September 19, 2011

PAYING TRIBUTE

By Marcela Landres



The Latina Book Club welcomes editor extraordinaire Marcela Landres, as she helps us Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.




You may celebrate your Latinidad through the food you eat or the holidays you observe. I celebrate my Latinidad with my wallet.

For example, on the rare occasion that a Latina is headlining a movie, I march to the theatre and buy a ticket, preferably during the opening weekend. The number of tickets sold during a film’s opening weekend can make or break that Latina’s career. I want her to make it.

So yes, I saw Christina Aguilera in Burlesque. (If you refused to see it because of the reviews, keep this in mind: the movie was made for women and gay men. Film critics are, for the most part, heterosexual men. Of course it was panned. What straight man genuinely enjoys a musical that doesn’t involve Monty Python or the creators of South Park?) After seeing Burlesque, I walked out of the theatre smiling and snapping my fingers. That was worth the $12.50 I spent.

More to the point, you can count all the Latinas who have headlined major motion pictures this year on the fingers of one hand, and still have a finger or two left over. Julia Roberts’ career is going to be just fine if you don’t see her movies; the same is not true for Zoe Saldana.

That’s why this weekend I’ll be sitting in a movie theatre watching Colombiana. (Technically, last weekend was the official opening, but we had a little hurricane in New York.) Regardless of how good the film is, I’ll take pleasure knowing that in my small way I made it that much easier for movie executives to green-light the next film starring a Latina. Our votes matter at election time; likewise, our ticket purchases affect the decision-making process of Hollywood executives.

I apply the same mindset to books. Whenever a loved one’s birthday or Christmas rolls along, I try to buy books as gifts, preferably one by a Latino author. A Latino writer’s sales history can make or break his career. I want him to make it.

During Hispanic Heritage Month, join me in celebrating our Latinidad by literally paying tribute to our artists. Subscribe to a Latino magazine, rent a Latino film on Netflix, buy a Latino book. Give the Virgos and Libras in your life gifts created by Latinos.

Is your wallet positively anorexic due to our current economy? Go to the library. Libraries still have budgets, modest though they may be; every time a Latino book is checked out, that information is captured by their computers and very much influences how many or even if Latino books are bought by that library in the future.

Don’t stop there--pay tribute with your time instead of your money. Should a book inspire your ardor, write a glowing review on Amazon.com. Tweet to your followers. Rave the next time a friend asks what’s new. You may not be able to financially support the writers you love, but other people can.

You don’t have to wait until September 15th to start celebrating. Each visit to a magazine stand, movie theatre, or bookstore is an opportunity to pay tribute to your Latinidad. In my book, every month is Hispanic Heritage Month.♥


Marcela Landres is the author of the e-book How Editors Think: The Real Reason They Rejected You, publishes the award-winning e-zine Latinidad, and is an Editorial Consultant who helps writers get published by editing their work and educating them on the business side of publishing. A member of the Women’s Media Group, she has acted as a judge for the PEN/Beyond Margins Award, and was formerly an editor with Simon & Schuster. For more information, visit http://www.marcelalandres.com/.




NEXT: The Celebration continues on Wed, Sept 21 with author Raul Ramos y Sanchez.