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'OITNB' Star Selenis Leyva Pens Op-Ed On Why Saying "Real Women" Isn't Exactly A Compliment

What makes a real woman?

Calling a member of the Orange is the New Black cast a "real woman" isn't exactly a compliment, according to Dominican actress, Selenis Levya.

The Dominican star, who plays the fiery role of Gloria Mendoza, is sounding off on the "backhanded compliment" she feels only further perpetuates the idea that any woman who doesn't fit into mainstream aesthetics is "other" and worse, "less than." But more than just giving Hollywood a tongue-lashing, the 43-year-old is singing every woman's praise with her latest editorial for the Huffington Post:

READ: ‘Orange Is The New Black’ Actress Saddened By Caitlyn Jenner’s Coming Out

I can't pinpoint the exact moment that I became familiar with the term "Real Woman," but I can say since the release and success of "Orange Is The New Black," I hear it over and over again. Amy Schumer's speech at the Glamour Women of the year event made me laugh out loud and also think about the feelings that surface when I hear folks refer to me and my cast mates as "Real Women."


Its a backhanded compliment. You see, I've heard it used on red carpets, in interviews and in reviews, and it's always part of describing our cast. We are being "complimented" by being told, "it's so great to see all you women who shouldn't be on the screen be on the screen!" We pat ourselves on the back for accepting "Real Women" and we say we "love" it, and yet, somehow, we continue to perpetuate the idea that seeing diverse women on TV is unique and not the norm -- not how it should be. With all the strides we have made, we still continue to be locked in to a very close-minded way of thinking when it comes to women. We continue to see
minority women, short women, older women, curvy women and gay women as "other." The ones described as being "Real Women" are somehow "less than." Excuse me, have you not seen us on red carpets when we're not playing inmates?

Question: Who are the others that don't fall into the "Real Woman" category? Fake women? Fembots? Are they superior? And if so, why? Based on whose beauty standard? One can't help but ask if this is a race issue. Is it based on one's weight, size, age? Whose definition of what a woman is are we following? Who is deciding what a woman should look like in order to be considered attractive or worthy of attention? Last I checked, men and women are attracted to an array of different people...

"Orange Is The New Black" and its "groundbreaking" casting is a representation of women in general (FYI, it takes place in a prison and we are bare-faced for the most part, with added imperfections like meth teeth, unibrows and prison attire etc. Nothing glamorous, just real for
the stories being told). The show is a hit because outside of the great storytelling, it is a REAL representation of the differences that exist worldwide. Women are white, black, Latina, lesbian, short, fat, skinny, trans, etc. Who dictates what the standard of beauty should be? Beauty is different in various parts of the world. What may be beautiful to one person can be ordinary to another.

READ: ‘Orange Is The New Black’ Star Dascha Polanco Wins Big At Latino Media Awards

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Ozuna And Darell Travel Through An Industrial Conquest Denouncing A Bad Love In "Vacia Sin Mi"

Gloomy cloudy skies are looming over an industrial like setting dotted with huge heavy duty trucks, as beautiful young ladies clad in yellow jumpsuits surround Ozuna in the visuals for his new single, “Vacia Sin Mi” featuring Latin trap artist Darell.

The new track is centered around the plight behind a romance gone wrong, and Ozuna is denouncing the love interest that did him wrong.  Through a hypnotic slow beat, he sings on beat about wanting nothing to do with her. He’s moved on and so should she. Darell assists the singer with brash vocals, which sound like the Spanish version of rapper Future’s signature raspy syrupy drawl.

“We want to show people a completely new concept, always looking to surprise the fans that have always supported my artistic career,” Ozuna stated in a press release.  

“Vacia Sin Mi” is the 27 year-old’s latest single off his forthcoming project NIBURU, which will be released under the record label Dimelo Vi. Just recently, the reggaeton artist made history by garnering 23 nominations for the 2019 Billboard Latin Music Awards.

We’re curious to see what new music and sound his forthcoming project will bring. Last year, he told VIBE VIVA about his previous album, Aura and what it represents for him. "Aura" is what one reflects in the heart, what you bring into the world, and what people want to learn from you,” he said. “In this situation particularly, it reflects what I have learned from fame, from all this going around my life. I interpreted all that in this album. I made international collaborations, which is something that didn’t exist in the past.”

Watch the video for “Vacia Sin Mi” above.

 

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Two Former Cops Arrested For Murder Of Brazilian Politician and Activist Marielle Franco

Brazilian activist and councilwoman Marielle Franco was murdered almost a year ago on March 14 2018, along with her driver Anderson Gomes. Now almost a year since Franco's brutal murder, suspects have been named and arrested in the case.

"Two police officers were arrested for direct and effective participation in the crime," said Rio de Janeiro's state police secretary, Marcus Vinícius Braga. "With these arrests, we get close to solving the crime."

Franco was a well-known activist in Rio de Janeiro and she used her platform to speak out on police brutality and on the behalf of Black Brazilians who have been fighting the rampant racism in their country. Just a day before her death Franco had attended a discussion titled "Young Black Women Moving [Power] Structures" and just a couple of hours later was allegedly shot by the arrested suspect retired military officer Ronnie Lessa with the assistance of the expelled cop, and another suspect, Élcio Vieira Queiroz, who was driving the car.

Franco was clearly targeted given her candidness when speaking about the corruption that plagues the Brazilian police force and the color of her skin is what convinced the men that their actions would go unnoticed. Brazilian prosecutors have stated that Franco's assassination was planned three months in advance by the two individuals, however, they are also now looking into whether Lessa and Queiroz were hired to kill Franco by someone else.

Following the arrests Gomes' widow, Ágatha Reis spoke out. "It is a weight that is starting to lift off my shoulders," Reis said. "I cannot be completely at peace. They still have to tell us who ordered these killings. It doesn't end here." Reis sentiments were echoed by supporters of Franco as #WhoOrderedMariellesMurder trended on Twitter soon after the arrests as well.

This is the first step towards justice for Franco and Gomes and it must not be the last.

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Bronx City Councilman Unveils Street In Memory Of Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz

Honoring the victim in the tragic and fatal case of mistaken identity, a New York City street has been renamed in tribute to Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz, CBS New York reports.

Guzman-Feliz was killed by members of the Trinitarios gang in the summer of 2018 after a group of its members mistakenly thought he was somebody else. He was 15. His story gained nationwide media coverage after footage showed multiple men attacking him with machetes.

It was announced that the Bathgate Avenue block would be renamed on July 25 and now nearly eight months later, the street sign has officially been unveiled. With both the family and city council members of the revel in tow, Councilman Ritchie Torres delivered a beautiful speech honoring the late Bronx native.

 

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A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words❤️🙏🏼😩 . . . Cr: @justice4junjun #justiceforjunior #justiceforjunior💔 #lesandroguzmanfeliz #juniorsworld #happybirthdayleandra #happybirthday #ripjunior #e4j #j4j #llj #longlivejunior #flyhighjunior #forever15 #restinpeacejunior

A post shared by 👼🏽JUSTICE FOR JUNIOR👼🏽🗣 (@rip_junior15) on Feb 27, 2019 at 12:49pm PST

 

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The Crowd Sang Happy Birthday To Leandra😩😭❤️ Btw THE SIGN IS UP ITS OFFICIAL😭 . . . #justiceforjunior💔 #justiceforjunior #forever15 #juniorsworld #longlivejunior #stoptheviolence #justice #e4j #j4j #flyhighjunior #lesandroguzmanfeliz #ripjunior #restinpeacejunior #restinheaven

A post shared by 👼🏽JUSTICE FOR JUNIOR👼🏽🗣 (@rip_junior15) on Feb 27, 2019 at 7:48am PST

 

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A Bittersweet Moment😭❤️🙏🏼🤴🏽 Long Live Junior👼🏽 . . . Cr: @camaro_clutch #justiceforjunior💔 #justiceforjunior #forever15 #juniorsworld #longlivejunior #stoptheviolence #justice #e4j #j4j #flyhighjunior #lesandroguzmanfeliz #ripjunior #restinpeacejunior #restinheaven

A post shared by 👼🏽JUSTICE FOR JUNIOR👼🏽🗣 (@rip_junior15) on Feb 27, 2019 at 8:01am PST

“It is Junior’s memory that inspired the governor of New York to invest over $18 million in new funds for youth programming right here in the Bronx. It is Junior’s memory that inspired both the mayor and the City Council to bring new gang violence prevention services right here to the 48th Precinct," Torres said. "And it is Junior’s memory that inspired the Bronx borough president, partnering with New York State’s parks and the Fresh Air Fund, to create an upstate summer program for Bronx youth known as Camp Junior. These commemorations of Junior’s memory represent only the beginning. Junior’s impact will last as his spirit lives on.”

He went on to say, “we should remember Junior not only for the tragic loss of his life in an unspeakable act of violence. We should remember him for the lives he has saved and the lives he will save because of the legacy he leaves behind—a legacy that I am honored to memorialize right here on Bathgate and 183rd. This street will forever be the home, will forever tell the story of Lesandro ‘Junior’ Guzman-Feliz.”

 

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