2021 is almost over and yet it feels like we’re still processing 2019 but amid this pandemic there have been many notable moments for the Latinx community. Some of the highlights this year include major moments in entertainment like season 2 of Gentefied and the premiere of With Love, both centered on Latinx families and both created by Latinas.We made huge strides in conversations on mental health thanks to the work of therapists including Adriana Alejandra of Latinx Therapy and felt seen reading books by authors like Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez, who published her first book, an empowering book dedicated to brown girls. From mental health to entertainment to activism, Latinas were at the forefront and we wanted to take a moment to recognize some of the Latinas who did amazing work this year.
Gloria Calderón Kellett
Showrunner Gloria Calderón Kellett brought us four seasons of the beloved series One Day at a Time (200-) and this year she’s back with the Prime Video series, With Love. The series centers on a Mexican American family living in Portland, Oregon reminiscent of Love Actually with its intertwined couples experiencing the highs and lows of love. Each episode is dedicated to a major holiday or big day and we loved the Dia de los Muertos episode but every episode made us feel. The series is part of a deal she inked with Amazon for three years and, according to Deadline, is the first-ever eight-figure deal for a Latina writer/creator.
Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez
Founder of Latina Rebels, Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez has long been writing about and examining our community and culture. This year she published her first book, For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts, an empowering read that takes on difficult and often taboo topics including toxic masculinity, colorism, and impostor syndrome. “I want us to stop watering ourselves down, and I hope that by sampling from my fire, Brown girls can find their own flames. Not only do I want them to find their flame, I want them to fan that flame to push them towards advocating for themselves and then others. ‘Once you’ve heard your chains rattle, you can’t unhear them,’ I want them to hear all their chains, so loudly it wakes you up,” she previously told HipLatina.
Jefa Julissa Prado had a huge year with the launch of her curly hair care line Rizos Curls at Ulta Beauty stores, the first Latina-owned curly hair care line to achieve that feat. But there’s more! She also launched the line in Sally Beauty stores in Mexico and collaborated with Mexican singer Thalia on a special box featuring their products. The line also launched three new products AND she gave a TED Talk that amassed more than a million views so suffice it to say she’s had a huge year and remains a powerhouse in the hair care industry.
Linda Yvette Chávez
Gentefied co-creator, co-showrunner, director, and executive producer Linda Yvette Chávez not only brought us the second season of the Netflix series, she also has plenty of amazing projects in the works. Chávez adapted Erika L. Sánchez’s book I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter into a feature film and penned Eva Longoria’s film directorial debut “Flamin’ Hot.” She also signed a multi-year overall deal with 20th Television to create content and supervise other writers for all platforms.
Gloria, Emily, and Lili Estefan
Red Table Talk returned this year on Facebook Watch and they brought some important and timely conversations to the forefront. Gloria, her daughter Emily, and her niece Lili hosted guests including Amara La Negra, Karamo, Chiquis, and Lauren Jauregui to discuss colorism, the uprising in Cuba, and online bullying among other important topics related to the Latinx community. “It’s Latinas with our dynamic, with our cultural background, with our family mentality, talking about these topics that are very difficult and oftentimes taboo in the Latin culture,” Gloria previously told HipLatina.
The 24-year-old singer thrived this year and not only in music. She launched her beauty line, Tresluce beauty, and has expanded the line that includes a highly-pigmented eyeshadow palette with new products including metallic liquid eyeshadow and blushes. She also partnered with Facebook Watch to host Face to Face with Becky G chatting with stars including Demi Lovato and Isabela Merced about topics relevant to the Latinx community. “What Face to Face with Becky G is showing is the human behind the the person that has accomplished so many things,” she shares, adding that the guests were selected to delve into these relevant issues. “In order to really see ourselves, we have to create the spaces to to be able to talk about these things and and an unfiltered, honest way.”
Jacqueline Garcia aka TherapyLux on social media created reels that spoke to our community in relation to the importance of mental health and amassed a thousands of followers in the process. From the importance of setting boundaries to removing toxic people from your life to addressing generational trauma, she puts it all out there in reels and TikToks helping to educate on topics that remain taboo in our community. During an IG live with HipLatina she discussed the importance of seeking help and normalizing therapy within the Latinx community.
Amara La Negra
Singer/TV personality Amara La Negra’s comments on colorism on Red Table Talk: The Estefans went viral for being both honest and blunt. “I don’t like to generalize, but a lot of us are very hypocrite,” Amara said. “Stop being hypocrites! And it’s the truth and if you’re racist, don’t pretend to like us and really not like us…I’ve heard it all, and they make sure that you know that you are the darkest one.” She also launched her new series on Fuse, Don’t Cancel Me where she talks about most pressing issues that people are too afraid to ask about let alone discuss.
Reggaeton Historian and executive producer Katelina Eccleston aka La Gata launched Reggaeton con La Gata to decolonize the history of the music genre. Eccleston, who is of Panamanian-Jamaican descent, has been educating on the Black roots of reggaeton and shining a light on the Black artists that don’t get the same attention as their white counterparts within the industry. She also has new Reggaeton music coming up and hosts a Youtube channel breaking down important topics and also taught on the topic for a course at Harvard.
Though the beloved yet short-lived series Vida ended in 2020, creator Tanya Saracho continues to use her platform to amplify Latinx stories. She launched Ojalá Ignition Lab, a 26-week long incubator program that provides five writers and their own projects with mentorship from established showrunners and EPs, including Saracho. This year she started work on Mala Hierba the film adaptation of her 2014 off-Broadway play that’ll mark her directorial debut. She’s not just talking about empowering our community, she’s doing the work.
Monica Ramirez is the founder and president of Justice for Migrant Women, an organization dedicated to ensuring and advancing the human and civil rights of migrant women and their families. The organization joined forces with Workers Lab Innovation Fund, Collective Future Fund, the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program, Latinx Therapy, and the Eva Longoria Foundation to launch “Healing Voices“, a mental health initiative that’ll aid some of the nearly 3 million farmworkers in the U.S. “The community members who I serve motivate me. I am also motivated by my family, from our history to thinking about the future and the world that my son will inherit. I am doing my small part so that he will inherit a world that is better, safer and more just,” she previously told HipLatina.
Though it’s been almost two years since Army Spc. Vanessa Guillén, 20, was found dead near Fort Hood, she’s made a major impact in how the military handles sexual harassment cases. President Joe Biden signed into law the $770 billion National Defense Authorization Act for 2022, a defense spending bill which included portions of the “I Am Vanessa Guillen” Act”. The act authorizes a five percent increase in military spending and addresses issues including how service members are tried for crimes they commit while serving.
Mj Rodriguez‘s acclaimed portrayal of Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista on the series Pose, a period drama about ballroom culture, earned her a historic nomination. Rodriguez, who is of Afro-Puerto Rican descent, made history as the first transgender Emmy nominee for a major acting category, a major win for the trans community especially in a time when visibility and representation remain low.
Dalina Soto aka @your.latina.nutritionist is a registered dietitian and nutritionist and has her own business with its own trademarked method, the CHULA method. She’s teaching her clients how to ditch diets and continue to enjoy the food of our culture without the stigma often attached to it. She’s using social media to advocate intuitive eating while celebrating foods like arroz con pollo and with thousands of followers it’s clear her work is resonating with many.
Adriana Alejandre is the founder of Latinx Therapy, a directory and bilingual podcast that destigmatizes mental health myths and provides education to combat the stigma through technology and in-person services. This year she launched the Alejandre Foundation, a community non-profit to make mental health more accessible featuring a program called Therapy Dinero that provides grants to Latinxs in need to pay for therapy services.