Author Archives

Luis Vazquez

Maria leaves Sesame Street

maria sesame street

Sonia Manzano, who played Maria, TV wife of Luis in the iconic children’s show Sesame Street, is retiring after 44 years. She appeared in 1971 when Latinos were a non-entity on the television screen. She lasted 44 years, became an author, and won several Emmy awards. Not bad for a New York born Puerto Rican.

“She was the first leading Latina woman on television, she was a role model for young girls and women for generations.”

Sesame Workshop explained.

Her presence on the roster was a constant that gave Hispanics someone who they could relate to. She was part of the “Fix it Shop” that she ran and her TV relationship with Luis was a welcome change to many who lived without a mother or father in broken families. Sonia recognized the gaps.

“We weren’t on television and children’s books, something I remember quickly.”

She was part of a program that taught kids to spell, count, and learn the language, a visual school. Soon thereafter, Sonia wrote the first of her two books, The Evolution of Evelyn Serrano in 2012.

Maria also contributed ideas from a cultural perspective, namely Latino, through her writing which reflected U.S. born Hispanics and helped garner the show 15 Emmy Awards. It also was a show of growth on her part as the years passed.

“My personal evolution included bringing cultural ideas to Sesame Street and eventually writing often with the Hispanic culture in mind.”

Sonia reflected,

She currently is about to release a new book Miracle on 133rd Street following the news of her retirement from the show.

Sonia Manzano was a solid foundation, a cornerstone for Latino youth in their infancy through five decades and the importance of seeing her whenever you turned to watch Sesame Street was as important as Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, or Elmo. She was the example of a strong family unit and of how one should conduct themselves in a country that is multicultural and is defined by its differences, she showed why it was a blessing. She will be missed yet Sonia hinted on her twitter on a possible return. “Maybe I’ll go back for 50th anniversary and make a guest appearance.”

Univision Trumps Miss USA and “The Donald” responds

The fallout to the comments made by U.S. Presidential hopeful Donald Trump about Mexico and how he would deal with immigration could be compared to nuclear winter. The collateral damage done by Trump is still being totaled.

Trump was quoted at his announcement as candidate for the U.S. Presidency:

“When they (Mexico) come to this country, they’re bringing drugs, crime, they’re rapists, and some, I assume, are good people.”

 

In summary, since last Thursday, Trump managed to alienate the country of Mexico and Latino’s in the U.S. and abroad. He lost the services of Univision, the largest Spanish television network, who pulled out of coverage of his Miss USA Pageant and other shows under his Miss Universe Organization. This means Miss Universe as well. They responded:

“At Univision, we see first-hand the work ethic, love for family, strong religious values and the important role Mexican immigrants and Mexican-Americans have had and will continue to have in building the future of our country.”

 

Latino Entertainers have responded as well starting with Reggaeton artist J.Balvin and co-host Roselyn Sanchez pulling out of the pageant. Cristian De La Fuente and Zuleyka Rivera have also followed suit. Mana and Ricky Martin have had their say as well. Below are bullet point quotes made by them about Trump.

J. Balvin: “I’m no savior and I’m no Robin Hood. But in this case, I feel totally comfortable and responsible with my decision.”
Roselyn Sanchez: “His comments were an insult to our culture. I won’t sponsor anything produced by Donald Trump.
Lupita Jones: (Former Miss Universe from Mexico) “insulting and misleading”
Ashley Campuzano (East Los High star): “Some people will just let people talk about you or say things about your country or your people and what type of person you are.”
Ricky Martin: “Trump has much hatred and ignorance in his heart”
Fher Olvera (Mana): “Trump is an incompetant man, a cabron, and his violent speeches remind me of Hitler”

The NHLA (The National Leadership Agenda) have spearheaded a movement to get NBC Universal to also bow out of covering Miss USA. Trump has responded by not allowing Univision employees on his golf courses and threatening to sue Univision on a contract that he claims is not breakable. He continues to accuse Univision of bowing to their wishes and congratulating Mexico for trade deals with the U.S that favors them and promising that if he was president that “those days would be over”.

In an attempt to give Trump a platform to revise or clarify his statements CNN host, Jake Tapper spoke to Trump. He responded by saying he loves Mexico and their people and enjoy great business relations but he also pointed out that he would correct the imbalance caused by Mexico taking advantage of the United States starting by forcing Mexico to build a wall on the border.

“You force them because we give them a fortune.”

Trump explained,

“A wall is a tiny peanut compared to that.”

The war between Trump and Univision has since slogged down into a back and forth affair. Univision President Alberto Ciurana posted a photo comparing Trump to the Charleston gunman who killed nine people. He attempted to apologize, but Trump rejected it and responded by posting the cell phone number of Univision correspondent Jorge Ramos, which he provided in an interview request. Trump lashed out saying that Univision, who is covering the Presidential election, is in essence being two-faced.

At the end of the day, Trump, now 69, is an excellent businessman but horrible as far as media savviness. He appears to be out of touch and his rants will only cripple his election desires since the Latino vote is essential now as he has won pro-Americans to his “tough” stances on everything including “The Mexican problem”.

He has put his show organization in a fix, losing half of his viewership with a single stroke. His future business dealings will also suffer but not as much as his reputation. For the foreseeable future, as far as Latinos go, he is the face of what’s wrong with America. Ultimately, making a point with no flexibility will not win him a Presidency or the respect of a people.

UPDATE: Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants will no longer air on NBC.

WATCH: Full Interview, Jose Diaz-Balart speaks with Donald Trump

Roc Nation has pulse on Latin market

miguel cotto (3)

The first thing Jay Z‘s Roc Nation seemed to grasp when they added the Roc Nation Sports division was the Latino demographic. Their first signings implied this, with Football Player Victor Cruz of the New York Giants, Rusney Castillo of the Boston Red Sox and Robinson Cano, first with the Yankees and now in Seattle. In the Boxing arena, Miguel Cotto was the chosen one.

It was apparent at the Barclay’s Center that Roc Nation Sports recognizes timing. By getting Miguel Cotto WBC 160 pound defense against Daniel Geale to be the official kickoff event for the Puerto Rican Day Parade festivities they were able to use it to aid in selling out the Brooklyn arena.

Roc Nation are also not afraid to unleash their top guns as well. They set up the main event with a performance of four songs from their Grammy-nominated artist Big Sean. They also brought in Angie Martinez The Voice of New York” to host the event. On the DJ booth, we got Lobo from La Mega.

The draw of this quality event brought Latino celebrities like Bernie Williams, Residente from Calle 13 and Rosie Perez, a big boxing fan. Oscar De La Hoya was in attendance as well. Roc Nation deals in quality and as Roc Nation Sports, which has quite a few boxers signed, continues to put on events Latinos and Boxing will surely benefit from.

Carmelo Anthony Soccer

Carmelo Anthony trying his hand at sports ownership

Carmelo Anthony Soccer

 

Carmelo Anthony has been spending a lot of his time off after knee surgery in the world of soccer. He appeared with New York City Football Club Captain David Villa on a shoot and traveled with the Cosmos on their recent trip to Cuba as a “guest of the League.”

Carmelo Anthony with Pele during Cosmos trip to Cuba

Carmelo Anthony with Pele during Cosmos trip to Cuba

The word that is being reported is that he is interested in owning a team in the NASL. The second division of soccer, one level below the MLS in the United States, is where he has been looking at potential sites for a stadium to house a future team.

The defunct Puerto Rican Islanders, last seen in 2012, is of great interest in reviving as Carmelo’s father is from the island and Anthony, who is of Puerto Rican heritage, may see this as a natural fit.

The New York Knicks have not attempted to curtail any of his business activities since Anthony shut down for the season by going for surgery after which the team was gutted and quit on the 2014-2015 season with an eye on immediate free agent future prospects.

Cosmos win more than a game in Cuba

 

cosmos in cuba

The NASL New York Cosmos took a major step for international relations with their goodwill visit to play the Cuban National team last night in a friendly in Pedro Marrero Stadium in Havana, Cuba. Friendly was the theme here as this match represented another sample of the renewed relations between Cuba and the United States.

Cuba unfurled the United States flag and played the U.S. National Anthem before the game. This marked the first visit from a U.S. professional sports team since 1999. Raul, the celebrated Spanish superstar acquisition took advantage of an errant pass to assist on the first goal to Lucky Mkosana. The Cosmos went on to rout Cuba 4-1.

“Getting our early goals in the beginning was huge for us.”

Mkosana admitted.

“I felt like the atmosphere from the Cuban fans was phenomenal.”

Cuba’s lone goal was scored in the 51st minute from midfielder Andy Vaquero, for the last goal of the night, courtesy of the hustle from Reinier Cerdeira who won the ball near the top-left corner of the penalty area and slotted it to Vaquero.

The Cosmos, once the premier team in American Soccer, once again transcended their game and came away with a win. But the feelings before and after said much more about the importance of a soccer game in the world of politics.

Enrique Iglesias Injured by Drone at Tijuana concert (WATCH VIDEO)

enrique-iglesias-drone-accident

Enrique Iglesias was injured last night in a bullring in Tijuana, Mexico. But no, it was not a bull, but a drone that got the international star all bloodied. This begs the question of how did a drone end up in an Enrique Sex and Love World Tour concert?

Enrique iglesias

Apparently, Enrique uses a drone during the show to show off shots of the crowd and on certain nights grabs it to provide the audience a Point of View shot. This is where it went wrong. In the attempt to handle the drone he suffered an accident and was bleeding enough from two sliced fingers that he had to be advised that he should stop the concert and get further treatment.

Enrique refused and in an act of great courage he continued performing for 30 minutes, still bleeding throughout. Afterwards, he was rushed to the airport where an ambulance led him to a plane which arrived in Los Angeles where he saw a specialist.

Enrique is currently undergoing reconstructive surgery on the hand as of present time.

Watch the video below:

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WU5X4EbkzW4″ width=”560″ height=”315″]

Sepp Blatter elected President of FIFA for 5th straight term

Sepp Blatter fifa president

FIFA just completed its election for President and Sepp Blatter held off the challenge of Jordanian Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein, who withdrew. Though Blatter is now ruling over a split FIFA since the allegations of bribery that rocked the world soccer organization. Blatter, however, now beginning his fifth term, is quite optimistic.

“We don’t need revolutions we need evolutions. I’m being held accountable for the storm. OK, I will shoulder that responsibility.”

The officials that were arrested included members of CONCACAF (North America) and CONMEBOL (South America). In Argentina, a judge ordered the arrest of Alejandro Burzaco, Hugo Jinkis and his son Mariano, all Argentine citizens, who were named in the corruption charges. In this case they are accused of winning and holding onto media rights contracts totaling 110 million in bribes.

Sepp Blatter Fifa

They are among the nine officials and five sports media and promotions executives hit with these charges since the 150 million in bribes have surfaced. But in the case of the Argentine three, the scandal reaches even to the Copa America.

The case reads that Burzaco and the Jinkis’ formed a new entity known as Datisa, which entered into a contract worth $317.5 million with CONMEBOL for exclusive worldwide rights to the 2015, 2019 and 2023 Copa America tournaments. They followed up by entering into a $35 million contract with CONCACAF, to acquire rights for the Copa America Centenario.

So, Blatter, who claims that this is his last term, has his work cut out for him.

“We are at a turning point. We need to pull together and move forward. We can’t constantly supervise everyone in football,”

Insisted Blatter.

“You can’t just ask people to behave ethically just like that.”

But, according to the United States Justice Department, Sepp, they do.

UPDATE: “FIFA’s Sepp Blatter announces his resignation 4 days after winning re-election”

Original Menudo Members

Original MENUDO Reunion in New York City

Original Menudo Members

The boy band known as Menudo that caught the imagination of young Puerto Rican girls on the island, and especially in New York City, when they would make their yearly appearance, could only be compared to that of The Beatles arriving.

There were usually five members and when their voices started to mature or they became of age they would be replaced for younger talent. The original five that put Menudo on the map were Ricky Melendez, Miguel Cancel, Rene Farrait, Johnny Lozada, Ray Reyes and Charlie Masso.

They reached their apex in the early 80’s with a cross-over English album and with the addition of Ricky Martin and later Robby Rosa, the first U.S. born Puerto Rican member. But it was the original five that caught the imagination of the home island.

Menudo Reunion

They will be performing at the Beacon Theatre on July 17th of this year. This is a continuation of a series of comeback performances that started in 1998 when the first reunion of the originals took place.

This concert will mark the first New York City performance in 17 years. It will be a nostalgic evening as the band will sing past favorites like “Claridad”, “Por Amor”, “Quiero Ser”“Voulez Vous”, “Fuego”, “Y Yo No Bailo”, “Subete a Mi Moto” and “Si Tu No Estas”. The songs that were personal anthems for pre-teen Puerto Ricans in the early 80’s will be revived for this one-time event.

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUn_HaLUYqg” width=”560″ height=”315″]

Elian Gonzalez Curious To See U.S. Again

Elian Gonzalez - Latin Recap Article

 

It was 1999 and the dominating news story that year was the tale of a six-year-old boy, Elian Gonzalez. He was rescued from an escape vessel off the coast of Florida. The trip from Cuba to Florida took the life of his mother. This ignited a custody war between Gonzalez’s father in Cuba and Elian’s relatives in Miami.

The backdrop was the then “cold war” between Cuba and the United States. The result was a poor island nation choked off by blockades and a strict ruler in Fidel Castro, who caused many to brave dangerous seas in boats far from seaworthy.

Inselian

The image of U.S. Marshal raiding the home where he lived in full armed pose while a shocked and crying Elian is seen being held by a surprised relative was an enduring image.

Gonzalez, now 21, has an opinion about the situation. A far cry when everyone seemed to have their opinion on what was good for him.

“I believe that if today, my mother is not here with me, it is because she fought until the very last minute for me to survive.”

“To the American people, first I say thank you for the love they give me.”

Elian responded.

Many were heartbroken to see him go. But with the reopening of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, the spotlight returned to check up on how Elian progressed. He went on to thrive and even represented Cuba on a trip to Ecuador in 2013 as part of the 23rd World Festival of Youth and Students. Yet, Elian never forgot the good will expressed to him as a child during those dramatic days. He has even expressed a desire to visit the U.S. once more.