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True Story: Oscar Statue Modeled After Mexican Man

EmilioFernandez-300-jpg_024813.jpg
Emilio Fernandez

The 8-pound, 24-karat gold plated statues that will be handed out Sunday evening at the 84th Annual Academy Awards were modeled after a Mexican man.

You read that right.

The most recognized trophy in the world known simply as “Oscar” is modeled after Mexican filmmaker and actor Emilio Fernandez.

Solvej Schou on the history of how the statue came to be:

Working in Hollywood, Fernandez befriended Mexican actress Dolores del Rio, then wife of studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s art director and Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences member Cedric Gibbons. Del Rio introduced Fernandez to Gibbons, who was in charge of supervising the statuette’s design.

Gibbons asked Fernandez to pose in the buff for a sketch to create the basis for the 8.5-pound trophy. Reluctantly, Fernandez did, and the design became the foundation for artist George Stanley’s famous sculpture of the statuette, given out at the very first Academy Awards in L.A. in 1929.

That design remains to this day.

side_oscar.jpgThe irony of it all is that only two Mexican actors have ever been nominated for an Oscar. This year’s best actor nominee Demián Bichir is the second Mexican (male) actor to be nominated in the 84-year history of the Oscars.

Across all categories only 11 out of 2,809 Oscar trophies have been awarded to Mexicans— and they’re mostly behind the scene awards.

The number of Mexicans in the Academy that gets to vote for who gets Oscars is also pretty low. Only 2% of Academy voters are Latino. Out of 5,100 Academy voters only about 100 are Latino—-which probably leaves you with a dozen or three Mexicans in the mix.

Today’s Love Goes to Arizona’s Banned Book Smugglers

Today's Love Goes to Arizona's Banned Book Smugglers

The Librotraficante Caravan is bringing contraband books—or “wet-books”—to Arizona. The project is also intended to raise awareness of the “prohibition” of the Mexican-American Studies Program and the removal of books from classrooms.

“When we heard that Tucson Unified School District administrators not only prohibited Mexican-American Studies, but then walked into classrooms, and in front of young Latino students, during class time, removed and boxed up books by our most beloved authors - that was too much. This offended us down to our soul. We had to respond,” said Tony Diaz, founder of Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say, which has led the charge.

NYPD Also Spying on New Jersey Muslims for the Past 7-Years

NYPD Also Spying on New Jersey Muslims for the Past 7-Years

The New York Police Department has secretly been conducting surveillance on Muslims in New Jersey and they have done it with the permission of the governor’s office — granted in 2005 by former Gov. Richard Codey, reports NJ.com.

Current state and local officials say they had no idea the NYPD had been working in New Jersey.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker and the New Jersey State Police both said they were unaware of the operation.

Yahoo Sports Contributor Uses Yao Ming Picture in Jeremy Lin Story

Yahoo Sports Contributor Uses Yao Ming Picture in Jeremy Lin Story

Add this one to the list Jeremy Lin media coverage FAILS.

In a story about Lin “finally having a bad game” and the New York Knicks losing to the Miami Heat, a Yahoo Sports contributor illustrated the story with an image of LeBron James and Yao Ming.

To be fair, they didn’t actually identify Lin or Ming in the photo’s caption. And the story is was written by someone in their contributor network. But really? They needed a picture of an Asian player (that was not Lin) for this story?

On Thursday, Yahoo News published guidelines by the made by Asian American Journalists Association on Jeremy Lin media coverage that everyone should read.

Viola Davis at Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon [Photo]

Viola Davis at Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon [Photo]

Viola Davis attended Essence Magazine’s Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel last night.

Leading ladies Kerry Washington, Paula Patton, Octavia Spencer and Pam Grier, along with executive producer and screenwriter Shonda Rhimes were selected as this year’s honorees.

“The luncheon exists to provide a fitting tribute to the brilliant talent and accomplishments of African-American trailblazers like Kerry, Pam, Paula, Octavia, and Shonda, and celebrate their collective work as an inspiration for generations to come,”said Constance White, Essence’s editor-in-chief, according to the HuffPost.

Biracial Man Mistakenly Included on Time Mag’s Latino Voter Cover

time-latinos-voters.jpgThis week’s TIME Magazine cover that lands at newsstands today claims Latinos will declare who the next President is. “Yo Decido. Why Latinos will pick the next President,” the covers headline reads.

The cover is made up 20 portraits that include a dancer, a DREAMer; a nutrition undergrads, car aficionados and immigration activists; Mexicans, Hondurans and Guatemalans. And a man who could pass as Latino but is actually half Chinese and half white.

Michelle Woo at the OC Weekly describes the cover and feature story:


The accompanying story by Michael Scherer explores how the rising force that is the Latino vote can turn Arizona into a presidential battleground in 2012. The cover illustration is made of 20 different portraits of Latino men and women in Phoenix, all photographed by Marco Grob. In classic Time form, it’s clean and powerful.

Except that at least one person pictured is not actually Latino.

A friend of mine, Michael Schennum, is the short-haired gentleman in the top row, center, behind the letter “M.” He is half Chinese and half white. Not Latino. Not even a little bit.

Group Files Paperwork to Find Out Who Gave NYPD Money To Spy

Group Files Paperwork to Find Out Who Gave NYPD Money To Spy

Following months of reports revealing widespread NYPD surveillance of Muslim Americans, and the use of anti-Muslim propaganda in NYPD training, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) has submitted Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests to obtain public information regarding the sources of funding for these NYPD initiatives.

AALDEF’s statement published in it’s entirety below:

Georgia Rep. Fights Anti-Abortion Bill with ‘Anti-Vasectomy Act’

Georgia Rep. Fights Anti-Abortion Bill with 'Anti-Vasectomy Act'

NealYasmin765.jpgRep. Yasmin Neal, a Democrat from the Atlanta suburb of Jonesboro.

Georgia State Rep. Yasmin Neal has introduced House Bill 1116 that proposes limiting vasectomies for men, except in cases where not getting one would result in death or “impairment of a major bodily function.”

The anti-vasectomy bill was a response to a bill that would punish abortions performed after the 20th week of pregnancy with prison sentences between one and 10 years.

“The day has come where men should feel the same pressure and invasion of privacy that women have faced for years,” Yasmin said a statement.

Don’t Be Racist, and Other AAJA Tips for Discussing Jeremy Lin

Don't Be Racist, and Other AAJA Tips for Discussing Jeremy Lin

Tips on how to avoid basic racist flubs shouldn’t need to be spelled out so plainly. But if the last few weeks of Linsanity swirling around the Knicks’ breakout star are any indication, everyone, and journalists in particular, could use a basic brush up on how to talk about that rarest of species: heterosexual Asian-American male star athletes.

Enter the Asian American Journalists Association, which has supplied a basic 101 guide (via Yahoo) for what to know, what to avoid, and what not to get all obsessed with when covering the cultural phenomena that is Jeremy Lin. The basic gist of the guide? Language matters. And reporters may think they’re deploying harmless one-liners that poke fun at, or even celebrate, Jeremy Lin’s Asian heritage, but they should be cautious of what the AAJA calls “danger zones.”

From the AAJA guide:

Too $hort Calls XXL Video Debacle a Blessing in Disguise

In a carefully worded interview with Allhiphop.com’s Tim Sanchez, Oakland rap veteran Todd “Too $hort” Shaw, 45, responds to the ongoing controversy he sparked with a disastrous XXLmag.com video in which he instructs middle school boys to skip “trying to get kisses from girls” in favor of “turning them” by pushing them against walls and inserting a saliva-covered finger into their vaginas to “watch what happens.”

In the Q+A headlined “Too $hort on Righting Wrongs and Rapping Relentlessly,” Shaw describes a breakthrough discussion he had with journalist and activist dream hampton:

Dream Hampton [sic] explained to me about how this is a time when women are fighting for their rights, and here’s a video that describes an assault. I’m actually a very knowledgeable brother, but Dream [sic] schooled me in the conversation. It really opened up my eyes to something I had not known about. She told me that if we were kids at a pool and I ran by and yanked her top down, it wouldn’t be a joke or a prank to her—that would be a traumatic incident, and it is along the lines of sexual assault. As little boys, we’re running around tapping girl’s a**es like it’s funny, but they’re really victimized by it. I learned that it’s not a joking matter. I feel like I needed that education because had I not, I could’ve continued thinking that it is a joke. Even with my music filled with misogyny, I still have morals.

Supreme Court Offers Key Victory to Day Laborers

Day laborers won a key victory this week when the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by the California city of Redondo Beach over the city’s anti-day-laborer ordinance.

In so doing, the Supreme Court let stand a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that ruled that prohibiting day laborers from seeking work in the way that Redondo Beach’s ordinance did violated those workers’ free speech rights.

“Today’s denial of Supreme Court review is a singular victory for the First Amendment and its protection of free speech by all persons; the Amendment protects day laborers as well as the wealthiest corporation,” Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, which fought the ordinance, said on Tuesday.

Saenz said that the ruling should serve as a warning to other states and localities which have passed laws barring day laborers from soliciting work.

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Virginia Students Go On Hunger Strike to Win Living Wage for Employees

At least 18 students at the University of Virginia have staged a hunger strike to bring attention to campus employees’ fight for a living wage. This week, the school’s governing body, the Board of Visitors, is meeting and the students are using the opportunity to bring more attention to the issue.

The campaign is demanding $13 base wage per hour, before benefits, for all university employees. Many of the school’s employees are women and people of color, according to students working on the campaign. According to organizers who referenced research by the Economic Policy Institute, the salary demand reflects the cost of living in the surrounding Charlottesville area.

T-Mobile’s Back in the News — This Time Trying to Stop a Merger

Just months after the Department of Justice help thwart its plans to merge with AT&T and form the nation’s largest mobile phone company, T-Mobile recently urged the Federal Communications Commission to stop Verizon’s deal to acquire new airwave licenses from cable companies.

Though AT&T took tons of flack for its merger bid, all this commotion signals just now desperate wireless companies are to get more spectrum — the once publicly-owned, government-controlled airwaves that have been around for years and help fuel our new handheld gadgets. As more and more people clamor to get new smartphones and gadgets, the companies that provide those services — AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, MetroPCS, to name the big ones — are beginning to get overwhelmed. To put it simply, the U.S. just doesn’t have the infrastructure to keep up with growing demand. All this talk of mergers is industry’s solution to that nagging problem.

Obama Tells Latinos: Don’t Say I Didn’t Try for Immigration Reform

Obama Tells Latinos: Don't Say I Didn't Try for Immigration Reform

President Obama took to the airwaves yesterday to let Latinos know he did his best to hold up his end of his promise to reform the country’s immigration system, reports Univision.

When asked whether or not he broke his campaign promise to bring comprehensive immigration reform to the country upon his election, Obama told the popular and influential Los Angeles-based radio host Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo, “Piolin, I would only have broken my promise if I hadn’t tried. But ultimately, I’m one man.”

Nicki Minaj: ’ I Would Do a Really Good Job as a Prosecutor’

img-true-colors-nicki-minaj_204210520524.jpg_article_singleimage.jpgNicki Minaj, 29, appeared on Vogue.com this week. The rapper is featured in a profile about her style came to be and how she loves her Giuseppe, Versace, YSL, Fendi and Vuitton accessories. Vogue contributing writer Lynn Yaeger, who has eccentric style herself, wrote the profile.

The photograph in profile is probably the most interesting though. Smurf? Beetlejuice? Blue-face?

The two interesting tidbits from Minaj’s profile in Vogue: Minaj also reveals a far more sober side than her stage act might indicate. “A huge part of me wanted to be a lawyer! I would do a really good job as a prosecutor,” she alleges. That’s not the singer’s only alternative personality—famous for creating stage alter egos with names like Roman Zolanski, she confesses that she sometimes imagines herself clad in a bikini and high heels, cooking dinner for a breadwinning husband. […] Still, Minaj is adamant that her legacy will not be one of a free-spending, know-nothing celebrity. She’s planning “an enormous foundation to nurture girls. The Nicki Minaj girl is a fun, artsy girl who can become a fierce force to be reckoned with on Wall Street! They hang on my every word, so I tell them, go to school, be ambitious. The worst position is to be financially dependent on the man.” And what of that alternate Nicki, serving her lord and master a martini by the pool? The fuchsia waves shake furiously. “I could never be that girl!”

LAPD Chief Supports Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

LAPD Chief Supports Driver's Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said Wednesday that California should issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich agrees with Beck and calls the issue “a matter of public safety.”

“My personal belief is that they should be able to” have licenses, Beck said in an interview with the LA Times. “The reality is that all the things that we’ve done — ‘we’ being the state of California — over the last 14, 16 years have not reduced the problem one iota, haven’t reduced undocumented aliens driving without licenses. So we have to look at what we’re doing. When something doesn’t work over and over and over again, my view is that you should reexamine it to see if there is another way that makes more sense.”

Magic Johnson is Bringing ‘Soul Train’ Back [Video]

Magic Johnson is Bringing 'Soul Train' Back [Video]

Now that he’s getting his own cable network, Magic Johnson is announcing he’s bringing ‘Soul Train’ back.

According to The Associated Press, the ex-NBA star

Before the death of Don Cornelius stirred pangs of “Soul Train” nostalgia in the American public, a group of black entrepreneurs already had begun working to revive Cornelius’ creation and carry it beyond the continued popularity of the show’s dances and television reruns.

UC Davis Students Peppered Sprayed by Campus Police File Lawsuit in Federal Court

UC Davis Students Peppered Sprayed by Campus Police File Lawsuit in Federal Court

On Wednesday, nineteen current and former UC Davis students filed a federal lawsuit against UC Davis over the University’s treatment of protesters during a Nov. 18, 2011 demonstration in which campus police were caught on video dousing seated protesters with pepper spray.

The students were protesting tuition increases and police brutality on UC campuses. Video footage of the 2011 incident show peaceful students sitting down and then getting pepper sprayed by the two officers from a very close proximity—eleven of them were treated on site for injuries.


Forgive New Mexico Gov’s Haircuts, Her Gay Stylist Gave up on Her [Video]

Forgive New Mexico Gov's Haircuts, Her Gay Stylist Gave up on Her [Video]

New Mexicos Republican tea party-backed Latina governor Susana Martinez is going to have to find a new hair stylist because of her stance on gay marriage.

Oakland Police Shoot Oscar Grant’s Cousin

Oakland Police Shoot Oscar Grant's Cousin

Over the weekend Oakland Police seriously injured 24-year-old Tony Jones after they shot him in the back. Jones’ mother says he is a cousin of Oscar Grant — the Hayward man killed by a BART police officer on Jan. 1, 2009.

“I talked to my son. My son said ‘Momma, the officers [are] lying. They watched me get out of the car. They watched me walk. They started speeding up and I took off running across the street and when I took off running and I heard the gun go pow, pow, pow,’” Jones’ mother Betrina Works-Grant told KGO. “He said he was running with his hands like this [at his sides]. The police shot at him and shot him in his back. They never said they [were] the police,” More details from KGO:

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