Friday, August 29, 2008

Baby Giant Panda!!

It's Friday so nothing too heavy:

A giant panda cub has been born - the first in 20 years to be successfully bred in Japan through artificial insemination.

You know there is something wrong with my ass because I couldn't stop laughing for like 10 minutes after I saw this. That is the scariest baby animal ever! It looks like something out of Rosemary's Baby or something, I was rolling!

Enjoy the weekend mi gente!

*Tip of the fitted cap to Guanabee

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Los Republicanos: part tres (please make it stop!)

Somebody needs to stop him. Not only has it come out that Obama turned Daddy Yankee's sorry ass down and that's why he endorsed McCain (read the story from Politico here), but now he's continuing with the farce and performing at the Republican National Convention! Que Pendejo!

El Cangri is going to perform at the Fiesta Americana Concert as part of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota on September 1st.

According to a press release from the Hispanic Leadership Fund:

Approximately 3000 convention delegates and special guests are expected to attend, including members of Minnesotas rapidly growing Hispanic community.

This event will showcase the Hispanic community and demonstrate a clear message of support for key issues such as tough, but fair immigration reform, free trade in the Americas and prosperity through ownership. This event will also allow for an opportunity to highlight sharp policy differences between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama regarding these issues, and will kick off Convention week in great style.

Headline artist Daddy Yankee, chosen by TIME magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, is a rising star in Reggaeton a music genre he helped create. In 2008, he won Billboard Latin Music Awards for Album of the Year and Reggaeton Album of the Year.

Throughout his career, Daddy Yankee has been involved in philanthropic activities and shown support for key issues affecting the Hispanic population. At a recent event with Senator McCain in Arizona, Daddy Yankee said: I am here endorsing Senator McCain because I believe in his ideals and his proposals to lead this nation. And like I said before, he has been a fighter for the Hispanic community, and I know that for me personally, I chose him as the best candidate because he has been a fighter for the immigration issue.(Click Here for full release)

And now Fat Joe is weighing in on the matter and saying that DY is a SELL OUT!

"I opened the newspaper and got sick to my stomach," Joe continued. "I felt like I wanted to vomit when I seen that. The reason why I called him a sellout is because I feel he did that for a [publicity] look, rather than the issues that are affecting his people that look up to him. How could you want John McCain in office when George Bush and the Republicans already have half a million people losing their homes in foreclosure? We're fighting an unjust war. It's the Latinos and black kids up in the frontlines, fighting that war. ... We over here trying to take the troops out of Iraq and bring peace. This guy immediately wants war. If not with Iraq or Afghanistan, he'll start a new one with Iran. I feel real disgusted that Daddy Yankee would do that. Either he did that for a look, or he's just not educated on politics."

Say hello to the next boricua millionaire reggaeton/hip-hop beef. Check out the full story at MTV News

Damn, these are tough times mi gente. To many this only reinforces two things: 1) Latin@s are racist so they won't vote for Obama, and 2) the myth that all Latin@s are republican (and that is definitely a myth if you look at the Pew Institute's recent report)

Don't believe the hype like Raquel Rivera says: "Not all Latinos support Abuelo Yankee"

*Tip of the fitted cap to Blabbeando for breaking this telenovela worthy story!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Speaking of Homoeroticism...

I know this is a little old, but given the earlier post about "No Homo" and homosociality and homoeroticism in Hip-Hop it seemed appropriate. So I told you all about Laurance Ralph's panel presentation at the Race, Sex, Power conference, and one of the points he made is the fact that often hip-hop marketing will take play with homoeroticism in order increase profitability. He spoke about the fact that when you see 50 cent without his shirt on, that is marketing to men (gay and straight) as much as it is directed at women.

To demonstrate this point I present Lil Wayne's Strapped Condom ads...

This one eventually got pulled because of the way that it was being coded as queer. There are a lot of visual codes of queerness in this add from the cop bending Wayne over the hood of a car (a very common fantasy that Wayne actually talks about in "Mrs. Officer", but with a "lady cop" instead of a male officer), to the tag line "Go down strapped" (um, hello?).

On hip-hop message boards people were saying that they couldn't believe that the people that made these ads didn't catch the blatant homoeroticism in these ads, but whats to say they didn't? Yes the ad was pulled and replaced by a more benign ad (see below), but maybe that was part of it.

The ads have queer visual cues and innuendos that are very easily accessible to young queer men. Even the new ad still relies the physical interaction between Wayne and a male officer. After criticisms that the previous ad was "too gay" it would make sense for the male cop to be replaced by a female officer, but then the ad wouldn't be effective. The new ad is able to be read by multiple audiences and can be extremely effective in promoting safe sex among youth of different genders and sexual orientations. Bravo for latent homoeroticism.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

March for RBD?!

In the wake of the racist and inhumane ICE raids that occurred in Mississipi and resulted in the arrest of 350 people, people are taking to the streets...for RBD?!

What is wrong with people? The ICE raids are going pretty much unnoticed. And instead of mobilizing against the inhumane conditions that Latino/a im/migrants are subject to in this country young Latinos/as are marching to convince RBD not to break up.

I was almost sick with I saw this on Blogamole this afternoon. We are living in troubled times mi gente.

Los Republicanos: part duex

Okay, so I've had some time to think about this whole Daddy Yankee endorsing John McCain fiasco and my take is McCain might have just shot himself in the foot and here is why...

McCain is obviously trying to appeal to the Latino/a vote by appearing with El Cangri and accepting his endorsement, but chances are DY's endorsement will actually turn off some Latino/a voters, particularly the kind of Latino/a voter McCain wants to reach

Reggaeton is an extremely contested genre within the Latino/a community. More than any other musical genre, reggaeton truly highlights the the complexities of nationality, race, class, gender and generational division within the Latino/a community. Reggaeton is very often seen as something that is either strictly Puerto Rican, or more broadly Caribbean. Already there has been push back to having DY be the supposed voice of the Latino/a community because he is seen as representing Puerto Rican interests. Many people have also pointed out that DY can't even vote for McCain so his endorsement is irrelevant (which is true but it's bogus that people aren't talking about the fact that that's because Puerto Rico is a colony).

The reason why DY's endorsement might really hurt McCain is because of people's perceptions of El Cangri and reggaeton. Although claims over reggaeton's ownership are now fought over, during the 1990's reggaeton sparked a culture war in Puerto Rico over issues of race, sex, taste, and class. Reggaeton was seen as cafre, a term which is highly racialized and classed and denotes low culture. Reggaeton was seen as too Black and too American because of its close association to hip-hop, and therefore inauthentically Latino/a. It was seen as music that was devoid of culture and little more than a copycat of hip-hop when it first came out. It was also highly sexualized and suggestive with its visible trademarks being aggressive lyrics and perreo dancing. Not to mention, reggaeton was born out of the caserios (projects) and was initially funded by the drug game, which only added to the moral outcry against the genre. Reggaeton culture was immediately and vehemently denounced by the conservative and Christian segments of Puerto Rican society as crass and indecent. Although, it is extremely popular and much more sanitized today, reggaeton still maintains its association (real and imagined) to money, drugs, violence, and sex in the minds of many Latinos/as and Americans alike. It is that association that many Latinos/as, particularly those who tend to vote republican, are trying to distance themselves from. That is where McCain's plan backfires.

Daddy Yankee does not represent a performance of Latinidad, that many conservative Latinos/as feel comfortable with. I think the unease around Daddy Yankee's endorsement has to do with the fact that he actively and aggressively markets himself as de la calle and as a gangsta. Reggaeton and Daddy Yankee represent a version of Latinidad which is raced and classed that some Latinos/as want to distance themselves from. Rather than addressing the social realties that reggaeton speaks to and represents, it remains easier for certain segments of the Latino/a community to dismiss reggaeton and the culture around it as an abberation of Latinidad. It's crazy because in a way this whole Daddy Yankee - McCain thing made me think about the way's in which Latinos/as are climbing over each other for a piece of that Americano Dream. At whose cost are Latinos/as representing themselves as idealized American citizens?

Crazy as it may sound McCain is right Daddy Yankee is "an American success story" (ugh), but he may not represent "an American success story" that conservative Latino/a voters are ready to embrace. Guess McCain should have studied Leslie Sanchez's cringe-inducing Los Republicanos: Why Hispanics and Republicans Need Each Other a little closer because now he has a "Reggaeton Problem".

Monday, August 25, 2008

Music Monday 8.25.08: El Cangri endorses McCain

Today is a sad day mi gente, it is official, Daddy Yankee has endorsed John McCain. Check out's coverage of this absurdity...

I don't have anthing to say...I'm too depressed. Check out the my first post & comments about DY and McCain: Los Republicanos. Let me know what you think what this means for the presidential race, the Latino/a vote and reggaeton.

Special thanks to Obed for passing along the clip!

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Brief and Wonderous Life of No Homo

Dipset's Juelz Santana coined the ubiquitous term "No Homo" in 2003's "Santana's Town" when he proclaimed "no homo but they cocking them/Four-fos and glocks and them." 5 years later and "No Homo" is still going strong and is practically a movement onto itself (especially if you've been around teenage boys at all in the last 5 years). People have been trying to understand the "No Homo" phenomenon and now Hip-Hop blogger Jay Smooth of is weighing in on the matter. Jay recently released a new clip called "A Beginners Guide to No Homo" where he attempts to breaks down the origin and meaning of the phrase "No Homo," for those who may have been living under a rock. Check out the clip...

As always Jay Smooth is funny as hell and does an excellent job pointing out just how stupid and out of control the "No Homo" phenomenon has gotten in both hip-hop culture.

While I agree with Jay Smooth's points, I definitely think that their is more to the "No Homo" phenomenon than meets the eye. The phrase is often used to demonstrate hip-hop's rampant homophobia, and while I agree that saying "No Homo" every five seconds might qualify as homophobic, I think it is more complex than that and deserves serious scholarly interest and attention. I think it is interesting to consider the time frame when the phrase "No Homo" really gained popularity in hip hop culture. In 2003 and particularly 2004 with the release of J.L. King's On the Down Low, black men and their sexuality became subjects of national inquiry. Perhaps, "No Homo" gained momentum as a form of backlash against this inquiry. That doesn't make "No Homo" any less homophobic, but I think it gives us an appropriate context in which to consider the popularity of the phrase "No Homo" among young Black and Latino men involved in hip hop culture

Oprah and J.L. King basically set up a witch-hunt to smoke out brothers on the DL, offering paranoid girlfriends, wives, and causal observers 10 ways to spot a man on the DL. Check out J.L. King's website, breeding suspicion and fear is his bread and butter.

At the height of a cultural moment when anything could be used to prove that you're on the DL, the development of a defense mechanism like "No Homo" seemed almost inevitable. Throw in all the time, money, and marketing going into creating hypermasculine imagery, and the almost exclusively male atmosphere in hip-hop and there you have it..."No Homo."

There are actually some scholars doing interesting work on homoerotism and homosociality within hip-hop culture. I saw two excellent panel presentations at the Race, Sex, Power: New Movements in Black and Latino/a Sexuality conference at University Illinois-Chicago this past April.

Antonia Randolph, Assistant Professor of Black American Studies at University of Delaware, presented a paper entitled “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy”: Managing Homosocial Intimacy Through Speaking Homophobia In Hip-Hop Culture, that explored hip-hop culture's possessive investment in Lil Wayne and Baby's heterosexuality and (hyper)masculinity.

Randolph argued that despite evidence that might point to a homosexual relationship between rappers Lil Wayne and Baby, the hip-hop community and segments of the Black community cannot afford to cast aside these two successful young Black men from New Orleans and are actively attempting to recoup the duos heterosexuality and masculinity. What is important is not whether Baby and Lil Wayne are or are not in a sexual relationship, but the way that the hip-hop community, more so than the two rappers, are invested in protecting Baby and Lil Wayne's heterosexuality in order to deploy them as "positive" and "successful" role models of Black masculinity.

Laurence Ralph, a Ph.D. student in the department of anthropology at the University of Chicago, presented a conference paper entitled Out of the Closet, in the Club with Kells: Homophobia and Homoeroticism in Hip-hop.

Ralph's presentation explored homoerotism in R. Kelly's lyrics particularly in his song "I'm a Flirt," featuring rappers T-Pain and T.I. Ralph argued that what the song demonstates is a climate of oneupmanship and male compitition in which men are the objects of attention and women serve as the conduits for that attention. For instance, he argued that T.I.'s lyrics where he describes how and what he will do to another man's woman serves as a homoerotic moment where T.I. is inviting other men to recognize and admire his sexual prowess. T.I. is demonstrating that prowess not for the benefit of his female sexual partner but for an unknown male spectator. Many times in hip-hop's more sexualized lyrics we see that women are not the targets for those lyrics, but instead they are often directed at other men.

I think that by moving away from a position that solely critiques hip-hop for being homophobic, misogynistic and heterosexist, we can see the ways in which alternative gender norms and sexualities are performed in hip-hop. Randolph and Ralph's work make way for productive conversations and analysis of queer agency within hip-hop while also allowing us to critique the things that need critiquing.

Does anyone else know anybody who is doing interesting work on queerness, homoeroticism, or homosociality in hip-hop?

In the meantime, enjoy this clip from Boondocks, that lampoons the unspoken homoeroticism in hip-hop ...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Alegría bomba e' at Centro Gallery

Alegría bomba e'
An exhibition by Carmen Ayala

On view Monday, August 4 to Friday, October 17, 2008

Reception on Thursday, September 4, 2008 6 - 8pm
Gallery Hours:
Monday, Tuesday & Thursday, 9 am - 6 pm
Wednesday, 9 am - 8 pm
Friday & Saturday, 12 pm - 5 pm

For more information check out the Centro Gallery website



Each year, Comité Noviembre commissions a Puerto Rican artist to design the annual poster to promote and inform the public about Puerto Rican Heritage Month and to create an artistic expression of the annual theme. The poster is distributed throughout New York, New Jersey and the tri-state area and it is the cover of the annual Journal Calendar of Events. The CN poster is in high demand by teachers and educators and the community and become collector’s items because of it limited edition status.

The annual theme is developed with the understanding that beyond celebrating our heritage, it must help to motivate, mobilize and empower our community around critical concerns. This year’s theme: Live your Culture?!Vive Boricua!, challenges us to take ownership of our culture and heritage. Being Puerto Rican is not just on special days, or months, but every day of our lives. Everyday as a community, we contribute to the fabric of this city, state and nation. The theme addresses the importance of our achievements as a community and the impact it has had and will continue to have on society. The theme seeks to challenge us to learn about our pioneers, feel proud of who we are and where we come from and commit ourselves to promote and teach others about our culture, traditions, heroes and the great contributions Puerto Ricans have made to this country.

• Artist must be Puerto Rican or of Puerto Rican descent.
• Artist must be able to work with members of CN towards the creation of the final piece.
• Artist must be able to work under tight deadlines.
• Artist must be present at unveiling of Poster at CN kick-off event in late October
• Artist must write a description of the poster connecting his visual concept to CN’s theme

• Artist must submit the following information:
• A complete full color, 24? x 36? concept portraying artistic expression of the theme for the poster.
• Bio/Resume
• Address, phone, cell and e-mail address
• Examples of previous work. Please do not send framed work. Work will NOT be mailed back, but you can arrange for pick up.
• Emailing/Electronic submission of work is preferred.
• All information must be submitted at the same time by: Wednesday, September 10, 2008
• Finalist will be notified by Friday, September 12, 2008.
• Finalist will be interviewed on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 between the hours of 6-8 pm., at El Museo del Barrio in Manhattan.

• $1,000 stipend for work selected by Comité Noviembre
• The artwork and biography of artist will be printed in the annual Calendar of Events, and other venues such as El diario la prensa and Daily News, if available.
• Poster design will be distributed to schools and organizations for Puerto Rican Heritage Month in November.

1230 5TH AVENUE (AT 104TH STREET) NEW YORK, NY 10029, (212) 660-7132, LSSILVA@ELMUSEO.ORG

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Judd Apatow and the Art of White Masculinity

“That shit is SO fuckin’ homo”

So I finally saw Pineapple Express this weekend and throughout the whole movie the men around me were constantly expressing how “fucking gay” the movie was. I left there thinking about the two very different displays of masculinity I had just witnessed in the movie theater. The men in the audience, who were mostly young men of color in their late-teens/early-twenties, were attempting to (re)affirm their masculinity through homophobic and sexist comments in response to the perceived lack of masculinity they saw on the screen. On the screen however the cast of Pineapple Express (most of whom are white men with the exception of Craig Robinson) were celebrating their homosocial (but not homosexual) affection for each other and their outsider status as members of the informal economy. I thought about the ways that homosociality functions not only in Pineapple Express but in Judd Apatow movies generally as a comment on the state of contemporary white masculinity in American society.

For those of you who might not know who Judd Apatow is, he’s the writer and/or producer of many of the successful “Frat Pack” movies including: Pineapple Express, Step Brothers, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Superbad, Knocked Up, Talladega Nights, The 40 Year Old Virgin, and Anchorman. He’s was also the Executive Producer of the cult TV show Freaks and Geeks on NBC.

Yeah, he’s that guy.

Critics and audiences alike have wondered whether the characters in Apatow’s films, especially Superbad, might be gay. In Superbad, Seth is so obsessed with dicks that he used to compulsively draw them as a kid and talks about them non-stop throughout the entire film. Towards the end of the film Evan and Seth share a "tender moment" where they exchange “I love you’s” and Evan says he wants to go scream from the rooftops that he loves Seth. Those “tender moments” have become a staple in Apatow’s films and Pineapple Express is no exception. At one point in Pineapple Express Danny McBride’s character tells James Franco’s characters that he’s happy they’re best friends and continues by saying “I want to be inside you.”

I don’t think Apatow’s films say anything about sexuality that is specifically homosexual or homophobic, but I do think his films rely on homosociality to demonstrate the ways in which white masculinity has been “wounded” by the feminist, gay, and civil rights movements. In Apatow’s movies we see an entire generation of white men who rely on each other for a sense of validation and understanding, a generation of men who in many ways by refusing to grow-up are able to avoid facing the reality of changing power structures in American society.

In a New York Times article on Apatow Jon Kasdan, who also worked on Freaks and Geeks, said:

“The culture in the last 5, 10 years is one of shame and humiliation, and Judd gets that. Part of the experience of being a man in this postmodern life is humiliation, and wearing it as something to be proud of. This is a true frustration that Judd is expressing in his work, almost a romanticized version of being a schlub.”

What is interesting is that in Apatow movies arrested development is presented as the solution to dealing with the frustration of being a “schlub.” People of color, women and gays (particularly white gay men) have more visibility, if not power, in contemporary society – the question that Apatow’s character are trying to work out is “where does this leave me?” While Apatow’s films don’t directly say it, they certainly show us that white masculinity ain’t what it used to be for the groups of white male friends that the stories center on. Apatow’s characters exist in a universe that is almost completely male and almost completely white, their existence in this world of their own making is like an attempt to recreate the “old boys clubs” of their father’s and grandfather’s generations.

Think of AMC’s critically acclaimed TV show Mad Men, I think it is no coincidence that a show that literally portrays that “old boys club” has generated so much attention and ratings. In Mad Men and Pineapple Express you see the trajectory of white masculinity, Mad Men presents us with the cracks beginning to show in white masculinity’s façade, while Judd Apatow’s movies ask “How the fuck did we end up here … but since we’re here lets get high and play Guitar Hero.”

Monday, August 18, 2008

Music Monday 8.18.08

Talento De Barrio Premier in Puerto Rico

Khriz & Angel - Behind the Scenes of "Na de Na"

Jay-Z f. Kanye West "Jockin' Jay-Z"

Kanye West "Champion"

NERD f. Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Pusha T - "Everybody Nose Remix"

Daddy Yankee "Pose"

Crooked Stilo "La Charanga"

Daddy Yankee f.
Arcangel, De La Ghetto, Cosculluela, Chyno Nyno, Baby Rasta, Ñejo, Guelo Star, Julio Voltio, Mc Ceja - "Somos de la Calle"

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Trans Representations on Reality TV

Yesterday US Magazine broke the story that one of the 14 contestants to compete in the new season of America’s Next Top Model is transgender. 22-year old Isis is from Prince George's County, Maryland and will be one of fourteen women competing to become America’s Next Top Model. When asked by US if she wants to be a role model she replied "I like to help people, but I'm here to follow my dreams." GLAAD is already all over this with the president of GLAAD, Neil Giuliano, saying "We applaud Tyra Banks and The CW for making this historic visibility of transgender people possible." The new season debuts September 3rd on the CW.

I haven’t really been following the VH1 show I Want to Work for Diddy, but I certainly have been following the talk about Laverne Cox, a transgender woman competing for a chance to become Diddy’s assistant. Diddy’s reality show also features and openly gay black man named Rob Smith. In a piece he wrote for he says:

Like they say here, visibility matters, and for both myself and my transgender competitor Laverne Cox, I know that it was very important that we represented who we were openly from the very beginning. But let’s not get too serious. We‘re all aware of how absurd reality television is, and I plan on both injecting a little humor into these recaps and taking every opportunity available to laugh with and at everyone onscreen, not least of all myself.

Smith’s quote brings up interesting points about both Queer visibility and the nature of reality television. The question I have is about the precarious nature of advancing queer visibility through a vehicle such as reality television. At this point it is fair to say that there is nothing real about reality TV. It is pretty well established that most shows are scripted so some extent and I’m sure that I Want to Work for Diddy and America’s Next Top Model are no exceptions. My question is will reality television allow queer folks to represent themselves in a complex and multidimensional way? I’m thinking about the way that the so-called “non-traditional” models in America’ Next Top Model are paraded around like diversity show ponies. The plus-sized models and models with disabilities are defined solely by the factor(s) that sets them apart from the “normal” models, the “real” models.

Increased visibility for marginalized people always presents itself as a double-edged sword. On the one hand, media visibility is incredibly important in terms of its ability to alleviate feelings of alienation and invisibility by creating characters who challenge racial, gender, and sexual norms. On the other hand, marginalized people often remain marginalized on television, never shown or allowed to be fully realized individuals. These portrayals as much as they might knock the door down can also reify the boundaries between normative and non-normative behaviors and people.

I don’t think that there is an easy solution to an obviously complex problem, nor am I trying to take away from the importance of those who are going out on a limb attempting to increase the visibility of marginalized groups. (Let’s be real, you know I’m going to be rooting for Isis and Laverne!) I do think, however, that we need to be aware of the ways in which the media industry shapes how we see our identities reflected back to us. In many ways media and popular culture mediates our understandings of ourselves and others (which is obviously why I think Pop Culture Studies is really important). What do these representations mean to trans people and queers in general? What do they mean to people of color? What do they mean to women? What do they mean to everybody else?

What do you all think? Is there a way, perhaps even a socially just way, to increase the visibility of disenfranchised and marginalized populations in the entertainment industry? Or are we stuck with a Catch-22?

In the meantime check out the Laverne’s amazing website, she is definitely one beautiful and intelligent women and the one to beat on I Want to Work for Diddy according to this clip...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

PETA and Oppression on the Border

People who know me know that few things on this planet irk to the extent that PETA does. The tactics that PETA deploy to get their point across are dubious at best and some are downright deplorable. I wrote off PETA after a campaign they ran called “Animal Liberation” where they juxtaposed images of animals in captivity and images of the racial terror that people of African decent in this country faced including chattel slavery and lynching.

A few years prior they ran a series of ads that they had to publicly apologize for that juxtaposed farm animals and Holocaust victims. People of color and Jews have fought to be recognized as humans with dignity after centuries of being compared to animals and PETA has repeatedly disregarded those efforts. PETA has continuously trivialized the effects of racism on people of color and Jews by comparing it to the experience of farm animals.

Instead of talking about the ways that the food processing industry exploits and dehumanizes the people of color and im/migrants who work in plants, PETA chose instead to go the media publicity route and ask the US Border Patrol if they can advertise on the Wall. WTF!?

According to the PETA blog this is how they rationalize their decision:

No matter what your stance is on the highly controversial U.S.-Mexican border fence project, everyone can agree that those who decide to come to the U.S. should be warned about the downside of our nation's meat and milk consumption habits. PETA is warning immigrants that there's much more to worry about than proper documentation. We've written a letter to the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection asking to buy space at each of the nine southwest border sectors for our new ad. Those considering entry will then read this message: "If the border patrol doesn't get you, the chicken and burgers will. Go vegan" (or, in Spanish, "Si no te agarra la migra, te atraparan el pollo y las hamburguesas. Sé vegano"). By leaving behind a far healthier staple diet of vegetables and grains—like rice, beans, corn, peppers, and tortillas—Mexicans and other immigrants will likely find themselves fattening up on the fiberless, fatty, cholesterol-laden U.S. diet, which is linked to heart disease, various types of cancer, and strokes (our nation's three biggest killers) as well as impotence (internationally recognized killer of the mood). PETA's placement of these colorful ads would certainly offset some of the tax dollars that fund the fence. It's a winning solution for the folks at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, immigrants, and farmed animals alike!

After a stunt like this I don’t know how anyone can still say that PETA is a social justice organization. How can they actually offer to help fund the construction of a border wall that is the epitome of American racism and hypocrisy? Obviously, PETA cares more about what im/migrants are eating than their safety or ability to cross in order to alleviate economic conditions in their home country. The fence is a sign of oppression and should not be treated as an advertising and marketing opportunity. Maybe next we can have Coors target the Latino/a im/migrant market with a billboard that proclaims “el cuerpo te la pide!”

I need to stop before I start foaming at the mouth. What do you all think?

via/ Vivir Latino

Raquel Rivera Alert: Two Reggaeton Docs to Watch Out For

One of my favorite scholars, Hip Hop/Reggaeton feminist Raquel Z. Rivera, makes an appearance two new reggaeton documentaries being released this summer.

The first is Straight Outta Puerto Rico: Reggaeton's Rough Road to Glory, a film that traces reggaetons emergence from Puerto Rico’s caserios to becoming one of the most profitable genres in music. Straight Outta Puerto Rico premiered on MUN2 on July 31, 2008 and is now officially on sale at retailers like Amazon.

While the documentary is not with out its flaws, mainly the way it sensationalizes the hyper-masculine and sometimes violent atmosphere that birthed the reggaeton movement, I do appreciate the films attempt to historically contextualize the genre. This documentary is also one of the few public venues where the influence of the drug game on reggaeton is given attention and examined, albeit in a very exploitative way. The tag line for the film was basically drugs, sex, and violence, which is why reggaeton comes under so much fire and criticism in the first place. The film is a good starting point but I’m waiting for a documentary that is going to critically examine the economic and colonial realities that affected the development of the genre in Puerto Rico and elsewhere. Please check out Reggaetonica for Raquel Rivera’s take on Straight Outta Puerto Rico.

Rivera, along with another one of my favorite scholars Juan Flores, also appears in the upcoming reggaeton doc U.S.-Latinos: the Reggaeton Factor. Reggaeton Factor, obviously focuses on the impact on the development of U.S. Latino identity and development so it takes a radically different approach to the genre than Straight Outta Puerto Rico. U.S.-Latinos: the Reggaeton Factor was slated to come out this summer but it appears as though it might have been pushed back. I can’t wait to see it when it comes out, in the meantime enjoy the trailer.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Idiot Watch: Spain's Basketball Team

Spain's Basketball Federation released this "good luck" advertisement which depicted the team in their Olympic uniforms pulling at their eyelids in a slant-eyed gesture. Although only photos of the men's basketball team have surfaced the women's basketball team also took similar photos.

The Olympics has always put forth a rhetoric of world unity and understanding as the reason for its existence (rather than acknowledging that it is little more than a global commercial event and sports competition). The Beijing Olympics, and particularly the conduct of the Spanish Basketball Federation, have exposed the hypocrisy of the "Olympic ideal".

Spanish sports have been marred by racist antics like this for the past few years. In November 2004 black English soccer players were subjected to racial slurs and monkey noises during a match in Spain. Before the World Cup Spain's former soccer coach called player Thierry Henry a "black shit." Last year racer Lewis Hamilton was also subjected to racial slurs during the qualifiers for the Barcelona grand prix.

I wonder whether the Spanish Basketball Federations behavior and the continued racist incidents will make the Olympic committee realize that maybe Madrid isn't the best place to host the 2016 games.

Source: The Guardian via/RaceWire

America Ferrera Gets Gangster with Gossip Girl

America Ferrera got caught rolling her eyes at Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 co-star and Gossip Girl Blake Lively on Good Day LA. The two were on the show promoting Sisterhood whe the talk turned to Gossip Girl. Lively started to babel about Gossip Girl and Ferrera had a visible wtf moment. I have to say it was truly priceless.

Steven Soderbergh's Che Coming to Lincoln Center

Steven Soderbergh's Che will make its American debut at the The New York Film Festival. The film will be screened in all its four-hour glory.

Tickets for the festival go on sale Sunday, Sept. 7, at 12:00 noon at Avery Fisher Hall, corner of Columbus Avenue and 65th St.; Monday, Sept. 8, online at; and on Saturday, September 27 at the Ziegfeld Theater, 141 West 54th St.

46th New York Film Festival
September 26 - October 12, 2008
NYFF official website

Monday, August 11, 2008

Music Monday 8.11.08 (The Late Late Edition)

Fido de Alexis y Fido Ties the Knot!

Pitbull "American War"

Cubano Pitbull flips Estelle's hit single "American Boy" into a song about Bush and the war in Iraq.

Behind the Scenes: "No Existen Detalles"

Last week I brought you Naldo's leaked single of of his forthcoming solo effort Lagrimas de Sangre, "No Existen Detalles" featuring Los Mas Sueltos del Reggaeton Jowell & Randy. Here is a behind the scene look at the making of the video. The video and the song both have a heavy rock influence. Could this be the rise of a new genre...Punketon?

De La Ghetto "Es Facil"

Friday, August 8, 2008

Bitch Slapped by Satire

A friend of mine from college recently sent me a link to an article about the movie Bitch Slap coming out in December 2008. She asked me for my thoughts and here they are…

I think I might be the wrong person to ask.

Reason being I love gratuitous sex and violence in movies, within reason of course. I loved Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse movies. A woman with a gun for a leg killing military created zombies – count me in! Sexy ladies exacting revenge on a psychopathic-misogynistic-vehicular-homicide-loving Kurt Russell – more please! I loved these films so much that after returning them to Netflix I promptly ran out and purchased them, and then made all my friends watch the films with me repeatedly.

I know what you’re thinking that I’m a horrible queer feminist of color, right? Well, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree. And here’s why…

While I hate the way that closet racist and annoying hipster elitist try to use satire to reinforce their supposed superiority and avoid being called bigoted while doing it, I think satire when it’s done right, or at least when it’s read in a critical way, can be extremely subversive. Smart satire can often effectively challenge concepts of power, race, sex, and gender among other things.

There’s a famous example of effective satire that is brought up in Charles Ramirez Berg’s Latino Images in Film: Stereotypes, Subversion, Resistance, known as “stereotypical reversal.” Stereotypical reversal occurs when a movie plays on and invalidates a well-known stereotype by making the viewer confront their own prejudice and bias. The example that Ramirez Berg uses is from the film Flying Down to Rio, when Roger and Belinha are stranded on an island and a bare-chested black man emerges from the surrounding bushes and confronts the couple. Audiences are trained to expect a danger scenario given the location and the fact that the man is black, the viewer might wonder if this “native” is going to kidnap them or harm them in some other way. When the man steps away from the bush it becomes visible that the man is wearing golf slack and shoes, carrying a set of clubs, and when he opens his mouth has a British accent. Turns out they landed in Haiti right next to a country club and the gentleman was looking for a lost ball in the brush when they stumbled upon him. Everyone is made aware of their ignorance and as a result the stereotype is deconstructed.

Satire by its very nature is something that disarms you, most often through comedy or ridicule, and makes you take a hard look at yourself and your fears and biases. The ultimate purpose of satire is to bring about improvement by bringing ones flaws to the surface. So how do B-movies and neo-exploitation films bring about improvement? Well, often they don’t, or at least they don’t at first glance. We’re trained to be passive viewers, but if you’re willing to do the work as a viewer and think critically you’ll see that even the most seemly inane of movies like Death Proof are a comment on systems of power and hierarchy in American culture.

I think a really good recent example is Harold and Kumar. Although on the surface it's your basic stoner buddy comedy, if you scratch below the surface its actually a very intelligent commentary on masculinity, race, sexuality, and leisure time in American culture. That is not to say that the film doesn't have its problems, but I think there are moments in the film that are very smart and valuable

While, I can’t conclusively say whether Bitch Slap is a clever neo-exploitation or just stupid and offensive since it hasn’t come out yet, I’ll leave you with what the Co-writers and directors Eric Gruendemann and Rick Jacobson to say. They call Bitch Slap a “feminist, thinking-man's” exploitation film with a mysterious female narrator who “comments periodically on the folly of humanity, the plight of the human condition and the vagaries of life and love through quoting the likes of Dostoevsky, T.S. Eliot, Sun Tzu and even Buddha.”

Sounds promising.

Check out the trailer and article for yourself and let me know what you think.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Beyonce's Blanqueamiento

Exhibit A: Beyonce at last night's Kayne West Glow in the Dark Tour concert at Madison Sq. Garden in NYC

Exhibit B: Beyonce looking damn near transparent in her new L'Oreal ad

Now since it is obvious that Beyonce has not undergone a radical skin bleaching procedure from last night's photos (courtesy of can someone explain to me why the hell L'Oreal photoshopped her to make her look whiter?

I have no problem with Beyonce rocking blonde hair in a L'Oreal ad, but I have serious issues when a cosmetics and beauty conglomerate like L'Oreal deems it necessary to digitally alter her skin tone in order to make her look "appealing."

People have been attacking Beyonce but I don't think it was her decision I think that this was something that L'Oreal did. L'Oreal has denied the allegations, saying to the Associated Press: "We highly value our relationship with Ms. Knowles. It is categorically untrue that L'Oreal Paris altered Ms. Knowles' features or skin tone in the campaign for Feria hair color." They can deny the allegations all they want, and who knows maybe it was some freak accident that occurred at Elle Magazine's printer, but the message and its impact is the same: whiteness is still the benchmark for what is considered beautiful. Someone who views the ad, regardless of whose fault the photoshopping was, will be reminded that women of color will always be expected to conform to hegemonic white conceptions and standards of beauty.

People need to stop blaming Beyonce and focus on the fashion and cosmetics industries who perpetuate heterosexist and racist constructs of beauty.

Calle 13’s New Album

Los bros Calle 13 have announced that their new album, set to drop in October 2008, will be called “Los de atrás vienen conmigo”. The title is said to refer to those whom society has left behind and marginalized. Expect more songs addressing im/migration like last years “Pal Norte.” Los de atrás vienen conmigo is also a reference to the musicians that play with Calle 13.

Some of the rumored guest collaborations on the album so far include Rubén Blades, Café Tacvba, Fito Páez, Gustavo Cerati and Andrés Calamaro.

Calle 13 always produces thought provoking tracks so I’m marking the days until the October 7th release date on my calender.

Source: Wikiton

Eva Mendes is Banned from TV

Sexy Cubana Eva Mendes is in hot water over a racy new Calvin Klein Obsession TV ad. The ad features a nip slip and as a result is now banned from TV.

You know me, I don't believe in censorship...

What are your thoughts, do you think it deserved to get banned from TV?

Up in the Sky, its Super Barack!

Comic book legend Alex Ross (creator of the classic Kingdom Come) has created this t-shirt which depicts Obama as a superhero.

Cop it here: Stylin online

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Why Puerto Ricans Need to Support Obama

I am pro Puerto Rican independence. A number of family members still live on the island, including my father and my brother and sister, and as a Nuyorican I am keenly aware of the way that policy here affect the lives of those on the island. All Puerto Ricans on the island and in the diaspora are living under the effects of a neo-colonial system, and we need to deploy a variety of strategies to ensure that boricuas are able to fight for self-determination (however differently we might define that term). While we will always need los independistas and los macheteros, we also need to support Barack Obama as contradictory as that sounds.

While I have no illusions that a vote for Barack Obama is a vote for Puerto Rican independence, I feel that it is important for Puerto Ricans to vote for Obama to ensure that we are able to move forward and not backwards. Recently, the Puerto Rican community has suffered under the Bush administration’s “terrorist” witch-hunts. Anyone who speaks up against the inhumane conditions in Puerto Rico or in the Puerto Rican community in the states is branded a terrorist. The Bush Administration is trying to breed fear in our community and prevent us from mobilizing. The grand jury hearings this past year were reminiscent of the 1950s on the island, a time when even speaking about Puerto Rican independence would land you in jail, a time when the very notion of Puerto Rican pride was treasonous.

We need a change. We need Puerto Ricans to stop dying in Iraq (actually we need everyone to stop dying in Iraq). We need better conditions in barrios in the U.S. and on the island. We need the surveillance and COUNTERINTELPRO shit to stop. While Obama is no political savior (and I think we all need to recognize that he has steadily become more centrist in his rhetoric) he can provide the Puerto Rican community and People of Color more broadly with the political climate necessary to organize and mobilize our communities. McCain represents more of the same: war, repression, cronyism, and a disregard for queer communities and communities of color.

I recently came across this YouTube clip of Miguel Luciano endorsing Barack Obama in the primaries and I think he does a excellent job talking about the political contractions that U.S.-based Puerto Ricans face in this election.

We can’t afford to throw away this election. Please register to vote at Voto Latino

Obama on LGBTQ Families

On July 23 Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director of Family Equality Council, issued identical letters to Sens. McCain and Obama, asking both candidates to explain how their administrations would work to recognize, respect, protect and celebrate all loving families in the US, including LGBT families. Obama issued the following statement in response to Jennifer:

Dear Jennifer,

While we live in a nation that is enriched by a vast array of diverse traditions, cultures and histories, it is our commonality that most defines us. The desire to build a life with a loved one, to provide for a family and to have children who will grow and thrive — these are desires that all people share, regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. My own experience has taught me this lesson well. I was born to a single mother, my devoted grandparents helped raise me, and then I married the woman of my dreams and had two beautiful daughters. The love that has blessed each of those households has been strong and sure, and I know that millions of families across this nation share the same blessings.

We know that the cost of the American dream must never come at the expense of the American family. For decades we’ve had politicians in Washington who talk about family values, but we haven’t had policies that value families. Instead, it’s harder for working parents to make a living while raising their kids. It’s even harder to get a break.

That’s why I’ll double spending on quality after-school programs - so that you can know your kids are safe and secure. And that’s why I’ll expand the Family Medical Leave Act to include more businesses and millions more workers; to let parents participate in school activities with their kids; and to cover elderly care. And we’ll finally put federal support behind state efforts to provide paid family and medical leave. We’ll require employers to provide seven paid sick days each year. We’ll enforce laws that prohibit caregiver discrimination. And we’ll encourage flexible work schedules to better balance work and parenting for mothers and fathers. That’s the change that working families need.

But we also have to do more to support and strengthen LGBT families. Because equality in relationship, family, and adoption rights is not some abstract principle; it’s about whether millions of LGBT Americans can finally live lives marked by dignity and freedom. That’s why we have to repeal laws like the Defense of Marriage Act. That’s why we have to eliminate discrimination against LGBT families. And that’s why we have to extend equal treatment in our family and adoption laws.

I’ll be a president that stands up for American families – all of them.


Barack Obama

Source: The Family Equality Council

Paris Hilton for President?

Paris Hilton has fired back at John McCain with her own “political” ad. Okay, so the video totally appeals to the lowest common denominator…but I got to say it’s actually pretty funny. Not only, is it funny, but Paris’ plan to address the energy crisis sounds way more thought out and articulate than the ones that the candidates have proposed so far.

All I know is that I can’t wait to see Britney’s reaction to McCain’s ad. All we can hope for is that Britney attack McCain with an umbrella like he's a car full of paparazzi.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Los Republicanos: Daddy Yankee & John McCain

In what I’m guessing is a attempt to look young and hip John McCain, 71, continued his efforts to reach out to the Latina/o community by inviting reggaetonero Daddy Yankee to his campaign headquarters on Saturday afternoon.

Considering El Cangri’s sometimes raunchy lyrics and hustlin’ past it seems like a weird political coupling. "I don't know anything about Daddy Yankee," said McCain spokeswoman Nicolle Wallace. Great.

Supposedly McCain and Daddy Yankee first met when they were both named two of the 100 most influential people of 2006 by Time magazine.

According to Yankee “He invited me to have a brief conversation on how we can improve the living conditions in Hispanic communities.” The two were said to have discussed issues such as im/migration, education, and Latino/a youth. Yankee says he is not ready to endorse McCain yet hopefully because he will meet with Obama to hear him out on Latino/a issues.

This meeting is funny considering that McCain just put out a political attack ad against Obama accusing him of being a media whore. McCain is really trying to tap in to popular personalities to get his message out instead of actually just talking. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if DY is going to hop on the “Straight Talk Express.”

Source: LA Times

Monday, August 4, 2008

Music Monday: Belated Edition

A little late but here are some of the best new tracks of the past week...

Talia f. Daddy Yankee "Ten Paciencia (remix)"

The Mexican Diva enlisted El Cangri's help on this track to boost her sagging record sales.

Naldo f. Jowell & Randy "Un Poema"/ "No Existen Detalles"

Naldo was pissed about the leaked tracks, but he should be happy because it sounds like he's got a a great album on his hands.

Baby Rasta & Gringo "Dejame Conocerte"

Baby Rasta & Gringo are back together on this new banger. Its great to see two reggaetoneros de la vieja escuela still doing the damn thing.

Jowell "Hazte la Loca"

In his first solo video Jowell shows that he's loco for panties. While I was looking for the new video on YouTube I came across this little gem, Jowell's own personal advertisement for Trojan Condoms...

Gym Class Heroes f. Busta Rhymes "Peace Sign Up, Index Down"

The Sartorialist's Gap Ad

I'm a big fan of Scott Schuman's blog The Sartorialist. I think he's one of the best fashion photographers in the industry because he actually goes out on the street and spots the hottest new trends before they even become trends. I love this simple ad he did for the Classic Gap Oxford. Kudos to the Gap and to Schuman for this simple and effective ad.

via/ The Sartorialist

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Latino HIV/AIDS Rate on the Rise

The rate of Latinas/os and Latino/a immigrants infected with HIV and AIDS is on the rise. The results of a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation reveal that Latinas/os in Washington DC have the highest rate of new AIDS cases in the country. According to federal officials, although Latinas/os only make up 14% of the nations population, they represented 22% of new HIV and AIDS diagnoses in 2006. Another startling statistic says that in major U.S. cities, as many as 1 in 4 gay Latino men has HIV, a rate on par with sub-Saharan Africa.

The effects of the HIV/AIDS crisis are especially dramatics among the Latino/a im/migrant population. Economic pressures, language barriers, cultural dissonance, and legal status have created a unique convergence of factors that affect the Latino/a immigrant population and put them at high risk for infection or late testing. Many undocumented im/migrants often do not get tested or delay testing for fear of arrest and deportation. This late testing not only means earlier death but it can also mean increased spread of the virus.

According to Oscar De La O, president of Bienestar, Latinas/os are “at the center of the storm.” "Hispanics are overrepresented in this epidemic, and we need to target our efforts to them," Center for Disease Control epidemiologist Kenneth Dominguez said in an interview. Currently there is little being done by government agencies to address the epidemic among Latinas/os, but hopefully that will soon change with the release of these new statistics and increased mobilization from the Latino/a community.

Please check out The Washington Post article for more information. It was a very interesting report, and while it has its flaws it discussed a lot of issues that other news outlets tend to shy away from. Check out the part where they talk about the oppression that many Latino gay men face in the mainstream white gay scene and they way that that places them at higher risk:

Many are "objectified" by white men who view them as exotic. They play subservient roles to partners with citizenship or money. The "triple oppressive experiences of poverty, racism and homophobia" lead many to risky behavior, Diaz [Rafael Diaz, a pioneer in examining the impact of the AIDS epidemic on Latino gay men and professor at San Francisco State University] said. "People are looking for respite and relief from a sense of isolation, economic deprivation and low self-esteem. Sometimes sex is the place where men find that."

This information came out a few days before Phill Wilson, CEO of the Black AIDS Institute and one of the authors of the report, "Left Behind! Black America: A Neglected Priority in the Global AIDS Epidemic," decalred that “Nothing short of a mass Black mobilization will be sufficient to turn around the AIDS epidemic in Black America.” I hope that people of color will organize around Wilson’s rallying call and build coalitions to bring attention to the ways in which our communities are under attack.

For more information on Latino/a AIDS Prevention and Support Services please check out...

The Latino Commission on AIDS

Hispanic AIDS Forum


Condom Machines to be Placed in California’s Solano State Prison

Solano State Prison is installing 10 condom machines that will be stocked with 1,200 condoms a week in the hopes that it will lower the spread of sexually transmitted infections among prisoners.

A union representing prison guard supervisors is opposed to the distribution of condoms because they say that the condoms can be used to hide drugs or weapons. The fear is mostly unfounded, however, since in the smaller test programs in Los Angeles and San Francisco county jails there have been no reports of condoms being used as weapons. Those opposed to the legislations also point out that the measure doesn’t make sense since sex between prisoners is technically illegal. "Sexual activity in prisons is still illegal," said Terry Thornton of the California Corrections Department. "Inmates will be notified of that as well where the machines are located."

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has twice vetoed legislation that would establish a statewide condom distribution, but last fall the governor ordered the Department of Corrections to conduct a one-year trial. After the one-year trial state officials will produce a report about success and/or failures of the program. It will then be up to the governor to decide whether to expand the program statewide.

Source: KCRA 3

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Steven Soderbergh & Benicio Del Toro's CHE

A Spanish trailer for Steven Soderbergh’s four and a half hour CHE bio-pic has just hit the internet. The trailer is in Spanish and super grainy, but it’s a great teaser. Soderbergh is having a hard time finding a Hollywood distributor for the film. Despite the difficulties findind a distributor Soderbergh is confident that by December audiences will be able to see Benicio Del Toro as CHE in the film’s first segment “El Argentino” and the second segment “Guerrilla” in February.

Do you all remember in this season’s Entourage how Billy Walsh and Vinnie Chase bombed with a four hour Pablo Escobar bio-pic at Cannes? Well, that story is basically what happened to Soderbergh and Del Toro at Cannes where CHE got a very mixed critical reception.

I hope this trailer causes some buzz and puts pressure on distributors to get this film out, at least in a limited run, by December. Also, Benicio makes a pretty convincing CHE, more than Omar Sharif in 1969’s Che! anyway.

Source: Ain't it Cool

Ludacris' "Politics"

Obama has come out against Ludacris’ new song “Politics” calling the song "outrageously offensive". The Obama is trying to distance himself from song which calls Hillary Clinton an irrelevant bitch, says the only chair McCain belongs in is a wheelchair, and calls Bush mentally handicapped.

"Ludacris is a talented individual but he should be ashamed of these lyrics," said Mr Obama's spokesman Bill Burton. Burton added: "As Barack Obama has said many, many times in the past, rap lyrics today too often perpetuate misogyny, materialism, and degrading images that he doesn't want his daughters or any children exposed to."

While I understand Obama is trying to steer clear from attacks on other candidates, I think he’s really coming down hard on the man he told Rolling Stone was one of hip-hop’s "great talents and great businessmen". Before announcing his presidential bid, Obama meet with Ludacris in 2006 to discuss youth issues. While I might not always agree with his lyrics, Ludacris does a lot of community outreach and has been mobilizing people to vote for Obama since he first announced his candidacy.

The hip hop generation promises to be one of the most powerful voting blocs this November so I hope this doesn’t alienate these really important young voters.

Source: BBC News

Obama the new Britney Spears?

John McCain's new attack ad is really reaching. The new ad called "Celeb" compares Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. It is really a low blow and reeks of jealousy. The funny thing is that Paris Hilton's grandfather is a McCain supporter and donor, I wonder how he feels about the way McCain's ad lampoons his granddaughter?

Speaking of Religulous...

Introducing a Cheeto Jesus, or as the family that found him refers to him Cheesus Christ. Is it just me or are people bugging over a T-shaped Cheeto?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Latin Music USA to Premiere on PBS

Produced by a world-class production team at WGBH and the BBC, Latin Music USA “invites the audience into the vibrant musical conversation between Latinos and non-Latinos that has helped shape the history of popular music in the United States,” says series producer Adriana Bosch. The multimedia project is anchored by a four-hour documentary series that premieres on January 21, 2009 on PBS stations nationwide.

Latin Music USA has the potential to be a cultural milestone, advancing Americans' understanding of Latino rhythm and music as a dynamic player in shaping American society past, present and future,” said John F. Wilson, senior vice president and chief television programming executive, PBS. “And music, the universal language, communicates this phenomenon in a most irresistible way."

The series will feature a wide range of Latino/a musical styles including Latin Jazz, Mambo, Salsa, Tejano, Rock en Espanol, Latin pop, and Reggaeton. The series will also explore the impact that Latino/a artists and style has had on the “American” musical forms of Blues and Rock and Roll. Expect appearances and footage from Willie Colon, Marc Anthony, Flaco Jimenez, Carlos Santana, Linda Ronstadt, Los Lobos, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Ricky Martin, Shakira, Juanes, Pitbull, Daddy Yankee and Tego Calderon.

Latin Music USA will air on two days with two episodes on each day. Here’s the schedule so far…

Wednesday, January 21, 2009 (9:00pm-11:00pm) on PBS
  • Program One: The first program traces the rise of Latin Jazz and the explosion of the Mambo and the Cha Cha Cha as they sweep the US from East to West. Latin Music infiltrates R&B and rock & roll through the 1960s.
  • Program Two: Puerto Ricans and other Latinos in New York reinvent the Cuban son and the Puerto Rican plena, adding elements from soul and jazz to create Salsa, which becomes a defining rhythm for Latinos the world over.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009 (9:00pm-11:00pm) on PBS
  • Program Three: In California and across the Southwest, a new generation of Mexican Americans, raised on rock, rhythm and blues surrounded by country and western music reaffirm their cultural identity in Tejano, Chicano rock, and Latin Rock.
  • Program Four: The last program in the series looks at the Latin pop explosion of the turn of the century, focusing on the success of artists like Ricky Martin, Gloria Estefan and Shakira in the English-language market in the context of an increasingly Latinized US. As studios focus on star-driven pop, Latino youth gravitates toward urban fusions - Spanish rap and Reggaeton - while rising numbers of Latinos entering the US create new markets for Mexican regional music and Rock en Espanol.