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Portraits in Color

The Worldwide Appeal of Lowrider Culture

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Historians trace lowrider culture back to the early 30’s and 40’s as an extension of pachuco culture.  If you’re unfamiliar with pachuco culture, check out Edward James Olmos in Zoot Suit.  Yes, he was in other movies beyond Stand and Deliver! Some historians trace its origins to the El Paso/Juarez region, while others say it originated in the barrios of East LA.  We’ll leave that debate to the Tejanos and the East Los crowd.  Post World War II, many ex-military men from the southwest migrated to Los Angeles to work in aircraft factories, bringing along their passion for customized rides.  By the 60’s, lowriders became identified with the Chicano movement, as these cars began to symbolize a proud cultural identity that still exists today. 

Photo: Jeffrey Hertz

These cars are an artistic expression of familia, culture and religion.  They glow with brilliant colors, religious symbols, and wired rims. You might see the sparks fly from their bodies scraping the pavement as they creep down the street “low and slow” or hear the squeaks of the hydraulics as they bounce from side-to-side.  

Lowrider exhibit Albuquerque International Sunport

Lowrider culture has had significant influence in the worlds of music, fashion, and art.  Back in the 70’s, you could hear War’s Chicano Rock anthem Lowrider pulsating from car speakers on downtown streets from Burque to LA.  The marriage between car culture and music re-emerged in the 90’s with videos featuring South Central LA rappers Eazy E and Dr. Dre.  Remember the G-thang video?  Lowrider influenced fashion even made its way into mainstream pop music.  Do you remember Gwen Stefani rocking the chola look in her early No Doubt days?  

Lowriders as an expression of mobile art can be found in prominent art galleries, in national museums like the Smithsonian, and adorning international avenues from Japan to Australia. Facebook groups highlighting Lowrider Culture have six-figure followings and towns, like Española, NM have branded themselves the Lowrider Capital of the World.   

I think it’s safe to say, the culture has officially moved from the underground to the mainstream.

Dr. Frank recently had the opportunity to catch up with two OGs from Duke’s Car ClubFrank Chavez and Albert Muniz to learn more about lowrider culture and its worldwide appeal.

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Portraits in Color

Achieving Equity in the Workplace

Only 1% of Fortune 500 companies have a Black CEO. Aside from the huge racial gaps in leadership positions, even getting a job for people of color can be a huge challenge. For example, studies have found that when Native Americans are similar to whites in terms of factors such as age, sex, education level, marital status, and state of residence, their odds of being employed are 31 percent lower than those of whites.

Dr. Frank recently had the opportunity to speak with Kara Bobroff, Founder of the Native American Community Academy and NACA Inspired Schools Network, Josue Olivares, Executive Director of the Rio Grande Community Development Corporation, and Ken Carson, Owner of Nexus Brewery to explore issues of equity in the workplace and how they approach building institutions with equity at the center. 

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Portraits in Color

#MaskUp: Are Masks Effective in Mitigating the Spread of COVID-19?

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Medical mask wearing has a long history that can be traced back as far as the 17th century. During the Flu Pandemic of 1918, cities around the world passed mandatory mask-wearing orders to help prevent spread and protect doctors and nurses from contagious patients. Historians suggest that Americans widely embraced mask wearing as an “emblem of public spiritedness and discipline.” Even our pop culture icons like Batman and the Lone Ranger were celebrated mask wearers…..OK, that’s a bit of a stretch, but you get the point.

Dr. Jennifer Phillips, UNM School of Family and Community Medicine

So, how did wearing a mask during the COVID-19 pandemic become so controversial? Ok, I think we know the reason for this too. So, maybe the better question is: what does the science tell us about wearing a mask? 

In this episode, Dr. Jennifer Phillips from the UNM School of Family and Community Medicine and Bridget Llanes from Bernalillo County Community Health Council join Dr. Frank to discuss the importance of wearing a mask, the types of masks that are most effective in preventing spread, how often you should clean your mask, and most importantly, what do scientists who study this have to say about wearing a mask to mitigate the spread of COVID-19?