Flawless Human Beings » Gina Torres » Gina Torres Alphabet

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"I was on a plane watching a documentary about Diana Vreeland, who was the editor of Vogue for years, who is incredible […] They asked her ‘How do you get to be Diana Vreeland?’ and her response was ‘Well, darling, first you have to arrange to be born in Paris!’ And that worked for her, and that’s great, but if someone were to ask me, I’d say: First, you’d have to arrange to be born in the Bronx, to two brilliant, fantastic, Cuban immigrants who taught me grace under fire…sometimes quite literally, ‘cause it was the Bronx…who taught me that work was a blessing and not a chore, who taught me that you determine your self worth and that you tell people who you are…they don’t get to tell you." - Gina Torres

Shannon Skye Tavarez (January 20, 1999 – November 1, 2010) was an American child actress. She appeared in the Broadway theatre production of The Lion King by Walt Disney Theatrical, where she played the role of the young lion cub Nala.

Tavarez was a resident of Bellerose, Queens, New York City, and attended P.S. 176. She was chosen to play the role of Nala after a cattle call audition in 2008 at the Apollo Theater. She became one of two girls who split the role, with each girl performing four shows weekly. Several months after debuting in the show in September 2009, she was forced to leave the production after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. The daughter of anAfrican American mother and a Dominican father, Tavarez faced much greater difficulty in attempts to find a match for a bone marrow transplant as minorities are significantly underrepresented in donor registries, despite efforts by such performers as Alicia KeysRihanna and 50 Cent to recruit prospective donors from among their fans. Unsuccessful in finding a bone marrow donor, Tavarez underwent an umbilical cord blood transplant in August 2010.

On November 1, 2010, Tavarez died at the age of 11 at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York, due to acute myeloid leukemia. The lights at the Minskoff Theatre, whereThe Lion King was playing, were dimmed the night she died. In a statement released following her daughter’s death, Odiney Brown said that “Shannon’s dream was to perform on stage, and that she did.”


Lxs Afrxlatinxs: Queer Afrolatin@ Visibility Project

Here are some photos from the project I’ve been working on for the past few months on Queer Afrolatin@s. Check out this other post with one of the videos from the project.

If you’re interested in participating in the project also, feel free to inbox me. To keep up with project developments check out the facebook page, www.facebook.com/LxsAfrxlatinxs , and follow us on twitter @Lxs_Afrxlatinxs!

Lesbian Black Latina Vying for Miss South Carolina Crown


It’s some kind of miracle how comfortable Analouisa Valencia — a lesbian African-American/Latina beauty queen — is in her skin. Currently Miss Lyman, S.C., Valencia travels to the state capitol in July to compete in the Miss South Carolina contest and, hopefully, advance to the Miss America pageant. Valencia isn’t coming out per se, because the 19-year-old college student has been out for years; she took her girlfriend, Tamyra Bell, to her prom and attended Bell’s. But Valencia is ready to tell the world her story and remains optimistic the judges in Columbia will see her like so many already do: as a role model. The teen was candid in a recent interview with The Advocate, talking excitedly about her future and the women who inspire her.

The Advocate: How did you get involved in beauty pageants?
Analouisa Valencia: I’m from Spartanburg, S.C. and I started pageantry when I was Miss South Carolina Princess for Miss Spartanburg 2000. After that, I decided I wanted to be in pageants when I got older. So, when I got old enough I started to compete.

When did you come out?
In ninth-grade.

Oh, wow. And you went to public school in South Carolina?
I did.

How was that received?
My teachers were ok with it. My mom at first said, “Well, I don’t support it, but I love you so I’ll support you.” She’s ok with it now, but it’s been a couple of years. My dad at first was very, very, very furious. I think it took him a good three weeks to finally accept the fact that I was just going to be who I was and be proud of it. My teachers were very supportive.

How would you describe the pageant circuit in South Carolina? Is it welcoming to LGBT people?
Well, I had one question during an interview that was, How would you feel about having a lesbian Miss South Carolina? I said, “I don’t think her sexuality has anything to do with it. It doesn’t define her as a person, because she’s still going to be a good human being.” Miss South Carolina should be a great role model, but her sexual orientation shouldn’t define her as a person. And it shouldn’t define her getting a crown. I do have friends in the pageant circuit that are accepting of gay people and I find that it has given me a lot of support and a lot of extra push.

Since you came out, do things feel different in South Carolina? Do they feel more welcoming?
In certain parts it’s a little bit more welcoming. There are certain organizations and certain people and certain areas that aren’t so welcoming of [gay people], so I guess we’re still getting there. Very slowly but surely.

Do you think people can’t reconcile a beauty queen with the word “lesbian”?
That is kind of true, but at the same time I’m not thinking about that so much because I have people who are supportive. But I think it does play a part, a small part in me not having hadn’t won in local pageants because some judges knew.

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Olivia Peguero is an Afrolatina artist from the Dominican Republic. Peguero’s paintings are distinguished by her use of Dominican landscapes and fauna, particularly flowers, which represent the repeating cycle of birth, life and death and also pride in her Dominican roots. 

Aside from being a painter, Peguero is the founder of the “Peguero Arte Libros Foundations” and the “Art Books for Education Project”, two foundations that focus on art education for Dominican children in rural areas.

Both pictures featured in this post are courtesy of Olivia Peguero’s official website, where more information about the artist and her work can be found.

Happy Birthday, Yaritza Reyes!

Yaritza Miguelina Reyes Ramírez (born December 17, 1993) is a Dominican beauty queen and reigning Miss Dominican Republic 2013. Reyes represented the Dominican Republic at Miss Universe 2013.[1]

Yaritza was born in Comendador, she was raised in the Sector of Sabana Perdida in Santo Domingo Norte.

She currently attending University of Santo Domingo. Her major is Communications. She is also currently working as a model, singer, and an actress.[2]

Reyes competed as a representative of native province of Elías Piña, being one of 36 candidates in the country of Dominican Republic in the national beauty contest, Miss Dominican Republic 2013, broadcast live from Punta Cana on August 3, 2013, where she became the winner and gained the right to represent the Dominican Republic in Miss Universe 2013.

Yaritza participated in the 62nd edition of the Miss Universe pageant. She competed to succeed outgoing titleholder, Olivia Culpo from USA, eventually finishing in the Top 10. The eventual winner was Gabriela Isler of Venezuela. She was the third woman of predominantly African heritage to represent the Dominican Republic in Miss Universe after Ruth Ocumárez in 2002 and Ada de la Cruz in 2009.

Yartiza represented the Dominican Republic at Reina Hispanoamericana 2013 where she was Virreina. Alma Álvarez was originally set to do so but was unable to for unknown reasons.

Fuck Yeah Queer Latin@s at the Movies

Gun Hill Road (2011)

An ex-con (Esai Morales) returns home to the Bronx after three year in prison to discover his wife (Judy Reyes) estranged and his teenage child (Harmony Santana) undergoing a gender transition that will put the fragile bonds of their family to the test.

Harmony Santana’s masterful performance as transitioning teen Vanessa earned her a Independent Spirit Award Best Supporting Actress nomination, solidifying her place in hxstory as the first trans* person to be nominated for a major film award.

Isabella’s Hair and How She Learned to Love It is a children’s book by New York author of Afro-Boricua descent, Marshalla Soriano Ramos.

Ramos, who is also an English as a Second Language teacher, poet and Mom, wrote Isabella”s Hair and How She Learned to Love It “out of a desire to respond to the issues surrounding self image within the Afro-Latino community and to contribute to multi-cultural protagonists being represented in children’s literature” [x].

Above picture courtesy of WordPress blog Festival AfroLatino de Nueva York.


Even articles ON the topic of AfroLatinidad, folks are still ragingly clueless. What is the *both* that they are referring to? Afro is INTEGRAL in the Latinidad, what is separate about it? Someone from/of Latin America who is African descent. WTF is DIFFICULT to understand about this?  This is like saying African-Americans have two separate ethnicites, African and American. WHAT? 

SOURCE: http://www.boriquachicks.com/2013/12/10/5-quotes-hollywood-celebrities-discuss-black-latinoa/