Originally published in the 100th issue of LatinTRENDS magazine, July/August 2013
We got issues…100 of them. We say this by choice, because within these issues we found our voice. We listened to the people, what they wanted to hear, we felt their joy, and we felt their fear. We made mistakes along the way, we faced them and did not run away and because of it we are here today. It was not always bright…sometimes we had to bring our own light and when the batteries ran low, we dug deep and found strength which gave us abundant light to continue the good fight. The one that kept us up at night filled with excitement to be in a place where we get to have a voice, which can affect people and their choice…and with this comes great responsibilities not to mention limitless possibilities, and for this we are grateful.
Producing 100 issues within these last twelve-plus years has been nothing short of interesting. Our 1st issue (see left page with Alex Rodriguez
as a Texas Ranger) was born on September 11th 2001
, and it may be the only magazine on the planet that was actually launched that day. Yes, this magazine, which you have in your hands, was born on September 11th at 6:47 am
—it’s on the affidavit from our distributer as the official day the magazine (back then known as Dominican Times) delivered to newsstands in the greater New York area. I guess it’s true when they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
I’m not sure if I found that strength or it found me, but I thank God that it happened. It was challenging to launch a magazine on that day, in that period, and not have a media or publishing background. I didn’t have the contacts and lacked experience in this industry back then. But I was driven — driven by the challenge and driven to make a difference to impact my community in a positive way. Sometimes that is the most important thing, because when you do believe in what you are doing and you do it with integrity, sooner or later all else follows.
We had a considerable amount of success as Dominican Times but the name was limiting us among the multitude of other Hispanic groups, such as Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, etc. So in 2005 we transitioned the name of the magazine to DTM in order to ameliorate the problem. DTM was initially an acronym for Dominican Times Magazine, then it purposely morphed into Defining Trends Magazine. DTM solved the limitation challenge that Dominican Times presented, but created another challenge. DTM did not immediately communicate what we were about, so to fix that problem and to reach more people, we rebranded as LatinTRENDS in June of 2010.
As a media company, we have been evolving by adding different properties and various means of engaging with our audience. We now deliver a LatinTRENDS weekly e-newsletter, provide daily content on Latintrends.com, connect via social media, produce videos, organize events and most recently, we developed an APP for iPhones and iPads.
In recent times, the world has been rocked by financial scandals, a poor economy, terrorism and fear. Now the good news—there has always been scandals, poor economies, terrorism and fear. It’s just that today we get bad news in full 360-integration, 24/7. It’s everywhere! Think about it… bad news on hundreds of channels, a gazillion billboards on trains, buses, anything that moves and anything that doesn’t move. It can be found on social media, blogs, websites, mobile devices, emails, tablets and desktops. GET THE PICTURE?
No wonder why today there are more people on drugs and prescription medicines than any other time in our history. Stress levels are on the rise. It’s the trend. We will always be fed negative news and, since that’s what sells, it won’t ever stop! However, we at LatinTRENDS believe in good news. Positive content that will entertain, inform and inspire people because a little inspiration can go a long way. We believe that when people see, hear or read about someone pursuing his or her dreams and overcoming obstacles, it’s not just content that will inform and entertain. It will downright inspire!
In 2001, we interviewed an underground bachata band from the South Bronx. We gave them their first interview and their first cover. At the time, they were unknown and struggling to get gigs for $400 a pop at local restaurants. They were raw but they had talent. Their name? Aventura! In the initial interview, we said, “Aventura will one day take this music (bachata) mainstream.” As many of you know, Aventura, and now Romeo as a soloist, have done that and more. Last we heard, Romeo has a major music contract, is part of a Will Smith movie production, and he flies in a private jet. Not bad for a shy, skinny kid that barely knew how to get around NYC. Romeo hardly ever left the South Bronx at that time and he got lost on the way to his first photo shoot with us in Midtown.
In 2002 we featured a piece on an immigrant from the Dominican Republic who worked in restaurants and bodegas when he first arrived in New York as a young adult. This man saved up enough for a down payment on a bodega and out of that he eventually created a calling card business that gave him an 80% share of all the calling cards sold in the east coast from the late 1990s to around 2004. He became a multi-millionaire and provided a very good living for many other people who became exclusive distributers. He helped grow a publicly traded company on NASDAQ to form what is today a multi-billion—yes billion—dollar company known as IDT. The company initially partnered with him then bought him out years later.
What about a young lady, just sixteen years young and CEO of her own company? In 2005, we featured her within our pages. We get a call from the Oprah Show producers (which are subscribers to the magazine) inquiring about this entrepreneurial young lady they had read about in the magazine. They were interested in her story and brought her on the show. The young lady appeared on many other shows and many other interviews followed, including a major distribution deal with Wal-Mart.
We featured a Puerto Rican Reggaeton duet Calle 13, giving them their first cover in 2006 and a few months later they won six Latin Grammys.
In 2012, we also featured the NY Giants sensation, Victor Cruz, in his first cover ever—before he became a household name.
The End: (or the beginning)
These are just some of the stories and cover interviews I selected to share with you. Surely there are too many to fit on one page, or even a whole issue. However, the point I want to make is that the same elements that got all these individuals to the next phase are the same elements that got us here. Belief. Persistence. Hard work and inspiration. And if inspiration can fuel a nation, imagine what it can do for you.