When Austin's cumbia-funk institution Grupo Fantasma went to record their seventh album at a studio in Tornillo, Texas, they had no idea that right next door was a tent city for detained immigrant youth operated by ICE. When they found out, they decided they had to do something. So they teamed up with fellow legends Ozomatli and Locos Por Juana to create a sinister funk tune with a message about the walls that divide us. On this edition of How I Made It, members of Grupo Fantasma break down the creative process behind their new song "The Wall."
A few weeks ago, student organization MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán) voted to change their name after 50 years—and that decision was met with a lot of commentary, especially on social media. Those in favor of the name change, argue that dropping the words "Chicanx" and "Aztlán" from the name, makes MEChA more inclusive. But others, including MEChA alums, say that those words are heavily intertwined with the 1960's Chicano movement, and a name change would erase that important struggle. On this edition of "The Breakdown," Latino USA dissects MEChA's decision, and reactions on both sides of the debate.
Celebrated jazz musician Arturo O'Farrill has dedicated his life to envisioning a future of inclusion and collaboration. His newest project, "Fandango at the Wall," was inspired by a festival he participated in on the U.S.-Mexico border. In the album, O'Farrill brings together the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra with more than 60 musicians. In this episode, Maria Hinojosa sits down with O'Farrill to discuss how he's not only crossing artificial borders, but erasing them.
In the U.S., the two fastest-growing ethnic groups are Asian and Latino—and those groups are not mutually exclusive. For centuries, immigrants from Asia have settled in Mexico all the way down to Argentina, and their descendants carry both Asian and Latin American identities. Inside the U.S., Asians and Latinos have lived side-by-side in heavily immigrant neighborhoods and have created lives together. In this episode, we'll hear from four Latino USA listeners, who discuss their own Asian Latino identity and how it has shaped their experience in the U.S.
Grammy Award-winning singer Miguel and Mireya of the Latin Grammy-winning all-women mariachi group Flor de Toloache have released a song that fuses bachata, mariachi and R&B. But most importantly, the song represents Miguel and Mireya continuing their family's musical legacy. Miguel and Mireya are cousins who met for the first time a little over a year ago. In this episode of "How I Made It," Miguel and Mireya reflect on their experience working together in the studio for the first time and the full circle moment of "Te Lo Dije."
Miguel and Flor De Toloache's Mireya Ramos on "Te Lo Dije"
Last year, a 65-year-old grandfather was attacked and fell onto the New York City subway tracks—which eventually led to his death. He was punched from behind by a young man with schizophrenia who shouted that he was the devil. This isn't the first time this has happened, a similar situation played out 19 years earlier. So why does the cycle continue? Latino USA examines how and why someone with serious mental illness falls through the cracks of the nation's mental health system.
When she was nine years old, Xiomara Torres fled the civil war in her home country of El Salvador and came to the U.S. As a child she adjusted to her new life in East Los Angeles before she was removed from her family and put into foster care—where she spent six years of her life moving from home to home. Now, she's the subject of a local play in Oregon titled, "Judge Torres." In this edition of "How I Made It," Judge Torres shares how she overcame the hurdles of the foster care system and made her way to the Oregon Circuit Court.
When we talk about what made rock & roll as we know it, the most common description is: a mixture of R&B, a predominantly black genre, and country, a predominantly white genre. But the sound is not as black and white as many think. In this episode, Latino USA explores the Latino influences that helped shape rock & roll, and we profile unsung Latino rock artists who had a hand in crafting the sound—from Chicana punk rocker Alice Bag to David Bowie's right-hand man guitarist Carlos Alomar.
Venezuela has been known for its oil wealth and also, for its obsession with beauty pageants. In the history of the Miss Universe pageant, Venezuela has won seven crowns, the second-highest number of crowns. However, as the growing economic and political crisis in Venezuela deepens, beauty has taken a backseat for many Venezuelan women. Some women are now crossing the border to Colombia to sell their hair to salons to make ends meet. In this episode, Latino USA travels to the Colombian border city of Cúcuta, and dives into the thriving underground market that now exists for Venezuelan hair.
Since the 1980s, Cherríe Moraga has been a queer feminist Chicana icon, alongside thinkers like Audre Lorde and Gloria Anzaldúa. Her newest work is a memoir: "Native Country Of The Heart." It centers on her close relationship with her mother who died in 2005 after suffering for many years from Alzheimer's disease. Maria Hinojosa and Cherríe Moraga discuss the struggles of watching a parent grapple with losing their memory, how ideas about gender get passed down, and the future of feminism.
Cherríe Moraga's New Memoir "Native Country of the Heart"
At the only shelter for unaccompanied minors in Tijuana, Mexico, teens watch Pokemon and blast Bad Bunny songs. Most of these teens are from Central America, thousands of miles from their families, and waiting for months to apply for asylum in the U.S. As they wait, shelter administrators work to regulate their stress and trauma. But now, they're also worried about their safety outside the shelter's walls. Last December, two of the teens staying there were kidnapped and murdered. Jesse Alejandro Cottrell takes us inside the daily lives of these teenagers—as they wait for an uncertain future.
Over the past two months, President Donald Trump has been demanding funds from Congress to build his proposed border wall—which led to the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history. As Congress and the White House continue to clash over funding, Latino USA heads down to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas to visit the communities affected by the decisions being made in Washington, D.C. We visit a chapel threatened by the possibility of the wall cutting across its property, a "dragtivist" protest, and volunteers helping asylum-seekers on both sides of the border.
There's a long and extensive pattern of sexual abuse and harassment in immigration detention facilities, even though the Prison Rape Elimination Act was introduced in DHS facilities in 2014. Over a ten-month period, Latino USA partnered with Rewire.News and dug into one specific case of alleged sexual abuse, that of Laura Monterrosa at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center. What we learned after reviewing documents obtained through a FOIA request raised questions about the efficacy of internal investigations at immigration facilities and the safety of thousands of detained immigrants.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Patricio Manuel is the first openly transgender boxer to ever fight professionally in the U.S. Despite the name, Patricio is not latino, he identifies as black, but he was raised in the Mexican-dominated boxing gyms of L.A., where he earned his nickname "Cacahuate," or peanut. He is a five-time amateur boxing champion and while he is making history in the ring, he hasn't always been accepted in the boxing community. Latino USA sits down with Patricio "Cacahuate" Manuel to discuss his journey into the ring and how boxing helped him learn to love his own body.
We follow the journey of one quinceañera, Hailey Alexis, from Whittier, California—as she plans for the big day. From searching for the perfect dress, to last-minute dance rehearsals during her party. We talk with family friends who are debating whether they will have a quinceañera for their daughter, and attend one of the biggest Quince Expos on the East Coast. Throughout the process, we explore how the quinceañera is seen as a status symbol, a form of female empowerment, a statement about Latinx identity and also a really fun party. This segment was originally broadcast on September 16th, 2016.
Making Movies is a band based out of Kansas City, Missouri. The group has two sets of brothers, lead singer and guitarist Enrique and bassist Diego Chi, and Juan-Carlos and Andres Chaurand on percussion and drums. Their second album, "I Am Another You," fused electric guitars, with mambo rhythms, synths and operatic vocals—and explored identity and immigration. Latino USA sits down with Enrique and Juan-Carlos to discuss "Locura Colectiva," one of the band's most ambitious tracks.
Four Latinx film critics: Claudia Puig, Vanessa Erazo, Monica Castillo, and Manuel Betancourt sat down with Latino USA to talk about what it means to be a film critic, what they see their role should be as Hollywood aims to embrace more diversity, and the politics of popular film rating system, Rotten Tomatoes.
The film "Roma" has been groundbreaking in many ways—it's one of the rare foreign language films to be nominated for Best Picture and its star Yalitza Aparicio is the first indigenous, Latina woman to be nominated for Best Actress. But Roma, which was distributed by Netflix, is just the latest in a long legacy of Hollywood films which were made in Mexico. Former publicist Luis Reyes traces that history in his book "Made in Mexico: Hollywood South of the Border." Reyes goes all the way back to when Hollywood sent a camera to film Pancho Villa out on the battlefield during the Mexican Revolution and up until films like "Titanic" and "Shape of Water."
In recent weeks, Venezuela has been in the spotlight as two men, Nicolás Maduro and Juan Guaidó, assert their claims to the presidency amidst political and economic crisis. Many are watching the situation with growing anxiety, including a Venezuelan father and son. José Eduardo González Vargas is a 28 year-old journalist living in Venezuela. His father, Ernesto Solo, is a filmmaker and art director who currently lives in New York City. He's also getting ready for a trip home to see his family. In this episode of Latino USA, father and son speak by phone about their memories, fears, and hopes for Venezuela.
Latino USA kicks off our coverage of the 2020 presidential elections with a conversation with Julián Castro, one of the first to declare candidacy. The Texas Democrat was the former mayor of San Antonio, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama and in 2016, he was on the short list of possible vice-presidential candidates for Hillary Clinton. Now, he believes that his time has come. Maria Hinojosa talks to Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro about his vision for the country and how he plans to stand out in a crowded Democratic field.
A Conversation with Presidential Candidate Julián Castro
It's almost Valentine's Day, and we couldn't help ourselves. Latino USA is bringing you a love story of student activism. We're taking you back to 1968, when thousands of students participated in a series of protests that helped spark the Chicano Movement, historically known as the East L.A. Walkouts. It's also when high school sweethearts and student organizers Bobby Verdugo and Yoli Ríos danced to a Thee Midniters song and fell in love.
If there is a Ranchera Royal family, that is the Aguilar family. And Ángela Aguilar is the youngest heir. Her father, Pepe Aguilar, has sold over 12 million albums worldwide and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And her grandfather, Antonio Aguilar, recorded more than 150 albums which sold more than 25 million copies. Now it's Ángela's time. She is nominated for a Grammy for best regional Mexican album with her album "Primero Soy Mexicana." Ángela talks to Maria Hinojosa about being 15, singing on stage for the first time at the age of 3, and how she uses social media.
In 1991, there was only one Walmart in Mexico, but by 2012, Walmart was Mexico's largest retailer with 2,000 locations. This week, Latino USA looks into how the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) impacted public health in Mexico. Maria Hinojosa speaks with Alyshia Gálvez, anthropologist, immigration scholar, and author of the book "Eating Nafta: Trade, Food Policies, and the Destruction of Mexico." Dr. Gálvez explains what made Mexican cuisine so healthy prior to NAFTA and why Mexicans who used to purchase their food at a local market, now are much more likely to buy processed foods.
Maria Hinojosa sits down with Gina Rodriguez, star of the CW show "Jane the Virgin"—which is airing its final season this spring. The actress and director has been exploring new projects too; her action film "Miss Bala" just dropped. Set in Tijuana, Rodriguez plays a make-up artist who battles a cartel in order to save herself and her kidnapped friend. Maria Hinojosa sits down with the actress to talk about her passion for making Latino-focused work, and how growing up in a Puerto Rican family in Chicago made her into the performer she is today.