The Friday Definer is Define American’s weekly roundup of stories that paint a fuller picture of what it means to be an American in the 21st century. Share these stories with a friend!
“Orange” tackles immigrant detention
Taryn Manning and Uzo Aduba in “Orange Is the New Black”
We are deep into the final season of “Orange Is the New Black,” where multiple storylines deal with the scourge of immigration detention. Check out OITNB writer/executive producer Carolina Paiz’s first person essay in Buzzfeed about her personal connection to one young woman in detention:
For years, I thought I was making TV solely for an American audience, somehow forgetting how I myself was changed by American entertainment. How TV helped shape my own values. Only after having written on this season of Orange do I remember that it will cross borders. That it will provide people in countries like Guatemala a real glimpse into the promised land, a look inside our detention centers and the corporate greed and institutionalized xenophobia that fuel them.
- Rachel Paige at Refinery29 breaks down some of the connections the show makes between for-profit prisons and immigrant detention.
- Elena Romero for Remezcla discusses the way the show humanizes incarcerated women and immigrants.
- Maria Elena Fernandez at Vulture explains why the show moved into the immigration space.
- Melanie Mcfarland at Salon talks to Paiz and star Laura Gómez about the politics of the show.
Happy 95th James Baldwin
— Mona Eltahawy (@monaeltahawy) August 2, 2019
And happy 18th week on top of the Billboard Hot 100, Lil Nas X
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Tanya Saracho on Latinx TV and film characters
While receiving a Media Advocacy Award at the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) Media Summit, “Vida” showrunner Tanya Saracho discusses how she broke into the industry:
Her acting dreams were short-lived, however: “I’m brown and fat and specific — I’m not a leading lady,” she said. More importantly, she learned about the lack of diversity in American theater, which inspired her to pursue playwriting, and since Saracho tends to think big, she also founded Teatro Luna — the first all-Latina theater company in the country.
Steven Wilson, 20, will sing national anthem in Lakota
The young singer from Pine Ridge will open a presidential primary forum in Iowa with a rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in his mother tongue:
“I think it’s an honor to be able to represent the Oglala Lakota people,” 20-year-old Steven Wilson said Wednesday. “For a long time Native Americans have gone without a voice in the government” so the forum is “really monumental in my mind because we have presidential candidates that are taking the time to learn and express their stance on Native American issues.”
All current candidates, including the president, have been invited to the forum to discuss Native American issues, including treaty issues.
Immigration and the founders
Today’s debate over immigration would appear strange to America’s founders. “The United States was founded as an asylum and a refuge: a sanctuary. This was a form of patriotism,” notes Lepore. Thomas Paine called America “an asylum for mankind” and the signers of the Declaration of Independence excoriated the king for obstructing immigration and naturalization.
Did you catch Jose on “Late Night”?
Wait for it… Jose’s big announcement on Seth Meyers…