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79 years in the making, Disney introduces its first Latina princess.

She's adventurous. She's independent. She's a new type of princess.

79 years in the making, Disney introduces its first Latina princess.

Meet Elena of Avalor. She's the newest Disney princess, but that's not what makes her special. She's also making history as their first-ever Latina princess, and audiences couldn't be happier.

It's been almost 80 years since Walt Disney released his first full-length animated film, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," in 1937, but not a single princess of Latin descent has taken center stage until now.

Latinos are the largest ethnic minority in the U.S. with 55 million people, and that number is growing. Elena is already making a difference by highlighting just some of the things Latino culture has to offer.


Princess Elena of Avalor. ©Disney Channel.

Elena is no damsel in distress or the type to sit around waiting for Prince Charming, either. In fact, her storyline does not include a love interest.

The story follows 16-year-old Elena, who's been trapped in an amulet but has returned to rule her kingdom of Avalor and restore it to greatness. Because she's still so young, she needs advice from the Grand Council: grandfather Francisco, grandmother Luisa, and adviser Chancellor Esteban.

©Disney Channel.

We're so used to seeing princesses like Aurora lying lifeless on a bed waiting for her prince to bring her back to life with a kiss. Or Cinderella being whisked away to the ball with a beautiful gown on loan to impress the man who will ultimately save her from a life of servitude.

Don't get me wrong. We all love a good Disney movie, and their past films are truly classics — there's no denying that. But it's a new era.

Aimee Carrero, who voices the character of Elena, told ABC News, "I think that as women, whatever ethnicity, we want a balance of everything. But I think this message when it goes out to a young audience, it’s like, find yourself first, before trying to find a partner. Find your passion. Find out where your place in the world is.”

Here are some tweets celebrating the arrival of Elena of Avalor in her new Disney TV series.




Actress Roselyn Sánchez is also a fan.


Another voice actor in the series, Christian Lanz, also weighed in on the new and exciting angle of "Elena de Avalor":


And he has a little fun with the character he voices:


Even the show's creator and executive producer, Craig Gerber, is getting in on all the social media hype by tweeting out teasers for what's to come.


And have I mentioned the music? It plays a huge role in the series, as well. Each episode introduces a new original song, and audiences are loving them.


This tweet really sums it all up.


"Elena de Avalor" premiered on the Disney Channel on July 22, and 2.2 million viewers tuned it to watch.

It's not just kids excited about this new animated series, either. Adults are digging it, too. They're excited to see Latino culture celebrated, and Latino parents are overjoyed to see their children finally represented on such a massive platform like Disney.

©Disney Channel.

"It is important for children to see empowered, positive role models on television, and that's why we wanted to introduce Elena," show creator Gerber told Upworthy.

He said it's been amazing to see how Elena and her adventures are inspiring young girls and boys of all backgrounds.

Gerber also created "Sofia the First," who was initially thought to be the first Latina princess, but she wasn't. The backlash from that confusion gave Gerber the idea to create Elena's story because he saw the demand for a Latina princess.

It's a cause for celebration that Disney finally took note that Latino children also want and need to see themselves represented in movies and television — and did something about it.

Kudos to Disney for green-lighting this series and giving kids who didn't see themselves represented in their movies and shows in the past — like yours truly — a reason to keep tuning in.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

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A letter to the woman who told me to stay in my daughter's life after seeing my skin.

'I'm not a shiny unicorn. There are plenty of black men like me who love fatherhood.'

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Fathers Everywhere

This article originally appeared on 06.15.16


To a stranger I met at a coffee shop a few years ago who introduced me to what my life as a parent would be like:

My "welcome to black fatherhood moment" happened five years ago, and I remember it like it happened yesterday.

I doubt you'll remember it, though — so let me refresh your memory.

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