Shouts to Maya Escobar! A recent post on her blog schooled me to the genius of Vanessa Hidary aka The Hebrew Mamita. As The Hebrew Mamita Hidary performs in the style of a homegirl both visually and vocally. Hidary’s persona is not a case of brown-face but a unique hybrid of two cultures; she comes correct.
Hidary’s ability to discuss her Jewish identity and experiences while talkin’ hella mad shit is amazing. She’s a kindred spirit to my Ghetto Frida project. After watching the videos on her youtube page I didn’t hesitate for a minute to head over to the official Hebrew Mamita online store and purchase her CD. She describes the album as “not appropriate for young children but spectacular for adults with flava!” a line I’m kicking myself for not coming up with.
El Rio’s got The Hebrew Mamita’s back in the Bay Area, f’sho!
I’m officially declaring my love of Holly Valentine from Hyper Crush. I’m bummed that I missed their show last night in San Francisco. This video illustrates the difficulty of being a Latina hipster. No matter how much of an ironic hipster you are, being bilingual and code-switching is still a novelty that will get you mocked. You can see the look of inner-turmoil on Holly’s face as Preston and Donny clown her, it’s burning with angst and conflict.
Seriously though, I love Hyper Crush. I can’t front either, I mess with Mariela all the time when she speaks Spanish on the phone (especially with her mom). She and Holly both can code-switch like seasoned pros; I am merely a humble pocho.
Hyper Crush are also leading the charge in reclaiming the animated gif. Someone on their team has amazing gif making skills, the second one will give you a seizure:
Yesterday Mariela and I went to see Fast and Furious. She’s a huge fan of Vin Diesel and I wasn’t about to miss any opportunity to see my homegirl Jordana Brewster on the silver screen (I fell madly in love with her after seeing her as international supercriminal Lucy Diamond in the movie D.E.B.S.). After seeing the film my mind was left spinning, there were so many images of Latinos to digest in Fast and Furious. I could write a book on the subject but I’m just going to break you off with something short and digestible.
The last Vin Diesel movie I saw was A Man Apart and after seeing Fast and Furious I can’t help but wonder if any other actor has been responsible for more on screen deaths of Mexicans than he. Both films have record bodycounts of snarreling Mexican drug dealers and anonymous thugs. Is there anyone who has murdered more Mexicans in their film career?
Fast and Furious portrays a fascinating swath of Latino images and quickly establishes what are “good” and “bad” Latinos. The “good” Latinos can be found in scenes taking place in the Dominican Republic and Panama. The music, language dialects, landscapes, and women of those countries are fetishized, objectified, and held up as an example of what is ideal and somewhat innocent.
On the other end of the spectrum are Mexicans, both in the United States and Mexico. They are the “bad” side of Latinos, corrupt, ruthless, back-stabbing, and dirty drug dealers. From the unnamed cholo that Paul Walker hunts down and brutalizes in the beginning of the film to the Mexican main villain and his gang of generically evil and greasy henchmen. The audience is pumped-up to cheer every evil Mexican that dies in a fiery car crash or at the end of a bullet fired by Paul Walker.
Personally, the most heartbreaking element of Fast and Furious is that it’s directed by Justin Lin. In the interviews I’ve read with him he has spoken with much self-awareness and acuity on his experiences as an Asian in the film industry. He was a participant in the documentary The Slanted Screen which critically analyzed images of Asian-American men in Hollywood. He even graduated with his masters from UCLA for crying out loud! If there would be anyone who should know better it’s Justin Lin. Fuck!
I should be working on some artwork right now but I came across this amazing photo of Verbal and Kid Cudi. These are two of my favorite artists working in music right now and I was both shocked and amazed to see them in the same photo. Taken from Verbal’s blog: http://ameblo.jp/m-flo-verbal/
For the record, Kid Cudi’s mixtape Plain Pat & Emile Presents a KiD named CuDi was my favorite album of 2008. Download it for free at http://sharebee.com/3194c039
As always, Verbal and m-flo continue to amaze and inspire me after ten years.