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🙋🏽👨🏻👱🏾👩🏾👱🏻♀️The Latinx Collective: "the American dream" edition
THIS WEEK'S FIVE:
Nicknamed "The Dominican Michael Jordan," Felipe Lopez was once the #1 ranked high school player in the country (above Allen Iverson) and graced the cover of Sports Illustrated at the age of 17 . A new film about his life titled The Dominican Dream, part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, just premiered at Tribeca Film Festival.
It’s 1994 and Luis Felipe Lopez sits above the rim, proudly waving the Dominican flag as pandemonium hits Fordham gym in New York City. His teammates, fans and family stand below their king, celebrating in Spanish and English as the charismatic senior from Harlem’s Rice High School celebrates the CHSAA championship. For Rice (now defunct since 2011) it was a historic title and a joyous sporting victory but to Dominicans everywhere, notably those in Washington Heights and the Bronx, the moment transcended basketball because it was a day where one of their own—having only arrived in the U.S five years prior from Santiago de los Caballeros—had made a giant mark on the sport and helped shine a positive light in the eyes of white America when Dominicans and other Latino and Hispanic communities fought for equality in turbulent times.
As much as I think I've been following Ozuna (one of the only, and most famous, Afro-Latinx to hit the mainstream) I still didn't realize how many records he's broken. Great profile on his rise and what's going on with him today.
The Dominican-Puerto Rican singer, who leads the list of 2019 Billboard Latin Music Award finalists, with 23 nods, has broken record after record. His debut, Odisea, spent 46 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Latin Albums chart, the second-longest run ever, behind Gloria Estefan’s Mi Tierra in 1993. His next song, Aura, debuted at No. 1, knocking Odisea out of the top spot and making him the first male artist to replace himself at No. 1. In 2018, he grossed an average of $882,437 per night on tour, outpaced only by Latin industry vets like Enrique Iglesias, Shakira and Marc Anthony. At the end of 2018, he ranked as YouTube’s most-viewed artist globally in any genre. His collaborations on tracks with women like Karol G and Natti Natasha were rare from other men in the industry, and helped the tracks became top singles. In 2016, “Hello” was Karol G’s first platinum single, and the following year’s “Criminal,” with Natti Natasha, became the first song to knock “Despacito” from its No. 1 spot among YouTube’s most-viewed videos.
Martha Mendizabal is the co-founder and executive director of TecnoLatinx XR Labs in Los Angeles. The social enterprise works to educate members of underserved communities on how to use extended reality (XR) hardware through hands-on experiences in hopes of fostering economic empowerment in the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean. TecnoLatinx started its VR classes and demonstrations in Havana, Cuba before traveling to different communities in Mexico. The organization’s lab in downtown Los Angeles opened in August 2018. *Thanks to supporter Kori Hale (founder of CultureBanx) for the submission*
Started in 2009 by Dr. Matilde “Mattie” Castiel and longtime Latinx community advocate Hector E. Reyes, the Hector Reyes House just celebrated ten years in Massachusetts. Its mission is to give Latino men a welcoming, culturally appropriate place to recover from substance abuse because people do much better in treatment in an environment that is both linguistically and culturally supportive. Incarceration should never be the treatment for addiction.
If you love nerding out about tech and want to support an original web series hosted by Latinx, go check out ConTECHtual on NowThis. The video series, now on its third season, dives into the origins and evolutions of current technology, and examines potential for the future of the industry. Season three of the show welcomes a new co-host: talented journalist + producer Alejandro Alba. Episode 3 below, goes into why and how to develop ethical artificial intelligence. Check it out and hit subscribe.
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