Rafael Rios Began Photographing His Own Family at 14

The photographer Rafael Rios may be best known for his fashion shoots and celebrity portraiture, but for his debut book, Family, available now from Baque Creative Press, he explores the earliest obsessions of his lens: his own family. Rios, who grew up in Brooklyn in a Puerto Rican family that shared a town house, chose to focus his book on an eight-year time span, chronicling his own development as a photographer. The earliest work in the book was shot in 1999, when Rios was a 14-year-old armed with a camera his mother had purchased for him at a Flatbush pawn ship. The most recent are from 2006, when Rios was studying his craft in college. “By the end of the book I want readers to feel like family, like they’ve just looked through a photo album of their own,” Rios said in a release. 

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Memorial service held for nine Puerto Rico Air National Guard members

It was a somber day of remembrance Thursday in Port Wentworth. Hundreds gathered to honor the memories of nine members of the Puerto Rico Air National Guard who were killed one year ago.

It was a fateful day last May when the Puerto Rico C-130 carrying nine members known as the ‘Rican 68’ crashed in the middle of Highway 21 in Port Wentworth. It was a day that sent shock waves through Savannah, Puerto Rico and the nation and will never be forgotten by so many in both the 165th and 156th Air Lift Wings.

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New York Times Bestselling Author, La La Anthony, Shares How To Successfully Pivot In Your Career

You may have seen her on the silver screen in the hilarious rom-com Think Like a Man, and its sequel, Think Like a Man Too, or caught her on TV as Lakeisha Grant in Starz’ hit drama series, Power, but La La Anthony is as much a star off-screen as she is on set.

A powerhouse multi-hyphenate, Anthony has found success in front of the camera as an actress, behind the scenes as a producer with ITV America, in fashion with a fabulous size-inclusive line in collaboration with distinguished retailer, Lord & Taylor, and on the New York Times Bestsellers list as a two-time author. She’s also a committed philanthropist, giving back to inner city youth and supporting the ongoing hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico, where her family is from.

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New Latino chancellor makes history at CUNY, nation’s largest urban public university

Felix Matos Rodriguez, a native of Puerto Rico, will become the first person of color to lead the City University of New York in its 172-year history when he takes office Wednesday.

Matos Rodríguez has been recognized nationally for measurably boosting college retention and completion rates in the previous institutions he has led. He is currently the president of Queens College, part of CUNY, the nation’s largest urban public university system.

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Source @CaliRicans

New Era of SuperModels: Joan Smalls


In an age where true supermodels were a thing of the past, a fresh face appears. Chances are you’ve seen Joan Smalls on the cover of your favorite magazine already. She is currently on the cover of the July 2012 issue of W Magazine and has been dubbed the “new face of fashion”. So who is this Joan Smalls?

joan-smalls-estee-lauder Joan Smalls was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She comes from a multi-ethnic family (a father from St. Thomas and a Puerto Rican mother) and is said to be of African, Spanish, Taino Indian, Irish and Hindu descent. Smalls said she has always known since the age of five that she wanted to become a model, but those dreams weren’t realized until she made the move to New York City. Before the move she graduated Magna Cum Laude from the InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. In 2007 she left the island and moved in with her aunt in Queens, and signed with Elite Model Management immediately thereafter.

Smalls made her high-fashion debut in January 2010 when she was featured as the exclusive model for Ricardo Tischi’s Givenchy Fall/Winter 2010 Couture Show… and she has been working with the best names in fashion ever since.

Joan-Smalls-Vogue-Australia-May-2012With two Vogue covers, an Estée Lauder contract, and campaigns that include Chanel and Gucci and Givenchy, it is easy to see that the sky is the limit for this educated beauty. The amount of work that she has already done gives her the resume of a pro. She has walked for designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Jean Paul Gaultier, Stella McCartney, Prada, and Marc Jacobs among others. She appeared in the 2011 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and has appeared in numerous campaigns, editorials and magazine covers.

With all of the success and exposure that her career has brought upon her, Joan Smalls understands the importance of representing a group of women that you rarely see in high fashion magazine. Joan Smalls explains in the July issue of W Magazine:

“I just have something to prove. I know I’m representing a group — black, Latin, whatever you want to put me with — and I want to show that they are beautiful the way they are. I think that’s really important for our youth to see. Fashion is part of our culture… and it’s about more than just a pretty dress.”

Don’t forget to pick up the July issue of W Magazine !

Legendary Actor/Director Jose Ferrer Honored on Forever Stamp


In April the United States Postal Service announced the induction of Jose Ferrer to the U.S. Postal Service’s Distinguished Americans Stamp Series.

“… the Postal Service is pleased and proud to bestow upon Jose Ferrer — a groundbreaking Latino movie, theater and television performer and the first Puerto Rican actor to succeed in Hollywood — a new commemorative Forever stamp,”

“Throughout an acting career that spanned more than half a century, Ferrer played a wide range of roles on both Broadway and on the silver screen. His accomplishments extended to many other genres of entertainment. He acted on radio, performed as an opera singer; co-authored a libretto and was a composer. And, as if all this weren’t enough, Ferrer wrote for theater and television, and directed and produced numerous plays, both on and off Broadway.”
Marie Therese Dominguez, vice president, Government Relations and Public Policy for the U.S. Postal Service

José Vicente Ferrer de Otero y Cintrón (January 8, 1912 – January 26, 1992) was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His family moved to New York City when he was six years old. Ferrer was said to be an excellent student and passed the Princeton University entrance exam at 15 years old — but he was too young to attend. As a result of this he spent a year in boarding school in Switzerland and entered Princeton at age 16 and graduated with the class of 1933. He initially intended on becoming a language professor but he discovered his love of acting during his postgraduate work at Columbia University.

And it was a good thing he did – he became the first Puerto Rican (and Hispanic) actor to win an Academy Award. He ultimately donated his Oscar award to the University of Puerto Rico to honor his roots. He also won several Tony Awards and was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.

To order your own Jose Ferrer Forever stamps visit the official USPS website here: Jose Ferrer (Forever)

Harlistas Boricua

Harlistas Boricua California

This past weekend I was made aware of a social motorcycle group in Southern California known as Harlistas Boricua. Founded in August 2010 and the first of its kind in California, Harlistas Boricua was started by a group of Puerto Ricans who ride Harley Davidson motorcycles to various places in California and share our Puerto Rican culture with whomever they come across in the process. They ride most weekends and during their events they make it a point to ride to different Puerto Rican establishments or restaurants. Aside from the love of riding, the club was created to celebrate and introduce the culture, history and music of Puerto Rico with everyone. The brothers of Harlistas Boricua are from different walks of life. Some are business men, active duty servicemen, law enforcement and retirees. This group is not an outlaw-type of motorcycle club and is family oriented and they welcome anyone, even those of non Puerto Rican descent, to join them!

Harlistas Boricua

Harlistas Boricua’s 1 year anniversary is coming up on Saturday, August 20th and they will be riding to Mofongos in North Hollywood followed by a run up Pacific Coast Highway to the Ventura county line. Of course EVERYONE is invited to help them celebrate this history in the making!