By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN
(CNN) – For nearly 15 years, Dolores Prida was the Latina answer to "Dear Abby."
The Cuban-born writer penned columns – as she once put it – with "Latin-style tongue-in-cheek advice for the lovelorn, the forlorn and the just torn."
Prida died in New York on Sunday, leaving behind a loyal following of readers. She was 69.
Many knew her popular "Dolores Dice" column in Latina magazine. But Prida was also an opinion columnist who tackled tougher topics such as gun control and teen pregnancy in New York newspapers and a playwright who won international recognition for her work.
The night before she died, she was at a party in New York with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and others celebrating the 20th anniversary of a close-knit network of Latina journalists, lawyers and other professionals.FULL STORY
(CNN) - The film "Django Unchained" has stirred a race debate for weeks, and Sunday night, its writer and director Quentin Tarantino won the Golden Globe for best motion picture screenplay. Backstage, Tarantino used the controversial N-word, which peppers his movie, explaining that critics were not accusing him of using it "more than it was used in the South in 1858," when his film is set. Instead, they were "saying I should soften it. ... and I never do that when it comes to my characters."
Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a CNN contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow him on Twitter: @rubennavarrette.
By Ruben Navarrette Jr., CNN Contributor
San Diego, California (CNN) - The upcoming Oscars are no stranger to causes or controversy. And this year, there is a strong dose of both surrounding the film "Argo" - and its star and director, Ben Affleck.
This controversy bubbled up when the buzz started that Affleck could get an Academy Award nomination for best director when the announcements are made Thursday.
"Argo" tells how an ingenious and daring CIA agent helped orchestrate the rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Tehran during the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-1980. In November 1979, about 300 Islamic students stormed the U.S. Embassy and 66 Americans were taken hostage. But six U.S. diplomats escaped and were hidden at the Canadian Embassy by the Canadian ambassador and his wife.
The CIA agent - Antonio "Tony" Mendez, played by Affleck - successfully led the mission to evacuate the Americans, which involved Mendez and his associates posing as a Canadian film crew that was eager to make a movie in Iran.
The real Tony Mendez was awarded the Intelligence Star for Valor, and other honors, for leading the rescue. He later wrote a memoir, detailing the events in TehranRead Ruben Navarrette Jr's full column
Editor's note: Gene Seymour is a film critic who has written about music, movies and culture for The New York Times, Newsday, Entertainment Weekly and The Washington Post.
By Gene Seymour, Special to CNN
(CNN) – Spike Lee says he's never going to see Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" because he's certain it is "disrespectful of my ancestors." Tarantino says he doesn't need to waste time responding to Lee's accusation. That, as they say, is that.
So why do we insist on staring at two egomaniacs staring down each other?
Race. Again. The subject that never fails to provoke, antagonize, alienate - and fascinate rubber-necking onlookers from sea to shining sea. Fixating on race is an absurdity that has no rational reason to exist, yet no one quite knows how to eliminate it from humankind. The only thing dumber than race is underestimating its importance.
"Django Unchained" is Tarantino's latest exercise in genre-bending audacity, an antic ripsnorter folding in most of what its director knows and loves about spaghetti westerns, 1970s blaxploitation thrillers and his own ribald, recklessly violent body of work. Its title character, played by Jamie Foxx, is a slave bought and freed by a drolly effective German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz), who agrees to help Django emancipate his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), from a decadent plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio).
"Django" makes no pretense of being anything other than a phantasmagoric pseudo-western, rife with calculated vulgarity, anachronism and impropriety. Its body count rivals that of Tarantino's 2003 martial-arts epic, "Kill Bill Vol. 1" (to whose messily operatic set pieces of slaughter "Django" bears an uncanny resemblance).Read Gene Seymour's full column
By Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN
(CNN) – Let's begin with a disclaimer: Nas doesn't endorse the following sentence.
But he's the greatest lyricist of all time.
Those words were carefully chosen: "lyricist" over "rapper" or "hip-hop artist;" "greatest" instead of "most successful;" "all time" rather than "today."
Those distinctions are important. Still, Nas isn't buying it.
"It's wayyyyyy, way, way too early in our lives," he said when asked where he fits among history's best MCs. "It's great to put a list together, but don't take it too seriously because your list won't matter 10 years from now or 15 years from now. It'll be a different list."
OK, no lists then; just a strong case for Nas being the best rhymesmith ever, the GOAT, numero uno, and a humble concession that this is but one man's opinion and yours are enthusiastically welcomed below.FULL STORY
By Abbey Goodman, CNN
(CNN) – Tavi Gevinson started a blog at age 11, became a front-row fixture at Fashion Week, was called "the future of journalism" by Lady Gaga, delivered a TED talk about feminism and female role models in pop culture, is the founder and editor-in-chief of Rookie,an online magazine for teenage girls and, to commemorate its first anniversary, just published 'Rookie Yearbook One,' a hard-copy scrapbook of the best pieces from the site.
And, oh yeah, she's 16 years old.
In five short years, the wunderkind from Oak Park, Illinois, has gone from self-proclaimed nerd to full-blown media mogul, using her platform to champion important teen girl causes ranging from How to Bitchface - a step-by-step primer to "reacting to varying levels of stupidity" (see her demonstrate on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon") to organizing a Get Well Soon card drive for Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl activist who was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen.
Rookie launched in Fall 2011 and broke 1 million page views in under a week. Since then, the site has explored monthly themes likeobsession, drama, play and paradise. Right now, it's mythology. Or, as Gevinson explains in the editor's letter: "lies, exaggerations, legends, the works."
To kick off each theme, Gevinson creates a mood board using fashion photos, film stills and album art as inspiration. Then she and the site's 50 contributors - including fellow teens and more than a handful of celebrities - go about interpreting her vision through articles, interviews, photos, playlists and illustrations. To accommodate kids' schedules, Rookie updates three times a day: after school, around dinner and before bed.
Before she was named one of Huffington Post's most amazing young people of 2012, Gevinson spoke with CNN about the power of teenage girls, making angst romantic and the one secret Jon Hamm must never find out.FULL STORY
By Josh Stillman, EW
(EW.com) - No one knows how to make white men squirm quite like Samuel L. Jackson.
A post on Reddit last night has unearthed a prime example. Two weeks ago, the "Django Unchained" cast sat down with Jake Hamilton, host of Houston's Emmy-winning film show Jake's Takes, at a press junket.
Things went smoothly enough until Hamilton approached Jackson with a question about the movie's controversial use of the "n-word." Jackson insisted that Hamilton, who is white, say the word out loud; after Hamilton repeatedly refused, they moved on. It was uncomfortable.
"The most awkward moment was just seeing everyone in the room freeze, and waiting to see what my reaction was going to be," Hamilton says today.
The internet reaction has been mixed. Many commenters claim that Hamilton should have simply said the word, while others applaud the reporter for not caving to Jackson's demand. Hamilton says that his decision was in the best interest of the show and the network.FULL STORY
Editor's note: Salamishah Tillet is an assistant professor of English and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania and author of "Sites of Slavery: Citizenship and Racial Democracy in the Post-Civil Rights Imagination." She is co-founder of the charity, A Long Walk Home Inc., which strives to end violence against girls and women.
By Salamishah Tillet, Special to CNN
(CNN) – Quentin Tarantino set out to make his newest film, “Django Unchained,” to avenge Hollywood’s amnesia of slavery.
“How can you ignore such a huge part of American history?” the director recently told Newsweek magazine. “Hollywood didn’t want to deal with it because it was too ugly and too messy.”
On this point, he is right.
Unlike the preponderance of movies on other historical atrocities – including the Holocaust, which Tarantino tackled in "Inglorious Basterds" – there have only been a handful of Hollywood films made on American slavery. And none were directed by an African-American.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of those movies were racist.
Dating back to D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation” in 1915, white slave masters were heroes and formerly enslaved African-Americans were villains.
“Gone With the Wind,” the 1939 box-office smash, did no better as slave characters like Prissy, Mammy and Uncle Peter appeared as docile and happy servants.
These two films alone dominated all subsequent Hollywood representations of slavery until late 20th-century movies such as “Glory,” “Amistad” and “Beloved” depicted African-Americans as resistors.
But films on slavery have never been about the past alone. FULL POST
Monterrey, Mexico (CNN) - Millions of fans on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border are mourning the death of Jenni Rivera, whose performances of soulful ballads sold out concert halls and made the singer a household name for many.
Crews were set to resume the search Monday for Rivera's remains amid the wreckage of a plane that crashed in the remote, mountainous area in northern Mexico on Sunday.
"The plane was totally destroyed. ... It is a great tragedy," her brother, Gustavo Rivera, told CNN en Español.
Six others were killed, including the singer's publicist, lawyer and makeup artists, he said. Family members were planning to travel to Mexico on Monday as investigators work to determine what caused the crash.
The small Learjet plane that Rivera was flying in was 43 years old, the state-run Notimex news agency reported, citing the director of civil aviation for Mexico's Transportation Ministry.
Collecting evidence at the scene could take up to 10 days, Alejandro Argudin said, according to Notimex. The wreckage, which includes personal items that belonged to the singer, was spread out over an area that spans up to 300 meters (more than 320 yards), officials said.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said Monday that it was dispatching a team to help with the investigation.
Meanwhile, fans, family members and entertainers said they were devastated to learn of Rivera's death.
"The world rarely sees someone who has had such a profound impact on so many," Universal Music Group said in a statement. "From her incredibly versatile talent to the way she embraced her fans around the world, Jenni was simply incomparable. "FULL STORY