Latina/o Heritage Month! Shake it like Anita!

Me. Every morning. (Wepa!)

Happy Latina/o Heritage Month!

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Day 30: A Beautiful Brown Work in Progress

One dark and stormy night, @Latinegro founded the 30 Day Latino Blog Challenge. He scheduled it to coincide with Latino/a and Latin American Heritage Month (I hate the word Hispanic) which began today and ends October 15th. And, hospitable fellow that he is, he’s invited any Latino blogger to join in.

Since I can count on one hand the number of fellow Afrolatina bloggers I know, I think I’ll take the plunge. After all, I haven’t written a post specific to Latina or Afrolatina issues for awhile now. For 30 days and nights, I owe the interwebs at least two paragraphs on the topic o’ the day. To follow along (or backtrack) click the tag “latina/o heritiage month.” Today’s topic(s): What I learned in the last 30 days

Well family–all caught up.  I even got some decent two paragraph responses in.

I’d like to thank @Latinegro for setting up the blog challenge.  This man is the kind of consistent and thoughtful blogger I aspire to be.  I look forward to engaging in the afro-latino/Latinegr@ blogosphere he is damn near single-handedly creating.  Giving brown people a voice on the internet is difficult for a number reasons but we need to make sure our voices are heard.  The debate is going to continue with or without us and not for our benefit.  #leggo

Back to the prompt:

The last thirty days have been something else.  In the real world and the digitalone.  This blog is about autobiography, archive and insurgency but I don’t even know where to start.  Short answer is easiest.

First, I’ve learned that I love blogging. I love writing.  New media is a fun and exciting place for me.  And I need to go with those feelings.  This blog, joining the @FreshXpress blog network, finding a “Kismet” voice, splicing black girl identity and making new connections–all of this gives me life.  And more foolishness is in store.

Second, back in the real world and over the last year, the stereotypical parts of my Latina have receded a bit–food, music, pop culture.  I had a hard time answering those prompts, and not just because I did half of them last minute.  My location makes it difficult to remain as close to the community as I’d like to be–although, as a trade off, since I live in an area where multi-racial encounters are fairly common, making my black & Puerto Rican-ness much less “interesting” to the average white person.  Or black person.

But part of it is that my political identity is shifting.  My Latina has been manifesting in ways that are more Afro-diasporic (Yoruba, slavery research, solidarity with Haiti).  And my black has grown more diasporic as well (trips to West Africa, starting to loc my hair).  It will be interesting for me to see how I answer this challenge in another year–and with more disciplined commitment.

And that is the final thing I learned, and not just here in my blogging life.  Discipline is key.  Shall we bring Ralphie back?:

Yuh.

Happy Latina/o and Latin American Heritage Month. Love you.  Go forth.  Commit (black & brown) politics. Make social justice babies.  Come back and visit the Kis.

Days 21-29 Catch Up: The Quick & Dirty Finish

I’ve got to apologize to @Latinegro because this is starting to feel like one of those old-school chain letters. Bad blogger.

Then again, I always did like those things….

One dark and stormy night, @Latinegro founded the 30 Day Latino Blog Challenge. He scheduled it to coincide with Latino/a and Latin American Heritage Month (I hate the word Hispanic) which began today and ends October 15th. And, hospitable fellow that he is, he’s invited any Latino blogger to join in.

Since I can count on one hand the number of fellow Afrolatina bloggers I know, I think I’ll take the plunge. After all, I haven’t written a post specific to Latina or Afrolatina issues for awhile now. For 30 days and nights, I owe the interwebs at least two paragraphs on the topic o’ the day. To follow along (or backtrack) click the tag “latina/o heritiage month.” Today’s topic(s): Uh huh, keep on reading….

*does a salsa spin and keeps on cheating*

Day 21: What Latin American Country/Island I Have Been to? I wrote this when I went to Brazil for the first time.

Day 22: Do you consider yourself more Latino than American?

This one is a good one.

I consider myself American. Of course, when I think “American” I am also thinking pan-hemispheric. My America encompasses everything west of the Treaty of Tordesillas.

But I still consider myself American in the United States sense. True, I wish the U.S. would live up to its creed and unwrap itself from its imperial ventures around the globe (including the island of Puerto Rico). And I definitely felt Michelle Obama when she described how proud she was of her country–and that it was the first time she felt that way.

But my Latino identity, as multi-tiered as it is, remains wrapped around a history particular to the United States. Trans-atlantic slavery to the U.S. South and the Caribbean, one-drop rules, cotton and tobacco farming, property loss through gentrification and eminent domain, labor migrations to cities in the North, espiritismo and Pentecostalism, bootstraps and the 14th Amendment. Even my privilege is wrapped up in being from the United States. They are indistinguishable. I blame it on my mama.

Day 23: Hispanic or Latino: Which do you prefer?

Day 24: Should Puerto Rico be a state?

Aww snap. Hit me with your best shot, why don’t you?

I think Puerto Rico has the right to self-determination. If that means state, so be it. If that means independent nation, so be it. Or whatever is in between. The struggle for Puerto Rico is not so much the form that emancipation should take–although this is critical and important–but the fact that this choice has never been presented to the island with no strings attached and with the full support of the federal government. Puerto Rico is consistently treated like the pathetic step-child by state and federal governments who use the island for experiments in sterilization & education, a dumping ground for military waste and a playground for corporate execs and Wall Street elites. Which flows into the common wisdom. Don’t believe me? Ask the person sitting next to you if you need a passport to visit the island? #fail

Day 25: Post a picture of your familia and explain the significance.

My mother and father met in high school. My dad has a story he liked to tell about first meeting her. Walking with a friend, he bumped into a young woman in the hallway at school. She kept moving; him, being the swaggalicious heterosexual black boy he was followed her with his body until she was out of sight, his oblivious friend continuing to talk all the while. By the time he turned back, he said, he’d already decided, “I’m going to marry that girl.”

I don’t know how he got this shot of my mother and my aunt and himself. And there’s something vaguely lecherous about him spying in on what was obviously a sister moment (my aunt has the uh-uh look she still gets on her face when her train of thought-speech has been interrupted). But whenever I see this photo I think of that story. One day, I’m going to marry that girl.

Day 26: Favorite Latino Actor or Actress. Redirect: Rita Moreno.

get em, boo!

Day 27: Favorite Latina/o Author

That’s tough. All the usuals are in evidence: Gloria Anzaldúa, Cherríe Moraga, Michele Serros, Junot Diaz (I’ve got no beef with Oscar Wao) & Piri Thomas. Eduardo Galeano and Gabriel García Márquez are my favorite Latin American authors–One Hundred Years of Solitude is a classic. Isabelle Allende is the writer I hate to love: on an intellectual level her work goes too far but no writer since E. B. White has been able to wring tears from me the way she can–and not during the scenes of violence.

Truth is, I don’t have one. And now that I think about this prompt, I realize I can’t name an author who fits my imaginary criteria for favorite: great writer, Puerto Rican & latinegra descent, speculative fiction aficionado.
Most of the brown writers I’ve come into contact with have been of Chicano or Mexican descent, or been male.

I toss this one out to la familia. If you’ve got someone I should read, pass the suggestion along. I’ll even blog it.

Day 28: Family Ancestry

Ay carajo. as @LuvvieiG might say: iFail. iRedirect.

iAdd: my grandmother’s grandmother was apparently Taino. Her grandfather was Spanish. There’s some additional rigmarole about her being “very beautiful” and I think my childhood self imagined her as a princess (too much Pocahontas, I know. See what Disney does to your brain?)

The family ancestry that is important is the one I’ve been describing over these last twenty-eight prompts: United States Slave South on my father’s side & Peasant Farming Puerto Rican on my mother’s. A match made in post-colonial heaven. But I look forward to chatting more about family ancestry as this blog develops. I’ve got a few projects planned out–stay tuned.

Day 29: Latino Politics–What affects you?

My earlier concern with black and brown political unity and pan-brown dialogue irrespective of language bears out in several larger issues that aren’t seen as specifically “Latino” issues. Keeping abortion legal and protecting my right to deliver a child to term is critical and critical for Latinas who come from families and communities that are “traditionally” more Catholic, more patriarchal and more conservative. I used quotation marks because most of that is anecdotal. In my personal experience, the truth that doesn’t like to be told is that a Latina girl or woman is as likely to have a child as she is to abort with or without approval from the father (or her father, or priest, or pastor). We are not a womanhood being run by the men in our communities so don’t let the passive-Latina-wife stereotypes fool you. Reproductive choice, one way or another, I dare say, has been a fact of life since the First Man looked down to measure his ding-a-ling while the First Woman looked around, saw someone left the gates of Eden unlocked and decided she wanted something more.

The real problem is that these shouldn’t be closeted choices–any woman should be able to choose when and what she is going to do with her body and that includes the nine months it takes to bring a life into this world.

The other issues are old hat by now but we need to keep talking about them. Gentrification is DESTROYING our communities. It is at the root of gang violence, education resources, voting patterns, tax brackets, foreclosures, unemployment–everything. Violence against women and girls of color, including street harassment, is tied up with this too. Rebuilding New Orleans is a personal issue for me. Ending gun violence in Chicago is another one. Equal access to higher education–and rigorous academic teaching and standards is a third.

Immigration is an issue that does not affect me as directly. I was born on the mainland. Puerto Rico is U.S. property. My obligatory brownness makes Driving While Black & Female a problem but not one that will get me deported (thrown in jail on trumped up charges and at risk of other bodily violence, yes). I live on the east side of the Mississippi and above the Mason-Dixon line. I speak fluent English. In other words, I’ve got a knapsack of privileges that protect me the ICE-industrial complex even though I am black & brown. My citizenship status is a kind of freedom paper certain everyday injustices that punish so many people from just trying to live, work and raise families in the U.S.

But as a larger fact of life…if ICE is coming for them at midnight they will be coming for me in the morning. Two degrees or less separates me from someone deported or threatened with deportation. That is unacceptable.

Latinos. We got issues. And these are issues that interlock…which means that maybe as we topple one at a time, we can more easily topple them all.

Stay tuned for Day 30….

Days 14-20 Catch Up: I Love Brown People

Quick & dirty blogging continues with the video series:

One dark and stormy night, @Latinegro founded the 30 Day Latino Blog Challenge. He scheduled it to coincide with Latino/a and Latin American Heritage Month (I hate the word Hispanic) which began today and ends October 15th. And, hospitable fellow that he is, he’s invited any Latino blogger to join in.

Since I can count on one hand the number of fellow Afrolatina bloggers I know, I think I’ll take the plunge. After all, I haven’t written a post specific to Latina or Afrolatina issues for awhile now. For 30 days and nights, I owe the interwebs at least two paragraphs on the topic o’ the day. To follow along (or backtrack) click the tag “latina/o heritiage month.” Today’s topic(s): Well, see below….

Ahem. I’ve got a mini-break while my Time Machine backs up, but I’m also going to be doing some full out cheating. Sowwy.

Day 14 is Favorite Latino Musician. I’m doing a redirect.

Day 15 is Latinos in the Movies. I’m giving you a video:

Day 16 is What Do I know about indigenous culture. I’m doing a redirect.

Day 17 is Why I love Latinas (or Latino Men). Seriously? This deserves so much love. But I’m going to give you some superficial. And a picture is worth a thousand words:


Day 18 is Latino Art is just a good excuse for me to pass on this video:

Day 19 is Religion. The Organization for Lucumí Unity

& Day 20 is Latino Stereotypes I Wish I Could Change:

That all brown people are illegal immigrants, thugs, kidnappers, bandana wearing, open vagina welfare queens who have too many babies waiting to steal jobs that “Americans don’t want” and loafing on someone else’s Social Security number. Or Jennifer Lopez.

Or that black and brown peoples are 1) somehow separate and 2) don’t get along. Toma:

Mr. SONI: Well, I would say that economically speaking, they are part of one community. I think it’s very important to remember that five years ago, when Katrina made landfall and the levees were breached, hundreds of thousands of African-American workers and their families lost their jobs and their livelihoods and they were excluded from return. They were displaced and effectively locked out of jobs in the reconstruction.

Meanwhile, immigrant workers were brought in – included, but exploited. While one community was excluded and locked out, another community was exploited. And because of public policy and because of, you know, very divisive public policy and corporate practice in the last five years, there has been a sense of competition among these communities. These communities have found themselves pitted in some ways against each other.

On the ground, however, as far as everyday economics of real life goes, I believe that they are part of one community and that a closer look reveals a lot less competition and a lot more cooperation than one would think.

KEYES: Gerod, your radio program takes calls mostly from African-Americans. What have they been saying about the influx of Latinos into the city?

Mr. STEVENS: I can agree wholeheartedly with his previous statements, but I do think that there has been some discontent with the African-American population more so because of the fact that they were here before. And one thing that has been discussed is that the Latino population that has come into the city did some jobs that not necessarily African-Americans or any other race wanted to do in the rebuilding process. So, a big thank you went out to the Latino population in helping with the rebuilding of this city.

I do think that what has been brought up and probably talked about more so is the number of jobs, the number of millions of dollars that have come into the city for the rebuilding population – rebuilding the population. And African-Americans have been left out of the process.

And who has been exploited is the Latino population because they’ve come in -being brought in by a lot of, I would say, huge contractors that get these big federal contracts, bring in a Latino population that may be working for less, just so they would have some income and also could be in the United States, and then after they do the work, maybe even exploited to the position of being called by Immigration to deport them so they don’t have to get paid….

Listen to the rest here.

Day 13 Catch Up: Freedom Fighters

One dark and stormy night, @Latinegro founded the 30 Day Latino Blog Challenge. He scheduled it to coincide with Latino/a and Latin American Heritage Month (I hate the word Hispanic) which began today and ends October 15th. And, hospitable fellow that he is, he’s invited any Latino blogger to join in.

Since I can count on one hand the number of fellow Afrolatina bloggers I know, I think I’ll take the plunge. After all, I haven’t written a post specific to Latina or Afrolatina issues for awhile now. For 30 days and nights, I owe the interwebs at least two paragraphs on the topic o’ the day. To follow along (or backtrack) click the tag “latina/o heritiage month.” Today’s topic(s): Afro-Latinos You See Everyday

I live in a state that is 98% white and edges the arctic circle. I’m lucky if I see a tan.

So I’ll count Twitterati as people I see everyday. #nowintroducingyouto Alicia

*waves* hey boo!

From her About page:

i am alicia. i am a queer robot. i’m afro-latina. pan africanist. radical womanist. opera singer turned therapist turned english teacher. [former] vegan. coffee addict. i enjoy onomatopoeia and unicorns.

Can you see why I love her? Who the hell loves onomatopoeia and unicorns? And coffee? All at once? *faints*

No, but really. I first met Alicia (self-identifies as black-also-known-as-Puerto Rican–i see u boo!) in volunteer training at the D.C. Rape Crisis Center. She was the Crisis Services Coordinator–which basically means she ran everything related to the crisis hotline including hospital visits, volunteer issues, supervised training and more. Alicia eventually left there but since she’s continued to do amazing things in the realm of violence against women, queer justice, youth homelessness.

Her story is as inspiring as it is intense; I encourage you to go visit her at her blog, Freedom Fighter. She is ride or die. Be prepared.

Day 12 Catch Up: Como?

One dark and stormy night, @Latinegro founded the 30 Day Latino Blog Challenge. He scheduled it to coincide with Latino/a and Latin American Heritage Month (I hate the word Hispanic) which began today and ends October 15th. And, hospitable fellow that he is, he’s invited any Latino blogger to join in.

Since I can count on one hand the number of fellow Afrolatina bloggers I know, I think I’ll take the plunge. After all, I haven’t written a post specific to Latina or Afrolatina issues for awhile now. For 30 days and nights, I owe the interwebs at least two paragraphs on the topic o’ the day. To follow along (or backtrack) click the tag “latina/o heritiage month.” Today’s topic(s): Do I Speak Spanish?

(& I promise I’m not looking at these prompts ahead of time)

Do I speak spanish? Yes. But no. A guy friend of mine once got on me by saying I speak “Caveman Spanish.” It wouldn’t have hurt so much if it weren’t actually true.

Language is like a muscle. If you don’t exercise it, you lose it. It gets flabby and fat and eventually that fat is just an unhealthy weight around your languid body parts. My Spanish isn’t quite at the unhealthy point yet but it is getting there.

Abuela Nuñez spoke Spanish to us regularly. It is, after all, her first language and she had no reason to change for her grandkids. I’m the oldest so if those few early years of Spanish count then it makes sense that I still know it. But they probably don’t. More likely, it’s the nine years of Spanish beaten into me in grammar school and the odd course I picked up to fulfill language credit in high school and college. My mother, married to an anglophone, did not keep it up with us much less herself. My aunt, married to a fellow Chicagorican, spoke enough that my cousin speaks at least as well as if not better than I do (again, this isn’t hard).

But my sister, who took nine years of French she barely remembers, doesn’t speak Spanish nearly at all. On a trip to Puerto Rico, she grew frustrated with not being able to articulate her thoughts or engage our extended family in conversation. When she asked me how I could, I shrugged and answered, “Because I cared enough to.” This was meant to be less snarky than it came out. What I meant was–I’m literary. I like words. I’m interested in language and discourse. It is how I define myself. And being black and Puerto Rican is how I define myself. All things being equal, knowing Spanish (even as a cavewoman) is one of the ways it makes sense for me to manifest that identity.

There are plenty of Chicagoricans who speak some version of creole-pidigin-ebonics Spanish with fluency and flair. There are plenty of island-born Puerto Ricans who can’t speak a lick of proper Castilian. There are plenty of Nuyoricans who wouldn’t know a mesa from a carro…and plenty of Barcelonans who would then wonder “what the hell is a carro? ”

The point? Knowing Spanish doesn’t make you Latina/o. It just makes you multi-lingual. A great thing to be but how about you tell me what you did for your gente today instead. Even if that gente is just your family. Kinship and community responsibility is what makes you Latina/o, black, brown, red, orange, young, old…or feminist.

 

Day 11 Catch Up: Spanglish

That last post should have been titled “I was a 90’s teen.”  Oh well.  The Quick and Dirty Blogging Season continues: 9 hours left.

One dark and stormy night, @Latinegro founded the 30 Day Latino Blog Challenge. He scheduled it to coincide with Latino/a and Latin American Heritage Month (I hate the word Hispanic) which began today and ends October 15th. And, hospitable fellow that he is, he’s invited any Latino blogger to join in.

Since I can count on one hand the number of fellow Afrolatina bloggers I know, I think I’ll take the plunge. After all, I haven’t written a post specific to Latina or Afrolatina issues for awhile now. For 30 days and nights, I owe the interwebs at least two paragraphs on the topic o’ the day. To follow along (or backtrack) click the tag “latina/o heritiage month.” Today’s topic(s): Latinos in the Media


I’m not going to do the obvious here, which is talk about Latina/os and stereotypes and how you can’t find a well-represented bilingual character on network TV much less a fully embodied Latinegro/a.  Someone else is probably doing that.

But this topic is interesting to me as a blogger, as someone who is interested in the way digital media and social media create new spaces for interaction–but who is also concerned with the way that language and language systems impact our ability to enter those spaces.  For example, anyone can own a blogger account, but if I’m blogging in Spanish or French and you are blogging in Portuguese and Mandarin, how are we going to even have a conversation much less meet on common ground?  The netroots crew likes to go all CAPS about how digital media is creating a more democratic society and fostering engagement but I’m skeptical about the ability of new media in and of itself to promote healthy debate.  And considering how focused the political debate of late has been on immigration, the Dream Act and other issues related (though not exclusive to) the Latina/os community, we need to find ways to institutionalize truly democratic forums.

Some people already are.  #nowpaging VivirLatino:

VivirLatino is a daily publication, featuring news, analysis and opinions about Latino politics and culture created for the diverse and influential Latino and Latina community in the U.S. by Latinas.

This site was publicly launched on October 12, 2005, Día de la Raza (Día de la Hispanidad) by Blogs Media, a company specializing in nanopublications, blog services and blog consulting. In 2008, publication of the site was taken over by 2 Mujeres Media, a partnership between two of the original editors of the site.

VivirLatino was created for and is written with second and third generation Latinos in the U.S. in mind who, regardless of their country of origin, have shared visions, languages, goals, and struggles that have made them the
one of the most dynamic demographic groups in the country.

VivirLatino covers a broad spectrum of Latino life in the U.S. with editors in two states: Michigan and New York, and one other country, Spain.

The editors of VivirLatino contribute a modern Latino vision. With their own unique voices and a touch of Spanglish, the editors claim their own individual identities, while recognizing and reaffirming, without exclusions, the multitude of cultures, aspirations, and dreams that exist within the larger community.

VivirLatino is the debut blog for Blogs Media.

The activists, artists, investigative journalists, bloggers, bad mamis and insurgent Latina/os over at Vivir Latino have consistently pushed the envelope as far as cross-cultural political interaction.  They blog, they live-tweet, they podcast, they ‘zine and they do it on the web and in the #realworld.  Most recently, they live-tweeted coverage of the Chilean miner rescue efforts–but they were also some of the only people on the web to keep the issue alive.  They blogged the Dream Act/Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell debacle and continue to remind us of the families torn apart by forced deportations–especially the violence against women and girls in the detention camps.  And they do it in English and Spanish, asking, requesting, imploring us to engage in whatever way possible without condemnation or judgement.  They are meeting you-us-whoever where they are.

Check them out.  And let’s try to create more spaces that do what they do.  That whole You-Aren’t-Latina/o-Unless-You-Speak-Spanish rap is bullshit.  We don’t have time for that kind of divisive behavior.  We need to talk, talk honestly and talk in sign language if need be.  Just get in the debate.

Day 10 Catch Up: I’m a 90’s Baby

Life gets in the way.  But technically I still have ten hours to catch up.  That’s over a blog post an hour?

Well welcome to the Quick and Dirty Blogging Season.  Forgive the foolishness that ensues.  I do if for la gente.

One dark and stormy night, @Latinegro founded the 30 Day Latino Blog Challenge. He scheduled it to coincide with Latino/a and Latin American Heritage Month (I hate the word Hispanic) which began today and ends October 15th. And, hospitable fellow that he is, he’s invited any Latino blogger to join in.

Since I can count on one hand the number of fellow Afrolatina bloggers I know, I think I’ll take the plunge. After all, I haven’t written a post specific to Latina or Afrolatina issues for awhile now. For 30 days and nights, I owe the interwebs at least two paragraphs on the topic o’ the day. To follow along (or backtrack) click the tag “latina/o heritiage month.” Today’s topic(s): Talk about a Latino Musician in pop music

So I’m going to do this chica only because I know so little about her.  (I told you–quick and dirty season)  I did kinda grow up with her though and she does kinda sorta rep la familia (even if she is blonder than Madonna).  And this did ask for “pop.”

So sometimes I’m a gay man.  Which explains why I damn near fell out of my seat when the trailer for the new movie Burlesque with Cher and Christina Aguilera appeared on the screen while I was quietly munching popcorn and waiting for the Social Network. I swear–I loves me some Christina.


Favorite part of this movie is that she will actually look somewhat everyday, circa 1999:

While Britney flamed up and out and Justin went hip hop, this mujer consistently did just what she wanted to do: be it dirty girl dancing (@Pretty_Magnolia loves that ish), tattoos, unattractive husbands (you know it is true, but he loved you boo, do you) and cyborg behavior.  She’s also a survivor of domestic abuse and while she had her process play out in front of the entire world via her celebrity adolescence, she seems to have come out the other side whole and empowered.

Christina Aguilera basics (courtesy of the devil, Wikipedia):

Aguilera was born in Staten Island, New York, to Fausto Wagner Xavier Aguilera, a Sergeant in the U.S. Army at the time, and Shelly Loraine (née Fidler), a teacher of Spanish. Aguilera’s father was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador.[25] Her maternal grandmother, Delcie Mabel Dunfee,[26] emigrated from County Clare, Ireland,[27] while her maternal grandfather is of German, French, English, and Dutch ancestry.[28]Her father was stationed at Earnest Harmon Air Force Base in Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador and Japan. Aguilera lived with her father and mother until she was seven years old. Aguilera grew up hearing Spanish and thus understands the language.[29] When Aguilera’s parents divorced, her mother took her, and her younger sister Rachel, to her grandmother’s home in Rochester, Pennsylvania, a town outside of Pittsburgh. According to both Aguilera and Fidler, her father was very controlling, as well as physically and emotionally abusive.[30] She later sang about her difficult childhood in the songs “I’m OK” on Stripped, and “Oh Mother” on Back to Basics. Although her father has written to Aguilera, she has ruled out any chance of reuniting with him.[31] Since then, Fidler has married a paramedic named Jim Kearns, and changed her name.

Throughout her youth in Pittsburgh, Aguilera sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” before Pittsburgh Penguins hockey, Pittsburgh Steelersfootball and Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games, including during the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals.[35] Her first major role in entertainment came in 1993 when she joined the Disney Channel’s variety show The Mickey Mouse Club. Her co-stars included Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears,Ryan Gosling and Keri Russell, the show lasted another year until its cancellation. According to the documentary Driven, Aguilera’s co-stars called her “the Diva”. One of her most notable performances was of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing”.[34] At the age of fourteen, Aguilera recorded her first song, “All I Wanna Do”, a hit duet with Japanese singer Keizo Nakanishi.[36] In 1997, she represented the United States at the international Golden Stag Festival with a two-song set.[37] Aguilera entered talent contests on “teen night” at the Pegasus Lounge, a gay and lesbian nightclub in Pittsburgh.[38] She would later debut in Pittsburgh in mid-1999 at Lilith Fair.

Go there for the rest.

Enjoy:

Day 9 Catch Up: Kismet Discovers Fania All-Stars

One dark and stormy night, @Latinegro founded the 30 Day Latino Blog Challenge. He scheduled it to coincide with Latino/a and Latin American Heritage Month (I hate the word Hispanic) which began today and ends October 15th. And, hospitable fellow that he is, he’s invited any Latino blogger to join in.

Since I can count on one hand the number of fellow Afrolatina bloggers I know, I think I’ll take the plunge. After all, I haven’t written a post specific to Latina or Afrolatina issues for awhile now. For 30 days and nights, I owe the interwebs at least two paragraphs on the topic o’ the day. To follow along (or backtrack) click the tag “latina/o heritiage month.” Today’s topic(s): Talk about Music related to your culture

I love Nuñez Mom. I do. But I swear she does stuff to put my non-Nuyorican-ness on blast.

So one day she comes home and she says, “You ever hear of Fania All-Stars?”

I, of course, am like, “No. Who are they?”

*big sigh* *big huff and puff* Until finally, Nuñez Mom pulls out a CD. Fania All-Stars. She bought it at Starbucks.

Cue the #wereminisce, black and white scenery as Nuñez Mom goes into how she and Nuñez Titi used to listen to Fania All-Stars on the radio. How the big band concept was so spectacular and so Puerto Rican. How Celia Cruz sang with them and the sound reminded her of being back in New York, in the South Bronx, dancing salsa and merengue in the friggin streets.

Cue me putting that sucker in the machine (anything to get closer to a colorful past that I knew nothing about):

Try and tell me she isn’t fabulous? Before Beyonce, J-Lo or Ga Ga there was…Celia.

Day 8 Catch Up: I Refuse (#EnFuego)

One dark and stormy night, @Latinegro founded the 30 Day Latino Blog Challenge. He scheduled it to coincide with Latino/a and Latin American Heritage Month (I hate the word Hispanic) which began today and ends October 15th. And, hospitable fellow that he is, he’s invited any Latino blogger to join in.

Since I can count on one hand the number of fellow Afrolatina bloggers I know, I think I’ll take the plunge. After all, I haven’t written a post specific to Latina or Afrolatina issues for awhile now. For 30 days and nights, I owe the interwebs at least two paragraphs on the topic o’ the day. To follow along (or backtrack) click the tag “latina/o heritiage month.” Today’s topic(s): Latino Racism

Pedro Pietri, “Puerto Rican Obituary,” 1973

via Terry Carlton, “The Chicagozamos & the Nuyorican Movement,” Sep 2010

Latinegro might not like this but I’m going to speak my mind.

I’m not the biggest fan of this prompt.

I know, I know.

The prompt makes sense if you aren’t already afrolatina or preoccupied with race and racial configurations in the United States (or both).  Because if you aren’t, then you might be missing the ways that narratives of mestizo or mestizaje obscure structures of race and power within the Chicano/Mexican community, obscure the long tenure of slaveholding in the once-upon-a-time Spanish landscapes of North America, a captive population descended from the flood of African slaves in the Americas that began as early as 1492.  If you aren’t, you might have been miffed that the 2010 census did not include a “race” for you outside of white and black/African-American but might also not be cognizant of how, on a more regular basis, you accrue all the benefits of light skin privilege.

Without this prompt, you might be a scholar, journalist, professor or student of Latina/o studies and not even realize that calling this Hispanic Heritage Month glorifies our colonizer more than the struggle against genocide, enslavement, colonialism and everyday state violence of globalization that is the reality for peoples of Latina/o and Latin American descent in the Western hemisphere.  You might be a scholar, journalist, professor or student in a Latina/o Studies Program that is really a Chicana/o Studies Program that is really a program about the indigenous struggle in the west that maligns the history of Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Cubans, Haitians, and those of mixed-Latina/o descent on the other side of the Mississippi River, in the urban enclaves of the North and along the waterscapes of the Gulf Coast.

In fact, without this prompt, you might not ever stop to think that Haiti is a part of Latin America too.

Or that J-Lo is not the average Puerto Rican.

Or that speaking Spanish doesn’t MAKE you anything except a Spanish speaker.

Or that my Latinidad is more than just a big booty fetish and a preoccupation with my nappy hair and don’t you dare look at me sideways just because you have the dubious benefit of several generations of white rape and white brainwashing.  Where do you think all that mestizaje came from?

Without this prompt, I’d got to bed less angry that the only way to get some of you gente to think twice about your own color and race privilege is to force a prompt on you, a prompt like this, a prompt that is probably only going to garner some superficial complaints about not making it in corporate America because of your last name when doors shut in the faces of your darker brothers and sisters while fingers point around the back to the servant door.  (Or some lip service to violence between African-Americans and Latinos, come to think of it)

Without this prompt, I might not even have gotten some of you to even check out this blog because you had to search #race #latino #ism before you put two and two together that we are all in this together and you have no right to question my loyalty, affinity and/or love of my black or brown people just because you don’t like the shape I came in.

So I won’t answer this prompt.  The violence of my experience deserve more than one isolated blog post in dedication.  Besides, hell, if this is the first you’ve heard of Latino Racism, you should just stop drinking the Koolaid and engage in some #machetebehavior instead

*drops mic*