinner: While C-Rations would be fitting, try serving a skewer with either beef or lamb along with some hummus and flatbread.

Inglorious Bastards/Brad Pitt

Inglourious Basterds
The Weinstein Company/Universal Pictures/A Band Apart/Zehnte Babelsberg GmbH Production; The Weinstein Company/Universal Pictures

The Movie: Quentin Tarantino delivers a film that was in the making allegedly as long as Avatar, however with Basterds Tarantino capitalizes on his skills as a writer and creates a taut film that utilizes every character and actor fully. Its hard to say if the Hollywood Foreign Press will vote for this film over Hurt Locker, but its hard to count Tarantino out of anything when he’s crafted such a great film.

The Dinner: Try Knockwurst and saurkrat paired with a great German Beer like a Krombacher or Beck’s.

Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire
A Lee Daniels Entertainment / Smokewood Entertainment Group Production; Lionsgate

The Movie: Precious burst onto the scene at Sundance and between its presenters (Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry) and its strong box office run it isn’t hard to say Precious is a strong contender. With recent festival wins and strong performances from Mariah Carey, Moniqiue, and Paula Patton you can’t count out this indie film that could.

The Dinner: After a well crafted but tough film to watch, cut and serve a slice of New York Cheesecake to cheer your party up a bit.

Review by Michael Fusco, MCCN Movie Critic

Latina Ladies of Avatar in the Spotlight

Michelle Rodriguez and Zoe Saldana have more than a few things in common.  Both women are American born.  They are both Latina.  Moreover, they are both of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent. Currently, they are both stars of the hottest film at the box office, Avatar.

MCCN recently did a feature on Zoe Saldana called: Her Skin Doesn’t Make Her Blue, so let’s give Michelle, the woman or shall we say the “Girl”who fought her way to the top with her breakout independent film performance in Girlfight her just dues.  Born in Texas, Michelle grew up moving from place to place including  Texas, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and New Jersey.

Her official fan website describes Rodriguez as a cross of beauty and brawn. As far as social cause, Rodriguez is involved in an effort against illegal whaling:

See Article on Zoe Saldana:

Zoe Saldana: Her Color Doesn’t Make Her Blue

In the hit film Avatar, Zoe Saldana is the color blue.  No sooner than the film, premiered the world wanted to know more about the lead female warrior character in the James Cameron film.  People are learning that the talented actress, Saldana is Afro-Latina.  Born and reared in the United States until she was 10 years old, her  multi-cultural heritage includes her father being of Domincan descent and her mother Puerto Rican.  She lived in the Dominican Republic until age 17.  Believe it or not, some parts of the world are not aware of the Afro Latino or the identity of  the Latino image bearing Black skin too.  It is great that Zoe’s success is shedding more light on culture.  What is also exciting is seeing her land a role in the film Colombiana as the lead.  It makes a strong statement about the star power she brings despite many Latin American countries still struggle with Black as Beautiful in their heirarchal scale.  Saldana embraces her physical identity as Black and her culture as Latin.  She never let Hollywood’s typical ideal leading lady concept be a hurdle for her.  She has simply jumped over the hurdles.

What do  Zoe and co-star Michelle Rodriguez have in common? Find out at:

Read Dinner and Movie Review for Avatar: