Calladitas No More

The Recent #MeToo Claims About Junot Díaz Remind Us What It Means For WOC When The Giants We Look Up To Turn Out To Be Abusers

In the months that have followed #MeToo, fans have watched as some of the most familiar faces and biggest giants in entertainment, politics, and literature have been unmasked and revealed to be unrecognizable people. Ones whose public personas never would have led us to suspect that they were abusers or predators. For Latinas and other women of color, these revelations have been hard in different ways. Men that our brothers, fathers, tíos and boyfriends, even ourselves, once proudly boasted about and claimed as part of our teams have toppled from their high perches and disappointed us deeply.

In the latest painful #MeToo reveal, Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz is being accused.

On Thursday, author Carmen Maria Machado joined a group of other female writers as they accused Díaz of oppressive and abusive behavior.

On Thursday, author Zinzi Clemmons of What We Lose released a statement on Twitter that accused Díaz of forcibly kissing her at a workshop when she was a 26-year-old grad student. In a series of tweets, she wrote about how she had invited the award-winning author to speak at the event to address representation in literature. She also claimed to have evidence of his misbehavior in an email exchange between the two.

Soon after, Machado, who is the author of Her Body & Other Parties, joined in on the discussion to outline what she claims to be a long history on Díaz’s part of misogynistic behavior towards women who have been his fans, coworkers, partners, and students. Including herself. By her claims, the revered writer verbally attacked her for twenty minutes during a Q&A session that both attended a few years ago after she had asked him “a question about his protagonist’s unhealthy, pathological relationship with women.”

Machado continued her comments on Díaz, highlighting how disappointing the claims will be for the people of color whom he represents.

She also made a KEY point about how Díaz has used machismo privilege to not only profit from his ill-treatment of women but excuse it.

Last month, Díaz published an essay in the New Yorker that disclosed how he had been raped twice when he was only eight years old. The piece was a heartbreaking one, with Díaz outlining the many ways in which the trauma of the events plagued him throughout his life and affected his relationships, self-esteem, and even drove him to attempt suicide on several occasions. He also cited a long list of women he had hurt in his attempts to cope with his experiences. Still, with as much empathy as his essay garnered, it also brought up a series of critiques, some of which worked to highlight the many ways Días failed to examine the impact that he allowed his trauma to negatively have on his partners.

It also highlighted how often racialized women are expected to be supportive and benevolent to men. It’s a concept plenty of Latinas can recognize in the many ways that Latino culture dictates that women must play the column that lifts and keep men up no matter how much of a burden they be. Many of us see this in the ways our abuelas, tías and moms coddle the fathers, tíos and brothers in our lives. We watch as these strong and forceful women, even ourselves, become forced into thinking that our minds and bodies are the ones that ought to do the curative work for men. That we are supposed to lay down on our chests and let our backs be the bridges that they walk over on their paths to self-discovery and healing. It’s a notion that I hope will quickly be dismantled by the #MeToo movement as more stories are exposed and more women learn about each others’ experiences.

As of this story’s publication, Díaz has yet to make a statement about the recent accusations against him. Here’s hoping that the writer, uses his response to atone for his actions and apologize to the victims who we stand with.

In the meantime, FIERCE will continue to remind it’s readers that representation in literature is not lost and will do so staunchly promoting the works of many of today’s greatest authors.


Read: These Are The Health Conditions LA’s Homeless Women Of Color Face And What You Can Do To Help

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Netflix Is Turning Gabriel García Márquez’s Classic ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ Into A Series

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Netflix Is Turning Gabriel García Márquez’s Classic ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ Into A Series

Fans of magical realism rejoice. On Wednesday, Netflix announced it acquired the rights to Gabriel García Márquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and will be turning the literary masterpiece into a Spanish-language series.

This is the first time the 1967 novel, considered “one of the most significant works of the 20th Century,” will be adapted for screen. For years, the author, who died in 2014, refused to sell the film rights, believing the story could not be done justice through a two-hour project, according to Deadline.

Rodrigo Garcia and Gonzalo García Barcha, García Márquez’s sons, who are serving as executive producers on the show, believe a series is an appropriate approach to the book.

“For decades, our father was reluctant to sell the film rights to Cien Años de Soledad. He believed that it could not be made under the time constraints of a feature film, or that producing it in a language other than Spanish would not do it justice,” Rodrigo Garcia told BuzzFeed News, adding that the “current golden age of series,” with “the level of talented writing and directing, the cinematic quality of content,” changed the family’s mind.

“The time could not be better to bring an adaptation to the extraordinary global viewership that Netflix provides,” he continued.

The series will be filmed in Colombia.

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” tells the story of the multi-generational Buendia family, whose patriarch Jose Arcadio Buendia founded Macondo, a fictional town in the South American country.

The book has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into 46 languages.

In a statement, Francisco Ramos, Netflix’s vice president of Spanish-language content, said, “We know our members around the world love watching Spanish-language films and series and we feel this will be a perfect match of project and our platform.”

He’s right. Since announcing the adaptation, fans of the magical realism novel have been celebrating the news.

There’s no word yet on when the series will debut and who will star in it.

Read: This Film About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is At The Center Of The Most Expensive Sundance Documentary Deal Of All Time

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Latina Reads: ‘Pride’ Is The Afro-Latinx YA Novel You Wish You Read As A Teen

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Latina Reads: ‘Pride’ Is The Afro-Latinx YA Novel You Wish You Read As A Teen

It’s no secret that Latinx representation is severely missing in media, especially for Afro-Latinos. Although the numbers are slowly getting better on television, movies and in music, the literary space is still lagging behind. But all of that is slowly changing in particular thanks to critically acclaimed author Ibi Zoboi, whose first novel, American Street, told the tale of young Haitian immigrant Fabiola Toussaint navigating the dangerous streets of Detroit on her own after her mother is detained by U.S. immigration.

Now, Zoboi brings us a timely update on the classic novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin — but this time told through the perspectives of Zuri Benitez (a.k.a. Elizabeth Bennet) and Darius Darcy (a.k.a. Mr. Darcy).

Zoboi’s latest masterpiece is titled Pride.

In Pride, we first meet Zuri, an Afro-Latina teen who has plenty of pride. She has pride in her roots, pride in her family and, most of all, pride in Brooklyn. But when the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri isn’t sure that her pride is enough to change the gentrification that is quickly happening in her beloved neighborhood. Even worse, her older sister Janae starts to fall for charming Ainsley at the same time as Zuri is thrown together with the arrogant Darius, who she can’t stand and wants nothing to do with.

It’s an unexpected joy to be drawn into the world of Pride, where so many changes are happening all at once. As Bushwick changes and families that used to live there for ages are priced out and Zuri begins to fight to keep her home, we readers are drawn into her battle quickly.

She is just the kind of Latina that we rarely read about before: She is smart, quick-witted and not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. She is passionate, cares deeply about her family and is, in a sense, even a little fearless. But she’s also still a teenager, which is part of what makes this novel so irresistible.

Zuri has all the hope and fears that we all had as kids about to turn into adults.

She sees the world changing and she doesn’t know what she can do about it but she wants to do something. It’s that passion and drive which makes her both a captivating character and someone we can relate to.

And perhaps because Zuri is a teenager or because this is a remix of Pride and Prejudice, there is the predictable romantic chaos. Soon enough, Zuri finds herself being pulled in different directions by her growing attraction to Darius, who she still kind of hates, and the oh-so-cute Warren (a.k.a George Wickham), who Darius kind of hates.

One of the most surprising and enchanting things about the novel, however, is the way the characters speak. Zoboi doesn’t try to dumb down or change their language. She doesn’t try to make them sound high-brow or proper, which some reviewers had a problem with, but she does make them sound like exactly who they are: An Afro-Latino family growing up in today’s Brooklyn. Zuri is unapologetically herself and the way she speaks is beautiful, complicated and not even remotely make-belief.

One of the big wins of Pride is that Zuri and the other characters sound like themselves with no pretense and just the right amount of class and a dash of sass.

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Repost from @owlcrate We were so thrilled to include Pride by @ibizoboi in our October box! It’s a modern day Pride and Prejudice remix set in Brooklyn, NY. It deals with many complex issues but is also totally swoon-worthy. And Ibi’s writing is absolutely stunning! ???? The edition we included featured an exclusive cover, exclusive end papers, exclusive color hardback, and it was SIGNED! The publisher truly put a lot of love into the design of this book! ???? Want to get your hands on a copy? We have some extras available for purchase at shop.owlcrate.com while supplies last. ???? Have you read Pride yet? What did you think?? ???? Photos tagged with the original creators! ???? OwlCrate Photo Challenge: Pride & Hot Pink. #ocbookstore ???? #owlcrate #subscriptionbox #bookstagram #pride #ibizoboi #exclusiveedition #bookmail #happyreading #currentlyreading #epicreads

A post shared by Ibi Zoboi (@ibizoboi) on

Without revealing too much about how the novel ends (you’ll have to actually read all of Pride for that), it’s safe to say that Zoboi deserves all of the praise that she has received for her work. But what really matters in a book like this isn’t how she “skillfully balances cultural identity, class and gentrification against the heady magic of first love in her vibrant reimagining of this beloved classic” (from the book’s back cover), though these things are all great too, but rather what it represents and means for future generation of Latinx kids picking up this young adult novel at their library, local bookstore or online.

A book like this can mean so much to those of us who grew up without seeing ourselves in the pages of the books we were taught in school or the books we found at the library. It’s why today, even as adults, we still pick up YA novels with the hopes of seeing our younger selves in their pages. A book like Pride reminds us of that. It reminds us of what it’s like to be a teen and it reinforces the importance of seeing yourself in literature.

The Haitian author, who recently took down an “insulting review” of Pride that made us all wish we had her clap-back game, touched on something special in the story of Zuri the Afro-Latina in Brooklyn. Here’s hoping Zoboi continues to write her black and Latinx representative novels for a long, long time.

Read: 13 Latina Fantasy Books For the Sci-Fi Lover in Your Life

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