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March 2020

Dreaming of Selena: Selena Quintanilla-Pérez’s Legacy 25 Years Later

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When Selena is mentioned, red lips and bangs come to mind, along with the butt — yes, the butt. And don’t deny it — you’ve grabbed the scissors and cut your own bangs at some point, hoping to look good as the “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” singer, and you’ve performed the “washing machine” in front of your mirror. No? Okay, maybe that was just me. 
Growing up in a Mexican-American household, Selena was taught at an early age. The Texas native was often played during our Saturday morning cleaning — Latinx folks, you know exactly what I mean — or experienced through her biopic “Selena” (1997). 
Personally, I fell in love with Selena at an early age because she was the first celebrity I saw myself in due to our matching backgrounds, languages and darker features; I believe that’s why Selena resonates with so many. She was a successful Mexican-American woman who broke barriers, teaching many young Latinx children to do the same. 
But in learning about her life, listening to her iconic tunes like “Como La Flor” and “Baila Esta Cumbia” and quoting “Anything for Selenas,” came learning about her untimely death on March 31, 1995; Selena was murdered by her fan club president, Yolanda Saldivar in Corpus Christi, Texas. She was only 23-years-old. 
Since her passing, Selena has been remembered in many ways throughout the years, including in “Selena,” a biographical drama on Selena’s life, starring up-and-comer Jennifer Lopez as Selena. The film, which was released on March 21, 1997, shared Selena’s life story, starting from her father’s beginning as a struggling musician in the 60s to their struggles in the 70s and 80s, and her accomplishments and ultimate death in the 90s. 
The Quintanilla family joined the film’s team as producers, giving advice on the film’s direction for accuracy and authenticity. The family mentored and shared numerous mementos and rare footage of the singer with Lopez, helping her understand Selena and her mannerisms and personality. Lopez even slept in Selena’s bed and moved in with Suzette Quintanilla, Selena’s sister, while preparing for her role. 
Not only did “Selena” share Selena’s story with millions, but it also shined a light on Latinx culture and struggles within the community; some themes tackled in “Selena” were the male-dominated Tejano music industry, generational differences between parents and their children and having to be “twice as perfect” by adhering and assimilating to two different cultures. 
“We have to be more Mexican than the Mexicans and more American than the Americans, both at the same time! It’s exhausting,” said Edward James Olmos as Abraham Quintanilla Jr. in “Selena.”
Years later in 2016 and 2017, Selena earned two major pop culture recognitions. After over 100,000 people signed a petition for Madame Tussauds to create a sculpture of the singer, Madame Tussauds Hollywood unveiled their official Selena wax sculpture. The sculpture replicated the bedazzled and vibrant purple look she wore while recording “Selena Live” at the Corpus Christi Memorial Coliseum in 1993, which earned her a Grammy in 1994 for Best Mexican-American Album. 
On November 3, 2017, Selena was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; Los Angeles also named the day “Selena Day.” Selena’s old bandmates, family and husband joined in on the celebration and revealed her star, which can be found in front of Capitol Records. Selena often visited the building after signing with EMI Latin.
In 2015, Selena superfan Patty Rodriguez created a petition, asking for MAC Cosmetics to release a Selena for MAC makeup collection — and MAC listened. On October 6, 2016, MAC delivered the Selena collection, which was packaged in purple —her favorite color. The collection featured lipsticks, eyeshadows, a bronzer and blush duo, lip gloss, eyeliner, mascara and brush — all named after songs or Selena-related titles. It sold out instantly.  
On April 21, 2020, MAC Cosmetics released another Selena makeup collection due to the first one’s success and in celebration of her legacy 25 years later. The new makeup line, titled “Selena La Reina,” or “Selena the Queen,” was inspired by the singer and her iconic rhinestone bustier. The makeup collection sold out instantly, too. 
Selena La Reina includes 14 makeup products and a makeup bag, packaged in radiant holographic packaging. The collection includes products like lipsticks, an eyeshadow palette, lip glosses and more, ranging in different colors and metallic and matte shades. Like the first collection, Selena La Reina’s products are named after songs or Selena-related titles such as: “The Washing Machine,” “Big Bertha,” “Me Siento Muy Excited,” “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” and “Hey, Dad! Pizza!” 
The most recent and anticipated Selena-related project is “Selena: The Series,” a biographical drama series based on Selena’s life is set to be released on Netflix’s streaming service sometime in 2020. However, there’s little information on the upcoming two-parter (first 10 episodes will be released this year). 
“As Mexican-American Tejano singer Selena comes of age and realizes her dreams, she and her family make tough choices to hold on to love and music,” stated the Netflix’s synopsis.
On November 12, 2019, @selenanetflix released a teaser, showing Christian Serratos (“Walking Dead” and “Twilight”) as Selena in her iconic, purple jumpsuit, red lips and bangs, singing “Como La Flor.” Young Selena and her parents are also briefly shown.
Written by Moisés Zamora and directed by Hiromi Kamata, the series will star Madison Taylor Baez as young Selena, Ricardo Chavira (“Desperate Housewives”) as Abraham Quintanilla Jr. and Jesse Posey as Chris Pérez. 
As I reach my own 23rd birthday, I often think of Selena and her legacy, wondering what would have been if she were still here with us; through her fashion sense — catch me sporting a red lip and red nails almost always— and her admirable work ethic and love for education, Selena has always served as an inspiration, and as a reminder that the “impossible is always possible.”
Whatever your Selena memory may be, or even if you have little knowledge or are just learning about her today, Selena has lived on in many hearts, reigning today as a Latinx cultural staple and inspiring those during and after her time. Celebrate Selena’s legacy by streaming her tunes, wearing a red lip and dancing to a little cumbia today.

The Importance of Trans Visibility

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Trans Day of Visibility, an internet holiday that celebrates and showcases transgender individuals, is celebrated annually on March 31. It is the one day a year dedicated to trans people sharing their stories and being seen and heard for their identities, for what has made them who they are. 

Trans visibility is important for multiple reasons. For one, it aids in normalizing the existence of trans people and our experiences. With more people talking about their transitions and experiences being trans, coming out and being out seems a lot less daunting. 

Visibility is important for those who are unsure of their gender identity, so they can see that there are options aside from cisgender (or, your gender assigned to you at birth). Visibility of other trans people alleviates some stress and pressure in one’s own coming out journey. Visibility can help someone who is trans realize that a lot sooner, too; if someone doesn’t have out and visible people like them to look to, or even just the knowledge of people like them existing, they have no way of knowing what their feelings or hunches mean, or they may not feel safe expressing them.

Additionally, visibility is important for cisgender people, especially parents and guardians, to see that it is okay and perfectly normal and acceptable for their child or other children in their lives to be trans and/or questioning their identity. It also gives parents some insight into their child’s identity if they are trans, and eases the transition experience on all fronts. Trans kids face a lot of adversity and flack for their identities, in part because their family and other adults are generally unaware or uninformed on issues such as these.

While it is just one day a year, Trans Day of Visibility is so incredibly important for trans people and those in their lives. 

To end this article: 

Hi, my name is Elliot, and I am a trans man. I came out as trans in August 2019, but I’ve known I am trans since 2014. It has been a rough several months, but it has also been rewarding, and I wouldn’t change my experiences or my identity for anything. I am out, and I am proud. I, and others like me, are going to continue to be out and proud; trans people are not going anywhere.


10 Things To Do While Practicing Social Distancing

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COVID-19 got you down? Feeling unmotivated after being sent home from school? Not able to go outside for long periods of time or hang out with friends? Me, too. Here are some ways I’ve been keeping busy while social distancing. 

  1. Read the Book You’ve Always Been Interested In: This is a great time to read the book you always meant to read but always made excuses as to why you couldn’t.  Reading is a great way to keep your mind stimulated while sitting at home for extended periods of time. It’s also a great way to seem more educated and shock your parents.
  2. Make Your Way Through the List of Movies and Shows People Have Told You to Watch: We all have shows and movies we have been told we simply MUST watch, so why not try to make a dent in the list while you have the time? Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime and HBO GO are just a few streaming services you can check out. 
  3. Try out the Recipes You Have Saved on Pinterest: Anyone who has a Pinterest has seen at least one recipe they were somewhat intrigued about, and now is the perfect time to to try them out. Worst-case scenario, it doesn’t taste good, but best-case scenario, you now have something to snack on while reading or watching shows. 
  4. Do Some At-Home Workouts or Go for a Walk Around Your Neighborhood: Doing at-home workouts is a great way to get your blood pumping when you start to feel restless. Taking a walk outside and getting some much needed air and sunlight in the process is also a great way to do this. 
  5. Reorganize or Redecorate Your Room: Now is the perfect time to clean and reorganize your space, especially since most of us are now primarily confined to it. Making small changes to the space you are in can contribute to making you feel more comfortable in that space.  
  6. Discover New Music: Finding new artists is a great way to spice up your daily life in an easy but big way. New music can give you a sense of change in this relatively boring time. 
  7.  Self-care: Whether self-care means doing face masks or dyeing your hair, do whatever you need to do to unwind in this stressful climate.
  8. Pick up a New Skill: Much like number 7, this can vary from person to person. Whether it’s sewing or learning how to ride a bike, now is a great time to pick up some new skills to pass the time. 
  9. Sleep and Meditate: More than anything, now is a time to take care of yourself. Do not feel pressured to be overly productive. If you need to sleep, then do that. Meditation and sleep are great ways to unwind.
  10. Learn TikTok Dances and Have a Dance Party: Now that you have done number 6 and discovered new music, you can have a dance party. You can learn dances from TikTok or just freestyle. Having a dance party with the people you live with or by yourself is a great way to let loose and let out the pent-up energy you might have.
Spilled Popcorn

10 Great Movies to Watch While Stuck at Home

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In these uncertain times of COVID-19, many people are left stressed and with an abundance of time on their hands. With these 10 movies, you will not only fill some time but also get your mind off of all of the hectic craze.

  • Donnie Darko: This twisted and dark film takes place in 1988 and centers around a young Jake Gyllenhaal essentially losing his mind. It’s full of meaning and is certain to leave you with more questions at the end than you began with.


  • Stand By Me: There are so many wonderful things to be said about this movie. A gang of kids, a dead body and an intense pie-eating contest? It has everything necessary for a great film. It’s as classic as it is heartwarming, and it’s the perfect movie to cuddle up with.


  • Booksmart: Known as the “’female ‘Superbad,’” this movie showcases two whip-smart seniors on their last night of high school, determined to go to at least one party before graduating. It’s the perfect coming-of-age film that’s sure to provide lots of laughs.


  • Mid90s: Written and directed by Jonah Hill, this movie takes a look into the daily lives of a crew of skateboarding teenagers in — you guessed it — the mid-90s. It’s raw and real and will make you feel nostalgic for an era you may not have even lived through. 


  • Slumdog Millionaire: On the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” a young Dev Patel answers every question correctly and is thus accused of cheating. As he recounts his life, he is able to prove how he knows the answers to them all. As a Best Picture Academy Award winner, it’s a good one that will leave you on the edge of your seat. 


  • Knives Out:Knives Out” is a recent mystery hit. Centered around a family’s murdered father, they search for answers anywhere they can, tearing each other apart in the process. It’s a fun watch and challenges you to figure out each clue. 


  • Little Miss Sunshine: Oh, the beauty of a dysfunctional family. In this movie, a family takes a long and disjointed road trip for the youngest to achieve her beauty pageant dreams. It’s dark and witty, and helps restore your faith in people just a bit more. 


  • Bicycle Thieves: The only foreign film of this list, “Bicycle Thieves” is the highlight of Italian neorealism. Its glimpse into the reality of a working class Italian is in many ways gorgeous and heartbreaking. This film proves that even unhappy endings can lead to an incredible movie. 


  • The Truman Show: An essential for anyone staying home, this movie will definitely make you question your entire world. It’s a show better left without any explanation, so hop into it and let it wash over you.


  • Apocalypse Now!: Watching a movie about the Vietnam War may seem like the opposite of a fun time right now, but “Apocalypse Now!” is unlike any other war movie. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, it follows the journey of a Captain set to find a Colonel gone rogue in the jungles of Vietnam. It’s a long watch that’s well worth it.

The Weeknd’s “After Hours” Gives Us a Taste of His Post-Breakup That Ended in a Self Pity-Party

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The Weeknd has returned with the launch of a new era with his latest album “After Hours.” Two years after his EP “My Dear Melancholy,” Abel released his most realized album to date — a brand-new album to listen to during these tough times. 

It was a smart move to release new music because not only does it boost music sales on his end, but it gives his listeners something to listen to while being on lockdown. The Weeknd said “let music heal” and that’s exactly what this album has been doing.

“After Hours” emphasizes The Weeknd’s tendency to maintain his solipsistic hedonist character’s role. It’s no secret that all of his records hold a mixture of masochist and sadistic passive-aggressiveness and sexiness. However, “After Hours” mixes all of those things with an added hint of romantic desolation, psychedelic wooshes and cinematic flare, all while staying true to his R&B roots. 

The opening track, “Alone Again,” is smoldered in an ominous and hollow tone that is syncopated with The Weeknd’s voice. “Alone Again” sets the mood for the rest of the album, which is why it’s clear that the rest will be the most bare and vulnerable we have seen him. Like “Alone Again,” the song “Too Late” continues this theme of despair by showcasing Abel’s own destruction in a self pity-party, mourning a relationship that was ruined by his own self-indulgence and making himself look like a self-loathing villain. 

Musically, “After Hours” is the perfect balance of cinematic narrative, dream pop and R&B. “After Hours” is the most different from any of The Weeknd’s albums because we finally get to witness the singer learn how to feel without the use of sex and drugs. On this album, Abel allows himself to become tender and vulnerable as he picks up the remainders of a failed relationship. Although this is definitely a post-breakup autopsy, and it’s meant to be raw and emotional, it is definitely the most unguarded we have seen Abel thus far. 

The Weeknd is no longer the addict he once was in his “Trilogy,” but he’s also not the partner women want him to be. However, he is continuing to evolve and reinvent himself and knows how to keep the fans hooked. Whether it be in a world of filling voids through sex, drugs and romance, the universe of The Weeknd is just getting started with torture, melancholia and a drunken, disastrous love. That is the wonderful haze of “After Hours.”