Leylah Fernandez to Compete at This Year’s Billie Jean King Cup Finals

Leylah Fernandez is gearin’ up for a special cup

The 19-year-old half-Ecuadorian Canadian tennis sensation and U.S. Open finalist is among the players named to the 12 teams at next month’s Billie Jean King Cup Finals.

Leylah Fernandez

Fernandez will play for Canada in the competition.

But she isn’t the only Latina set to play in the Cup.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Garbiñe Muguruza will play for Spain along with Carla Suarez Navarro.

Meanwhile, Caroline Garcia is set to play for defending champion France, alongside her teammates Alize Cornet and Fiona Ferro, who were all part of the  group that won the event in 2019. The 2020 edition was called off because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Matches will be played in Prague on Nov. 1-6.

The host Czech Republic will be led by 2021 French Open singles and doubles champion Barbora Krejcikova.

She is joined by Marketa Vondrousova, the 2019 French Open runner-up and the 2020 Tokyo Games singles silver medalist, and Katerina Siniakova, who was Krejcikova’s doubles partner for three Grand Slam doubles titles and a gold medal at the Summer Games.

Sloane Stephens is joined by Jessica PegulaDanielle Collins, CoCo Vandeweghe and Caroline Dolehide on the U.S. roster.

Eva Longoria Among Celebrities & Entertainment Figures Encouraging World Leaders to “End the COVID-19 Pandemic Now”

Eva Longoria is urging on world leaders to take action to end the ongoing coronavirus pandemic…

Tuesday morning, just before President Joe Biden addressed the United Nations for the first time, more than 80 celebrities and entertainment figures, including the 46-year-old Mexican American actress, producer and activist, issued an open letter to world leaders calling for them to end “the COVID-19 pandemic now.”

Eva Longoria

The letter, which mentioned the United Nations General Assembly Session specifically, was posted on the website of CARE, an organization dedicated to ending poverty worldwide.

It was signed by a raft of boldfaced names including Longoria, Debra MessingAlyssa Milano, Anne Hathaway, Malin Akerman, Debbie Allen, Jordana Brewster, Connie Britton, Ciara, Peter Dinklage, Richard Gere, Dolores Huerta, Joel McHale, Iman, Edward James Olmos, Laura Linney, Julianna Margulies, Joel McHale, Idina Menzel, Ana Ortiz, Adam Shankman, Michael Sheen, Adam Shulman and Sarah Silverman.

Specifically, the letter calls COVID-19 “a manmade pandemic of apathy.” It states that “Only 2% of people in low-income countries have received a single dose.” The signatories call on “global leaders to make 7 billion vaccine doses available before the end of 2021, and an additional 7 billion doses by mid-2022 to fully vaccinate 70% of the world by next summer.”

Those are lofty goals given the world’s most highly vaccinated countries, like the U.S., remain well under 70%.

It also asks leaders to “invest in last-mile delivery systems, public education, and frontline healthcare workers to get vaccines from tarmacs into arms.”

Here’s the full letter:

An open letter to world leaders on ending the COVID-19 pandemic now.

None of us are safe until all of us are safe.

We call on leaders gathering at the United Nations General Assembly Session to boldly act
together to end COVID-19 everywhere.

COVID-19 is now a manmade pandemic of apathy. Only 2% of people in low-income countries have received a single dose, leaving the world’s most vulnerable to face COVID with no
protection. This situation also lets new variants, like Delta, emerge and ravage the lives of
millions.

We are joining with CARE to call on global leaders to make 7 billion vaccine doses available before the end of 2021, and an additional 7 billion doses by mid-2022 to fully vaccinate 70%
of the world by next summer.

To get this done the world community must also invest in last-mile delivery systems, public education, and frontline healthcare workers to get vaccines from tarmacs into arms. Millions
of doses could go to waste because low-income countries don’t have the support they
need to get vaccines to vulnerable people.

We can save millions of lives — and trillions in further economic damage — by meeting this moment with the resources and political will needed to end COVID-19 for everyone,
everywhere. Because none of us are safe until all of us are safe.

Malin Akerman
Debbie Allen
Dorothy Amuah
Morena Baccarin
Adriana Barraza
Troian Bellisario
Bobby Berk
Jordana Brewster
Connie Britton
Karamo Brown
Gloria Calderón Kellett
Ciara
Tena Clark
Kim Coates
Madison Cowan
Alexandra Daddario
Peter Dinklage
Melinda Doolittle
Tan France
Richard Gere
Duff Goldman
Tony Goldwyn
Fiona Gubelmann
Anne Hathaway
Ingrid Hoffmann
Anders Holm
Dolores Huerta
Osas Ighodaro
Joel McHale
Iman
Edward James Olmos
Sonam Kapoor Ahuja
Ellie Krieger
Iskra Lawrence
Annie Lennox
Lola Lennox
Esther Lewis
Laura Linney
Kimberly Locke
Eva Longoria
Anja Manuel
Julianna Margulies
Catherine McCord
Joel McHale
Spike Mendelsohn
Idina Menzel
Debra Messing
Alyssa Milano
Sepideh Moafi
Tamera Mowry-Housley
Yvette Nicole Brown
Christina Ochoa
Ana Ortiz
Helen Pankhurst
Jessica Pimentel
Julie Plec
Adina Porter
Zac Posen
Leven Rambin
April Reign
Holland Roden
Sheila Shah
Adam Shankman
Omar Sharif Jr.
Michael Sheen
Adam Shulman
Sarah Silverman
Hannah Skvarla
Todd Snyder
Kimberly Steward
Curtis Stone
Christy Turlington Burns
Laura Vandervoort
Gabby Williams
Michelle Williams
Kimberly Williams-Paisley
Russell Wilson
Scott Wolf
Kelley Wolf
Bellamy Young
Rachel Zoe

Edgar Ramirez Encourages Everyone to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine After Losing Family Members to the Virus

Edgar Ramirez is encouraging everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine after suffering his own heartbreak…

The 44-yea-old Venezuelan actor has shared via Instagram his very personal story about his loss due to coronavirus.

Edgar Ramirez

Ramirez – a Golden Globe and Emmy nominee who has appeared in films and television programs like Carlos, Zero Dark Thirty, The Bourne Ultimatum, Hands of Stone, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story and Wrath of the Titans appealed to people to take the COVID-19 vaccines, citing his relatives who died without access to them in a series of posts.

“I beg you to please read this post carefully 🙏🏽. It is the most painful and the most intimate thing I have had to publish in my life, but I think it is important to share it,” he wrote on Instagram. “At times, I feel like it is a nightmare from which I am going to wake up, but I know it is not. That this is as real as the air that at this moment it is difficult for me to breathe.”

He continued, “In my Instagram feed, right next to this post is an interview I had with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the President of the United States, in which we discussed vital information on how to deal with COVID 19 and the urgent need to get vaccinated, especially those of us who are lucky enough to access to a vaccine. No one who has access to a vaccine should die from COVID 19. Please read this information, watch the interview and please, please share it.

Thank you very much,
Edgar

Rebeca Andrade Becomes Brazil’s First-Ever Female Olympic Medalist in Gymnastics at the Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

Rebeca Andrade may have come short of the gold, but she’s still earned her place in Olympic history…

The 22-year-old Brazilian gymnast claimed the silver medal in the women’s gymnastics all-around competition at the 2020 Tokyo Games, becoming the first female Brazilian gymnast in Olympic history to stand on the podium.

Rebeca Andrade

“I am super happy,” Andrade said. “I hoped for this moment, and I have trained and worked super hard for this moment. I don’t have any words to describe how I am feeling, nor the feeling of having the Olympic silver medal around my neck.”

Andrade had been in medal competition the entire night at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre, and battled with eventual champion Sunisa Lee and bronze medalist Angelina Melnikova for the top spot on the leaderboard. It was hard to imagine that Andrade’s status for the Olympics had once been in doubt.

Rebeca Andrade

Andrade tore her anterior cruciate ligament for the third time in her career at the Brazilian Championships in 2019. She was sidelined for the remainder of the season, including the world championships, as she underwent surgery and rehabbed the injury — again. The injury was tough — and the emotional toll was even harder.

In her absence, the Brazilian team failed to qualify for the Olympics, and she needed to clinch a spot as an individual. She went to Baku, Azerbaijan, for her first meet back after injury in March 2020 for a World Cup event. During qualifying, she finished in second place on beam and in third place on bars, advancing to the event finals on both. But, like so many global sporting events during that month, the meet was canceled before any of the finals could get underway. Her comeback was paused yet again, and this time, indefinitely.

Rebeca Andrade

As Brazil was hit particularly hard by the coronavirus, many gyms were closed and training became inconsistent. She joined a delegation of 112 Brazilian athletes in Portugal in order to ensure she could continue preparing to qualify to the Olympics.

Then, in December 2020, she tested positive for the coronavirus. She was asymptomatic but had to withdraw from a competition and temporarily stop training while isolating.

Rebeca Andrade

Through it all, she worked with a sports psychologist who helped her stay focused on her long-term goal of going back to the Olympics. With limited events in 2021 and few opportunities to earn a spot for the Games, Andrade wasn’t even sure in early June whether she would secure a berth to Tokyo.

Her last shot was at the Pan American Championships in which the top two finishers would earn two of the final spots.

She won the all-around by more than four points.

Without her teammates by her side, Andrade qualified to the all-around final in second place, behind only Simone Biles. On Thursday, she showed no signs of slowing down as she took early control of the competition with an impressive Cheng vault — earning a 15.300, tied for the highest score on any event of the night.

She had a chance to clinch the gold medal on floor, her final event of the night. Despite having a higher degree of difficulty than Lee, Andrade stepped out of bounds twice and finished 0.135 overall behind Lee.

Still, the color of the medal didn’t seem to matter.

“I wanted to shine in the best way possible,” she said. “And I think I shined.”

After the medal ceremony, she posed for selfies and goofed around with Lee and Melnikova. None of them had arrived in Japan feeling the gold medal was in reach with Biles in the competition, and they all seemed surprised they had even had a chance in the end following Biles’ withdrawal.

“Simone is incredible, and knowing how she had to leave the competition was very difficult,” Andrade said. “People need to understand that we are not robots. We are human beings, and we have feelings like anyone else. That’s the same with me. … We feel the pressure. But I tried to keep my cool. I tried to put into practice everything that I trained with my psychologist, and it worked. I did all that I could, and I couldn’t be happier with my performance.”

After so many challenges on the path to the podium in Tokyo, Andrade knew she didn’t get to the end result on her own. She credited all those who have been in her corner, every step of the way, for helping her achieve her dream.

“This medal is not just mine, it’s one for everyone that knows my story, everything I have been through,” Andrade said. “There have been so many people that helped me along the way. I am very grateful for having them around. I wouldn’t have achieved this without them.”

Aventura Reuniting for One-Night-Only Concert in Miami to Closeout Their “Inmortal” Reunion Tour

Prepare for a special Aventura reunion…

The bachata group, helmed by Romeo SantosHenry Santos, Lenny Santos and Max Santos, has announced an upcoming one-night-only concert as part of their “Inmortal” reunion tour that was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Aventura

Aventura canceled their 2020 reunion tour on March 12 at the former AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami when Mayor Carlos Gimenez declared a state of emergency, canceling large events to stop the spread of the virus. They also canceled the remaining North American tour, which was set to wrap in August.

Now, the tour will officially conclude August 14 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami for a one-time show produced by Live Nation.

Named after the group’s first single in nearly 10 years, the “Inmortal” tour grossed $25.8 million and sold 189,000 tickets, according to figures reported to Billboard Boxscore. That’s 15 shows between February 5 and March 10, 2020.

Although the group has reunited multiple times since disbanding in 2011, this is the “last and final” Aventura concert together, according to Santos on Instagram.

Tickets are on sale via Ticketmaster.com.

Melky Cabrera Helps Lead the Dominican Republic Past Venezuela for Final Olympic Baseball Berth

Melky Cabrera is headed to the Tokyo Games…

The 36-year-old Dominican baseball player, nicknamed The Melkman, sparked a comeback from a three-run deficit with a two-run homer to help lead the Dominican Republic past Venezuela 8-5 on Saturday and win the final qualifier at Puebla, Mexico.

Melky Cabrera

In the process, the Dominican Republic claimed the final Olympic baseball berth for the COVID-19-postponed 2020 Tokyo Games.

Former Kansas City Royals infielder Ramon Torres hit a go-ahead infield single in a six-run fourth inning for the Dominicans, who joined host Japan, the United States, Israel, Mexico and South Korea at the Olympics. The baseball tournament will be played from July 28 to August 7 in Fukushima and Yokohama.

Baseball, dropped from the Olympics after 2008, was restored for the Tokyo Games and is being dropped again for 2024, though it is likely to be added for Los Angeles in 2028.

Players on 40-man Major League Baseball rosters are not eligible.

San Francisco prospect Diego Rincones put Venezuela ahead with a three-run homer in the second inning off Radhames Liz, whose last major league appearance was with Pittsburgh in 2015.

Emilio Bonifacio walked off starter Yapson Gomez with two outs in the third, and Cabrera, a 15-year big league veteran, greeted former Los Angeles Angels pitcher Eduardo Paredes with a two-run homer.

Juan Francisco singled leading off the fourth and Milwaukee Brewers prospect Harold Chirino relieved. Boston prospect Johan Mieses singled, Diego Goris followed with a tying double and Torres singled for a 4-3 lead.

Charlie Valerio‘ had an RBI single, Gustavo Nunez hit a two-run single and Bonifacio added a sacrifice fly for an 8-3 lead.

Former big leaguer Dario Alvarez pitched a hitless fourth for the win.

Milwaukee prospect Alexander Palma singled in a run in the seventh off former Arizona prospect Luis Castillo, and Danry Vasquez hit an RBI double with two outs in the ninth off Jairo Asencio before Palma’s game-ending groundout.

The Netherlands was eliminated Friday. Australia, China and Taiwan withdrew from the final qualifier citing the coronavirus pandemic.

Soda Stereo’s COVID-19-Postponed “Gracias Totales” Tour Getting an Early 2022 Reboot

Soda Stereo is preparing for a restart…

The Argentine rock band’s long-awaited Gracias Totales tour — which launched on February 29, 2020, in Colombia but was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak – is set to resume with new U.S. dates.

Soda Stereo

Part tribute to the rock band’s late frontman Gustavo Cerati and part reunion of the band’s surviving members Zeta Bosio and Charly Alberti, the tour will resume on February 27, 2022, at Miami’s FTX Arena (formerly American Airlines Arena) and on March 3 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. The Miami show will be presented by Move Concerts and Loud And Live and Live Nation will present the LA area show.

The Gracias Totales tour will feature special performances and state-of-the-art technology that will make it possible for fans to enjoy the voice and image of Cerati.

“It is exciting to hear the whole process of how the band is doing,” the tour’s production manager and the band’s first manager and sound engineer said in a statement. “I think that people are going to be moved, not only because of the technical aspects but also the spirit and energy are impressive.”

Fourteen invited artists were set to appear during the previous U.S. dates including Gustavo Santaolalla, Draco Rosa, Julieta Venegas, Richard Coleman and AterciopeladosAndrea Echeverri, to name a few. No word yet on the final guest lineup.

The previously announced shows in New York and Houston will not be rescheduled according to a “lack of availability of adequate venues because of the post-COVID concert schedule.” However, promoters will fully refund those who purchased their tickets.

Tickets for the Miami and LA shows are already on sale via ticketmaster.com.

Focus Features Releases Trailer for Anya Taylor-Joy’s Psychological Thriller “Last Night in Soho”

Anya Taylor-Joy is preparing for her last night

The first trailer has been released for Edgar Wright’s psychological thriller Last Night in Soho, starring the 25-year-old Argentine-British actress.

Anya Taylor-Joy, Last Night in Soho

Focus Features will release the film on October 22.

The film stars Taylor-Joy, Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, Matt Smith, Terence Stamp and Diana Rigg in a story set in 1960s Soho, London.

It follows a young girl (McKenzie), passionate in fashion design, who is mysteriously able to travel back in time where she encounters her idol, a dazzling wannabe singer (Taylor-Joy), but her journey isn’t without consequences.

Last Night in Soho originally was due to debut in September before being disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, it was then scheduled for April 23 before being pushed back again.

Universal is handling the international release. The film had been tipped for a Cannes Film Festival premiere, but there’s no confirmation yet on whether it could turn up at the French festival, which announces its lineup next week.

Ana Gabriel Bringing “Por Amor a Ustedes” Tour to 18 U.S. Cities in Early 2022

Ana Gabriel is preparing to head north of the border…

After her scheduled world tour was sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic a year ago, the 65-year-old Mexican legendary singer/songwriter is now announcing new live dates.

Ana Gabriel,

Her “Por Amor a Ustedes” tour, originally slated to kick off in Spring of 2020, will now launch February 10, 2022 at the Oakland Arena in Oakland, California.

Ana Gabriel will play 18 U.S. cities. Tickets originally purchased for her 2020 postponed dates will be honored on the new dates.

A legacy artist known as much for her throaty voice as for her songwriting, Ana Gabriel is one of the few Latin female acts playing to large venues today.

Based on her chart success, she sits at No. 25 on Billboard’s list of Top Latin Artists of All Time, one of only four female artists on the list’s top 25.

Her tour is produced by concert promoter Cardenas Marketing Network (CMN), who are also producing Bad Bunny and Maluma’s tour. Alex Fernández, Alejandro Fernández’s son, will be the guest artist on Ana Gabriel’s Miami and Fort Myers dates.

Tickets will be available for presale May 27 at 10 a.m. and for general sale on May 28 at http://cmnevents.com

Henry R. Muñoz III Acquires Funny or Die

Henry R. Muñoz III is preparing for a little funny business…

The 61-year-old Latino designer, activist and philanthropist has acquired early digital video player Funny or Die.

Henry R. Muñoz III

Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Judd Apatow and Chris Henchy co-founded Funny or Die in 2007. Ferrell and McKay appeared in one of the company’s first breakout clips, The Landlord.

Muñoz bought Funny Or Die from its former stakeholders, a group that included AMC Networks, Turner Entertainment and Sequoia Capital. Ferrell will continue to collaborate creatively with Funny Or Die and serve as an advisor.

Muñoz be sole owner of the Funny Or Die brand, and the acquisition also includes its library, longform slate and social media portfolio of more than 40 million followers.

Financial terms for the transaction were not disclosed.

After the transaction, Muñoz will become chairman of Funny or Die. Mike Farah will continue as CEO. Michele Rosette, who has been the CFO of Funny Or Die since 2016, will remain in her role. Joe Farrell, who oversees Funny Or Die’s longform slate, has been promoted to Chief Creative Officer.

From its roots in short-form, viral video, Funny or Die has evolved into a supplier of series like Brockmire, whose run on IFC ended last year, and this year’s History of Swear Words on Netflix.

Other credits include true crime docuseries For Heaven’s Sake on Paramount + and the Feeding America Comedy Special for NBC.

The pivot followed challenges in recent years as smaller video purveyors have faced daunting economics when reckoning with the forces of tech giants like YouTube and Facebook. Like many digital outlets, Funny or Die had to lay off staff and restructure as it navigated the 2010s.

The arrival of Muñoz will enable the company to deficit-finance certain projects, the company said, promising to reveal more specifics about that strategy at a later date.

A CBS special produced by Funny or Die last fall connected the company with Muñoz and wound up leading to the acquisition. Essential Heroes: A Momento Latino Event, hosted by Eva Longoria, Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan, celebrated America’s diversity with a focus on Latinx culture and highlighted the impact of Covid-19.

Muñoz has operated at high levels in the realms of politics, art, business, public affairs and philanthropy. In addition to his own design practice, he has launched national movements including Momento Latino, TheDream.US and Latino Victory in support of the Latinx community. He is the cofounder of SOMOS US, a healthcare network in New York treating largely immigrant communities. It has been on the front lines during the coronavirus pandemic.

His design firm, Muñoz & Company, is one of the largest and oldest minority-owned design practices in the country. It pioneered an approach to architecture, urban planning, and design that acknowledges the imprint of the Latino community. He also helped with the effort to create a Latino Museum on the Mall in Washington, DC, and is the Finance Chairman Emeritus of the Democratic National Committee, the first openly gay, openly Latino and openly Texan person to hold that position.

“The future of comedy and entertainment is in companies that empower talent and creative forces to make content that reflects the cultural identity of our country at this moment in our history,” Muñoz said in the official deal announcement. “Funny Or Die’s own rich history as a place of innovation and as a voice of new generations speaks for itself and our team led by Mike Farah is poised to seize this unique moment. I understand the responsibilities of owning a brand like Funny Or Die and I am excited to work with our team to make sure we have the resources we need to develop funny, original and diverse new content.”

He went on to note the importance of his sole ownership of the company. “I also understand the importance of being one of the very few Latinos in a position like this in the entertainment industry and I will do my best to make my community, our industry and our country proud as we move forward,” he added. Diversity and inclusion will be more central to the company’s mission moving forward, he noted.

Farah said Muñoz’s “unique background in social activism and business” makes him the “perfect person to guide FOD into the future.” He added, “The company is in great hands with Henry, and he’s brought a new sense of purpose to our mission to empower original, authentic creators in comedy and beyond.”