William Morris Endeavor (WME) Signs Gina Rodriguez & Her Production Company

It’s a new endeavor for Gina Rodriguez

William Morris Endeavor (WME) has signed the 36-year-old Puerto Rican actress and her production company I Can and I Will Productions, run by Molly Breeskin, in all areas.

Gina Rodriguez

The Golden Globe-winning former Jane the Virgin star was previously at Creative Artists Agency (CAA).

Rodriguez played the title role in the CW series Jane the Virgin for 100 episodes, winning a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a TV Series Musical or Comedy in 2015.

Rodriguez recently starred in the Focus Features title Kajillionaire opposite Evan Rachel Wood and Richard Jenkins. The Miranda July directed feature made its world premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.

Rodriguez’s upcoming projects include the Netflix film Awake and the miniseries Lost Ollie for the streamer.

She has starred in Sony/Screen Gems’ Miss Bala and the Netflix feature Someone Great, a film in which she also served as a producer.

Her voice can be heard in the title role of Netflix’s Carmen Sandiego, and she also had starring voiceovers in Twentieth Century Fox/Blue Sky’s Ferdinand, Warner Brothers’ Smallfoot and Scoob, and Sony’s The Star.

In addition to her acting career, the native Chicagoan and NYU Tisch School alum is a driving force for inclusion and the empowerment of women in all ways, particularly in the entertainment industry. This passion led her to create her production company, I Can and I Will Productions, with a mission directly reflecting her commitment to create art and tell stories from those who are traditionally unseen and unheard.

The company has finished its second season of Diary of a Future President where Rodriguez directed, produced, and performed as the future president.

With her family, she established the We Will Foundation, which aims to uplift and champion underprivileged youth through arts, education, scholarship funding, and financial literacy.

Inde Navarrette Signs with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) 

Inde Navarrette has new representation…

The Latina actress, best known for her role as Estela de la Cruz in the fourth and final season of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, has signed with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) for representation in all areas.

Inde Navarrette

She has also portrayed Veronica in the Snapchat original series Denton’s Death Date, and as Sarah Cushing in The CW’s series Superman & Lois.

In film, she was most recently seen opposite Sienna Miller and Diego Luna in Wander Darkly, which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. She has also appeared in the short films Cranberry Nights and Cross Words Together.

In 2019, she participated in the Sundance Directors Lab, which included Robert Redford, Christine Lahti, and Ed Harris as mentors.

United Talent Agency (UTA) Signs Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba has new representation…

United Talent Agency (UTA) has signed the 39-year-old half-Mexican American actress, entrepreneur, and best-selling author.

Jessica Alba

Alba has made more than 25 feature films, earning a combined box office total of over $800 million. After breaking out in James Cameron’s Fox series Dark Angelshe went on to star in Fox/Marvel’s Fantastic Four

Her features also include Valentine’s DayRobert Rodriguez’s Machete and Machete Kills, Little Fockers, The Love Guru, Into the Blue, Spy Kids 4-as well as Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.

Recently, Alba has starred and executive produced the action drama L.A.’s Finest.  Up next, she will host and produce a docuseries, Parents Without Borders, for Disney+ and she will star in and executive produce the Netflix action thriller Trigger Warning.

In 2011, Alba founded The Honest Company, a mission-driven company dedicated to inspiring everyone to love living consciously through its clean, sustainable, effective and thoughtfully designed baby, personal care, household and beauty products. The Honest Company is committed to ensuring all families have access to basic necessities and the latest health information for safe growth and development—a commitment reflected in its ongoing partnership with nonprofit organizations like Baby2Baby. Since its inception, The Honest Company has donated over 25 million products and over 18,500 employee participation hours through its Honest to Goodness program.

Alba’s first book The Honest Life is a bestselling how-to handbook based on her mission to create a natural, authentic, and non-toxic life for her family.

Among her awards, she has received the March of Dimes Grace Kelly Award, the Entertainment Media Association’s Green Parent Award, and the Mount Sinai Children’s Environmental Health Center Champion for Children Award.

Myke Towers Signs Joint Global Distribution Deal with Warner Latina & Warner Records

Myke Towers is going global…

After a two-year courtship, and rising above offers from multiple competing labels, Warner Latina and Warner Records have jointly signed an exclusive global distribution deal with the 27-year-old Puerto Rican rising star and his independent label, Whiteworld Music.

Myke Towers

The deal was spearheaded by Warner Music Latina president Iñigo Zabala, who brought Towers to the attention of Warner Records global heads at a time when music in Spanish is a global force, a fact highlighted by Towers’ remarkable success as an independent artist.

In the past 12 months alone, Towers, whose full name is Michael Anthony Torres Monge, has placed seven songs on the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart, two songs on Billboard’s Global Ex U.S. chart, six songs on the Spotify 200 chart (more than any other Latin act) and is currently No. 8 on YouTube’s Global artist chart while his video of “Bandido” with Juhn is No. 2 on the service’s Global chart this week.

No wonder that while Towers sings in Spanish, Warner sees him as a completely global act. “He is one of our most important signings of the past year,” Warner Records Co-Chairman & COO Tom Corson says bluntly.

That import has already been tested, most impactfully in “Me gusta,” the Anitta track released last September where Warner paired Towers with the Brazilian star and Cardi B.

As it turns out, Towers has been on Warner Latin’s sights since 2017, when he first started releasing music. But the label’s approach began in earnest in 2019, after he collaborated with Warner Music Latina group Piso 21.

“We formally contacted him in April 2019, when he released his single ‘Si Se Da,’” says Zabala, president of Warner Music Latin America & Iberia. “At that point, it was clear he was a very, very special artist. We always presented to them [Towers’ management] that we were the better partner to help them globalize Myke’s music. It’s been a long conversation, but it’s been very successful.”

Towers has risen quickly to fame at a time when Latin music is exploding in popularity at a global scale and consumption is at an all-time high. But it took him a beat to become coveted.

In 2018, after an initial stint with another indie, Towers approached Orlando “Jova” Cepeda and José “Tito” Reyes, partners in Whiteworld, a label, production and management company in Puerto Rico. “We gave him a hand and he decided to stay with us,” says Cepeda. “He was vastly underestimated; quiet, humble, the opposite of the genre. But we saw the originality in him.”

Towers was a rapper who shunned the more facile lyrics of reggaetón, opting for more heartfelt storytelling in his beginnings in 2016. But he also had a more melodic, commercial side to him, and quickly became highly sought-after for collaborations by big stars like Thalía and Becky G a couple of years later.

Whiteworld released Towers’ music through GLAD Empire, an indie distributor that’s known for achieving huge hits, like Anuel AA’s debut album. As Towers began to chart higher – by 2019, his “Si se da” peaked at No. 11 on the Hot Latin Songs chart — outside notice in him rose.

“But Warner were the only ones who initially had that interest,” says Reyes. In 2019, he says, Héctor Rivera, Warner Latina’s VP of A&R, showed up at Whiteworld’s studios in Puerto Rico.

“I told him, ‘Brother, truly, we’re not looking for anyone. But I’m paying attention because you’re here,’” recalls Reyes.  “Honestly, if they hadn’t come to see us that day at the studio, maybe we wouldn’t have made the deal.”

By then, many other people wanted a deal with Towers, but Warner won out. “Warner gave us respect,” says Cepeda. “They understood the project. I told Iñigo that if they wanted to sign Myke, it had to be global.”

Corson and Warner Records Co-Chairman & CEO Aaron Bay-Schuck both reached out to Towers and his team, signaling their commitment.

“Iñigo took the lead, but once the ball is rolling we’re working closely,” says Corson. “In this climate, with global playlisting, and genres meaning less and less, and records crossing over, language being less of a barrier, you have to be in each other’s business. It used to be much more one way: what could the U.S./Anglo labels export? Now, you’d be foolish to take that attitude and you would lose a lot of business if you weren’t in constant communication with your teams.”

As big as Towers has already become, “there’s still a major part of the globe who doesn’t know who he is,” says Bay-Schuck. “That’s where we’re going to come in and find the right ways to seed his music, collaborate with the right English speaking artists so Myke Towers becomes the same household name here that he is in the rest of the world. We’re  intentionally curating our roster […] and that means you can’t have a roster with 10 of the same things in it. I think Myke saw a massive opportunity to really be one of one and have the belief we were going to treat him like the priority he is.”

Max Lousada, Global CEO of Recorded Music, Warner Music Group added: “Myke is a distinctive songwriter, powerful performer, and incredible artist […] He’s at the forefront of a new generation of global talent that’s transcending languages, crossing boundaries, and disrupting genres. His possibilities are limitless.”

Daphne Rubin-Vega Signs with Stewart Talent

Daphne Rubin-Vega has new representation…

The 51-year-old Panamanian-American dancer, singer-songwriter nand actress, who most recently starred on the CW’s short-lived series Katy Keene, has signed with Stewart Talent.

Daphne Rubin-Vega

Rubin-Vega can next be seen in the upcoming Warner Bros. feature In the Heights for director Jon Chu, playing ‘Daniela.’ She also just wrapped the Netflix series Social Distance, produced by Jenji Kohan and Tara Herman.

She previously recurred on the Netflix series Tales of the City.

A staple of the New York theatre community, Rubin-Vega earned a Tony Award nomination for her portrayal of ‘Mimi’ in the original cast of Rent, and another for Anna in the Tropics.

Rubin-Vega recently starred in Miss You Like Hell at The Public Theatre, and in the one-woman show Empanada Loca, which was written for her. She went on to help adapt the play into the scripted podcast The Horror of Dolores Roach, and is currently developing it into a series for Blumhouse Television.

Rubin-Vega is managed by Untitled Entertainment.

Taylor Zakhar Perez Signs with WME & Anonymous Content

Taylor Zakhar Perez is ready to take his career to the next level…

The young Latino actor has signed with WME and Anonymous Content.

Taylor Zakhar Perez

Perez is coming off of a breakout role on the Vince Marcello-helmed hit Netflix franchise The Kissing Booth.

Based on the YA novel by Beth Reekles, the teen rom-com follows the romantic adventures of Elle, played by Joey King, her bad-boy boyfriend Noah (Jacob Elordi), and her best friend Lee (Joel Courtney). Perez first appeared in last year’s Kissing Booth 2, in the role of Marco, a handsome, charismatic new classmate who complicates Elle’s love journey.

Netflix reported that The Kissing Booth 2 was viewed by more than 65 million people in the first four weeks on the platform.

Perez is set to return for the third installment, which will debut this summer. It picks up where the second one left off. It’s the summer before Elle heads to college, and she has a secret decision to make. She has been accepted into Harvard, where boyfriend Noah is matriculating, and also Berkeley, where her BFF Lee (Noah’s brother) is headed. Which path should she choose?

Perez was also recently cast in the HBO Max comedy pilot Minx from Ellen Rapoport, Paul Feig’s Feigco Entertainment, and Lionsgate Television.

Pitbull Becomes Part Owner of New NASCAR Team Trackhouse Racing

Pitbull is dealing with a new type of track

New NASCAR team Trackhouse Racing has brought on the 40-year-old Cuban American rapper/singer, known also as Mr. Worldwide, as an ownership partner for the organization, which will make its debut next month at the Daytona 500.

Pitbull

Trackhouse made the announcement with a video on Twitter in which the Grammy winner is featured dancing to an “I believe we will win” chant. He also holds signs that say: “Knuckle Up,” “Fight Hard” and “Buckle Up.”

Pitbull joins NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan as celebrity owners entering NASCAR this year. Jordan is a part owner of 23XI Racing with Denny Hamlin.

“I’ve been a fan of the NASCAR story since the movie Days of Thunder,” Pitbull said in a statement. “We are going to show the world NASCAR is not only a sport but a culture.”

Trackhouse was launched late last year by former driver Justin Marks, who struggled to find a charter that guarantees entry into every Cup Series race on the schedule. He ultimately leased one from Spire Motorsports to get his organization on the grid.

The team has hired Mexican driver Daniel Suarez for the No. 99 Chevrolet, but it will not be NASCAR’s first pairing of a Latino driver and team owner. Juan Pablo Montoya, a Colombian, drove for Chip Ganassi Racing when it was part owned by Felix Sabates, a Cuban.

Jesse & Joy Sign Worldwide Deal with Warner Chappell Music Mexico for Catalog Rights

Jesse & Joy are going global…

The Mexican brother sister duo, comprised of Jesse Huerta and Joy Huerta, have signed an exclusive worldwide deal for catalog rights with Warner Chappell Music Mexico, according to Billboard.

Jesse & Joy

From grief and heartbreak to happiness and triumph, Jesse & Joy are “storytellers at their core, making music that speaks to the experiences we’ve all gone through,” says Carlos Ruiz, managing director, Warner Chappell Music Mexico.

“Aside from their musical talent, I’m inspired by how they use their voices to make a difference in the world and support their fellow Latinos, immigrants, and the LGBTQ+ community. All of us at Warner Chappell are thrilled they’ve entrusted us with their music and look forward to a wonderful journey ahead,” he adds.

Last year, Jesse & Joy initiated Pride Month with the release of their single “Love (Es Nuestro Idioma),” which spotlights love being a universal language. Both the song and video celebrated Pride Month and was a previous presentation for LGBTI organization Yaaj Mexico.

“The Warner Chappell team has done an impressive job amplifying Latin music on a global scale. They’re a publisher we trust and we look forward to our partnership together,” notes Jesse & Joy.

Calling their 15-year trajectory “impressive” and “at the top of their game,” Gustavo Menendez, president, Latin America, Warner Chappell Music, adds: “Their bicultural sound and style have earned them No. 1 hits, but more importantly, connected them with fans across the world who find comfort and joy in their music.”

The Latin Grammy and Grammy-award winning duo, known for hits such as “¡Corre!,” ”Dueles,” and “Espacio Sideral,” are currently nominated for four Premio Lo Nuestro awards including pop group or duo of the year and album of the year for Aire.

Lupillo Rivera Signs Record & Management Deal with Z Records

Lupillo Rivera has a time-ly new deal

The 48-year-old Mexican-American singer-songwriter has signed a record and management deal with Regional Mexican indie label Z Records in partnership with Rancho Humilde, according to Billboard.

Lupillo Rivera

“I’ve always had a high respect for George Prajin (Z Records CEO),” says Rivera. “I’ve worked with him and his family since the 90s. They are the ones that helped us launch our record label in Huntington Park in California and they were the only ones selling our music in their records stores. I said why not give him a chance. We’ve never had an issue working together. There’s a lot of respect there from his family to my family.”

Under the new deal, the corridos singer will also launch and host the interview-style show Época Pesada on Z Records’ YouTube channel. The idea is “to interview artists from the 90s and put the 90s music back and its artists on the map,” Rivera adds. “The kids listening to the new stuff are also listening to 90s regional Mexican music but I don’t think they know who the artists are. So, let’s put ourselves out there.”

To keep the momentum going, the chart-topping artist, previously signed to Linea Music, will also release multiple albums throughout the year including a duets record, a 90s-inspired set and a tribute album to mariachi titan Vicente Fernández.

“It’s an honor to welcome the great Lupillo Rivera to our roster of artists,” Prajin says, whose Z Records’ lineup includes Leonel El Ranchero,” Jorge Gamboa and El Chalinillo, among others. “In his 20-year career, I’ve had the privilege of being his friend and have worked with him on multiple occasions. Lupillo is one of the most influential artists in regional Mexican, his music has transcended frontiers and he’s made valuable contributions to the genre.”

Jimmy Humilde, founder of Rancho Humilde, will also co-produce Época Pesada set to go live February 17. “In 2021, Rancho Humilde is committed to take all its artists to the next level and Lupillo Rivera’s arrival to the group’s talent is a testament to that,” Humilde says.

Snoop Dogg will be the first guest on the show. “I don’t think Snoop remembers me but we were in the same class in Long Beach Polytechnic and it was fun hanging out with that guy in class,” Rivera says. “I’m going to remind him of all the stupidities we did in class. It was fun, we were high school students so imagine what we were doing over there. He’s going to trip out. It’s going to be great.”

Other artists confirmed to be a guest on the show include El Aleman, Jorge Gamboa, Voces del Rancho, Chalinillo and B-Real.

“I think that it’s a big responsibility to make all of this work because Z Records is putting everything behind me. I’m going to try my best with the music and the show and make it work no matter what,” adds Rivera.

Tessa Thompson Launches Production Company ‘Viva Maude’

Tessa Thompson is expanding her Hollywood reach…

The 37-year-old part-Panamanian and part-Mexican American actress is moving into the production arena with a new production company, a first-look deal at HBO and HBO Max and executive-producing two big book adaptations – Who Fears Death and The Secret Lives of Church Ladies.

Tessa Thompson,

Thompson, who stars on HBO’s Westworld, has launched Viva Maude with a two-year deal at the WarnerMedia-owned cable network and streaming service.

“I’m beyond thrilled to officially launch my production company, Viva Maude, which has been a real passion project and labour of love over the last few years,” said Thompson. “I’m elated to begin this partnership and to bring entertaining and impactful television projects to my friends and collaborators at HBO and HBO Max. Together we are committed to developing interesting and inclusive stories with inventive creators and to discover new voices and visionaries.”

Thompson, who stars in and executive produced the Amazon Studios feature film Sylvie’s Love, will exec produce the two projects in development at HBO and HBO Max as part of the deal.

Who Fears Death is an adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor’s eponymous book. In the works at HBO since 2017 with Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin as one of the exec producers, Aïda Mashaka Croal, a writer on Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, has also come board as showrunner, writer and exec producer.

Who Fears Death tells the coming of age tale of Onyesowu in post-apocalyptic North Africa where her story makes her an outcast.  She must go on a journey from self-reproach to love, but to do so she’ll have to overcome untold obstacles—defeating her hated sorcerer father and becoming the instrument of prophetic deliverance for a land of oppressed people, all the while fighting to master the terrifying powers growing inside her.

At HBO Max, Thompson is also exec producing an adaptation of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies. The short story collection, written by Deesha Philyaw, was published in September and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction. It contains nine stories about Black women, church, and sexuality.

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where Black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. Different generations of women characters grapple with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church’s double standards and their own needs and passions. With their secret longings, new love, and forbidden affairs, these church ladies are as seductive as they want to be, as vulnerable as they need to be, as unfaithful and unrepentant as they care to be, and as free as they deserve to be.

Thompson will exec produce with author Philyaw, who is also writing the adaptation.

Thompson’s other credits include Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Endgame, Annihilation, Sorry to Bother YouSelmaand Dear White People and she co-stars alongside Ruth Negga in Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut feature film Passing as well as Creed III and Thor: Love and Thunder.

She is also a producer on QCode’s fiction podcast The Left Right Game, which Amazon purchased the rights to adapt into a television series, with Thompson exec producing the series.