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Warriors in the Cage: Dominick Cruz & Henry Cejudo

Originally published in the Jul/Aug 2016 issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine

Photos courtesy of UFC/Getty Images

The Latino Faces of the UFC

Latinos have a long and storied history in the world of combat sports. In boxing, legendary figures such as Julio Cesar Chávez and Oscar De La Hoya proudly touted their Latino heritage while winning championships and glory. At the dawn of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and mixed martial arts, Royce Gracie was its first dominant superstar, more recently followed by Anderson Silva, long considered the best in the world.

Carrying the banner for Latinos in the sport are now two rising stars: Dominick Cruz and Henry Cejudo. Cruz is the reigning UFC Bantamweight Champion while Cejudo is an Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler. Both are budding megastars and both are keenly aware of their status as Latino stars in a sport that gains popularity every day.

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“The Dominator” Dominick Cruz

Growing up in Tucson, the man they call “The Dominator” was introduced to combat sports quite literally by accident. “I got into wrestling in the seventh grade and I got into [it] because I walked into the wrong room,” he said. “The coach said I wasn’t a soccer player, I was a wrestler. I started practicing that day and haven’t stopped since.

After an undefeated amateur career, he had a successful career in the now defunct World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) promotion, becoming its last bantamweight champion before it was absorbed by the UFC. It wasn’t long before Cruz achieved glory in the UFC, capturing the bantamweight championship twice.

I come from Tucson, Arizona, which is 70 percent Hispanic,” Cruz said. “It’s in me, that pride of being Hispanic. I feel it. In the way that the Mexicans always fought, they’re just tough and stubborn. I feel that’s in my bloodline and I’m proud of that.

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“The Messenger” Henry Cejudo

The youngest of six children, the Olympian Henry Cejudo was introduced to the sport of wrestling by his older brothers. “I loved that wrestling was all about one-on-one combat,” he said. “I was always too small to play football, too short to play basketball, but when I saw that wrestling had weight classes, I knew I was home and I fell in love with it from the start.

Cejudo was an amateur superstar, winning four state wrestling championships. After winning gold at the Pan American Games in 2008, he set his sights firmly on Olympic glory, winning Gold at the 2008 Beijing Games. He retired from the sport in 2012 to compete in mixed martial arts. His pedigree and his impressive skills caught the attention of the UFC. Settling in as a flyweight, Cejudo has amassed a 10-1 record and is now one of the coaches on the upcoming season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

“I want to become the best in the world,” he said. “What else is there to do in sports, but to want to be the best?”

DE LA GHETTO ESTRENA NUEVO TEMA Y CONTRATO CON WARNER MUSIC LATINA

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El cantante urbano De La Guetto acaba de lanzar al mercado el sencillo “Acercate” parte de su nuevo álbum “Movimiento”, bajo la producción  del sello disquero Warner Music Latin. Luego de más de 10 años trabajando de manera independiente y lanzando y promocionando sus temas mayormente a través de las redes sociales, el joven talento acaba de firmar un contrato exclusivo que promete darle un giro total a su carrera.

“Este contracto significa algo grande, un movimiento estratégico, ahora con el respaldo de una multinacional tan importante como esta, podemos llevar mi música a otro nivel, estar presente en los medios de comunicación y las premiaciones”, nos dice el rapero neoyorkino.

Rafael Castillo, nació en Nueva York, hijo de padre dominicano y madre puertorriqueña. Su pasión por la música nace desde que era muy pequeño y se afianzo al mudarse a Puerto Rico a la edad de 8 años. Comenzó en el arte siendo apenas un adolescente con el nombre de Rafael De La Guetto

 “De La Guetto, del barrio, del caserío, de los proyectos, de ahí nace mi música. Yo siempre trato de influir a los jóvenes con mis liricas y con lo que hago para que sepan que ser del barrio, no significa necesariamente estar en pandillas o en drogas, tu puedes ser exitoso, artista, profesional, un doctor, lo que tú quieras” le recuerda el cantante a los jóvenes

Su nuevo sencillo “Acércate” fue producido 100% en Colombia por la misma compañía que produce los temas de JBalvin.

“Acércate, es un tema bien melódico, con un toque colombiano, caribeño pero bien bailable, bien sensual. Estaremos grabando el video en Colombia próximamente, será un concepto bien diferente, algo así como ciencia ficción”, revela De La Guetto.

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Al preguntarle si existe una rivalidad entre los boricuas con el reggaetón que se hace en Colombia, nos dice

“yo no creo en eso de rivalidad, siempre hay 2 o 3 estúpidos ignorantes que quieren causar conflictos. El reggaetón es pa’ to el mundo, no solo pa’ nosotros, mi sonido y estilo en lo que hago es único. Me siento bendecido por tener lo mejor de varios mundos: dominicano-puertorriqueño nacido en Nueva York,  esta es una mezcla especial que es parte de mí y de mi estilo”.

Sus inicios se remontan al 2004, cuando formo un dúo musical con el cantante Arcángel, luego grabo temas con Daddy Yankee, Nicky Jam y otros artistas del género, hasta que prácticamente su música se vio bloqueada por unirse a un sello disquero que no le permitia lanzar álbumes o participar en eventos grandes, .

 “me tenían bloqueado, pero todo pasar por una razón y yo creo que eso tenía que pasar en mi vida para yo ponerme fuerte mentalmente, espiritualmente, como ser humano y como artista. Ahora tengo más experiencia en el negocio y voy hacia el éxito”, nos dice lleno de entusiasmo.

Y es por esa madurez y experiencia que las cosas están sonriendo a su favor, además de estrenar un sello disquero, acaba de lanzar al mercado un reggaetón romántico junto a la cantante Thalía, un nuevo tema con el cantante urbano Secreto y está a punto de convertirse en padre por segunda vez.

De La Guetto también trabaja en la producción de un disco completamente en inglés, y se mantiene enfocando y con la certeza de que los frutos de estos más de 10 años de trabajo y sacrificio ya están a la vuelta de la esquina. Este es el tiempo de De la Guetto y lo mejor está por venir

 

 

*Originally published in the July/August 2016 issue of Latin Trends

ANTONIO LOPEZ: A Tribute to the Puerto Rican–Born Fashion Illustrator and Artist

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Antonio Lopez and his partner Juan Ramos changed the fashion world forever with their open celebration of difference—racial, ethnic and even gender difference. They permanently broadened high-fashion’s definitions of beauty by focusing attention on men and women that were often marginalized from the industry. We are thrilled to celebrate their phenomenal body of work with this exhibition that features over 400 images, many of which have never been exhibited or published before.”

–           Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, Senior Curator at El Museo del Barrio

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TOBBY LOVE PRESENTA SU NUEVO ALBUM “BACHATA NATION” EN NUEVA YORK

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En medio de prensa, luces, cámaras y decenas de seguidores el famoso exponente de Bachata Pop TOBY LOVE presento formalmente al publico de Nueva York su nuevo sencillo titulado ”Entra en mi Vida”.

Tobby Love es famoso por sus fusiones y mezclas de la tradicional bachata dominicana con ritmos urbanos como el R&B y Hip Hop. Una fusión que el artista a denominado “Crunkchata” – música romántica , corta venas con influencia de soul y jazz norteamericano.

El artista de origen puertorriqueño promociona el quinto sencillo de este álbum.“Entra en mi Vida” es un tema originalmente grabado por el grupo mexicano SIN BANDERA llega con nuevos arreglos vestido de bachata y trópico e interpretado por Toby junto al cantante Karlos Rose.

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Los inicios del este popular cantante se remontan al año 2000 cuando comenzó como vocalista del popular grupo AVENTURA , donde permaneció hasta comenzar su Carrera como solista en el 2006 y lograr posicionarse como uno de los artistas mas exitosos del genero.

Tobby Love ya ha obtenido dos codiciados premios Billboards y varias nominaciones a importantes premios internacionales.

“Entra En MI Vida”es uno de los temas incluidos en el popular álbum BACHATA NATION” lanzado conjuntamente con Elegante Records y que ya ha ocupado los primeros lugares de popularidad.

Sin lugar a dudas, TOBY LOVE con su estilo romántico y su voz melodiosa se perfila indiscutiblemente como el nuevo rostro internacional de la bachata

NY Mets Ace Closer Jeurys Familia on summer Issue Cover of LatinTRENDS Magazine

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Jeurys Familia, dynamic pitcher for the New York Mets, is LatinTRENDS’ August issue cover person. In this exclusive interview Familia talks about representing the Latino community, his community outreach program focused on foster children Familia’s Family, and what motivates him to succeed.

 

This month also includes interviews with Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro who stars as Jesus in this summer’s remake of “Ben Hur,” the sizzling Benjamin Bratt starring in “The Infiltrator” and beauty Ana Isabelle starring in “The Eyes.”

Urban music star De La Ghetto also speaks with LatinTRENDS about his new single “Acércate” from his new album “Mi Movimiento.”

In celebration of the New York Dominican Parade, LatinTRENDS identified 10 community influencers committed to engendering positive change within New York’s dynamic Dominican Community. The special feature includes interviews with the following influential men and women of various fields such as; law, music, fashion, STEM, business, politics and the arts.

Adriano Espaillat, New York State Senator and first Dominican-American elected to Congress; Los Hermanos Rosario;  Iconic merengue band “Los Hermanos Rosario” Members include Rafa, Luis and Tony Rosario; Angela Fernandez, Esq, Executive Director of Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Dominican Parade; Carolina Torres, Activist and Girl Scout “Future Woman of Distinction Award” winner; Wilton Cedeno, Director of Energy Policy and Regulatory Affairs for Con Edison; Appointed by Mayor Deblasio to New York City Economic Development Corporation’s Board of Directors; Francisco Diaz, President of American Association of Latinos in STEM (AALSTEM); Rafael Alvarez, Founder, president & CEO of ATAX Franchise, Inc. and winner of the IFA’s Ronald E. Harrison Diversity Award; Cenia Paredes, Fashion designer and creator of Cenia Fit with a collection available at HSN; Rigo Peralta, Visual artist with exhibits in the Dominican Republic and the U.S. Juan J. Camilo, Founder and owner of Dyckman Beers Co.

The August issue also includes “South African Travel” and business guides “Live Video 101”and “Snapchat as a Personal Branding Tool for Business.”  Also see “How to Get Unstuck: A Mindful Approach” and “Resilience: The Secret to Wellbeing” for tips on constructing a meaningful life.

In addition and in celebration of this summer issue, LatinTRENDS will host an event in Times Square on August 8th, which will be attended by this issues in-book featured personalities and a significant group of community influencers, artist, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and the media.

 

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KARINA ORTIZ: From Santo Domingo to Hollywood

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Image: nydailynews.com

Originally published in the  December 2015 issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine

By Anllelic Lozada

A lot has happened for Dominican actress, Karina Estela Ortiz, since her high school drama classes. At some point, she wanted to sing but was terrified to be in front of a large audience. Then she pursued a business degree—mostly to give her mom the comfort of knowing her daughter would have a stable career. Soon after, Ortiz had a change of heart and switched to her first love, acting, and graduated with a BA in Theatre from the City College of New York.

Upon graduating, she performed on Off-Broadway stages but later focused on TV, with a guest role in shows like “Do No Harm,” “Pushing Dreams” and “Blue Bloods.” Then Ortiz joined the cast of Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” in season 3 as Berto Colon’s girlfriend, Margarita. Most recently, you can see her play a nanny in the USA Network’s “Royal Pains” and she’ll play a reporter in ABC’s new political drama starting next year called “The Family.” We caught up with Karina while she’s in the middle of pilot season auditions, where we talked about Latinas on the big screen, overcoming depression and finding her inner strength.

We have seen a lot more Latino roles in TV and Hollywood lately. What do you think marked the shift?

Producers are realizing how much power we have here in the USA. There is power in numbers. I think what helped the shift is shows like “Jane the Virgin” (which I auditioned for) and “Orange is the New Black,” which show these Dominicanas always lookin’ fabulous. Most of the auditing

I go to is for Latina characters, which a couple of years ago I didn’t see it as much. You may go for a Latina role, but you would be surprised, as some Latinas look American, some Americans can look Latina and even Europeans may also go for the role because they have worked in Latin America.

What do you think about the new TV show, “Telenovela,” produced by and starring Eva Longoria?

I auditioned for it. It sounds very exciting and fun. I admire her for her work in philanthropy, as an actress and as a producer. She’s putting Latinos to work and putting their face out there.

Actors go through a lot of rejection. How have you dealt with it?

At the beginning, I was really hard on myself and fell into depression. I was telling myself why I wouldn’t make it. Especially when you start, there’s so much rejection out there that it can be easy to fall down. I had to fight the demons inside me. We tell each other lies and we are our worst enemy. After a while, you can either give up or prove that you can do it. Look at your inner child and be the person it needs you to be. Keep pushing and don’t victimize yourself because the world is not against you. I’m thankful that I’m not there anymore.

CHRISTIAN DANIEL: THE SONG IS THE STORY

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Image: Christiandanielmusic.com

 

Originally published in the  December 2015 issue of LatinTRENDS Magazine

By Luis Vazquez

Life brings unexpected twists and turns, but listening to radio today you would think that life is one big party. This is what the music industry wants in its artists. But the public wants something more. Christian Daniel provides that.

His latest album, “Renacer,” which was released on October 23, is the diary of a man left open for all to read. When you finger the pages you see death, suffering, and faithlessness. It’s his story and he is not afraid to say what’s on his mind. “I am an honest singer,” Daniel says. “I bring honesty to my songs. I try to write the perfect words to bring that message. It works.”

The one man in Christian’s life who he proclaimed was his number one fan and foundation of his life, his father, passed away of cancer a few months ago. “It was something I wasn’t waiting for because he was perfectly fine,” Daniel shared. “He didn’t last a month. I wrote a song that wasn’t on the album.” That song, “Ahora que te vas,” which many felt was too sad to play on the radio, set off a fight between Daniel and radio people who felt that it was something the public didn’t want to hear. “We lose people we love every day.” Daniel said. “I needed to write something I could honor him for what he was in my life.” The song hit number one two weeks upon release in Puerto Rico and currently in the U.S.

Daniel had brought a more personal touch to this album. His debut as a songwriter differentiates this from all his previous projects. It also makes it the most heartfelt. “I was afraid to write before because I told myself: what if I write something that tells who I am and people reject it?” A self-professed “very spiritual person,” he went deep to bring out his soul. “It’s my essence. I can’t think of anything [in the album] I haven’t gone through.”

 He remained true to himself even when others bestowed titles on him such as Latin Pop‘s new leading voice.””Latin Pop is the way people relate to things in life,” Daniel exclaimed. “In my perspective, people are tired of hearing the same thing. Suddenly I come with this and people are, ‘Wow!’ Now they are going after what I’m doing because it’s something fresh.” Now an independent artist with a team that he feels is behind him, he left the world of labels. “There is great talent that is sitting and waiting. I was that guy. I’m not him anymore.”

 Christian Daniel attracts because he not only knows how to use his voice, but knows how to make people feel what he does. “A good song will always make a difference no matter who paints it.” His brushstrokes highlight who he is now as he completes his tenth year in the business. “I’m a humble guy that’s just trying to make it, to get a piece of the world. I’m a fighter.”

14 HISPANIC STUDENTS RECEIVE SCHOLARSHIPS FROM McDONALD’S

THE RMHC®/HACER® Scholarship Program Celebrates its 29TH ANNIVERSARY

More than $250,000 in scholarships awarded to 14 Hispanic NY Metro senior high school students

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On June 20, the 29th edition of the Ronald McDonald House Charities® Hispanic American Commitment to Educational Resources® (RMHC®/HACER®) Scholarship Program Awards Luncheon took place at Yankee Stadium. The annual program, dedicated to assisting and supporting Hispanic high school seniors who want to pursue a higher education, honored 14 students and awarded more than $250,000 in scholarship funds.

The HACER scholarship program was established by local Hispanic McDonald’s Owner/Operators in the New York Metro as a way of providing opportunities to Hispanic youth, and to encourage and promote civic responsibility in their communities.  To date, the program has awarded almost $8 million in scholarships to more than 1,200 high-school seniors in the New York Tri-State Area.

This year, the program received submissions from more than 600 students. The 14 scholarship winners were recognized for their educational accomplishments and commitment to the Hispanic community by the RMHC/HACER selection committee, comprised by Hispanic media outlets, community influencers, education professionals, and McDonald’s local owners.

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In the past 29 years, close to $8 million dollars have been distributed to deserving students that have shown outstanding academic achievement, a deep commitment to the community, and a desire to pursue a college degree,” said Ana Madan, Chairman of the local HACER Scholarship Program and McDonald’s Owner/Operator. “It has been a long road and a lot of effort on behalf of McDonald’s Hispanic Owners in the region to make this program a success.

Hosting this year’s celebration was Fox 5’s traffic reporter, Ines Rosales. In attendance were the 14 scholarship winners and their families, selection committee members, representatives from Ronald McDonald House Charities and McDonald’s Corporate, local McDonald’s Owner/Operators and members of the local press.

 

About Ronald McDonald House Charities New York Tri-State Area

For over 20 years, Ronald McDonald House Charities® New York Tri-State Area has been creating, finding and supporting programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. The organization provides needed support to 5 Ronald McDonald Houses, which are “homes away from home” allowing families to be with their hospitalized children for extended periods of time; college scholarships to promising students; and community grants to support a variety of local nonprofit organizations. To learn more about the organization, please visit www.rmhcnytristate.org

Romeo & his Manager Johnny Marines partner with JAY-Z in Roc Nation Latino

Music Impresario Johnny Marines & his super star artist Romeo Santos are now the President and CEO of Jay Z’s Roc Nation Latino.

 

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The king of bachata Romeo Santos’ is now a CEO title of CEO of the newly created Roc Nation Latino within Jay Z’s Roc Nation. It will be a full service division within Roc Nation that will be dedicated to Latin talent. Santos will also be managed by Roc Nation in conjunction with his longtime manager.

 

The company inked a deal with former Aventura lead singer Romeo Santos to become the CEO of the newly launched Roc Nation Latino.

The deal also makes Romeo Santos, the top selling artist in Latin music of the last five years, a management client of Roc Nation. The singer will now be co-managed by Roc Nation and the aforementioned Johnny Marines, a 2016 Latino Trendsetter Award recipient.  Santos’ current recording contract with Sony is unaffected by his new venture. Bringing Romeo Santos into the fold opens up Roc Nation to a whole new market. The company made their first move into the Latin music earlier this year by signing reggaeton artist Yandel. The launch of Roc Nation Latino represents Roc Nation’s further moves to expand into the global market. Jay Z released a statement today that expressed his excitement for what Santos will do for Roc Nation.

 

 

 “I’m not taking for granted being managed by Roc Nation,” Santos says in a conversation with Billboard. “They have a lot of relations. They have a certain reach that I clearly could benefit from. And dealing with Jay Z, who is an artist himself, that’s great. I’ve always idolized Jay. We both come from the ‘hood, and he gets it. So that was definitely also fundamental. But I’m really excited about giving back. This is my way of giving back.” –  Said Romeo

 “Romeo has had tremendous success as a composer and producer and can spot true talent,” Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter said in a statement. “This is a tremendous step for Roc Nation. We recognize there is a huge Latin market that is part of global culture. We’re proud and ready to enter into true partnership with an individual that intimately lives and knows that culture.” – Said JAY-Z

Romeo Santos and Johnny Marines believe this deal is not only beneficial to them, but also something that will help Latin music industry as whole. Marines said that Roc Nation is serious about facilitating the growth of Latin music.

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George Lopez’s ‘Lopez’ on TV Land gets a 2nd Season!

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George Lopez seems to have another hit series on his hands with the recently announced renewal of his TV Land’s series aptly titled Lopez.

Check out our exclusive interview with George Lopez below! 

 

The series follows Lopez as he portrays a fictional version of himself trying to cope with all the demands that comes with being a celebrity as well as trying to fulfill a desire to give back to the Latino community within the area in-which he grew up in.

The TV Land series is the third comedy series for Lopez. From 2002 to 2007, Lopez starred in ABC’s George Lopez and in 2014 in FX’s Saint George

Lopez serves as executive producer on the series.

Season one of the series began back in March, and the season finale is scheduled to air on June 22nd.