Mi gente! Welcome to La Palabra, SI's weekly column delivering the web's best content with a Latino perspective. Sports, pop culture, movies, TV, music, food, travel...you name it. Send tips to email@example.com or mándame un Tweet.
The Jonathan Gonzalez saga
If you're a soccer fan, or more importantly a USMNT or Mexico soccer fan, then you're aware of a certain 18-year-old midfielder who made the difficult choice to represent Mexico over USA. Here's his official statement regarding this decision:
Personally, I think the main reason for his decision was less about soccer and more about his identity as a Mexican-American and a country’s inability of understanding the conflicts of what it means to be a son or daughter of immigrants. And this isn’t a sports issue – it’s a social one. Sure, US soccer could have done more for Gonzalez by paying more attention, but this is bigger than just one player. This is more than just fútbol.
Finally, a piece of advice to U.S Soccer: You don’t want this to happen again? Then start paying more attention to the communities you serve, because inside these neighborhoods exist thousands of players like Jonathan Gonzalez who are dying for an opportunity (See Sueño Alianza)
SI's Grant Wahl has answers to all your questions regarding the decision. For more context, Planet Futbol lead editor Avi Creditor lays out more of the facts. In addition, ESPN's Herculez Gomez and Maximiliano Bretos have a fantastic podcast where they discuss the issues with US Soccer and how the federation needs to do a better job in connecting with Hispanic kids. Here's another good one by SB Nation's Kevin McCauley.
Speaking of Mexican-American athletes...
Free agent kicker Roberto Aguayo will get another chance and sign with the Chargers, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. It's good to see a talented, albeit inconsistent, player get another chance in the NFL, especially if he's one of a handful Hispanic NFL athletes trying to make it. Rooting for you, Roberto. Here are some other stories from Latino NFL players that will inspire you.
Messi being Messi
It was another day of training at Barcelona andLeo Messi decided to embarrass another teammate. This week's victim? Ivan Rakitic.
Honoring a legend
Good news, Selena fans. ABC has signed a deal to produce a "music-driven scripted family drama" inspired by the life of the beloved singer. The show is not auto-biographical and will follow the life of a fictional character named Alex Guerra, a chart-topping, award-winning pop star who has been estranged from her family for five years. The Queen of Tejano music and her influence live on.
Ricky Martin's house is kinda ridiculous
Architectural Digest has a profile on the Puerto Rican's 3,000 square-foot Beverly Hills mansion and it's amazing. Ricky and husband Jwan Yosef gave a tour and I have one piece of advice: If you live in a one bedrooom apartment with a faulty sink, this might make you angry (H/T Latina Magazine).
MA CHI KA
Get ready everyone. J Balvin will release his new single featuring Anitta and Jeon Arvani on Jan. 19. This might not make it to MI GENTE levels of popularity, but it's still going to be dope AF.
When it comes to Latinos on TV ... are we seeing enough progress?
There's no doubt that thanks to shows like Jane the Virgin, Superstore and One Day at a Time, we are seeing more and more Latinos on television. But when you compare the level of representation between our community and others, there's still a long way to go. Remezcla's Manuel Betancourt examines the past, the present and future of Latino representation on film and televison.
Speaking of Latinas on TV ... here's Francia Raisa
Francia Raisa discussed her new role in Grown-ish, the spinoff from Kenya Barris's Black-ish, in a great profile on People.com. Raisa, a Honduran-Mexican born in Los Angeles, is an experienced, talented actress who's been around for quite some time. She's also known as the best friend who donated her kidney to Selena Gomez.
The faces of DACA
Meet Alfonso Verdis, who came to the U.S. from Mexico when he was 15-years-old. He worked his way from dishwasher to executive chef in an industry that HEAVILY depends on immigrant labor. As his DACA status will soon expire, Alfonso wonders about his own future and those of his children. A touching, important piece by Allanah Dykes and NPR.
Y'all. I spend many days as a kid reading Condorito and now the movie comes out this Friday! Watch the trailer here:
Song of the week
Give it up to Queen J-Lo.
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