The Jlo Mystique!

Hola mi gente!

Hope you all are doing well. It has been a minute. I know. But I am back to let you in on a discussion you do not want to miss! Tomorrow, December 4th, will be the premier of #latinachatmedia: The JLo Mystique! Yes, it will be all about Jennifer Lopez aka Jenny from the block aka la JLo!!

I had the honor of getting an exclusive viewing of the latest #latinaschatmedia: The JLo Mystique from the creator, Linda Nieves-Powell, herself. She is a Latina producer, director and editor. She started the #latinaschatmedia with the purpose of having Latina artists get together to have in-depth conversations on how latinas/os are represented in the media and providing ways to promote growth within the artistic community at large.

What compelled her to have this chat about JLo you may be thinking? Well, Nieves-Powell found that many women are on the fence about her, they have a love/hate relationship with her. She couldn’t understand why. JLo is a Latina doing her thing as an artist, as a fashion icon, as an entrepreneur, and as an actress. She is a straight up hustler yet many seem to be mystified by her. Not everyone is happy for her being a Latina in Hollywood. Some feel she doesn’t deserve that position because she is not the best vocalist or actress. Some critique her for doing the booty video with Izzy Azalea at her age. Some critique her because of the many relationships she has had. Some critique for not doing enough for the community specifically the Bronx, being that she claims it all the time—Jenny from the block, hello! And would she even consider herself a feminist? Is she a feminist? So because of these points and more, why not put together a platform where Latinas can voice their ideas about JLo, putting it all out there, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Well she did just that. And it was brilliant. She gathered together 5 fierce Latina artists, 3 of JLo super fans and 1 PhD student to weigh in on how JLo is being perceived today and is it okay from a feminist academic stand point.

I have to admit that I am a JLo fan. I respect the fact that she doesn’t let fear stop her from doing what she is set out to do. It does not matter if she is good or not because, do I think she can sing or act well? No, not at all, but she does it anyway. I think that should count for something. She is showing her fans that with determination and persistence you can achieve whatever you desire. However, after listening to all the perspectives and point of views of all the ones involved I can see why these conversations are important. It is because what started as a dialogue on why Latinas have mixed feelings on how JLo portrays herself or is perceived, it turned into a meaningful exchange of how we place or how we hold our people accountable, especially women.

This was one of the many topics that intrigued me the most. We really set the bar high for our own, within reason I would presume, but with that comes a lot of responsibility. Is it fair? I honestly do not think so. She is only one person. We cannot assume that she is going to represent the whole Latino community as we see fit. It is impossible to give one person that autonomy. At the end of the day she is a performer doing what she loves to do. She gives her audience what they want, a performance. Why do we expect so much from her, from one person? Hasn’t she done enough? As the academic Phd student said, “we place unrealistic expectations on one person to represent us (Latinos)”. She speaks so much truth. And another thing, why can’t she show off her body in her forties without being critiqued about it, she looks pretty darn good, she has worked for her body to be that way. So what if she has kids. She is showing us that just because you are mother it doesn’t mean you have to hide your body. JLo is teaching her children to be happy in the skin that they are in especially her daughter. I mean, I get it as consumers, spectators, admirers we are always analyzing, contextualizing and even psychologizing those we see in the media because they put themselves out there but aren’t we doing too much? Aren’t we scrutinizing too much? Isn’t she human like the rest of us? Why can’t we take her for what she is? An entertainer.

I don’t want to give too much because I know you need to see for yourself how these conversations empower and enlighten us. I think these chats are necessary because this is an ongoing discussion that needs to be expanded in all of its forms. I’m just giving you a glimpse of what you will experience. I truly feel Nieves-Powell did an incredible job of weaving all point of views together and left us wanting more. Job well done to everyone who participated!

You don’t want to miss it!! Stay tuned for #latinaschatmedia: The JLo Mystique. I would love to hear your views after you’ve finished watching it.

Here is the link where you can watch it mañana at 3 pm: http://www.latinaschatmedia.com

This has been Beauty, Brains and Blogging approved! 😉

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All pics are by Linda Nieves-Powell.

The Power of the F.I.E.R.C.E. Brunch

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One of the reasons that I started this blog was because I wanted to write about things that interest me. Furthermore, I wanted to highlight women that truly inspire me because they want to make a difference in this world. I believe that the universe gives you exactly what you ask for, so it was of no coincidence that I attended the first, The Power of the F.I.E.R.C.E. brunch, event held at Katarina Bar & Grill in Queens, and wanted to write about it.

Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 1:30pm. I was on my way to Kew gardens, in a cab. The day was gorgeous, blue skies and lots of sunshine. I was wearing a purple shirtdress, high heels, all accessorized, feeling myself as I felt fierce!! That was the premise of the event, to get women together to show up and show out. And so I did! Of course there was more to it than that, I will get into it later. At the beginning, I didn’t really know exactly what to expect. I only knew that three successful women in their own right, Nancy Arroyo-Ruffin, Justine Hornedo and Wendy Angulo, were going to talk about empowering women through their experiences.

So I arrived… A lovely woman greeted me at the door and handed me a blue folder with quotes inside. I entered the room. All the women that were there were dressed for the occasion. The energy in the room was vibrant, loving and welcoming. I felt very comfortable in the space and just what I needed to reinvigorate me.

Nancy Arroyo-Ruffin started the F.I.E.R.C.E. campaign with the hopes that women can come together and uplift one another, which prompted her to bring guest speakers to empower women for a brunch.

But before I go any further, what is the Fierce woman?

The Fierce woman is, “Female Inspiring, Empowering, Recognizing, Cultivating Evolution. The evolution of herself and other fellow women. In a time where most women are conditioned to compete against one another and tear each other down, this campaign is focused on uplifting and building each other up. The FIERCE Woman is focused, determined, and knows that there is no competition when you’re doing what you have been uniquely gifted to do.”

Nancy was a gracious host. Looking fabulous as always. She made sure to make everyone feel at ease and comfortable with her words. She spoke of her experiences and what led her to create the FIERCE woman campaign. She believes in sharing ideas, resources, and putting out the best. “You have to invest in yourself and help others.”

What I am going to do is to write about some of what caught my attention from the guest speakers.

I will start with the first speaker, Justine Hornedo. Justine is a mother, manages two busy health care practices at one of NY’s top health care facilities, and she has literally done it all.Her current goal is to speak to teens and motivate them. It was Justine’s first time as a motivational speaker and she did a fantastic job. She kept the women engaged. She was vulnerable and honest about her experiences. She explained that no matter the obstacles and hurdles, she did not let it defeat her. She spoke of her childhood, how she overcame living with drug addicted parents and the death of her mother at the age of 7. And since a young age she knew that she had the power to change, she had a choice. Justine has gone through a lot, from job loss, getting evicted, among other things and turning that around to buying a house, and living her dreams all because she did not let loss take over or debilitate her.

Here are some of my favorite points she made:

“Nothing should control you. Choose to do better. Choose to know that you’re more than capable of doing what you want to do!!!”

“My reason is bigger than what life could throw at me!”

“Reinvent yourself. Make goals and once completed you will be successful”

“Be passionate and do due diligence. You have to change everything within you and around you. Laser focus on a goal.”

“Believe in yourself!”

“Think about what your passionate about. And what you have to do to go to the next level.”

“If you speak it, it is possible!!”

With Justine Hornedo

The second speaker was Wendy Angulo, of Wendy Angulo Productions, she is the CEO and Founder of Canvas of Words. She is a lawyer, a mother, a well-rounded woman, who is on a mission to make a change in the poetry/art world. Wendy spoke candidly and honestly about her life. Wendy shared her experiences, of how divorce and the loss of her mother who died of cancer has made her the woman she is today. Although, these experiences were difficult to live through, it taught her resilience, determination, and acceptance of self. She had to rebuild herself in order for her to grow. It began with a journey of self-love, exerting human evolution. Buddhism has helped her to continue her path of self-love.

Here is some of what she had to say:

“I have a passion to inspire and motivate everyone. To go to your highest potential.”

“Do what works for you!! Always!! Customize to your needs. Doing what you love.”

“Create possibilities. Create opportunities.”“Reflect!”

“Believe in yourself enough to follow your dreams.”

“Be determined and passionate and love what you do.”

“Respect your craft. Respect yourself. Improve it.”

“Network build connections. Use all your resources.”

“Be realistic understand what works and what doesn’t.”

“Don’t beat yourself up. Get rid of the need of pleasing people.”

Wendy ended with this quote, she lives by: “The only limitation we have is within ourselves, anything we are determined to accomplish will be accomplished as long as we set our minds to it. We should constantly manifest our highest potential as human beings through wisdom, compassion and courage”. By one of her favorite Buddhist Philosophers, Daisaku Ikeda

Wendy Angulo and I!

To conclude this powerful event, Nancy Arroyo Ruffin, left us with some words of wisdom. Nancy is a mother, an author, and a motivational speaker. She spoke of her dream of having a child and the attempts that were tried to conceive. She had a miscarriage, and although it was devastating, she continued to have hope. She realized that when she did get pregnant, that timing is everything. Things happen at the time that they should. And to never give up on a dream! And now currently she created the FIERCE woman campaign.

Here is what she had to say:

“We all have that gift.

“We need to bring each other up”

“We have the life to live and make our dreams come true.”

“Making the most of the your time.”

“We all have the power of choice. Decide to make the most of those seconds.”

“Dreams you can’t put on hold. Trust in timing. Except things at their own time. Successful people keep climbing.”

“Create for yourself opportunities. Make a desicion. Dream. Plan. Execute.”

“One failure doesn’t equal loss.”

“Adversity gives us strength.. Surround yourself with a good team.”

“Focus on the positive.”

“You have the power to change lives.”

“Successful people have visions. They believe it. And work hard. When earned it can’t be taken away.”

“Trusting yourself and talent.”

“Make positive choices. Dream Big!”

“Believe in yourself.”

This is what propelled Nancy to create this event because she too saw a need of uplifting women to reach their highest potential. And she did a great job putting it together. I loved it!!

With the hostess and creator, Nancy Arroyo-Ruffin!

Well, there you have it!! If this doesn’t inspire you I don’t know what will. It is affirming to know that these women held to their convictions and decided to pursue their dreams. No matter what was in their way. Nancy has a vision that the FIERCE campaign happens internationally. I can totally see that happening. We need this. We need to see women of color get together and empower each other. We cannot do it alone. We need each other. If we work together we can thrive.

I had a lovely time… I hope you can make the next one. For more information about Nancy Arroyo-Ruffin visit www.thefiercewoman.com there you can read more about her and the guest speakers and what this campaign is all about.

Some of the materials included in the folder.

This event has been beauty, brains, and blogging approved!

‘Til the next event my loves!

Soledad Speaks!

Good evening Beautiful People!

Continuing with the theme of breaking silence. We all know how living in a Latino/Caribbean household is, while growing up our parents would say, “”los trapos sucios, se limpian en casa”, what happens at home stays at home. I’m sure most of us can relate. Which is sad because keeping things silent has not helped anyone. Many have gone through abuse in silence, afraid of not being able to speak up, scream, cry or even believed if they were to say something. And I am talking about all kinds of abuse, no exceptions!

With that being said, I had the privilege of seeing the performance show, Soledad Speaks at BAAD!* for a second time. The show was directed and executed beautifully by Linda Nieves-Powell featuring the poetry of the talented Latina women, Meriam Rodriguez, Maria Rodriguez, Peggy Robles- Alvarado, J.F. Seary and choreography by Milteri Tucker. “The Journey begins during the seventeenth century on the island of Puerto Rican and ends in modern day New York City. Revisiting colonialism and the effects on women, the journey from slavery to rebellion to freedom, SOLEDAD SPEAKS pays homage to those who came before us in the hopes of understanding how their legacy has defined who we are today.”

To me, this show is about speaking up against the stereotypes, stigmas, social norms, patriarchy and displacement that exist in this world.

This show gave me life!! It was wonderful to see the performers give their all on the stage. It was felt. I felt their words, their emotions, their strength through their language. This show will make you laugh, cry, and even cringe because of its honesty but most of all it will make you THINK! Think about this patriarchal society. Think about the social constructs that have been imposed on us. Think about how silence is deadly. Think about sexuality. Think about how society makes us feel that we don’t belong when knowing very well we bring sazon to this bland country!

This show was very empowering and it showed vulnerability that allowed me to relate to everything. Specifically, I was able to relate to Meriam Rodriguez’s ‘coming out’ story, how difficult it is to ‘come out’ to your mother while she is more worried about the fear and the opinion of others than your happiness. And the scenes where they were all around the dancer, Milteri Tucker, trying to fix her hair, relax her hair instead of making her feel proud of the texture of her crown. How she needs to look like a ‘white’ American. I also appreciated the scene about women’s sexual liberation because of course we are taught that we shouldn’t talk about sex. I especially liked how they were able to convey the message that although we are in America we belong here and we are here to stay, that we are EVERYWHERE, “we are breaking stereotypes” because “we be the beat of this city, and we be the spirit of this city”!!!

I can go on and on about this show but I am sure it will be on again so you need to see it for yourself so you can understand what I mean. You will not be sorry!

This show uplifts every woman, the Latina woman, the Caribbean woman, all women of color. It shows us that we are powerful beyond measure. We deserve to be here and we will show you why! One line that I will always remember that was said by Peggy Robles-Alvarado, “a bowed head can not properly carry a crown, baby girl”. So, let’s adjust our crown because we have things to do!!

 

Thank you for making SOLEDAD SPEAKS heard!!! May it continue to do so!

For more information about the show and the director/cast members please visit www.soledadspeaks.com

Visit and Like their page on Facebook

 

*BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance- www.baadbronx.org

 

This has been beauty, brains and blogging approved!