In late June, Ritchie Torres made history when he took the lead in the Democratic primary to represent New York's 15th Congressional District, which is in the Bronx. While absentee ballots are still being counted, Torres is now poised to become the first openly LGBTQ Afro-Latino member of Congress. Torres was one of 12 candidates, among them a Pentecostal minister who opposes gay marriage and a political newcomer endorsed by Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. In this episode, Latino USA digs into this wild election and talks with Torres about what being progressive means to him.
In an interview from before the pandemic, Latino USA visits the home of tattoo artist, entrepreneur, reality star, and goth icon Kat Von D. She first became famous in the early aughts as the first female tattooer on the hit reality television show 'Miami Ink'. Beloved for her artistry and straight shooting banter, she would soon get her own spinoff, 'LA Ink.' She gives us a tour of her baroque home, talks about scaring her Catholic mother, and the backlash she has gotten for her previous relationships and how it has raised accusations that she is a Nazi.
While covering the protests sparked after George Floyd's murder in May, CNN correspondent Omar Jimenez was arrested by the Minnesota State Patrol. He was reporting live on the air at the time, and the video of that moment would go viral, as a symbol of racist comportment by the police. Omar Jimenez, who is Afro-Latino, reflects on that moment and talks about the role of his identity in his reporting.
Alejandra Ghersi, the experimental musician from Venezuela known as Arca, has been at the forefront of a movement that has pushed the boundaries of the pop music landscape. Since dropping her first mixtapes in 2011, she has produced album after album of boundary-defying music, and has been tapped as a producer for Kanye West, Bjork and FKA twigs. In this episode Arca talks with Maria Hinojosa about growing up in Venezuela, her philosophies around music, and about finding herself as a trans woman.
Growing up as a Nuyorican kid in the Bronx, Bobby Sanabria first watched "West Side Story" in the movie theaters, on the 10th anniversary of the film's release. "I was mesmerized," said the Latin Jazz drummer and composer. In 2017, the Broadway classic celebrated its 60th anniversary and to honor this milestone, Sanabria re-envisioned what Latino New York City actually sounds like. The result was his album, "West Side Story Reimagined." Maria Hinojosa talks to the drummer and composer about what the iconic musical means to him and how he paid tribute to its legacy.
Brazil recorded its first death from COVID-19 on March 17th and by mid-June the country was the world leader in daily deaths. Overall, Brazil is only behind the United States both in the number of cases and deaths due to coronavirus. But Jair Bolsonaro, the country's right-wing nationalist president, continues to be dismissive about the threat posed by the virus. In this episode, we find out why Brazil, one of the largest economies in the world and a nation often in the forefront of innovative public health treatments, has failed to combat the pandemic.