NYC’s DJ Bembona (of Puerto Rican-Panamanian descent) is on a mission to reclaim Panama’s disregarded contributions to the music game and uplift current talent in the country. She grew up in Fort Greene, Brooklyn (my neighborhood!) and while she was well-versed on the salsa orchestras and reggaetoneros of Puerto Rico, she wasn’t familiar with artists coming out of Panama (the oft-forgotten originators of reggae en español - or plena). To celebrate Panama’s Independence Day (Nov 16th), Bembona shares 9 rising Panamanian rappers and singers who are standing out in dancehall, reggaeton, Latin trap, hip-hop and more. (More info on Bembona here by the way)
This is a special profile on beloved Red Sox manager Alex Cora, one of the rare pro team managers who has figured out how to treat his players like humans instead of commodities and still win championships. No matter what team you root for (personally, I don’t care about sports at all lol) everyone seems to think highly of him. The first Puerto Rican manager to win the World Series, Cora faced the pressure that came with a 108-win season yet carried himself with uncommon ease. He’s also been a relentless advocate for Puerto Rico, and a critic of the current White House administration, in the wake of Hurricane Maria. The ONLY demand he included in his contract negotiations was this: that the Red Sox charter a plane of relief supplies to his hometown of Caguas, PR. He conducted each World Series news conference – cognizant of the cameras – wearing a different T-shirt that carried the same message: The Red Sox were representing both Boston and Puerto Rico.
The Tony Award-winning performer’s latest one-man show goes beyond (whitewashed) history book lessons on Indigenous civilizations and colonialism to illuminate the overlooked history of Latinx people. If you missed it on Broadway like I did, as of this week Netflix is streaming it! The official site is here and you can stream it here (it’s a 1.5 hr show). Check it out and share your thoughts with us!
Día de Muertos was celebrated last week from Oct 31-Nov 2nd. If you feel like you want to learn more, I’ve got 2 cool initiatives to share: Three Arizona State University grads built DayOfTheDead.Holiday to dispel all the myths about the holiday and explain the meaning behind it. Read this Bustle article to learn more, AND Spotify did an amazing campaign to honor some of Mexican music’s most-beloved deceased icons and their lasting impact. You can check out this special playlist featuring songs from contemporary and legendary Mexican and Mexican-American greats, as well as covers done by 3 current artists. They also honored the life of Jenni Rivera and her musical legacy at LA’s 19th annualDía de los Muertos festival. (Thanks to my friends at Latin @ Spotify for the submission!)
#5: VIDEO: The girl who makes robot arms (3 min video in Spanish w/English captions)
Click play above for the BBC’s short video story on Daniela Sáez, an electronic engineering student from Chile. At 12, she became interested in robotics and enrolled in a self-taught robotics workshop. Since then, she’s made a robot suit made up of sensors that allows blind people to perceive color and shape, and is currently looking for funding for a robotic arm prototype she’s building for amputees. She says building robots is “literally her dream.” (Thanks to subscriber Stuart Rowe for the submission!)
Making sure you saw our directory of creatives & small business owners!
This week I’m going to put a spotlight on the dozens of small businesses and creators that have been curated in our new directory: Help a Latina Secure the Bag. In case you missed it: last week we had a special issue for Latina Equal Pay Day which included a new directory of Latina or femme-owned small businesses that you can support ASAP if you want to put your money behind Latina-owned businesses. Consider checking out the list when shopping this holiday season, or generally making decisions about where your money goes throughout the year.
Appreciate you checking out this week’s issue of The Latinx Collective. Would love your thoughts about the content: feel free to reply directly or give any edition a thumbs up or thumbs down. If you find this newsletter valuable, have friends, coworkers, family or allies sign up on the website so they can join you in celebrating the impact the Latinx community is making. You can also share this edition or the whole archive on social- but tag me here or here so I see it! xo