After a year that set us right in the path of adversity and challenges, Latinas everywhere assembled to mark their names on historic records and events. We led rallies, the voting polls, topped music charts, fought the patriarchy, and dismantled stereotypes all while raising up each other’s voices. The most obvious examples of our actions can be seen in the faces that voiced women’s interests and issues with their very own megaphones.
For our 2017 Latina crushes of the year, here’s a list of the accomplished women who helped us tackle the year in stride.
Lovato has had a year that can be described as nothing short of innovative. The singer, advocate, and activist kicked off a year of progress when she stepped on to the streets with thousands of others for the Women’s March. She dropped an album, fortified her platform as an advocate for mental health awareness by becoming a Global Citizen’s ambassador, and released a very personal documentary that gave fans insight into her struggle with addiction. On her advocacy, the “Sorry Not Sorry” singer addressed her mission as an ambassador to Iraqi youth. “This isn’t about politics or race or religion,” she said. “It’s simply about humanity and protecting one another.”
The Nicaraguan writer and founder of Latina Rebels has used her 100K plus Instagram following to shed light on the complexities of Latina representation. In 2017, she brought down her whip, drilling into the injustices of the current White House administration, calling out racism, and advocating for trans rights and equal love. “I want to expose the chains that are keeping us shackled, and I want people to run with it. Everyone’s journey is different, but we all need similar tools to get there,” Dorcas said of her advocacy and work in an interview with Hello Giggles this past August.
Francisca Raisa and Selena Gomez
I’m very aware some of my fans had noticed I was laying low for part of the summer and questioning why I wasn’t promoting my new music, which I was extremely proud of. So I found out I needed to get a kidney transplant due to my Lupus and was recovering. It was what I needed to do for my overall health. I honestly look forward to sharing with you, soon my journey through these past several months as I have always wanted to do with you. Until then I want to publicly thank my family and incredible team of doctors for everything they have done for me prior to and post-surgery. And finally, there aren’t words to describe how I can possibly thank my beautiful friend Francia Raisa. She gave me the ultimate gift and sacrifice by donating her kidney to me. I am incredibly blessed. I love you so much sis. Lupus continues to be very misunderstood but progress is being made. For more information regarding Lupus please go to the Lupus Research Alliance website: www.lupusresearch.org/ -by grace through faith
Apart, Gomez and Raise had a whirlwind year respectively. Gomez started the year out with a bang, gracing the cover of Vogue magazine for the first time, producing a hit Netflix series, dropping a chart topping album and battling Lupus in a very public spotlight. Raisa, on the other hand, racked up roles on television hits like “Dear White People,” “Tiny House of Terror,” “Once Upon A Time,” and landed a lead role in the upcoming ABC spin-off of “Black-ish.” But it wasn’t just their career success that gave us major girl crush vibes. The two artists and best friends also reminded us that female friendships can be the most important and emotionally enriching relationships a woman could ever have when they revealed how they came together to help Gomez through a life-depending kidney transplant. At the Billboard Women In Music Awards this past November, the women praised each other in emotional speeches that celebrated their bond and “Latina sisterhood.”
At just 20, the actress and singer has had a nine-year career in the entertainment industry, but this year her role in commanding the traditionally male-dominated Latin urban genre made towering waves. Her hit song “Mayores” tracked just behind record breakers “Despacito” and “Mi Gente,” and peaked at the Hot Latin Songs chart at No.3. She brought power to queer Latinas with her role as an LGBTQ character in this year’s “Power Rangers” film, and did all of this while rallying for AIDS awareness and for Dreamers.
I mean, Cardi was the queen of 2017. It didn’t all start with “Bodak Yellow.” Cards B has been grabbing headlines since her debut on the reality hit “Love & Hip Hop: New York.” Yet, 2017 entertainment has definitely been all about the money-moving Afro-Latina rapper. In just four months, three of the hip-hop artist’s songs hit the top 10 spot on the music charts. And while her social media platforms boast hundreds of pictures of the artist flashing the luxuries that her accomplishments have afforded her, she’s also used her voice to spur political discussion and provide relief to victims of natural disasters.
Today is Latina Equal Pay Day, marking the 11 extra months Latinas have to work to make the same amount as men earned last year. The gender pay gap is greatest for Latinas, who earn only 54 cents for every $1 a man makes. It's an injustice that affects our lives in countless ways. Soy una mujer fenomenal — and I deserve equal pay! We're not 54% phenomenal. We bring 💯% every day and it’s time we make 💯% Show your support for hard-working Latinas, and seven organizations working to end the pay gap, by rocking this Maya Angelou-inspired tee from @phenomenal.ly. #FIERCEWomenxEqualPay
Over the course of a year, Saldana has racked up a laundry list of accomplishments that include her official ascension to the Sc-Fi throne with her role in the Guardians of The Galaxy sequel and filming two new Avengers films as well as the Avatar series. Saldana’s continued work in the entertainment industry, particularly in the Sci-Fi genre where women of color are rarely seen as heroes, is a huge for the women and young girls who watch her work.
#DayOfSilence #LGBTQIA #NoH8 @glsenofficial #IWillHarnessMyPower #Repost of text… @iwillharness ・・・ @glsenofficial #DayofSilence is the largest student-led national event in protest of anti-LGBTQ bullying in schools. Today, hundreds of thousands of students will take a vow of silence in an effort to illustrate the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBTQ students. Harness stands with #LGBTQ students today and every day. Bullying has no place in schools. #DayofSilence
From taking on the voice of Wonder Woman in “Justice League Dark,” to transforming into the role of Batgirl for “The Lego Batman Movie,” like Saldana, Dawson has carved out a niche for herself as an actress capable of taking on the job of a true superhero. And that’s just on screen. In real life, the actress and producer is also a politically active advocate who has used her podium this year to fight for the rights of indigenous groups, the rights of those with disabilities, equal pay for Latinas, LGBTQ equality, and many other causes.
Thank you @latina for the incredible honor! To be named Latina of the Year alongside @lala, @iamcardib, @carmenyulincruz (mayor of San Juan), @crisalx and a personal shero Dolores Huerta is a dream that I can’t begin to put into words. I’m so proud to fight for and with our people & will spend all of my days making sure we all have seats (plural!) at every table. #GRATEFUL
To tick off the list of accomplishments made by the social advocate warrior just this year we’d need to make way for an entirely separate piece. To sum it up though, the Women’s March co-chair rallied an estimated 3,300,000 to 4,600,000 participants to advocate for legislation and policies regarding women’s rights, as well as immigration and health care reform. Following what has been dubbed as the country’s largest single-day protest, she remained a presence for every other major political movement this year. She carried on the fight from the Women’s March on Washington into October, where she put a spotlight on the efforts of historic POC leaders at the Women’s Convention, fought for criminal justice reform, and united behind the women of the Me Too movement. Of her work at the Women’s March, Perez told Glamour magazine that she wanted “to ensure that girls can see themselves on that stage, that girls can see themselves reflected in leadership positions, and that girls feel empowered on January 21 and beyond.”
Here’s to the Latinas of the year, because without them 2017 would have been a hell of a lot less woke!