When Whoopi Goldberg on The View mentioned Ms. Rivera’s passing with affection I was stunned.
Then Good Morning America, Jezebel, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and other English language media outlets started to create tributes. I was gobsmacked.
We, Latinos have arrived. When one of our number one selling artists of a regional music suddenly gets the type of coverage she never received in life it means they know we are watching, reading, sharing and retweeting.
All of the outlets I mentioned are ones I read on a regular basis. It is rare if not uncommon to see Latinos profiled, heralded or mentioned in them. Not for our success in business, the arts and entertainment or the sciences. We sometimes don’t exist outside the stories of the undocumented, the incarcerated or the margins.
Latinas like Jenni are not celebrated for having over-achieved The American Dream. She first made money as a real estate agent, despite being a teenage mother. Then she built a career in her families business: music. She wrote her own songs and produced her own albums. She represented an independent 21st century woman with a twitter following rivaled only by top brands.
So why was she not profiled before her death? Why was her success not taken in to account by mainstream media? Why are we not asking our stories not to be ghettoized?