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Latino Thought Makers Host Cheech Marin

Cheech Marin Talks Life and Career at Cal State LA

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Latino Thought Makers Host Cheech Marin

Cheech Marin (left) with host Rick Najera (right)

Cheech Marin (left) with host Rick Najera (right)

J. Aaron Delgado

Cheech Marin (left) with host Rick Najera (right)

J. Aaron Delgado

J. Aaron Delgado

Cheech Marin (left) with host Rick Najera (right)

J. Aaron Delgado, Photo Editor

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Cal State LA is a campus that is welcoming of diverse students who come from different walks of life. Whether it be alumni or students, those who have been given an opportunity by Cal State LA to succeed, often give back to the campus by inviting guest speakers to enlighten youthful minds.

On Monday April 17, Cal State LA & Latino Thought Makers welcomed famed actor, musician, and humanitarian Richard “Cheech” Marin for a conversation in front of guests in the Luckman theater which was hosted by Rick Najera.

Latino Thought Makers at Cal State LA is sponsored by the College of Arts & Letters on Campus with Rick Najera, who is an award winning screenwriter, director, actor, and national speaker who was featured in the “Top 12 in Diversity” by the L.A. Times and “100 Most Influential in America” by Hispanic Business.

Host of Latino Thought Makers Rick Najera envisioned the live series to showcase the success of many Latinos in the media as well as an inside look into their lives. “I really felt that Latinos were the solution, not the problem,” Najera said. “We need to start showing Latinos who we are and the best way to do this is telling their own stories.”

Najera further reinforces his statement by bringing up the topic of the media antagonizing Latinos which he feels is untrue and additionally tells the narrative that Latinos are the problem – when really they are not.

Despite there being around 2 million undocumented people in California, Najera further supports that the state is the 8th largest economy in the world, which he believes that the undocumented have helped contribute to this work. “Latino Thought Makers is about building bridges between us [Latinos] and the audience” Najera said.

Rick has interviewed many celebrities on Latino Thought Makers such as Edward James Olmos, who is a Cal State LA alumnus, Luis Guzman, and Myrka Dellanos. Having worked with him before on the play “Latinologues”, Najera wanted to shine a light and celebrate the life of Cheech Marin, who is very known for his acting roles in “Cheech and Chong”, at Cal State LA’s Luckman Theater.

This is not Cheech’s first visit to Cal State LA as he appeared in Fall Semester 2017 for artist and master printmaker Richard Duardo’s gallery featured in the Fine Arts Gallery. Before stepping onto the stage and learning about the legendary Latino himself, President William Covino and Dr. Rennie B. Schoepflin, Dean from the College of Arts & Letters, welcomed Rick Najera, Cheech Marin, and the audience to Cal State LA.

Once the conversation started, it was all laughs with Cheech and Rick as they discussed the birth of an icon. Cheech Marin was born in South Central Los Angeles until he met Tommy Chong, his partner in the comedy duo, in Vancouver as a political refugee. It was until they migrated back to Los Angeles when their album in the entertainment industry went gold.

Marin and Chong were nominated for four Grammy awards and won a Grammy award in 1973 for Best Comedy Recording in their album titled Los Cochinos. Though Cheech mentioned that the journey was not so simple, the duo had to jump from location to location to get gigs; certain venues offered good pay while others offered them exposure for their work.

As the film “Born in East LA” reaches its 30th anniversary this year, Cheech feels that the film is much more relevant now than it was before due to the situation with Hispanics and the political climate regarding immigration, undocumented citizens, deportation, or anyone affected by any of the current events happening.

Marin urges those who are able to participate in elections and voting opportunities to not let those opportunities go. “If we fall asleep and we don’t participate in this system or we don’t vote then anything can happen,” Marin said “Greed, egotism, and hate can come into our system.”

Rick Najera adds onto Cheech’s response by referring to a study by Harvard which found that the meaning of life is loving people and relationships. “If you have good relationships with each other, you will last longer, live longer and life will be much better,” Najera said “We need that sense of community”

Najera then turns the question to Cheech by asking him what his meaning of life is and what he looks back on throughout his journey. Marin answered with helping others, as he’s seen how many people have been left homeless and adds we need to be the people to initiate the help, ultimately meaning living in solidarity with each other rather than against each other.

“If we help the situation then that situation gets better,” Marin responded.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Latino Thought Makers Host Cheech Marin”

  1. Fernando Duran on April 26th, 2017 10:36 am

    Beautiful night! I cannot wait for the next one! Thank tou Rick and the team at Latino Thought Makers for shinning a spotlight on our latino keasders and influentials.

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