Latino USA offers insight into the lived experiences of Latino communities and is a window on the current and merging cultural, political and social ideas impacting Latinos and the nation.
El Gran Varón: Who Was Simón?
For this week’s Latino USA, we’re bringing you an episode from the newly released podcast series from WNYC Studios and Futuro Studios, La Brega, The Puerto Rican Experience in Eight Songs.
Gabby Rivera was 7 when Willie Colón released “El Gran Varón” in 1989. She remembers her father playing in the Bronx. The cinematic arc of the song would stick with her: Simón, depicted as a trans queer person, is shunned by their father and dies alone of what’s assumed to be AIDS. “El Gran Varón” was first banned by some radio stations but became an international hit anyway. Many call it one of the most well-known Latin songs of all time. Its songwriter explains that it was inspired by a rumor about a real-life friend. Only years later did he realize his lyrics contained an eerie prophecy.
You can subscribe to La Brega here.
Portrait Of: Esmeralda Santiago LIVE in NYC
In 2018, Latino USA teamed up with the Unterberg Poetry Center at the 92nd Street Y to put on an event honoring the 25th anniversary of Esmeralda Santiago's coming-of-age classic "When I Was Puerto Rican." In conversation with producer Antonia Cereijido, Santiago talks about what it's like to live through a hurricane, the #metoo movement, and learning to not care about what other people think of you.
The Breakdown: The Legacy of ‘Dora the Explorer’
In 1998, three television writers tasked with creating the next hit children's show came up with the idea of a young girl who would go on adventures and ask questions directly to the audience. With the help of consultants, they created a seven-year-old Latina girl named Dora Márquez and the show, "Dora the Explorer." Almost 20 years later, Dora is reimagined as a teenager in a new live-action film called “Dora and the Lost City of Gold.” While some of the elements in Dora’s world are still fictional, the live-action film grounds Dora in reality. In this segment, Latino USA dives into the legacy of "Dora the Explorer" then and now.
La Brega Season 2: The Puerto Rican Experience in 8 Songs
As the island donde hasta la piedras cantan –“where even the rocks sing”– Puerto Rico is home to a dizzying breadth of musical expression. From the lyrical boleristas of the 1930s, to the electric salseros of the ’70s, to the reggaetoneros of today who have taken music from the margins and made it a global sensation, this season takes listeners on an exciting, richly-reported, cross-genre adventure that captures the ceaseless creativity, emotional resonance, and yes, la brega that are hallmarks of Puerto Rican music across eras and formats.
Voices featured in this trailer include Elena Martínez, José Massó, Gabby Rivera, Afrika Clivillés, Lia Camille Crockett, Bianca Graulau, Omar Alfanno, Ruben Blades, Mireya Ramos, Velcro, Susana Baca, and Alberto “Ringo” Martínez.
The first episode drops Thursday, January 26. Subscribe now.
Cecilia Gentili's Revolutionary Ask
Trans activist, actress and author, Cecilia Gentili, knows the power of stories. Whether she is working at her company Trans Equity Consulting, writing an op-ed for the New York Times, or portraying a character on television, Cecilia believes that sharing her story is a way to advocate for the change she hopes to see. On this episode of Latino USA, Cecilia shares about her new memoir, “Faltas,” which is written as a series of letters to people in her hometown in Argentina. Cecilia talks about how joy and grief intertwine through the narrative, and how sharing her childhood stories is her revolutionary cry to support trans youth.
Into Natalia Lafourcade's Inner Garden
Mexican singer-songwriter Natalia Lafourcade embraces contrasts in her music. Look no further than her latest album, “De Todas las Flores,” where Natalia found herself both processing death and celebrating life.
Prior to this, Natalia released a number of critically acclaimed albums that drew from Latin American musical history. Her journey led her to Carnegie Hall in New York City, where she premiered her latest music in a special live performance late last year.
Just days before this show, Natalia sat down with Latino USA to talk about her new album, her career, and the value of slowing down to tend to one’s inner garden.
Nikole Hannah-Jones AND Maria Hinojosa
Thank you for checking in with Nikole Hannah-Jones. My two biggest heroes that I turn to for truth telling and courage.
Must listen!!! Best podcast in a long time!
Everything that Maria Hinojosa has done is excellent, and the podcast with journalist Peniley Ramírez on Genaro Garcia Luna, the top security director in the Mexican government now on trial for being involved in drug dealing with the cartels, is over the top excellent. They are both incredibly intelligent, funny, human, and totally thorough as journalists. This podcast is not only highly listenable, educational, and entertaining, is makes very important connections between the money and arms that come from the global north and how they distort and harm people and institutions in the global south. I work as a Spanish interpreter in different venues, including federal courts, and this podcast reflects completely and deeply what I have been seeing and saying to people for years- that the drug war is just an excuse for social control, taking what was a health problem and turning it into a criminal one. Maria Hinojosa and Peniley Ramírez deserve every journalism award possible for this incredible podcast; thank you, mujeres!!!!
Doesn’t address interests of majority hispanos.
This program is extremely PC.