Monthly Archives: June 2012

Meeting Guero Loco

Guero Loco, on the right, is one of my idols for quite a few reasons. I first learned about him when I found out that he was going to perform at Fiesta Indianapolis in 2011. I was extremely intrigued by the fact that he’s Caucasian, yet he raps in Spanish. I just had to listen to this man with such a unique style and I loved every second of it. I went over to my friend’s house after listening to his songs & we were both dancing to them the rest of the day. When Fiesta Indianapolis finally came around, we ran to the front to see GL perform. He was accompanied by Alyssa B. singing the DREAM Act song (which I’ve posted a few times).

It was that performance right there that got me interested in the DREAM Act. So as you can see, Guero has influenced me a lot more than he knows. I loved how passionate he was about the DREAM Act. I could sense the conviction and sincerity in his voice. It was obvious that he really cared for the DREAMers. I loved how much energy he put into his performance and how the crowd reacted to him. I began researching the DREAM Act the second I got home and I am a very strong supporter of it today.

Guero Loco is heavily involved in the Latino community, not just in Indiana but all over, doing everything he can to support DREAMers. He didn’t just make a song about the DREAM Act, he’s actively working to encourage it to be passed. Actually, GL was recently involved with the sit-ins of President Obama’s campaign offices to urge the president to pass the executive order that would prevent the deportation of DREAMers.

Guero Loco with the North Carolina DREAM Team. President Obama’s campaign office closed the doors on the NCDT upon learning of their arrival.

He cares about these undocumented youth and he constantly posts updates on his Facebook page about immigration news and advice. Guero Loco is the first person that I learn news from and he always posts articles on his page. One thing that I can honestly say is that I have never seen him post anything negative. He provides excellent advice and he wants to- and has been- helping the community come closer together. So much can be achieved through a pure heart, determination, and good music!

I remember when I was voting for him to win the Chicago Music Awards and my friends told me that they didn’t know who he was. I grabbed my phone and started playing his songs before they could even finish their sentences. We spent the whole lunch period jamming to his music and they all voted for him. I was so happy for him when he won!

When I learned that Guero was performing at the first annual Indiana Latino Expo, I knew that I had to go. I wasn’t going to miss that performance for the world (Sorry world). My friend and I were walking around the expo when I saw that his booth was right next to us. I went over to it and we began talking. I bought one of his CDs and he autographed it for me! I did a horrible job of masking my excitement. He asked me if I was going to the concert later in the day and I eagerly replied that I was. I was so stoked that I could barely contain myself for these reasons:

  1. He had already known my name from Facebook.
  2. He autographed my CD.
  3. I finally bought the CD.
  4. I met one of the people who I look up to.
  5. I couldn’t wait to see him perform again.

To Sierra
Thank you for ALL of your support
GL

Guero Loco then introduced me to Malik Rain, one of the artists that he collaborates with and featured in the first photo on the left, and I learned that Malik also sings in Spanish. I thought it was so cool that none of us are Hispanic/Latino, yet we all speak the language and love it so much. I just love how they are so passionate about it that it helped to shape their music careers and interests. I was always told that I was ‘weird’ for speaking Spanish although I am African American, but the truth of the matter is that it’s not weird at all! Guero Loco, Malik Rain, and Alyssa B. all taught me that I can be exactly who I am and that my interests and the languages that I speak doesn’t change who I am on the inside.

By choosing to learn about another culture you choose to open your life up to a whole other world. Don’t be afraid, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain- GL

I had been waiting all day to see him perform and I was determined not to miss it. My friend and I were outside at a booth because she was trying to win a prize. I heard Guero’s voice inside and I quickly grabbed my friend and ran in. I took a seat in the front row and eagerly listened to them (I would post the video but the sound on my phone is horrible).

The songs that they performed:

My Swagga, Mi Brillo

Do You Feel Me

After the performance, I went over to Guero and Malik and asked them if we could take a picture together. I was bouncing off the walls when they said yes! After taking the picture, GL thanked me for all of my support, of both his music and the cause (the DREAM Act). It meant a lot to me for him to say that because of how heavily involved he is. My friend and I then walked outside and, as always, I turned on my music and began to dance. I hadn’t realized that Guero Loco and Malik Rain were walking to their van to get the equipment for their next performance. A few other people saw me dancing as well and one woman asked me to teach her how to dance bachata and salsa. I had so much fun! When Guero and Malik came back inside to head to the concert area, GL asked me again if I was going. I couldn’t wait! As we were walking to where the concert would be, we stopped because my friend’s mother called to check on us. When we began walking again, my mother called to tell me that she wasn’t far away and that I had to leave. OH MY GOSH! I quickly began walking to the concert area to try to see them perform at least one song. When we finally got there, I saw my mother pulling up. You can imagine my disappointment when I couldn’t see the performance. Although I couldn’t see one last song, I’m still super happy that I got to take a picture with him and get his autograph!

When we were going to meet up with my mom, someone asked me if Guero Loco was famous because he saw how excited I was to get a picture with him. I told him that I was a big fan and that I was really looking forward to seeing Guero perform. If you don’t know who Guero Loco is, I’m sorry to break it to you but you have been deprived. He’s not only an amazing artist, but he’s very intelligent, very caring, and very inspirational. He teaches you the importance of loving yourself and he gives young DREAMers the confidence to say that they are undocumented, unafraid, unapologetic, and unashamed. It’s obvious that Guero is not only a great musician, but also a great friend. He loves to help in whatever way he can. When he learns of a DREAMer facing deportation, he rallies up people to call the ICE and try to help. He brings DREAMers together, and by doing this he brings the community together. If we stand for nothing, we fall for anything but if we stand together, we can’t fall.

More from Guero Loco:

DREAM Act Song

Fanatica

My Pageant Speech- Education, Not Deportation

Every year, thousands of immigrants graduate high school with the hopes of furthering their education. Every year, thousands of immigrants are unable to go to college because they are undocumented. Each of those immigrants has a dream.

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My Pageant Experience- I’m Going to Disneyland

I have been MIA for way too long; I’m sorry about that. I’ve started a few drafts but I haven’t gotten around to finishing them. I’ll do that soon but my goal for right now is to update all of my lovely readers on all that has been going on. Let’s start with the NAM pageant:

I was super excited as pageant weekend neared. Every bone in my body was geared towards practicing how to walk gracefully and making sure that I wouldn’t forget my speech (I didn’t by the way!). The closer it got to the start of the pageant, the more excited I became. I was so ready to do a great job! Friday June 17th was the first official day of the pageant. It was then that I attended the workshop for a last-minute information and practice session. It turned out to be a lot of fun! We practiced interviewing one another and our personal introductions. I’m a pretty shy person when I first meet someone so my goal was to take myself out of my comfort zone. When giving my personal introduction I tried to be confident, outgoing, and energetic. Some of the girls complimented me and said that I did a great job. That really made my day because it made me feel like I could have gone really far in the pageant. Later during the workshop, we played a game where we each had to get into groups and design a dress out of toilet paper. I loved talking to the girls in my group! We put a big bow on the side of the dress and a smaller bow around the neck. The dress was like a halter top and it was long and flowy. We made a headband and a bracelet out of the toilet paper as well because we didn’t want our tp dress to be like the other girls’ (But some of them added accessories after seeing ours). All of the dresses were different and unique to each girl’s personality. One was even like the Statue of Liberty, flames and all! After all of the dresses were finished, we had to model in them and walk the ‘runway’. In short, my first day at the pageant was a blast!

There will be a lot of photos, my mom snapped away every 5 seconds!

After experiencing day 1, I couldn’t wait for day 2. I could hardly sleep because I kept imagining the whole day! The part that I looked forward to the most was the spokesmodel competition. I was giving 1 1/2 minute speech about the DREAM Act. Surprising enough, I wasn’t nervous at all! I was actually really excited to be speaking about something that I felt so passionately about. What set my speech apart from the others was that mine wasn’t about my dreams (as that was the theme of this year’s pageant), but rather the dreams of others. I had a message that I wanted to get out and I didn’t care who was watching. Maybe it was the conviction in my voice that moved the judges, but my speech was good enough to make it to the top 5. After giving it, my family ran to me and hugged me saying what a great job I had done. I had managed to not mess up a single time. It was exactly as I had practiced it! I turned my head and noticed that a woman had been waiting to talk to me. She told me that my speech was fantastic and that she loved it. She said that mine was the best one! You all have no idea how much that meant to me! I was glowing the rest of the day because I knew that I had gotten my message out to at least one person. This woman was very nice and she always smiled at me and gave me bits and pieces of advice, which really came in handy. My grandmother told me that my speech was just in time because the day before I gave it President Obama had just issued an executive order for DREAMers. I told my sister that if the DREAM Act had been passed instead of that executive order, I would have had to rewrite my whole speech in a day!

The only part that I was pretty anxious about was the interview portion. I admit, I hadn’t really practiced it because I wanted all of my answers to be genuine, not rehearsed. You get more from a person when they don’t know that it’s coming. While I was waiting for my turn to be interviewed, I was trying to stay calm and relaxed. There were eight judges and I had to go from table to table and be interviewed by each one for just under one minute. Those eight minutes went by really fast! It was easy to be myself with them and I wasn’t nervous at all once I stepped foot into the room. They were all very nice and they smiled and laughed at me (I guess I’m funnier than I thought lol). I left the room feeling very confident, but I felt even better when I saw that Megan, last year’s queen, was waiting for me with a smile and a bag of goodies that she made for each contestant. Megan was very nice to talk to and she always helped me to feel better before each event. She changed her dress at least five times a day, and each dress was more beautiful than the one before it.

Megan Knauer being crowned.

After the interview competition, I had to prepare to give my personal introduction. I had 30 seconds to introduce myself to the judges and to the audience. That doesn’t sound too bad right? You do it everyday, but many of the girls were so nervous that they forgot what they were going to say- some even repeated their rehearsed lines. I tried to tell a few of them that it’s nothing more than introducing the amazing person that they are- that if they know themselves they could do it.

My personal introduction, “My name is Sierra Wright and I’m from the home of Super Bowl XLVI, Indianapolis, Indiana! I hope to attend the University of Texas at Austin and one day become and immigration lawyer so that I can speak for those who have no voice and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. I am Sierra Wright. Thank you!

I felt amazing after day 2 and again, I absolutely couldn’t wait for the next day! I couldn’t believe that there was only one competition left- the formal wear competition. Now, I have the grace of a pregnant woman in 8 inch stilettos (-_- yeah…that’s not good) so I worked really hard to make sure that I would be ready for the formal wear competition. I was really worried after that because I hadn’t done as well as I hoped I would and it was really bothering me but DA DA DA DUMMMM, that really nice woman from day 2 came to save the day. She showed me her pearly whites and told me that I did great and that I amaze her with every event. She said that she loved watching me and that I was doing an excellent job. After speaking with her, I was no longer worried! I was just being hard on myself for no reason at all. My grandfather was my escort and we looked pretty darn good!

All that was left after the formal wear competition was the pageant finale- where each contestant came together to dance to Party Rock Anthem by LMFAO. While we were preparing to dance, one of the contestants came and whispered to me,”Between you and me, I think you’re going to win. Everytime I see you I just think, ‘Wow, she’s going to win!”” I could feel my face just light up! I enjoyed doing the dance a lot! I’m not a very good dancer (and I was in the front row three times) nor do I have the best memory in the world so within the 4.5 hours that I had left to forget the dance between the time we rehearsed it and the time we performed, I was doing whatever I could to make sure I didn’t forget on stage. I was walking down the streets of downtown doing the dance moves. I danced on the escalators, I danced in the mall, I danced in the lobby, I was dancing all over! But all of that dancing really came in handy when it was time to get on stage. I didn’t forget a thing (Whoo *wipes off sweat*)! After the performance, I had to rush and change from my pageant production number outfit to my spokesmodel outfit to give my speech one last time, and then again to my dress and I had 30 minutes to change three times.

After walking across the stage one last time, it was time for the awards ceremony. Each contestant automatically received a trophy for being a state finalist, but there were several other individual trophies awarded as well. I was awarded a trophy for being 4th runner-up in the spokesmodel competition, qualifying me for nationals, and a trophy for outstanding program participation. My feet were killing me and as much as I wanted to be there, I just wanted to sit down, relax, and kick off my heels. Although I practiced walking gracefully in my heels, I hadn’t practiced standing in them in pretty feet (with the heel of one foot touching the middle of the other foot to form a V) for 30 minutes. I suddenly felt as if I had to vomit. I didn’t want to puke all over the judges (gross, I know) but I couldn’t run off of the stage either. I tried as hard as I could to hold it in but I couldn’t help but gag. Oh no……….that’s when I began to worry. I didn’t know why I had suddenly felt so sick. It wasn’t nervous jitters because I was actually really excited, but for some reason it was becoming unbearable. The feeling of having to vomit surpassed, only to be followed by extreme lightheadedness. I felt like I could barely stand and like I was going to pass out. I felt it coming…….but I tried as hard as I could to hide what was going on. I got super hot to the point where I was sweating, and then super cold to the point that I was shivering. To my astonishment, my name and number were called because I had won something, although I wasn’t sure what it was (I was to focused on trying not to faint). I received my rose and politely walked off of the stage. I really wasn’t sure if I was supposed to exit the stage or not, but I had to get out of there. One of last year’s queens rushed to me asking me what was wrong and I told her that I thought I was about to pass out. One of the choreographers then ran to me and had me sit down while the queen brought me 3 cups of cold water. They had me put my head in my lap until the feeling passed. Everyone backstage was really worried about me, and in some weird way, I was relieved to see that they actually cared so much about my well-being. As they were discussing what should be done, I heard them say that I was in the top 15 and that I could have actually taken home the title! They didn’t want me to go back on stage because I was still feeling a bit down but I had been waiting for that moment for so long! I wasn’t about to let anything stop me. I went back on stage and I smiled, breathing deeply so I wouldn’t collapse and trying to hide that I felt ill. I anxiously awaited for the results of this year’s pageant queen. I waited to hear the emcee say the number 87, Sierra Wright, as she called the 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st runner-ups. I thought, “If my name hasn’t been called, it’s probably because I’ve gotten something bigger.” Finally, it was time for the queen to be revealed. Please say number 87!

And the winner is…..contestant number eighty……..(YES! IS IT ME?!?!?!?!)!

And…..she stopped at 80. So I didn’t win. I wasn’t queen nor was I in the queen’s court, but I got something so much better than a trophy and a title. Actually, I got a few things:

  1. I was no longer nervous to speak in front of large crowds.
  2. I learned to take myself out of my comfort zone.
  3. I could finally say that I had made it so far.
  4. I made a lot of new friends.
  5. I spread the word about the DREAM Act.
  6. I can now walk with grace (Huge plus!).
  7. I’m more ready than ever for next year!

Randy Pausch said it best, “Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.” That is probably the truest advice that I have ever heard. My pageant experience has made me better than ever! Thank you NAM!