Growing up, I went to school at a wealthy, Anglo-Saxon prep school during the day and retired to my working class, Dominican family at night. I was exposed to plenty of cultures via film, literature, and music, but my lens was Dominican-American and the real-life interactions I had with other cultures were never immersive enough... Continue Reading →
The 2019 Oscars "Best Picture" race is stacked, top to bottom, with nominees that offer nuanced and timely stories about experiences that are rarely represented in the top category. From gender to race to sexual orientation, there was much to unpack in this year's roster. I also argue we are in a film Golden Age that is directly responding to the Trump administration's attacks on already targeted communities. Art has always paved a way for political action and discourse - film included. But before Trump, films with a message largely went under the radar, because the Obama administration offered a guise that everything was alright. Since America has awoken to the fact that things are very much not alright, major production companies have responded with films made to be accessible blockbusters, but also made to be political.
If you are looking for an album that captures just about every emotion and feeling you can experience when falling in and out of love - or even just when navigating life - this is a good one. It is deep, while still being accessible.
The Grammys are in decline. First, in the streaming age, TV shows don't get the viewership they did 15 years ago. You don't need to watch a 3-hour telecast to find out who wins - Twitter will brief you. Second, the Grammys have long been criticized for being out of touch with the public. Grammy... Continue Reading →
This is the ugly Brazilian paradox. While the country appears celebratory of LGBTQ individuals, on most days LGBTQ people are neglected, abused and often killed. Just as Brazil is the country with the largest Pride parade in the world, it is also the country with the most reported violence against the LGBTQ community. To better understand how these two contradictory realities can apply to a single country requires a greater understanding of how conservative cultural norms and social values contribute to regression in acceptance for the community.
The question of people versus state has been particularly visible this decade. In the last five years, Britain voted to leave the European Union and the autonomous communities of Catalonia and Scotland have made notable efforts to leave Spain and the United Kingdom, respectively. Although it has obtained less traction and media attention, another interesting example, which will serve as the focus of this paper is the Southern separatist movement in the state of Brazil. Known as “O Sul é O Meu País” (The South is My Country), this political organization seeks the independence of Brazil’s three most southern states: Parana, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul. The organization cites that historic, economic, cultural, social, and geographic differences between their region and the rest of the county, as well as the central government’s (Brasilia) corruption, have driven them to seek secession as the rightful next move.
Civilian inaction exists on a much larger scale than what you likely accredit and it stagnates the efforts made to close socioeconomic gaps between the rich and poor. Specifically, there is a pronounced lack of support for the third sector: NGOs and nonprofits. The organizations comprising this sector are the primary actors and agents of change in the lives of those homeless, hungry, ill, jobless, and poor that you walk by day-to-day. These organizations, often lacking in resources to sustain themselves, are the primary vehicles providing resources to the needy. If you want to help you should be supporting these organizations, but research shows you likely do not.
There is a vulnerability you expose yourself to when you travel, but it is not something to be feared. The awareness, both inner and outer, you gain is rewarding and can definitely be earned without the presence of your family, friends, or partner. I just visited Argentina, the Brazilian state of Parana, and Paraguay (kind of) by myself. Rather than isolation I felt liberation.
“Am I in Europe?” This was what I first thought when visiting the city of Curitiba in the Southern Brazilian state of Parana. Much of Southern Brazil (the state of Parana, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul) feels that way because over the last 150 years it has become a melting pot of European cultures. It is evident in the architecture, celebrations, food, and people - it is really White compared to the rest of the country.