In the U.S., Columbus Day is a federal holiday in honor of the Italian navigator Christopher Columbus—and it's a day of Italian-American celebration. But not everyone is on board with celebrating Columbus. His colonization led to the bloodshed of Indigenous people and while he did arrive to the Americas, he never set foot in North America. Over the past few decades, there has been a growing movement to officially replace the holiday with a day of recognition for Indigenous people. Latino USA explores the movement to change the holiday, and pays a visit to one of the latest states to make Indigenous Peoples' Day official: Maine.
Armando Christian Peréz —better known as Pitbull— is a rapper, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, brand ambassador and has a whole host of other job titles. As his nearly two-decade long career has diversified, his image and brand have solidified. He rose to prominence off bilingual records hits like "Culo" and "Toma" in the early aughts and became a household name thanks to wedding and quinceañera classics like "Give Me Everything" and "Time of Our Lives." Today, the Latino demographic that helped catapult Pitbull to the top music charts is facing greater open discrimination than at any other point during Pitbull's career. During a day with Pitbull, the Cuban-American entertainer opens up about his thoughts on President Trump, the state of immigration, why he won't stop making music with Chris Brown, and how country music is not just for white folks.
Chicago is a breeding ground for diverse sounds: it is the birthplace of house music and has a thriving indie hip-hop scene. One of the city's up-and-coming artists is Kaina Castillo. Known simply as KAINA, the 23-year-old singer-songwriter blends genres like soul and rock, creating dreamy soundscapes. A Latina of Venezuelan and Guatemalan descent, she writes about struggling with her identity, all while uplifting her immigrant roots. In this "How I Made It" segment, KAINA tells us about what it was like growing up with a small family, making a name for herself in Chicago's vibrant music scene and the inspiration behind her album.
Throughout his decades of selling weed, Ramon Garcia never thought he'd see the day marijuana became legal in California. But while he now owns a legitimate cannabis distribution business, he's ambivalent about the legalization of pot. Ramon says it seems like legalization has only made white entrepreneurs rich, while black and Latino weed dealers bore the brunt of the war on drugs. In this episode, Latino USA shadows two Latinx weed entrepreneurs, and we try to figure out whether a new program by the city of Oakland can help make up for decades of racist drug policies.
Author Isabel Allende began her writing career as a journalist in Chile. Born in Peru, Allende grew up in Chile until 1973, when her uncle, former Chilean President Salvador Allende, was overthrown in a coup and died. She fled the country along with her family, and lived many years in Venezuela as a political refugee. That's where she wrote her break-out novel, "La Casa de Los Espíritus" or "The House of the Spirits." Since then, she's written 23 books and counting. Latino USA sits down with Isabel Allende to talk about her journey to becoming a renowned author.
It's been over three decades since actor Lou Diamond Phillips portrayed Chicano rock 'n' roll legend Ritchie Valens on the silver screen. Little did he know, his role in the 1987 film, "La Bamba," would catapult him into the limelight and into the hearts of the Mexican American community around the country. A year after "La Bamba," he starred in another prominent Chicano film from the late 1980s, "Stand and Deliver." Since then, Phillips—who is the son of a white American father and a Filipina mother—has portrayed Latino and indigenous characters in film and television shows. In this conversation, Lou Diamond Phillips shares how he continues to play an array of roles with an open mind and willingness to learn.