J-Lo named chief creative officer of NUVOtv

May 16, 2013


AP Television Writer


NEW YORK (AP) — Jennifer Lopez is the newly appointed chief creative officer of NUVOtv.

The versatile J-Lo was announced last fall as a creative partner with the English-languageLatino network, but her role was solidified Wednesday as NUVOtv held its upfront for advertisers and prepared for a re-launch of its programming in July.

In an interview before the presentation, Lopez said about two years ago she was approached by NUVOtv to serve “probably more as the face of the network. But once we sat down and I started expressing my point of view about the programming and the network, it grew into something bigger.”

She said that, with the support of her own production company, she will be involved in marketing, branding and program development.

“A network that reflects the modern Latino experience, but in English, must have the quality that everybody has,” she said.

Lopez will also be the subject of a 90-minute biographical special, the network said.

Among new series announced will be “Gotta Dance,” a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of professional dancers accompanying Lopez on a world concert tour.

Asked if her on-camera presence is likely to extend beyond those programs, she said yes — “if we find a great show that I would star in anyway. But I always want to do what’s right for the network as opposed to using it as a vehicle for myself. That’s not the point.”

Lopez laughed when asked if she would consider returning to “American Idol,” where she spent two seasons as judge on a panel that is currently in turmoil.

“I’m gonna perform there (Thursday) night,” she replied. “I don’t know what else is gonna happen.”

Looking ahead to the July 18 debut of the NUVOtv programming slate, she said, “We’ve given it enough of a facelift to launch, but we know we have work ahead of us.”

Other series announced include “Rodney’s Joy,” a reality show about Grammy Award-winning producer Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins as he takes on a new client — his wife, Joy Enriquez — as well as “Mario Lopez: One on One,” an interview show.

NUVOtv is available in 32 million homes.


May 13, 2013


AP Television Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Ryan Seacrest will produce a new music series for the Spanish-speaking Telemundo network that will feature two established artists competing against each other for the audience’s vote.

The format for “Superstar Showdown” has been successful in other countries. Emilio Romano, president of Telemundo Media, said he’s hoping the “American Idol” host will use his connections and leverage to attract talent. The network hasn’t publicly set a start date for the series.

Telemundo announced several of its programming plans for next season on Sunday. The network usually gets less than half of the audience of the dominant Univision, but has become more aggressive with the backing of corporate parent NBC Universal. Telemundo had its highest ratings ever during the first three months of 2013.

“We’ve been the underdog for so many years and we’ve been given the mission to fight and fight hard,” Romano said.

Telemundo will air five new telenovelas next season. The prime-time soap operas, stuffed with melodrama and romance, are generally the programming backbone for Spanish-speaking networks. One new series, “Camelia la Tejana,” is based on a popular song and features a young woman trying to escape from one of Mexico’s most powerful drug lords.

Romano said he hopes Telemundo can distinguish itself from its competition by creating telenovelas specifically with the U.S. market in mind, instead of remaking series that originated in other countries. He hopes they will speak more to an American audience concerned about immigration issues and nostalgic for the countries they left behind.

One example he gave was last year’s remake of the movie “Maid in Manhattan.”

Telemundo also announced the creation of a Los Angeles-based production studio, Fluency, that will produce content for Latinos in the U.S in both Spanish and English.

Telemundo is expanding its sports coverage. The weekly show, “Titulares y Mas,” will begin airing all weeknights at 11:35 p.m. The network will also start a daytime game show that pits youngsters against adults.


Sesame Street’ gets new Hispanic character

May 11, 2013


Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — As a child in Puerto Rico, Ismael Cruz was delighted by the colorful characters in “Sesame Street,” who not only entertained and educated him, but helped him learn “inglés.” He could not have imagined that two decades later he would be playing with them in front of the cameras.

Cruz is the newest Hispanic addition to popular children series’ cast, playing Armando, or “Mando.”

“‘Sesame Street’ is a magical place. It doesn’t matter if you are working there or just visiting, or if you’re watching on TV, that magic is always there,” Cruz, 26, told The Associated Press. “I grew up watching the show, and for me it was a place that really existed and to which as a child I aspired to go, a place so diverse that I could see myself in the faces of the people that were there. Being on the set now is that, but with cameras.”

Cruz’s character is a Hispanic writer from Brooklyn who writes everything from short stories to essays and movie scripts. He also loves technology and social media.

The addition expands a cast of Hispanic characters that includes Maria (Sonia Manzano) and Luis (Emilio Delgado), who debuted on “Sesame Street” in 1971 as human characters, as well as Rosita, the charming turquoise monster who joined in 1993 with Mexican puppeteer Carmen Osbahr, who also voices Ovejita.

The show wants to reflect the population changes in the U.S., where Hispanics are the fastest growing minority. It also features African-American, Asian and American Indian characters.

“It’s a show that’s always cutting edge, that is always aware of what’s going on with the population, so by including a character that is young, with new perspectives, Latino, and that bring that new generation, it is carrying on with that message,” Cruz said.

Cruz grew up poor in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico, and his mother tuned in to “Sesame Street” so his son would learn English. Cruz studied music and dreamed of being an actor, eventually attending New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Before “Sesame Street,” he appeared on “The Good Wife” and in films “In The Blood,” ”White Alligator” and “Chaser.”

The casting call for a new Hispanic character on “Sesame Street” attracted hundreds of bilingual actors last August.

“I hadn’t seen it, (but) many people who knew me and read the description of what they were looking for sent me messages through Facebook, email and phone telling me, ‘You have to do this audition, this is perfect for you.’ And that’s how I began this process,” he said.

“Mando” will make his debut on the 44th season of “Sesame Street,” which starts airing on September 16. Carol-Lynn Parente, executive producer of “Sesame Street,” said she and her team knew immediately that Ismael was the perfect addition.

“He has a passion for creative expression and a warmth that comes right through the camera,” Parente said in a statement.


Pop group La Santa Cecilia visits Arizona House

May 11, 2013

PHOENIX (AP) — A Latino pop-rock group is bringing its pro-immigration tour to Arizona.

Members of the group La Santa Cecilia stopped by the Arizona House of Representatives Thursday.

The quartet based in Los Angeles sat quietly in the visitors’ gallery during the brief floor session.

La Santa Cecilia has been touring the country to rally support for an immigration overhaul being debated by Congress. The legislation would create a path toward citizenship for many of the 11 million immigrants illegally in the country.


Little queen announced by mexican mutual society

April 27, 2013


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Lorain – The Mexican Mutual Society has announced Arianna Rodriquez as the 2013 Cinco de Mayo Little Queen.

The daughter of Javier Rodriquez and Griselda Villanueva, Arianna is five years old and attends kindergarten at Horizon Science Academy in Lorain.

During the parade, Rodriquez will be accompanied by Jose Reyes during the annul parade which begins at St. Francis Church on the corner of Homewood drive and Grove avenue, Saturday May 4 at 4pm and ends that the Mexican Mutual Society (1820 E. 28th St.).

Festivities include the Lorain High School Army JROTC will present the flags and El Guero Jacob Estrada, Mariachi Celestial Band and Alma de Mexico dancers will provide entertainment.

The evening’s DJ will be Jose ‘Pepe” Rivera and there will be Mexican food for purchase and free hotdogs and piñatas for children.

For more information, contact Marie Leibas at 440-288-0144.


Don Omar is top winner at Billboard Latin awards

April 26, 2013


Associated Press

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Reggaeton star Don Omar was the top winner of the Billboard Latin Music Awards, though the bigger star of the show might have been the one who wasn’t there: The late Mexican-American singer Jenni Rivera.

Don Omar took home 10 prizes at the annual show Thursday honoring Spanish-language songs and performers. Rivera won six prizes, including artist of the year. The California-born superstar was killed in a plane accident last year in Mexico.

The show paid homage to Rivera with a tribute that included clips from live performances and her reality television show. Her brother Juan Rivera sang his sister’s song “No Llega el Olvido” accompanied by a mariachi band.

“You are my diva,” Rivera’s father, Pedro Rivera, said in accepting the prizes. “May God bless you, my daughter.”

Rivera sold more than 15 million copies of her 12 major-label albums during her career, which was cut short in December in a crash that killed her and six other people. She was born in Los Angeles and started her career by selling cassette tapes at flea markets. She went on to become adored by millions on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border drawn to her soulful singing and honest portrayal of her tumultuous personal life.

“We know she continues living in our hearts and through music,” Rosa Saavedra, her mother, said.

The audience gave a standing ovation, many with tears in their eyes.

Mexican singing legend Jose Jose received the lifetime achievement award and Italian operatic singers Il Volo performed a moving rendition of his song “El Triste.”

“Bless the Lord because he has converted me into a friend and accomplice of many couples, many hearts, and many marvelous souls who fall in love, and who suffer because of love,” Jose Jose said in accepting the prize.

Other winners included bachata star Romeo Santos, who won three awards, including album of the year for “Formula: Vol. 1.” He dedicated his prizes to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings and to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Santos sang a duet with Juan Luis Guerra that drew cries and screams from fans in the audience.

Salsa singer Marc Anthony, rock group Mana and Colombian pop artist Carlos Vives, who is making a comeback with his first album in eight years, also performed during the three-hour show, which was broadcast live on Telemundo.

Shakira, La Arrolladora Banda el Limon de Rene Camacho, and Natty Natasha took home three prizes each.

Latin music is starting to bounce back after a big dip in album sales during the recession. The rebound is thanks in large part to the growing Hispanic demographic in the U.S. and the rise of digital sales through online and cell phone services and subscriptions.

“Digital is over half our sales right now, and it continues to grow fast for Latin music,” said Skander Goucha, senior vice president for Universal Music Latin Entertainment.

The awards show followed several days of panels and performances during the Billboard Latin Music Conference, a gathering of industry artists and professionals. This year’s conference featured Uruguayan singer Jorge Drexler, who presented a mobile phone app that allows users to compose new songs using his lyrics and voice. Gloria Estefan also sat down for an extended interview in which she discussed her career and shared advice with aspiring artists.

“Stick to your guns,” she said. “When one door closes, find another way to do what you want to do.”


National comedian coming to hispanic conference

April 5, 2013

Marcus Atkinson

HispanicOhio.com editor

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LORAIN – The annual Coalition for Hispanic/Latino Issus and Progress (CHIP), Hispanic Conference is going in a different direction this year as their pre-conference event Friday April 19 will feature a comedy show.

In years past, the Friday before the conference was a time for people to meet the speakers and talk one on one.  Though attendees can still do so from 6pm to 8pm at the Ramada Inn, located in Elyria, the comedy event will take place directly after.

Ely Castro will headline the Friday festivities at the Antler Grand Ballroom, 300 Washington Avenue, in Lorain, beginning at 8pm. normally a more formal event evening, this year the pre-conference event is sure to be a change of pace.

Castro did not start off as a comedian, in fact he grew up in a home in which his parents steered him toward law, and that is what he did. For six years he practiced law in Florida, but his heart was not there.

“I really wasn’t enjoying the law as much as I did entertaining my family,” said the Puerto Rico native.

Though motivated by others to be an attorney, as a child Castro gravitated toward family who could make his father laugh, because it was a challenge to make his stern father smile.

“I admired family member that made my father laugh,” Castro said.

So Castro decided to abandon his law practice and dedicate full time to making others laugh, he describes his comedy as clean, for the entire family, and with a focus on culture.

“I knew I needed to give [comedy] my full attention,” said Castro.  “I needed to be committed to it.”

Times are surely changing; CHIP switched to a pre-conference with a bit more levity with the help of the Ohio Hispanic Heritage Coalition (OHHC). Dee-Dee Marrero, OHHC president, could be credited with finding Castro and from all places, the internet. Marrero said she was searching Youtube one evening and came across one of Castro’s comedy routines, contacted him through Facebook and the magic happened.  Marrero then contacted local comedian, Angel Isaac who has been coordinating a comedy tournament in Lorain.

“I checked him out on Youtube and I thought he was funny,” said Isaac.  “This dude, you just know that he’s real, he took his life experience and put it out and turned it into a humorous story.”

Castro said he grew up in a family that was very serious about receiving an education, and though he always leaned toward comedy, he focused on his education as his parents told him to.

“It was my father’s idea for me to go further than they did,” Castro said. “My father has a B.A. in engineering, and my mother is in social work.”

Castro was told every family should have an attorney.

“That’s a huge transition,” said Isaac.  “I honestly admire that, it goes to show that he was already successful but he pursued his dream. It just goes to show the love and passion he has for comedy.”

Now living in New York City, in his younger years Castro was shy, quiet and had to grow into the person who makes a living on a stage, a person who developed the courage and humility to leave his law practice and devote his career to making strangers laugh.

“My goal is by the end of the show you simply feel good about who you are and who your family is,” he said.  “Who we are, is just as good as who everyone else is.  Our goal should be to be proud of who we are and what we offer.”

Tickets for the event are $10 and can be purchased ahead of time by calling 440-7            14-8124







Fashion showcased through local art

March 30, 2013

Marcus Atkinson

HispanicOhio.com editor

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Lorain – Saturday March 23 was the third annual Lorain Arts Council’s fashion show titled, “Spring in2 Fashion”, in Lorain Ohio.  Located in the city’s downtown, the show brought together arts from Lorain County and Cleveland.

The DJ was local radio personality Jose “Pepe” Rivera, a Hispanic from south Lorain, who has been involved in the community for years.

Talent from Project Model returned and showcased jewelry, hand bags, and more.

Also in attendance during the fashion show was Miss Puerto Rico Image, Aidelis Rivera

Miss Puerto Rico Image is crowned every year by Julia De Burgos Cultural Art Center in Cleveland. The Center crowned Rivera and she will hold the title through the year.

New this year was Miss Lorain Latina, awarded to. Alejandra Palomo, Miss Lorain Latino will go to Cleveland State University and compete to become Miss Ohio Latina.

Latinos make up the largest minority population in Lorain (25 percent) followed by Black (17 percent) because of this the city has a natural Hispanic influence which includes the Chief of Police and the city’s council President.

In a statement released after the event, the Lorain Arts Council President, Antonio Barrios said in part, the “fundraiser was a success and was every bit of what we were looking for. “Barrios said the money raised will be used to fund the promotion of Lorain County art as well as local artist.



NASCAR races after Latino market with TV series

March 29, 2013


AP Sports Writer

FONTANA, Calif. (AP) — Ela Rivella is a sexy, headstrong race car driver torn between two racing brothers in a glamorous, high-stakes world of cutthroat competition and danger. Ela loved Jordi Fernandez until jealousy drove them apart, and now she’s irresistibly drawn to Checo, whose clandestine romance with Ela could drive Jordi to violence.

Sound like a soap opera? Maybe some particularly ambitious Formula One fan fiction?

It’s an actual novela — the wildly popular short-run series that flood the Latino television market in North America and beyond — co-produced by Univision and NASCAR to put the down-home American sport of stock car racing in front of millions of Spanish-speaking viewers who might have never watched a NASCAR race.

This remarkable blend of speed and cheese will debut on Univision’s website in a series of five- to seven-minute episodes starting in April before appearing on Univision on May 5. Called “Arranque de Pasión, La Historia de Ela,” it’s an audacious attempt to expand the NASCAR brand into the growing Latino population through a particular form of storytelling.

“Nobody knows a lot about NASCAR,” said Kate Del Castillo, the famed Mexican actress producing and starring in the novela. “I think we have to get much more exposure for NASCAR. When you think about it, it’s all about family, and that’s what we like. It’s about spending an entire day at the track. It’s an experience, a whole day for family, and yet it’s very dangerous. It’s very dramatic. I think it’s perfect for us.”

NASCAR’s entertainment arm realizes it’s trying something unusual, but NASCAR vice president of entertainment marketing Zane Stoddard believes novelas are one way to crack a market that’s been targeted for a decade with varying success.

NASCAR already had worked with Univision to put a racing-themed storyline into an existing show 18 months earlier. Last summer, NASCAR decided an original novela was an idea just crazy enough to work — a unique chance to expand the Spanish-speaking world’s awareness of its sport.

“It’s our opportunity to meet them where they’re at, within the genres they’re already invested in,” Stoddard said. “I feel like our sport is uniquely accessible in terms of relationships, family and all the things that drive television shows.”

Like every pro sports organization in North America, NASCAR has realized the importance of courting Latino fans — and a connection with stock car racing isn’t far-fetched at all.

The NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series is in its seventh season under the NASCAR banner, fueling a growing boom in oval track racing in Mexico. NASCAR says its Sprint Cup series ratings among Hispanic viewers are up 27 percent on Fox this season, with year-by-year increases for each of the five races so far.

Gillian Zucker, the president of Fontana’s Auto Club Speedway, markets aggressively to Latinoracing fans in a state where Latinos will make up a plurality of the population by next year. Roughly 40 percent of her track’s customers identify as Latino, and she hired singer Lupillo Rivera to perform for fans at last weekend’s NASCAR race in which Del Castillo was the honorary starter.

Del Castillo became fascinated by auto racing when she participated in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race in Long Beach, Calif., last year. After crashing out on the last lap — “which felt good, sorry to say,” she said with a grin — she decided to find a project that would put her in the racing milieu.

“It was out of nowhere, but I couldn’t be happier or luckier,” she said. “I never would have thought that NASCAR is so into it. They’ve been so nice, providing us everything. They’ve all been amazing.”

After Univision and Del Castillo’s production company assembled a crew of creative talent, NASCAR watched over the proceedings for authenticity and content. The unlikely combination apparently worked for both the NASCAR executives and the Latino stars and producers — maybe because fast cars and beautiful people aren’t a tough sell in any language.

“Creative people come into this environment, and it’s like a kid in a candy store because it’s such a visceral overload,” Stoddard said. “Because the novela is such a specific kind of story, very dramatic, we didn’t want to pretend we understood the kind of storytelling that takes place in novelas. We know what we know, and we know what we don’t know. We rely primarily on them to begin with the story and then allow us to be a sounding board, to layer authenticity over it.”

“Arranque de Pasion” is set in a fictional NASCAR universe, which means nobody should expect Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Clint Bowyer to be polishing their Spanish for a cameo. Much of the filming was done at Homestead Miami Speedway in authentic stock cars, although Del Castillo didn’t actually get to drive them while playing Ela.

“I’m grateful for that,” she said. “They’re very expensive cars.”


Contest will decide queen of cinco de mayo in lorain

March 19, 2013

Marcus Atkinson


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Lorain – Tradition continues as three young girls are once again competing to be the symbol of the Cinco de Mayo parade, held each year by the Mexican Mutual Society of Lorain.


Not to be confused with Mexican Independence Day, Each year the Mexican Mutual (1820 E. 28th St.), organizes a parade to commemorate, “El Día de la Batalla de Puebla”, a day when the Mexican army had an unlikely victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.  Today Mexican Americans recognize the day as a time to celebrate one’s heritage.


The three nominees are:


Arianna Rodriquez


Daughter of Griselda Villanueva and Javier Rodriquez, Arianna is five years old and attends kindergarten at Horizon Science Academy in Lorain, she is not only a member of the Lorain Soccer League, but is a ballet dancer as well.


Jalyn Hernandez


Daughter of Ciera Hernandez, Jalyn is seven years old and attends second grade at Avon East Elementary School, Jalyn is a member of Girls Scots of America Inc.


Liberty Diaz


Daughter of Raquel and Eslie Diaz, Liberty is five years old and attends kindergarten at Steven Dohanos Elementary School in Lorain. Liberty enjoys collecting toy horses and dinosaurs.


The young girl who sells the most raffle tickets by Sunday, April 21 will be the winner and will be known as the “Little Queen.”  As Little Queen, her first duty will be to preside as queen in the Cinco de Mayo parade Saturday, May 4 and will have the opportunity to be a part of more parades throughout 2013.


Keep checking www.hispanicohio.com for the latest information




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