Thursday, May 31, 2012

Blogging while brown needs more additions

The 5th annual Blogging While Brown national conference takes place in Philadelphia tomorrow Friday, June 1 and Saturday, June 2 at the Chemical Heritage Foundation. Conference attendees represent more than 20 million readers each month, highlighting the influence of bloggers as online media has grown to become an integral part of the digital landscape. I has made an assumption to think this included all people of color.

Since it's launch in 2008, BWB has grown to become the premier blogging conference dedicated to education, collaboration, and innovation among bloggers of color. This is where I'm confused because the phrase "bloggers of color" can be used so loosely. The conference speakers pretty much seem to scew in one direction. Maybe it's the theme or maybe it's the city, but this conference is missing something.
Maybe I'm thinking too much. I'm sure the panels will spark ideas for every attendee. Speaking of which, will you be attending?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Event: Hispanic Fiesta returns to Penn's Landing

Since the weather is changing and we get 90+ degrees you know what that means right? No it's not the end of the world but it is the beginning of festival season! This is the time when you call your friends the day before or morning of and ask if they are going to the awesome free concert at Penn's Landing. Sometimes they don't answer and you awkwardly see them there. Anyways, Concilio has always put on a great line-up during the Hispanic Fiesta and this year is no different. The festival features musical performances, arts & crafts, LOTS of food and just a great time to spend with the family. Rain you ask? I think rain on a 90 degree day would actually help.

This year's Hispanic Fiesta will feature two exciting days packed with music, dance, entertainment and authentic Latin American cuisine. Salsa favorite Michael Stuart will be perform on Saturday July 14th. On Sunday, July 15th two headliners are featured, bachata sensation Andy Andy and merengue Grupo Oro Solido. Can you say, "El Baile del Beeper?" Other local and regional artists performing at this year’s Hispanic Fiesta include: Alex Alex; Batucada de Puerto Rico; Amla’s Jazz Band; Tony Tony; the Jimmy George Band; D’lyone; Salsa Klabe; various Latin dance groups and many more.

The Hispanic Fiesta is sponsored by Title Sponsor State Farm, Goya, Health Partners, McDonalds, El Zol, Philadelphia Phillies, Telemundo Philadelphia, Wired 96.5, Univision, and MEGA.Yes I had to get these in there.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mariachi High Opens PBS arts summer festival

Imagine that. A mariachi band is going to premiere the seven-part series anchored by films that highlight art, artists and performances from around the world. MARIACHI HIGH documents a year in the life of “Mariachi Halcon,” a top-ranked competitive high-school mariachi band in the rural ranching town of Zapata, Texas. The program premieres June 29, 2012, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings) as part of the PBS ARTS SUMMER FESTIVAL.

The festival celebrates the arts but education as well. “At a time when Latinos have the highest dropout rate in the country and when arts education continues to be under attack, we found a story of teens who pursue excellence through their cultural heritage despite some very real challenges,” says MARIACHI HIGH producer and director Ilana Trachtman. It's so important to teach our youth the importance of not only staying in school, but getting involved in their community.

This is just an addition to PBS's awesome commitment to showcasing positive Latino programming. A few years ago PBS aired the Latin Music USA series. The arts series will include the following programs:

  • MARIACHI HIGH, June 29, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET
  • HAVANA, HAVANA!, July 27, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET
  • THE BARNES COLLECTION, August 3, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET
  • GREAT PERFORMANCES “Tanglewood 75th Anniversary Celebration,” August 10, 2012, at 9 p.m. ET

Friday, May 25, 2012

The battle for more Latinos on TV continues

You're watching prime-time television and what do you see? Chances are you're more likely to see a group of aliens than Latinos. In a recent Huffington Post article, Janet Murguia commented on the disappointing television season for our community. Murguia, president of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), writes, "How bad is it? When NCLR put out its landmark series of reports on Latinos on television two decades ago, we quoted writer-director Jesus Treviño's quip that you were more likely to find someone from outer space than a Latino on television. Well, 20 years later, there will be no Latino family starring on a prime-time network television this September, but there will be a family of space aliens." Imagine that?

I ask myself sometimes whether this is important or not. Today it most definitely is. The Census reported there are now 52 million of us residing in the U.S.--nearly one in five Americans. If none of this is reflected on TV then we are watching fiction. Yes most TV shows are fiction but our society can change for the better when we watch ourselves...our own culture on TV. Some can argue there are no Latino actors/actresses appropriate for certain roles. However, this is only the case because (as Murguia stated) we are considered the "other." It's not the norm in cinema. Then again some people would not want to become the norm, we need to stay true to our culture.

The arguments will go on forever. Do you think this change will happen soon? How should networks approach getting Latino audiences?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Memorial Day weekend with Raices

This Memorial Day weekend do something different! While BBQs seem like a good idea, you might also want to check out Raices Culturales' Latin Arts Explosion @ Race Street Pier. Performances include Zumba, hip-hop, salsa, African and other dance lessons. Bring the family this weekend May 26 & 27, 2012 from 1:00 – 5:30 p.m.

Event: Hispanic Choice Awards returns

Photo Courtesy El Zol Philly 1340AM
For eight consecutive years, the Hispanic Choice Awards (HCA) has honored and celebrated Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware’s Latino professionals, organizations and businesses across all sectors. Nominations are made via an online campaign and is open to the public. For 2012, the HCA has taken a new approach to the awards show as well as bringing back some oldies but goodies. 

One of the most notable changes is the HCA's official media partner. This year CBS3/CWPhilly57 will pre-record the red carpet special then air post-event. This, however, is leading up to the 10th anniversary in 2013 where the entire show will be broadcasted live! Another new feature will include an online marketing campaign: The "I Am" Campaign. The HCA emphasized that the region's Latinos come in many shapes and forms and speak multiple languages. In the weeks to come they will be asking you just that, "I am _____." Whether a one-word answer or a description of why you love being Latino, the HCA is seeking your input.

This year's award nominations include:
  • Corporate Partner of the Year
  • Education Champion of the Year
  • Business person of the Year
  • Community Advocate of the Year
  • Creative Artist of the Year
  • Lifetime Achievement
Visit to nominate your community leader.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Poetry: En Mi Pais

So I love my parents. They are what give me inspiration throughout the day, at work, life situations and now at graduate school. I'm currently taking a Travel Writing course at St. Joseph's University. One of our assignments in class was to free-write a piece describing our relationship with a parent along with a landscape. I found it difficult at first but then found my inspiration through something my dad does all the time. And what better way to portray it than through poetry. Enjoy.

En Mi Pais

En mi pais you would never have your windows
open. Neither day nor night is safe for anyone.

En mi pais I-95 doesn't exist. Traveling to any
part of the country means holding on to dear life.

En mi pais the buses pack too
many people clenching their bags. Even the cars.

En mi pais climbing up the mountains of el cocuy means the total
opposite of the Appalachians. Be prepared for the extreme.

En mi pais I wouldn't let my niece walk down
any street, alley, highway or across the street.

En mi pais the policia are around every corner
carefully watching all suspects. It could be you.

But dad, when was the last time you were
in your pais?

En mi pais you don't talk back.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Opinion: "Don't talk about it, be about it."

The above quote caught my attention for many reasons. BeingLatino has interviewed some of the most popular figures in Latino entertainment and has asked them, "What does it mean to be Latino?" Pitbull's quote regarding where he comes from can mean many things to many people. Even if you didn't know where he's from, it's still inspirational. I was born and raised in Plainfield, NJ a predominately African-American neighborhood where I always knew I wasn't the norm. It didn't bother me at all until I attended college in Widener University (shortly transferring to Temple University). I realized the world is supposed to be diverse and the place where you come from is just a small portion of the world.

I've appreciated where I come from because if I was born anywhere else things would have ended up differently. I have no regrets and no issues with where my parents decided to move from Colombia. However, I do always find it interesting that there are still those people who have not left Plainfield. Some people (thanks to Facebook) live and breathe Plainfield...not really sure why. However you want to take Pitbull's quote, be sure to appreciate your upbringings but also explore the world we live in.

It's the end of the world as we know it

A few days ago I visited the Penn Museum to view the Maya 2012: Lords of Time exhibition. At first I thought, here's another artifact exhibit that probably won't teach me anything. I was proven wrong. The museum is one of those attractions most people aren't aware of; you get to learn a lot about history and question certain theories. In this exhibition, the museum confronts the current fascination with the year 2012, comparing predictions of a world-transforming apocalypse with their supposed origins in ancient Maya civilization. It's also interactive (as it should be). I was able to choose my own Mayan name as well as how to write out my birth date in the ancient language.

The exhibit reminded me about certain classes at Temple University and how I learned how to read the Mayan calendar. However, I definitely forgot how to unlock the dates. Luckily the Penn Museum explores the calendar and asks why December 2012 was chosen as the end of the world. The artifacts around the exhibit are fascinating as well as the history lessons you learn. Although I can't prove it, it was interesting to see my heritage in the history of Mayan civilization. The exhibit will be on view now through January 2013; which I find ironic since we're not supposed to be here post December 2012.

Read more about my visit at

Friday, May 18, 2012

Reaching the Hispanic market (newbies)

Is it me or is anyone else getting tired of hearing, "We want to reach the Hispanic market." That's a pretty loaded thought. Companies from all over the country are attempting to capitalize on our buying power. There are articles popping up everyday explaining this very thought and showing great examples whether it's through advertising, public relations, web marketing or community events. Sometimes I think it's disgusting because you have these multi-million dollar businesses throwing money around like it's a dirty sock. Yet do they really care about the community? Arguments have been made. Some big businesses have law requiring them to "give back" in some shape or form including scholarships, grants, community service and so on.

Anyways, the Hispanic market is growing. Advertising agencies are deciding how to use their money. Networks are looking to reach younger Hispanic audiences. And no one knows whether to speak English or Spanish. I say we're going to have an interested next couple of years.Below are just two recent examples of how much attention we're getting.
  • Hispanic Executive Magazine - An interview with Joseph Vizcarra and how he recalls noticing a difference in the way that companies marketed their products to different cultures. 
  • - Don't Sell to Me! Hispanics Buy Brands that Empower Their Cultural Relevancy 
Do you think Hispanics will transition from minority to majority? Why did we have to wait until 2011-2012 to start paying attention? Ironically some people want undocumented people out yet if that happens, where will advertisers go? Lots of questions I know, just sparking the conversation. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Telemundo adds three more programs

Telemundo Media recently announced their 2012-2013 program lineup which included reality TV shows (first time ever), La Reina del Sur Parte 2 and more. However, with the claim of the fastest growing broadcast network in primetime among adults 18-49, three new programs have been added to next year's lineup. Reality competitions "La Boda De Tus Sueños," "La Voz: Niños," and entertainment special "Todos Somos Heroes" have been added to the slate. Telemundo – the #1 provider of Spanish-language primetime content – announced it will increase its original production by more than 50 percent at its Miami-based Telemundo Studios, further solidifying its position as the leading media company producing original content by and for U.S. Hispanics.

Could Shakira perform at Jay-Z's Made in America?

A few days ago, Jay-Z announced the Made In America music festival in Philadelphia Labor Day weekend. Interestingly enough, I am excited something this major is coming to the city I live in.According to a GlobalGrind article, "Expected to headline the event, Jay will round up 28 acts of all different music genres for a two-day concert series September 1-2 held at Philadelphia's Fairmount Park." While Jay also mentions a diverse act, I can't help but think the genre will be a little biased.

Back in 2002 I went to a Shakira concert at the Wachovia Center (Philadelphia) and since then all Latino concerts have moved to Atlantic City, NJ. Marc Anthony, Chayanne, Jennifer Lopez, Tito El Bambino among others have all performed in our area, but in NJ. Would it be crazy to assume Shakira will make the Made in America concert? Actually, no! I recently read a article which stated Shakira was indeed part of Jay-Z's Roc Nation. Imagine that.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Concert Alert: JLO, Enrique, Wisin y Yandel

As if the Delaware Valley wasn't already getting a major concert in August, now we have one earlier! Jennifer Lopez, Enrique Iglesias and Wisin y Yandel have teamed up to perform in Atlantic City on Sunday, July 29th.  A Washington Post article stated, “We are going to give you everything we got,” Lopez said. “I think it’s going to be one of the most historic tours ever. Because I don’t know that there has ever been something ... where these Latinos have come together like this as family.”

Atlantic City is going to be busy with all these Latinos this summer. To be honest, I think it's the only market with both the GIGANT3S tour and this new addition. Cost? Tickets and VIP packages for the July 29 Atlantic City concert at Boardwalk Hall go on sale Friday at noon via Or you can wait a few days and attempt to win tickets on

Telemundo's new look

It's UPFRONT season and all the television cable networks are launching new and exciting programs. Some are adding, changing, reorganizing and/or relaunching. Since I work at Telemundo Philadelphia, I just received word of some new and exciting things. According to a article, "Telemundo Media announced its 2012-2013 programming lineup, with more than 800 hours of original content, increasing the network's original programming slate by nearly 40 percent."

Two of the most exciting news includes the launch of a reality TV show about singing. Go figure right? The other tidbit of news includes the return of La Reina del Sur! “La Reina del Sur 2” (Queen of the South 2) Telemundo also announced today it has acquired the rights to the sequel of “La Reina del Sur,” the blockbuster hit that captivated viewers night after night, making it the highest-rated novela in the company's history. Production and air dates to be announced.

The article continues to state, "Telemundo also announced the launch of its new branding campaign for the fall and unveiled a new logo capturing the essence of the Hispanic experience in the U.S." At first glance I think it's a very "youthful" logo. The red obviously helps a lot but I'm sure there will be different variations. Let's see what other networks decide to launch.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

An addition to Philadelphia's Latino media

As if the Latino media already didn't have enough competition in Philadelphia, something new has emerged. A recent article has announced the launch of Azteca TV. The article continues to state, "The station has been available as Comcast cable channels 268 and 568 for the past year, but Aztec will add 'local commercials and eventually programming,' El Zol manager Uriel Rendon told me. 'We're going to run local videos, weekly news shows, and entertainment programs focusing on the Mexican market,' he added."

A few months ago El Zol 1340AM launched in competition of Mega 1310AM. Both El Sol Latino Newspaper and Impacto Latin Newspaper relaunched their websites. Now with the addition of Azteca TV, both Univision65 and Telemundo Philadelphia will be on full throttle.  The only difference between the three is that Azteca TV is geared to ONLY the Mexican community.

The Hispanic/Latino identity

For the last few months (maybe even year) I've been having a real issue with "self-identifying." I read articles about "Did you know (insert name) is Latino" and others about "Latino first to (insert achievement)." Labels have always been a touchy subject because although some might say they are Colombian, Puerto Rican, Dominican (or other), but those from the respective countries might call you a gringo/a. Why? Because you weren't born in that country.

I recently learned that one of the founder's of is indeed Latina. Gilt Groupe provides instant insider access to today’s top designer labels, at up to 60% off retail. They are the masterminds behind which I'm sure everyone is aware of. If you look at Alexandra Wilkis Wilson bio it doesn't mention anything about her Cuban descent. Does she really need to? I say no. However, some would say if you or anyone else don't embrace your Latinoness, then you're not Latino. Today that's a bunch of bullcrap. The census asked us if we were Hispanic but then asked if we were Black or white. What came out of this questions? A whole bunch of confusion but at the same time, we don't like Hispanic nor Latino.

I usually comment on this topic on my blog and it always raises questions. I'm not really a fan of any labels for anything considering we are all human. All identities would be questioned once extraterrestrial life arrives...just my opinion.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ronald McDonald House Charities HACER winners

When I was in high school I wish I had a better understanding of scholarships. Sure I was awarded some through the school and little book scholarships, but a $5000 award would have been better. Just received word that the Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) of the Philadelphia Region is proud to announce the 15 local Latino high school seniors who will each receive a 2012 RMHC/Hispanic American Commitment to Educational Resources (HACER) college scholarship. I had the pleasure serving on the selection committee a few weeks ago.

The students will be recognized at a special awards celebration on Wednesday, May 30th from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., at the Down Town Club in Philadelphia. Winners includes students from the Philadelphia region, New Jersey and Delaware. The evening will feature live music and dance performances. In addition, Kenneth Trujillo, Owner, El Zol Philly and Azteca Philly, will deliver a keynote address to the students. More than $20,000 will be awarded during the reception.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Congreso continues to improve communities

The Citizens Bank Foundation will present a $10,000 grant to Congreso de Latinos Unidos, Inc. tomorrow Wednesday, May 9 at 11:30 a.m. The donation will support the organization’s Learn and Work Program, which focuses on financial literacy, leadership development and technology skills to connect students with career opportunities. Approximately 25 students will be in attendance to learn about the importance of staying in school and developing the skills needed to connect to jobs.

Congreso takes a real interesting approach working with the community. Not only do they have several charter schools and after-school programs, but they also include Harcum College, a community-based associate’s degree program. The new grant will help support all of these programs and bring our community closer to our career goals. Today I heard someone say Latinos are growing in numbers in prisons and we have to change this.

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Latino Greek family united

About a week ago I first read about the horrible tragedy that struck Jonel Gonzalez, a brother of La Unidad Latina/Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc. On Sunday, April 29th  Gonzalez suffered a devastating loss when his mother, sister, aunt, two young cousins and both grandparents (7 in total) were involved in a fatal car accident in Bronx, New York. Anytime someone looses a family member in an accident can be tragic and hard to handle. The costs were going to be unbearable for anyone to handle. However, thanks to Gonzalez's LUL network, he wasn't going to be left standing alone.

According to an article in the Huffinton Post, they raised over $85,000 in less than one week! These are the times I am glad to be a part of the Latino Greek community. When we forget about the competition, the numbers, the stigma, everything and come together to support someone that really needs it. Thanks to Keith Garcia and other brothers of LUL, news of the tragedy spread via social media throughout the week. And in the next few days, the #SupportJoelGonzalez and #ForTheLove campaign the fraternity was able to raise approximately $125,000 surpassing their initial goal of $100,000. These funds will help support funeral costs among other things.

"I will never be able to express how grateful my family and I are," Gonzalez said. "Throughout all the sorrow and darkness, this support is the only light I see." For more information visit

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Precious Moments #8 - Back seat driving

What better way to end an awesome Hawaii trip than by sitting in the back of a truck!? Okay I know it's strange but that's all we saw during out stay.
See you all in Hawaii!