Editor's Note: Alberto Ferreras is a New York City based writer and filmmaker, who created the "Habla" documentary series for HBO Latino, and co-creator of "El Perro y El Gato" for HBO Family. He is also the author of “B as in Beauty” .
By Alberto Ferreras, Special to CNN
(CNN) –When I interviewed Lupe Ontiveros in 2009 for the HBO Latino special "Celebrity Habla", she told me: "You gotta have a lot of chutzpah, cojones, huevos, capisce? Specially a woman middle age like myself, 4-foot-11, and a Latina ... And all I can sell you is ... raw ... survivor ... talent."
Lupe represented a whole generation of talented Hispanic actors who had been denied the chance to play anything but maids, thugs and drug dealers.
According to Lupe, she had played a maid more than 150 times.
But at the time of our interview she was tired of complaining: She had a juicy part in "Desperate Housewives" and preferred to talk about the roles that she was planning to do "now that things are starting to change".
I am tired of complaining, too. Tired of explaining why it's so important for Latinos to see ourselves on the screen, that movies give us the chance to see ourselves as lawyers, doctors, and heroes.
That every time Latinos are acknowledged for their contribution in the media, it makes a huge impact on the dreams and aspirations of the largest minority in the country.
So while I was deeply moved to see Lupe featured in the in memoriam montage of the Screen Actors Guild Awards, I don't understand why she wasn't included in the Oscars tribute on television. FULL POST
By Maureen Jenkins, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Think Paris, and the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Élysées and haute couture come to mind. But the City of Light also is rich in African-American history. Keeping this history alive are tour companies that share it, up close and personal, with visitors to France.
From legendary entertainer Josephine Baker to internationally acclaimed artist Henry Ossawa Tanner to World War I's ragtime-and-jazz-playing "Harlem Hellfighters," Paris has embraced African-American culture like few other places. Because of that legendary embrace - one that black folks in the States had heard about since the 1800s - Paris loomed large in their imaginations. To many who didn't always feel welcome in their native country, the city sounded like a place where they could emotionally exhale.
"It's always been about freedom for us," says Marcus Bruce, the Benjamin E. Mays Professor of Religious Studies at Bates College and author of "Henry Ossawa Tanner: A Spiritual Biography."
Legendary Harlem-born author James Baldwin, who left for Paris in 1948, said "African-Americans discover in Paris the terms by which they can define themselves. It's the freedom to work beyond the assumptions of what we can and can't do as African-Americans. It's a different rhythm and pace. We can imagine ourselves in new ways in that space."FULL STORY