Monday, November 28, 2011

Betcha Didn't Know...?

Some of the most notable names from the dawn of film and television are of Latino descent. Here are some of them.

In this edition, British Latinos.

Bianca Jagger (1945- ), born Blanca Pérez Morena de Macías al estilo latino, is a Nicaraguan social and human rights advocate and a former actress and model. Born in Managua, Santiago de Managua, Nicaragua to a successful import-export merchant and a housewife, she received a scholarship to study political science in France at the Paris Institute of Political Studies. She met Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger at a party after a concert in September 1970 in France. On May 12, 1971, while she was four months pregnant, the couple married in a Roman Catholic ceremony in Saint-Tropez-France, and she became his first wife. The couple's only child, a daughter named Jade Sheena Jezebel Jagger Pérez-Mora, was born on October 21, 1971 in Paris, France. In May 1978, she filed for divorce on the grounds of his adultery with model Jerry Hall. In addition to her extensive charitable works, Jagger had a public reputation as a jet-setter and partygoer in the 1970s and early 1980s, being closely associated in the public mind with New York City's nightclub Studio 54. She also became known particularly as a friend of pop artist Andy Warhol. In 1981, she was part of a U.S. congressional delegation stationed at a U.N. refugee camp in Honduras. At one point during her official visit, the entire staff saw about 40 captured refugees marched away at gunpoint towards El Salvador by a death squad. Armed with nothing but cameras to document the raid, she and the delegation trailed the squad along a river towards the El Salvadoran border. When both groups were within auditory range of each other, she and the staff shouted at the M-16 equipped raiders, "You will have to kill us all!" The squad released its captives and a transformation had thus begun for her, something she described as a turning point at her life. She founded the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, which she chairs. In early 1979, Jagger visited Nicaragua with an International Red Cross delegation and was shocked by the brutality and oppression that the Somoza regime carried out there. This persuaded her to commit herself to the issues of justice and human rights. In the 1980s, she worked to oppose U.S. government intervention in Nicaragua after the Sandinista revolution. She has also opposed the death penalty and defended the rights of women and of indigenous peoples of the Americas. She spoke up for victims of the conflicts in Bosnia and Serbia. Her writings were published in several newspapers (including The New York Times). From the late 1970s she collaborated with many humanitarian organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. In March 2002, Jagger travelled to Afghanistan with a delegation of fourteen women, organised by Global Exchange to support Afghan women’s projects. In March 2007 she became involved with Sarah Teather and the campaign to close Guantánamo Bay. Over the past thirty years she has written articles and opinion pieces, delivered keynote speeches at conferences and events throughout the world and participated in numerous television and radio debates. She has dual nationality, as a naturalised British citizen and citizen of Nicaragua. She has two granddaughters from her daughter Jade, Assisi Lola Jackson Jagger (born in 1992) and Amba Isis Jackson Jagger (born in 1996). As an actress she appeared in numerous movies and television series. For her international work on behalf of humanitarian causes, she has earned numerous awards, including an honorary doctorates (from Stonehill College and Simmons College) and honors from Hispanic Federation of New York City, the United Nations, Amnesty International, Office of the Americas and the American Civil Liberties Union, among others.

Henry Ian Cusick (1967- ), born Henry Ian Cusick Chávez al estilo latino to a Peruvian mother and a Scottish father, is an actor of stage, television and film. He is well-known for his role as Desmond Hume on the United States television series "Lost," for which he received a Primetime Emmy Award nomination. Born in Trujillo, Trujillo, Perú, his family moved to Madrid, Spain, then Glasgow, Scotland, before moving to Trinidad and Tobago where they lived for ten years. There he attended Presentation College in San Fernando. He returned to Scotland with his family at the age of fourteen, where he attended the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He got his first acting role at the Citizens' Theatre as an understudy in the Christmas Panto playing a polar bear. He appeared in various productions for the Strathclyde Theatre Group in Glasgow. He is fluent in both English and Spanish, and was raised Roman Catholic. His first leading roles on stage included Dorian Gray, Hamlet and Creon. He then began taking television and film roles. After appearing in recurring roles in series such as "Casualty" and "The Book Group," he starred as Jesus Christ in the 2003 film The Visual Bible: The Gospel of John. His largest role to date came in 2005 when he was cast as Desmond Hume in the ABC series "Lost." Originally a recurring guest star in the second season (for which he received an Emmy nomination), he became a member of the main cast from seasons three through six. He also appeared as Theo Stoller in two episodes of the fifth season of "24," in two episodes of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," and the 2007 film Hitman. He and his wife Annie are parents to three sons, Elias (born 1994), Lucas (born 1998) and Esau (born 2000). The couple were married in a civil ceremony following fourteen years of cohabitation on July 15, 2006. They live in Kailua, Hawai'i, U.S.A.

Olivia Trinidad Arias, also known as Olivia Harrison (1948- ), is the widow of George Harrison, former member of The Beatles. They were married on September 2, 1978 and had one son together, Dhani Harrison (see below). She was born in Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico, the daughter of a dry cleaner and a seamstress. She attended Hawthorne High School in Southern California and graduated in 1965. She later worked as a secretary at A&M Records, where George Harrison happened to hold a recording contract. Even after they were married, Harrison always referred to her by her maiden name, Arias, on all his original albums and even named her "my wife Arias" in a Musician Magazine article, circa 1991. She, together with Beatles' wives Linda McCartney. Yoko Ono and Barabra Bach, has been involved with the Romanian Angel Appeal since the early 1990s, which has raised millions of dollars to provide aid for children living in devastation. She produced the Concert for George in her husband's memory in 2002. The concert at London's Royal Albert Hall was sold out and featured many musicians such as Eric Clapton, Jeff Lynne, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Billy Preston, Ravi Shankar, Ringo Starr, and many more, including the first worldwide exposure of her son Dhani. Profits from the event went to the Material World Charitable Foundation, an organization set up by George Harrison. She also received a Grammy Award in 2005 as a producer for the music video of the concert in the Best Long Form Music Video category. She was co-producer of Martin Scorsese's George Harrison: Living in the Material World, sitting for interviews and contributing material to the project and appearing with Scorsese at Cannes in 2010 and in New York City in the summer of 2011, to promote the documentary.

Dhani Harrison (1985- ), born Dhani Harrison Arias al estilo latino is a musician and the son of George Harrison of the Beatles and Olivia Trinidad Arias (see above). He debuted as a professional musician when completing his father's final album Brainwashed after George Harrison's death in November 2001. He formed his own band, thenewno2, in 2006. His name is pronounced similarly to the name Danny but with an aspirated D. He is named after 6th and 7th notes of the Indian music scale, dha and ni. He grew up with his parents in Henley-on-Thames, England, in Friar Park, the estate on which his father had lived since 1970. One of his earliest memories, from the age of six, is receiving a drumming lesson from his father's friend and bandmate, "Uncle" Ringo Starr. He recalled that before the lesson, he had been an avid drummer. However, when Starr began to play, the loud noise frightened him so terribly that he ran out of the room screaming and never used his drum kit again. He is an alumnus of Brown University, where he studied physics and industrial design. After graduating from Brown, he pursued a career as an aerodynamicist; however, he decided to follow in his father's footsteps as a professional musician. After George Harrison's death on 29 November 2001, he, in collaboration with Jeff Lynne, completed George's final album, Brainwashed, which was released in 2002. He participated in the Concert for George on the first anniversary of his father's death, where he played backup acoustic guitar for most of the concert. His band, the newno2, had begun recording. The band released a music video, "Choose What You're Watching", on its website. The band features Harrison on lead guitar, synthesiser and vocals and Oli Hecks on drums and synths. Their debut album, You Are Here, was released online on 11 August 2008 and in stores on 31 March 2009. On 14 April 2009, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce posthumously awarded George Harrison a star on the Walk of Fame. After Olivia Harrison gave a short speech about her late husband, hen uttered the "Hare Krishna" mantra. In August 2010, he, Ben Harper and Joseph Arthur joined together to form supergroup Fistful of Mercy, which released the album As I Call You Down in 2010.

thenewno2 - "Choose What You're Watching"

Natalia Kills (1986- ), born Natalia Noemí Keely-Fisher Cappuccini al estilo latino, is a singer-songwriter, actress, and short-film director. She released her first single "Don't Play Nice" under the name Verbalicious in February 2005. She released her debut album, Perfectionist, under the name Natalia Kills in April 2011. Born in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England to an Afro-Jamaican father and Uruguayan mother, she attended Bradford Girls' Grammar School. In addition, she studied classical drama at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. She made her acting debut (as Natalia Keely-Fisher) at age 9 in 1995 in "New Voices." She had a regular role as Sima on the TV sitcom All About Me and also played Amy Franks in the BBC's long-running radio drama "The Archers." During her time on television and radio she began writing songs, some of which were featured in films and television shows, including Bring It On 4, Sleepover, Just My Luck and "Entourage." After finishing with "The Archers" in 2003, she attributes her musical breakthrough to winning a Radio 1 MC Battle in Leeds under the name "Candy Rapper" in 2003. She signed to the UK record company Adventures in Music and released her first single "Don't Play Nice" under the name Verbalicious in February 2005. The song rose to 11 on the Billboard R&B charts in the UK. (She later filed to be released from all recording/management agreements after the record label filed for bankruptcy.) In January 2008, signed her to Interscope Records via his Music Group imprint. She was noticed for her demo EP Wommanequin, which she produced and wrote herself. Once signed to Interscope, she was placed with Cherrytree Records. Cherrytree encouraged her to find a name that was more direct and descriptive, and she then came up with the name Natalia Kills. She released her debut album Perfectionist in April 2011. She has also produced and co-directed a filmed mini-series titled Love, Kills xx and an additional film under the working title The Exhibition, which was made concurrently with the album, the soundtrack to the film. The album's first single, "Mirrors," was released in the United States in August 2010 and in the UK in April 2011. Her second single, "Wonderland," was released on in April 2011. The song was featured in the 2011 film Beastly. She opened for Kelis' European All Hearts Tour, as well as supported Robyn on her Body Talk Tour in November 2010 and early 2011. She supported Ke$ha on the UK leg of her Get Sleazy Tour alongside LMFAO. Throughout August and September 2011, she opened for Katy Perry on her California Dreams Tour for eight dates in Europe and São Paulo, Brazil. She was also featured in LMFAO's "Champagne Showers."

Natalia Kills - "Mirrors"

Other British Latinos include musicians Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice of the Spice Girls) and Roland Orzabal (of Tears for Fears), television star Jo Frost (of "Supernanny" fame) and actors Sonya Walger and Helena Bonham Carter.

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