“Even if you don’t speak the language, you are still part of the community. Don’t let anyone ever take that away from you,” Curly Velasquez, Buzzfeed and Pero Like Latinx YouTuber, said in front of a sold-out crowd at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) on Wednesday, Sept. 19 in the Black Box Cabaret.
Velasquez spoke about what it is like to be a part of the Latinx community, along with the LGBTQ+ community and his experiences working in the media industry. He broke up his discussion by explaining the different forms of content that Pero Like, a YouTube channel owned and operated by Latinx Buzzfeed employees, uploads to YouTube, “Language content, this always and forever hits. You guys love our language content.”
Velasquez explained that the reason we, as viewers, love their language content is because we can relate and see ourselves in their videos. This then leads viewers to share their content with their family and friends because we feel that we are represented in their video.
“We were afraid to touch political content at first, but now we feel that we have a responsibility, with the current political state, to address what is going on. We have a voice here and what’s the point of having a platform if you don’t use that voice?” Velasquez called out other YouTubers by saying that it is shameful that they continue to post videos and content without addressing the terrible things that are happening in America, such as mass shootings and other tragedies.
Velasquez spoke about the importance of Latinx people speaking out against the injustices in America against the Latinx community.
He shared a video from Pero Like called “Do not tell me to NOT speak Spanish,” featuring
Gadiel, someone that Velasquez repeatedly referenced as a brother and to whom he is close.
The video begins with the statement that “English is NOT the official language of the United States.” There is reference to a New York city lawyer who threatened to call Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on a family that was speaking Spanish in a restaurant. Gadiel explains that in his time serving the United States in the Navy, he experienced the same injustices of people telling him that he wasn’t allowed to speak Spanish.
Velasquez commented on the injustices once again to the crowd saying, “We need to stick together and support each other. Support Latinx business because if we don’t support each other who will?” He went on to share exclusive information about Latinx production companies in the United States that was available only to those who attended the event.
“When you shine and you’re Latinx, you shine for all of us.” Velasquez ended the night with a question and answer session with the audience where students asked about his fashion influences, his life as an LGBT+ and Latinx YouTuber, and the tensions regarding influencers leaving Buzzfeed. Velasquez offered a meet and greet with students and stayed until he met everyone that was in line.