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Queer Latinx leads the way in mainstream entertainment

Panel explores diversity and inclusion across the spectrum

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Mishel Prada

In a year of increased LGBTQ+ representation in both television and film, mainstream festivals and live events across the country have quickly realized that inclusion for our community needs to follow suit and be given prominence in such arenas also, not just on screen.

“Queer Latinx Dominating Mainstream Entertainment,” a panel held at the 10th anniversary of Hispanicize, arguably the largest annual event for Latinx trendsetters, focused on content creators and newsmakers. The event brings together the movers, shakers and leaders of the Latinx community. 

Johnny Sibilly

In its past nine years, this is actually the second time in which a dedicated panel focusing on LGBTQ representation is part of the event schedule. “Pose” actor Johnny Sibilly sat on a Hispanicize panel last year in Miami and it was not LGBTQ focused. This year, Sibilly joins fellow panelists on the LGBTQ+ panel -Singer/Songwriter/Actor, Laith Ashley, and Vida Television Star, Mishel Prada, who portrays a queer woman on the hit STARZ show, and is one of our fiercest allies off screen. 

“We understand that all facets of our community need to be represented at live events and that includes our amazing and never wavering female allies,” added Roman Navarrette who along with co-producer Jose Resendez is creating the panel session which will take place onsite on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 4 p.m. at the DTLA Intercontinental Hotel. 

Resendez, a gay Latino with an extensive background in brand marketing will do double duty this year as he is not only co-producing the panel but also the event’s marquee event – the Tecla Awards. “I’ve been a part of the Hispanicize family for over half a decade and I truly believe this is the place to shift perception and move the needle for Hispanics in the social media space. 

Laith Ashley

Navarrette, who cut his teeth at the Fox network in marketing and then shifted to working on multicultural and targeted marketing for Fox Entertainment Group as part of the Fox Audience Strategy division, is now a marketing consultant leaning into the LGBTQ+ and Latinx spaces, working with companies like Live Nation Latin, FX and most recently, Pasadena Playhouse’s Little Shop of Horrors starring Mj Rodriguez of FX’s “Pose” fame. 

“It’s important to highlight diverse images within our LGBTQ+ community. There are layers and layers in our community and we need to emphasize Latinx and people of color stories in order to continue to make progress and impact pop culture for our youth as well. Positive portrayals with intricate characteristics help everyone at the end of the day,” added Navarrette. 

And while representation for the community has been popping up more and more at SoCal industry events, (Vida’s Ser Anzoategui recently took part in panels at both The National Association of Latino Independent Producers in LA and Latitude, in San Diego) this is the first time a panel produced by LGBTQ+ community members solely, is taking center stage. Added features this year include the addition of LGBTQ+ community organization members being invited to attend at no cost to them.

“We wanted to make sure that the audience included members of the entire Latinx LGBTQ+ community and especially those on the ground in the trenches working with the community providing services and healthcare as well as HIV testing and counseling,” added Navarrette. “It’s not always about Hollywood.”

The two-day Hispanicize 2019 conference kicks off on Friday, Oct. 18, with a keynote from critically acclaimed John Leguizamo whose NGL Collective newly acquired Hispanicize earlier this year. Nearly 2,000 attendees are expected to visit this year’s conference and be treated to various panels and activations featuring celebrities and influencers such as Rosie Perez, CNCO, the cast of Netflix’s On My Block, Stephanie Beatriz, Mexican Gueys, BuzzFeed’s Curly Velasquez, Jenny Lorenzo, Danay Garcia, LGND, and Prada’s Vida Costar, Melissa Barrera. 

In addition, one of the coveted Pepsi music lounge performances and Q&A sessions will feature gay Latino, Willie Gomez, former Britney Spears dancer and new emerging artist. Besides Pepsi other brands participating in the two-day event include Facebook watch, HBO Latino, Walmart, Colgate, Pluto TV, Nickelodeon, Unilever, Ciroc, Dove, Clorox, Voto Latino, Caress, Jim Beam, and McDonalds.

To purchase a pass for Hispanicize’s 10th Anniversary go to https://hispanicizeevent.com/la2019/ and support the LGBTQ+ Panel.

 

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Online Culture

First Trans Amazon introduced by DC Comics In ‘Wonder Woman’

DC Comics-Warner Brothers became more LGBTQ+ inclusive with the introduction of the character of Bia, a Black trans woman

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Courtesy of DC Comics-Warner Brothers

BURBANK – The world of DC Comics-Warner Brothers became more LGBTQ+ inclusive this weekend as the venerable comic book franchise of Wonder Woman expanded with the introduction of the character of Bia, a Black trans woman, in the first issue of the series Nubia & The Amazons.

Earlier this month on National Coming Out Day, the canon of the Superman series changed for the life of Jon Kent, the Superman of Earth and son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, taking a bold new direction. After initially striking up a friendship with reporter Jay Nakamura, he and Jon become romantically involved, making Kent an Out bisexual character.

In this latest offering, Stephanie Williams and Vita Ayala, writers and creators confirmed that Bia is a Black Trans woman. They stressed that she “isn’t a box to tick … [she] is important to her community. Just as Black trans women are important to us in real life.” 

Of special significance to the introduction of the character in the DC Comic worlds was the endorsement of actress Lynda Carter who played the title role of Wonder Woman on television based on the comic book superheroine, which aired on ABC and later on CBS from 1975 to 1979. Earlier in the week Carter tweeted her support of Trans women;

Writing for the DC Comics-Warner Brothers website blog, co-creator Stephanie Williams said;

It’s been a dream to work with the likes of Vita Ayala, a non-binary Afro-Latinx comic writer who has been making quite a name for themselves. And then there is the illustrious and widely talented and dedicated Afro-Latina artist Alitha Martinez who is already in the comic hall of fame for all-time greats. Her passion for Nubia is unmatched. It shows in every cover and panel from Nubia’s Future State story written by L.L. McKinney, her Infinite Frontier #0 story written by Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad, and now the Nubia and the Amazons miniseries written by myself and Vita Ayala.”

Courtesy of DC Comics-Warner Brothers

I’m so excited about the history we’re creating, adding to, and remixing. The foundation has always been there, but needed some TLC. As Nubia embarks on this new journey as Queen of Themyscira, I hope her rebirth will be met with open arms and the desire to keep her always at the forefront. Nubia, now being queen, is poetic in so many ways, but one that stays on my mind is the very personal connection I feel. As I help to add to her legacy, she’s opened the door wider to my own,” Williams said adding:

Long may Queen Nubia reign, forever and always.”

Nubia and the Amazons #1 by Stephanie Williams, Vita Ayala and Alitha Martinez is now available in print and as a digital comic book.

Along with co-writing Nubia and the Amazons, Stephanie Williams writes about comics, TV and movies for DCComics.com. Check out more of her work on Den of Geek, What To Watch, Nerdist and SYFY Wire and be sure to follow her on both Twitter and Instagram at @steph_I_will.

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Notables

Ebony Power 100: Deputy White House Press Sec. Karine Jean-Pierre

Her position is historic as the first Black Lesbian who is speaking for the nation’s chief executive as Deputy Press Secretary

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Deputy White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre courtesy of EBONY Magazine Power 100 awards

BEVERLY HILLS – Ebony Magazines’ iconic annual Power 100 awards ceremony, honoring those individuals who have had a positive impact on the African-American community is making its 2021 post coronavirus pandemic return airing Saturday, October 23 from Los Angeles and hosted by Wayne Brady.

Brady, a television personality, comedian, actor, and singer, will also give a special performance during the broadcast, and he is slated to receive Ebony’s Vanguard Award for his decades-plus career “as a consummate, all-around entertainer and performer.” 

Included in the distinguished list of honorees is principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who is listed in the magazine’s category of ‘Ceiling Breakers.’ As the principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Jean-Pierre conducts the daily press briefing in the Brady Press Room in the West Wing standing in as needed for White House Press Secretary Jennifer Psaki and also she conducts what are referred to as ‘gaggles.’

“Gaggles” refers to informal briefings a White House press secretary conducts with the daily press pool rather than the entire White House press corps.

President Joe Biden’s selection of Jean-Pierre was a first in the history of presidential administrations. Her position is seen as historic from the perspective of being the first Black Lesbian to hold forth behind the podium of the James S. Brady Press room in the West Wing speaking for the nation’s chief executive.

Jean-Pierre has been with the Biden administration since she joined the Biden-Harris campaign in May of 2020 and then accepted the position of Chief of Staff to Senator Harris in August. In late November of 2020, then President-elect Joe Biden named seven women to his incoming White House Communications Team to include naming Jean-Pierre as the Deputy White House Press Secretary.

The daughter of immigrant parents from Haiti, Jean-Pierre was born in Martinique and later raised in Queens, a borough of New York City. A longtime activist and communications specialist, she has a Master’s in Public Affairs conferred on her by New York’s Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, where she has taught as an adjunct professor and lecturer in international and public affairs since 2014.

During the first Obama admkistartion term, Jean-Pierre, 43, served as the regional political director for the White House Office of Political Affairs.

Speaking with the Advocate magazine in June of 2011 Jean-Pierre reflected on her tenure working for the Obama Administration as an openly LGBT staffer. “What’s been wonderful is that I was not the only; I was one of many. President Obama didn’t hire LGBT staffers, he hired experienced individuals who happen to be LGBT,” she told the Advocate. “Serving and working for President Obama where you can be openly gay has been an amazing honor. It felt incredible to be a part of an administration that prioritizes LGBT issues.”

Speaking with NBC News journalist Tim Fitzsimons; “The sun was setting and the lights got much more prominent,” she said, referring to late June 2015, when she watched the White House lit in rainbow colors to mark the historic Supreme Court Obergefell v. Hodges ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. “People had signs and people were crying, and there was just so much joy.”

“I remember thinking how proud I was of this administration, that I had worked for that,” Jean-Pierre, said. “It really brought together, in that one moment, how important LGBTQ rights were and how much that administration fought for our rights.”

In 2016 after her White House stint, Jean-Pierre served as a Senior Advisor and National Spokesperson for Washington D.C. based MoveOn, a progressive non-profit public policy advocacy group and political action committee. Her primary portfolio at the non-profit was addressing President Trump’s rhetoric and platform of hate, violence, racism, immigrant-bashing, and women-bashing.

She also served as the deputy campaign manager for former Democratic Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s 2016 campaign run for the Oval Office.

Jean-Pierre received national recognition after a June 1, 2019 incident during the MoveOn Big Ideas Forum she was moderating in San Francisco, when 24 year-old Aidan Cook, a member of the animal right activist organization Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), rushed the stage grabbing the microphone out of then California U.S. Senator Kamala Harris’s hand. The Senator was a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination at the time of the incident.

Jean-Pierre, who had jumped in between Cook and the Senator after he took the microphone kept the activist away from Harris until security arrived and removed him. At the time of the incident, Harris, like most other candidates in early stages of the primary process, didn’t have a U.S. Secret Service detail for protection.

Jean-Pierre, her partner, CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, and their daughter reside in Washington D.C.

The EBONY Power 100 ceremony also is marking the culmination of Ebonys 75th anniversary year. 

For the complete list of honorees please head over to here. (Link)

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Events

West Hollywood Halloween Events 2021

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Courtesy of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The West Hollywood Chamber of commerce has released its annual Halloween events guide available here.

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