Dear @ThinkMexican: If You Are Going to Criticize Us, Use the Facts

Who knows what drives people to crap on others on the Internet? When we call out others, it is likely to present an opinion that might add to the dialogue with the goal that we all learn more from it. Sure, we have tons of friends, but we are very aware that we are not everyone's cup of tea. As we grow to become a 21st century media company and open-source agency, we will have our detractors. And they have every right to criticize us, but we have every right to defend ourselves.

Which is why we were a bit perturbed by the social media account of Think Mexican, a group that celebrates Mexican culture and life. They are a page that interests us for their content and what they do to promote Latino unity, but there is a difference when they call for unity with their page but then call us out with another. Like mamita used to say, practice what you preach.

It started last night on Twitter, when the TM Twitter account posted this. (Full disclosure: Think Mexican's Facebook page has blocked us from liking their page, which is sad, since a lot of the links they share are relevant to the 85% of readers we have who are under 25 and of Mexican descent.) This is what Think Mexican posted last night: 

 

 

Think Mexican

For those not aware,  is the work of a Puerto Rican marketer using the image of Emiliano Zapata to appeal to Mexicans. Scam!
 

A few things to note:

  1. Yes, Latino Rebels was formed by Julio Ricardo Varela (@julito77 on Twitter). He is of Puerto Rican descent. He graduated by Harvard University with a cum laude BA in the History and Literature of Latin America, having focused on Puerto Rican, Cuban, Mexican, and Argentine history while at Harvard. Julito has over 20 years in the LATAM world, working with professionals from all over Latin America, creating jobs in places such as San Juan, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Santiago, and Monterrey. He believes in promoting the vibrant world of the US Latino, and has a deep love and knowledge of Latin American culture.
  2. The Rebels are over 20+ strong contributors, social media managers, administrators, bloggers, photographers, performers, and writers. Seven of them are Puerto Rican, seven of them are of Mexican descent, with others from the DR, Venezuela, Perú, Spain, and Central America. We formed this group to use our power in numbers and social media expertise to create a LATINO DAILY SHOW vibe that combines comedy, analysis, blogging, content production, and social media to present the world of the US Latino in the 21st century.
  3. How do we make money? From our clients. We make no money from our followers , nor do we ask them for money. Clients hire us to run their social media accounts and to get to the key under 25 demographic of Latinos in the US and Latin America. We have run several high-profile campaigns that have brough clients new followers and millions of tweets. Like Univision.
  4. Zapata is an iconic image to many of us. He reflects the sense of rebellion we all have in us. He just HAPPENS to be Mexican, and if you know anything about us, we have also used images of Martí, Sor Juana, Albizu Campos and other Latin American Rebeldes who have questioned the status quo and have made this world better. They inspire us every day.
  5. We would like to ask Think Mexican if they think we are making money off Zapata's image. We are not, and we are more than happy to share the facts about our company with them, but since they have blocked us, we can't.
  6. By the way, we also pay all out contributors for posting to our sites.

We understand that the Internet provides several options and content pages, and that our company is not the right feel for many. That is cool. But if you want to crap on us, at least take into account some of the facts.

If Think Mexican or anyone else has any questions about us or about what do, they are more than happy to contact us via our social media networks or on this page. We aren't hiding anything, and we don't have any secret exploitative agendas.

What we stand for is what we have always stood for: to encourage people to think for themselves, to question when we see injustices in portayals of US Latinos in mainstream, to call out those who take advantage of what it is to be Latino in the US, and here's a shocker, to not take it so damn seriously.

Yes, as we open our minds, we like to laugh once in a while. Maybe Think Mexican should take the advice and also just worry about themselves, but we welcome the negative energy. It only makes us stronger and more committed to our vision.

Of Nuclear Bombs and Latino Disunity

It is said by many that if US Latinos could actually put aside their differences and celebrate all they can offer in this country, then and ONLY THEN will they truly be a force that could move mountains.

However, Latinos (remember we come from 21 countries) get into issues. Issues of coming from different countries, social issues, racial issues, economic issues, cultural issues, religious issues, and so forth. In general, Puerto Ricans mock Dominicans. Dominicans mock Haitians. All of Central America sees Mexico as a big arrogant neighbor. Chileans and Argentines drive each other crazy. White Latinos go against Black Latinos, and vice versa. Then we deny our Native roots as well. And don't get us started about Spain!

Add to the mix that US Latinos might not be in general the most bilingual of people and you get problems. All these problems speak to what is wrong: in an effort to get our voices heard, we unwittingly trample those around us. Our egos become bigger than our hearts, when it fact it is our hearts that will save the day.

There is a running joke that Latinos are jealous of success, especially when it comes to other Latinos becoming successful. We find that sad, quite frankly. Instead of celebrating our accomplishments, we fall into traps, the same traps that were engrained into our cultures for centuries.

In the end, we claim unity and the mainstream media tell us that we are a social force, but the truth is that we are divided and resentful. Last time we checked, that won't get us anywhere.

Here at Latino Rebels, we try to be unique. We are 30 people strong and our mission is a simple one: to use media, comedy, commentary, analysis, satire, discussion, debate, and community to TRULY UNITE LATINOS. Do we do a good job? You tell us. In the end, we will continue to do what we do and be ourselves.

When we see silly things — like the Tequila Party "national" movement, which we feel belittles Latino unity with a stupid name — we will say so. We will try to do so with respect and integrity, even though we know we have our detractors. Some of those detractors call us "losers" and "rejects." We say, "AWESOME!" Here is to the losers, since history has proven that it has been those losers and rejects who have changed the world.

Oc course, we are not the ONLY Latino-themed company on the Internet today (there are thousands of them!), and in fact, there are so many groups that share the same vision of Latino unity that it actually gives us hope. Some groups have more followers and more numbers, while other groups are just starting and getting a fan base.

Here is our point: NUMBERS TO "PROVE" SUPERIORITY AND EXCELLENCE MEAN NOTHING when it comes to social media. Like our founder said so long ago when he was actively engaging in social media, it's all about the QUALITY, baby. The numbers will come if you do the following: post great content and engage with your fans. If you truly want to say who was the first Latino community group, you need to go way back and maybe say it was those forums at Univision.com of the late 1990s.

Take this for example: what would you rather want? 30,000 followers on Twitter or Facebook or 10 followers? Before you answer that question, what if we said those 10 followers are the President of the United States, the President of Mexico, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Shakira, Carmelo Anthony, Ricky Martin, Juanes, Antonio Villaragosa, and the head of ABC, and those 10 followers gave you TRANSPARENT ACCESS to everything they do and they would actively promote what you do 24/7? That is what matters.

Good content also matters. Most bloggers we know in the Latino blogosphere are great people and write some great content. However, when we come across posts that we feel are strange, stereotypical, and offensive, we will let that group know. We aren't hating, just expressing our concern. Hell, we have been lambasted for our own posts and understand that disagreement is part of being a media company in the 21st century. Most of the times, these types of situations can get a bit messy, but we find that public apologies and genuine concern go a long way. What we don't try to do, unless of course the comments and posts are directly harming someone, is delete the post and try to ignore the problem. And if we do delete the post, it is because it starts getting too ugly and personal. That's not good for anyone.

It's best to just address it and it's best to be united.

With that said, we will say this: ANY LATINO PAGE online that shares our vision is PART OF OUR FAMILY. We will ALWAYS promote content that speaks to the nirvana of Latino Unity. That is the end goal here. That is how we will move mountains.

Soon, the Rebels will be producing a new show. We will use our show to share our universe with our viewers. We will promote other groups and causes with no expectations. We want to help anyone who wants the promotion. And yes, we will also have a blast doing the show!

So as we move into the next exciting phase of Latino Rebels, we take a moment to shout out those pages that we have grown to love. ¡Que viva la unidad latina!

Drum roll, please:

Sure, there are other pages that do the same thing, and no one page is better than the other. We leave the pissing contests to the egos. In the end, by having thousands of pages collectively producing good content and authentically connecting with people and each other, by working together instead of against each other, we will achieve that dream that has eluded us for so long. Will we be up for the challenge? Will you?
Now if the Tequila Party organizers can just change their name….
¡Que vivan los latinos!

John Leguizamo’s Papi Telling World His Son is Not Puerto Rican is a NON-ISSUE

Who cares?

Really, on the heels of recent revelation this week made by his father proving that he is not Puerto Rican, actor/comedian/performer John Leguizamo will not remove himself from his role in the Puerto Rican Day Parade. And the parade organizers don’t want him to go.

And you know what Johnny, WE ARE WITH YOU!!!

 

Don't be messing with the GREAT Leguizamo. We wouldn't care if he were from Mars. He is the REAL DEAL!!!!

You see, this whole issue of your country or origin, is losing steam among Latinos. If Latinos really want to become the true political force in the United States, they must stop thinking like 15 separate countries and think like one united country.

So, this is easy. On behalf of the Latino Rebels, we are sending this outfit to John today. John, you are now an HONORARY BORICUA. Problem solved. Let’s party!!!!

We are sending this to John Leguizamo RIGHT NOW!!!!