I always wondered why my hometown of Hialeah had such a bad reputation. Almost everyone I’ve met outside of Florida who knows of the city talks shit about it — without ever having stepping foot in it.
After watching what was la desgracia que fue the Hialeahwood video on YouTube, I finally understood.
I expected the video with the word "Hialeah" in the headline to make me nostalgic and homesick. Instead, I saw two washed-out chongas take over my screen. The two Miami actresses, now living in L.A., pretend to be teenage girls giving movie reviews from their Hialeah bedroom. They wear giant hoop earrings, Miami Heat shirts — the whole nine yards. But the whole thing is just them hablando mierda with an accent that's exagerado as fuck.
As a true Hialeahan, I could see straight through the bull that was put on by Chrissie Fit and Cyrina Fiallo, both living out successful careers in California. Y por eso me soprende que Miamians living out of the South Florida bubble in a country full of discrimination against Latinos are going out of their way burlandose de el mismo lado que las criaron.
People like this are the reason Hialeah gets a bad rap.
The humor Fit and Fiallo are trying to accomplish only perpetuates a shitty stereotype of an uneducated Hispanic-American population. I truly believe their intent in making el desastre que fue Hialeahwood wasn’t to be malicious, pero me enrabio seeing people pretend to be bad versions of me and my people.
As ratchet as you want to make us seem, and as fucked up as our grammar is, Miamians are — in our own way — pretty classy people. Take Jennifer Lorenzo of Buzzfeed’s Pero Like channel. She has found a way to express herself by educating the people of the world about Hispanics. Our supposblys and irregardlesses come out accidentally — at just the right time or in jesting self-deprecation. This shows we know it's not grammatically correct and thus not as dumb as we sound, bro.
Of the 60 most Hispanic-populated cities in the United States, Miami has the most adults with bachelor's degrees. We’re smart people. Why don’t we show it? I’m proud of the Spanglish I speak and the accent I have, but I'm not out haciendo el ridiculo de nuestra communidad.
This is not to say Fit and Fiallo are wasting their time. I applaud their efforts in doing something with their time and attempting to promote Latin culture. I'll admit, parts of the video were funny and — dare I say — knowledgeable.
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But there was no need for the extra ridiculousness, like that Pitbull poster. But I get it — exaggerating the idea that everyone thinks if you're from Miami, you listen to Mr. Worldwide's music. The Miami/Hialeah accent is also superobvious — exaggerating it just kills any beauty that was ever in it.
Hialeahwood just launched, and though I’ll always support my fellow Hialeahans, these malagradecidas need to stop acting like estupidas and remember there are people out there who really think Miamians are all like this. And we're not.
Stephen Valdivia is a Hialeah native living in New York City and working as Fortune magazine's field producer.