It’s easy to love Demi Lovato. Over the years she’s proven herself to be a true creative genius and bridged a career as a successful actress, musician and activist. She’s never shied away from speaking out about her struggles with bipolar disorder, body image, and self-harm. Throughout the course of her career she’s managed to establish herself as a force to be reckoned with and a true advocate for mental health issues. Just when we thought that the Latina had done all that she could, she hit us with some news.
Earlier this past week, Demi Lovato graciously announced her new role as Global Citizen’s Newest Mental Health Ambassador on Instagram.
For real, this girl doesn’t just hit the trifecta, she is the definition of. Take notes.
In her post to fans, Lovato explained her strong desire to work with “vulnerable communities” across the globe and at the moment touch the lives of Iraqi children in particular.
…with [Global Citizen’s] support and our combined platforms, I will be able to further my work around some of the issues I deeply care about as it relates to mental health and well-being around the world.
The singer went on to explain the moment she felt compelled to help Iraqi youth.
In October 2016, I, along with my friend and partner Mike Bayer, went to Kurdistan to visit one of the biggest refugee camps in the world. The experience of meeting with some of the displaced families, and my encounter with a very young girl who told me all she wants is to just be happy (what a simple and yet completely out of reach wish), will stay with me for the rest of my life…The trauma that displaced families and children all around the world feel from losing not only their homes, but also some of the people closest to them, is unfathomable and has long lasting impacts. My hope is that this program can bring at bit of comfort to those who need the most. This isn’t about politics or race or religion. It’s simply about humanity and protecting one another.
The “Sorry Not Sorry,” singer broke her silence about her fight against mental health in 2015. Since then, Lovato has worked to support fans and fellow artists battling with their own mental health issues. Last year, she spoke on the importance of mental health awareness at the Democratic National Convention. And her efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. She’s been the recipient of numerous awards for her advocacy including the GLAAD Vanguard Award and the Artistic Award of Courage,
Super pumped to see what other mental health-related work Lovato has planned! There’s no doubt there’s quite a bit of room for her help in so many communities.
One year after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., two students have died in apparent suicides, compelling the community to come together and share mental health resources.
On Saturday, a sophomore at the school, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting last year, took his own life. One week prior, Sydney Aiello, 19, a recent Stoneman Douglas graduate who lost her best friend in the massacre, also ended her life.
As the Florida’s emergency chief Jared Moskowitz calls for the state Legislature to send more mental health resources for the high school’s students and faculty, calling mental health a “bipartisan issue” on Twitter, the community has stepped in where the state government has been slow to respond.
On Sunday, more than 60 school, county, city, child services and law enforcement officials, as well as mental health specialists, teachers and parents, met for an emergency meeting. Ryan Petty, father of Alaina Petty, a 14-year-old freshman who was murdered on Feb. 14. 2018, said that the school district will be giving parents the “Columbia Protocol, six questions that parents should ask their children, the Miami Herald reports. Based on their answers, they will know what emergency resources are available to them. Additionally, nonprofits are offering free therapy groups and services.
Online, it’s students, former and current, who are using social media to offer resources to those still suffering from the trauma and loss of last year’s school shooting. David Hogg, who graduated from Stoneman Douglas in 2018 and has become a fierce anti-gun advocate, took to Twitter, reminding Parkland students and grads that trauma doesn’t go away quickly.
“Stop saying you’ll get over it,'” he wrote. “You don’t get over something that never should have happened because those that die from gun violence are stolen from us not naturally lost. Trauma and loss don’t just go away, you have to learn to live with it through getting support.”
According to Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, who spoke with Teen Vogue, witnessing traumatic events can lead to symptoms consistent with acute stress disorder, including recurring memories, dreams or nightmares of the event; mood changes; irritability and more. These memories, she adds, can lead to negative thoughts, hopelessness, trouble sleeping and more.
Hogg wants youth to know that these symptoms are normal and that they can be managed through help, like therapy, talking with friends and family, meditation and self-care practices.
He, along with others, shared his own self-care routine.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, know there is help available. For immediate support, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis and are unsure where to turn, you can also reach out to the Crisis Text Line by sending HOME to 741741.
The 91st Annual Academy Awards took place Sunday night and this year, it was a night full of glitz, glamour, and, most surprisingly, a lot of Spanish language! (Diego Luna, Javier Bardem, Alfonso Cuarón, and Guillermo del Toro all spoke Spanish during their speeches.)
Heading into the night, many viewed “Roma”, Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón’s artful and semi-autobiographic film, as the Best Picture front-runner and indeed, the film racked up three Oscars. But ultimately, “Roma” lost the Best Picture award to Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book.”
Although The Oscars still woefully under-represent Latinas in almost every category, Netflix’s critical darling, ‘Roma,” has provided a major spotlight for Latinx talent and stories, employing a largely Latinx cast and crew in its production.
Latinos Win Big
Sunday night was a big night for the Latinx community, with Spanish-language film “Roma” amassing three Oscar wins out of a total of 10 nominations. “Roma” wasn’t the only winner for the Latinx community though: Cuban-American director Phil Lord’s animated feature “Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse” won for Best Animated Film. All in all, Latinos walked away with Oscars for Foreign Language Film, Cinematography, Directing, and Animated Film.
Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón, won the Best Director statue for “Roma”, marking the second year in a row that a Latino has won the award after Guillermo del Toro won last year. Cuarón also won the award for Best Cinematography and Best Foreign Language Film–marking the first time Mexico has landed the award out of a total of ten nominations.
Cuarón began his impassioned acceptance speech Best Director first by thanking “Roma”‘s leading ladies, Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira. He then went on to thank the Academy for “recognizing a film centering around an indigenous woman–a character who has historically been relegated to the background in cinema”.
In another win for the Latinx community, “Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse” up-ended animation titan Disney to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. “Into the Spiderverse” revolves around the story of an Afro-Latino teenager moonlighting as Spiderman who discovers there are multiple versions of Spiderman in parallel universes.
Latino Director Phil Lord touched on the importance of representation in his acceptance speech, saying: “When we hear that a child turns to their parent and says, “[Spiderman] looks like me’ or ‘He speaks Spanish like us’, we feel like we already won”.
Latina Nominees Break New Ground
Most of the Latinx nominees for the night consisted of “Roma”‘s cast and crew, including Mexican actress Marina de Tavira for Best Supporting Actress, Yalitza Aparicio for Best Leading Actress, producer Gabriela Rodriguez for Best Picture, and set decorator Barbra Enriquez for Achievement in set design.
Yalitza Aparicio’s nomination, especially, was notable, as it was the first time in the Academy’s 90-year history that an Indigenous woman was nominated for Best Actress in a Lead Role.
Although these Latinas didn’t walk away with a gold statue, their presence alone was encouraging enough for the historically under-represented Latinx community.
“It’s possible to speak Spanish at the Oscars now”
The winners and nominees weren’t the only Latinos making a splash at this year’s Academy Awards, however. Oscar-winning Spanish actor Javier Bardem veered into political territory when he presented the award for Best Foreign Language film.
In Spanish, he stated: “There are no borders or walls that can restrain ingenuity and talent,” which many interpreted as a dig aimed at President Trump.
Actor Diego Luna began his introduction of “Roma” by stating, in Spanish: “Ya se puede hablar español en los Oscars. Ya nos abrieron la puerta y no nos vamos a ir”. Translation: “It’s possible to speak Spanish at the Oscars now. They finally opened the door for us, and we’re not going anywhere.”
Spanish-American Chef José Andrés joined Luna in introducing “Roma”and praised the film for shining a spotlight on “all the invisible people in our lives–immigrants and women–who move humanity forward”.
As usual, Latina Twitter users had a lot to say about Hollywood’s biggest night.
Never one to beat around the bush, political commentator Ana Navarro remarked on the refreshing amount of diversity displayed onstage this year.
Other Latinas gave Alfonso Cuarón props for acknowledging domestic workers, a class of women that Hollywood often ignores:
Nuanced stories centered on domestic workers are few and far between in Hollywood.
This Latina expressed excitement at the novelty of a film featuring an Afro-Latino characters winning Best Animated Film:
Just the phrase “#WeSeeYou” says all that needs to be said about the importance of representation.
Some Latinas expressed disappointment that “Roma” was relegated to the “Foreign Film” category when its story transcended such labels:
Some members of the Latinx community were frustrated that “Roma” wasn’t awarded the Best Picture award.
Many Latinas were here for Javier Bardem condemning border walls:
He was one of the few actors of the night who dared to make a political statement–and in Spanish, no less!
And of course, Yalitza made us all fall in love with her more when she brought her mom.
The Mexican actress didn’t take home an Oscar last night, but there’s no doubting that her presence in Hollywood has changed the future of its landscape. Last night Mexican-American fans of the newcomer gushed about Aparicio’s role in bucking the light-skinned Latina stereotype that has so long been favored in Spanish-language films and TV shows.
Also, her appearance at the Oscars couldn’t have been more defining. After spending awards season turning heads in a series of dresses by Alberta Ferretti, Miu Miu and Prada, Aparicio took to the red carpet a pale tulle custom Rodarte gown designed specifically for her, the actress stepped out onto the red carpet with her mother at her side.
And finally, Latinas everywhere expressed their joy at hearing Spanish proudly spoken at the Oscars
The importance of normalizing Spanish’s presence in day to day life cannot be overstated–especially during a time when many Latinas are afraid to speak Spanish in public.
As usual, the Oscars were a night to remember. We hope that the Academy continues to support actors, producers and filmmakers of Latinx descent into the future.
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