10.30.15

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS

i tend to be an in the moment person, someone who thinks about what’s going on today and can sometimes forget to look back at the past and the things and people before me that helped shape me into who i am today. that’s one of the reasons that i love celebrating Dia De Los Muertos. originally celebrated in mexico this occasion is acknowledged throughout the americas today and offers us the opportunity to celebrate the lives of those we love who have gone before us.

we planned this celebration with Veuve Clicquot who believes that in order to toast to the future we must first honor our past. it turned out to be such a special and colorful day. we sourced all of our props from Olvera street here in los angeles, if you’ve never been it’s a Mexican market place that is considered the birthplace of los angeles.

SEE THE WHOLE POST AFTER THE JUMP…

amy painted the guest’s hands using body paint and make up pencils, and i loved the way they turned out, colorful and reminiscent of the traditional face painting  of day of the dead. for decor, kristen created the most stunning colorful floral arrangements using peonies, marigolds, pineapple and dahlias. we filled the table with candles, hung papel picado, placed calavera catrina around and natalie  built a shrine for the top of the table to honor her grandmother who passed away this year.

for food, we served vegetarian tacos, guacamole, churros con chocolate, grilled corn, tamales, fundido, tortilla chips and a trio of salsa. it was the perfect set up and paired well with the bubbly champagne. if you’re hosting your own Dia party we’ve included a few entertaining tips below.

for the veggie tacos we sliced bell peppers and onions and sautéed them lightly in a pan, sprinkled with salt and a squeeze of lime. we created a slight variation on traditional guacamole by adding in pomegranate seeds, red onion, lime and sea salt. the seeds added an extra crunch and they also have such a pretty color.

we purchased the churros from our local Mexican market and served them con chocolate. here is the recipe we used for that!

Ingredients:
• 2 packets of hot chocolate
• 2 cups of whole milk
• 1/2 cup corn flour
• 3 tablespoons sugar
• 2 cinnamon sticks

Hi there! This is Ivan. When I was a kid, having champurrado (Mexican hot chocolate) was a real treat in the fall and winter. My mom would usually start making it the week of Halloween when she knew we would be out in the cold. It’s a thick drink that’s drank slowly or can be dipped with churros if you like.  If available in your market, there is a version of Mexican hot chocolate that comes concentrated in tablets, but two packets of hot chocolate is also a great substitute. My mom was thrilled when she knew I would be making her recipe for this celebration and taught me her little tricks to make it just right.

Start by mixing 2 cups of whole milk, 3 tablespoons of sugar and 2 cinnamon sticks with one tablet of chocolate or the 2 packets in a medium pan on medium to low heat (using a whisk to blend together). Continue to leave ingredients in a simmer for about 5 minutes. In a measuring cup, blend 1/2 cup of corn flour with 1 cup of water. Using a whisk to get rid of all the clumps. Then proceed to add the corn flour mixture into the pot and continue to stir for another 5 to 8 minutes, or until the drink thickens.

queso fundido

Ingredients:
• 14 oz Oaxaca cheese shredded
• 1 chorizo sausage

Queso fundido makes an amazing appetizer served with chips. Plus it’s so simple to make! Start by taking the casing off the chorizo and placing it on a small iron skillet on medium to high heat. Using a wooden spoon start breaking it up as it begins to cook. Continue to move the chorizo around and scrapping the bottom of the skillet for another 3-5 minutes or until the chorizo is slightly browned. The best thing is now you can find Oaxaca cheese grated in most grocery stores (it’s very similar in taste to mozzarella). Spread the cheese evenly and continue to stir the cheese with the chorizo as it melts on the skillet. Top with cilantro and serve immediately with chips.

florals by: moon canyon
hand painting by: amy lipnis

photos by: ivan solis

(this post was created in collaboration with Veuve Clicquot, all opinions are my own)

69 COMMENTS

Add your own

    Melanie says:

    How gorgeous!!! When of the things I love about the day of dead celebrations are the colors!!! You’ve captured it beautifully! I love how you decroated your hands too! Usually it’s always the face…this is different! =)

    Amanda says:

    Having a major guacamole craving over here. Such a great touch with the pomegranate!

    fabi says:

    This came together so beautifully! Love it all! Have a happy halloween 🙂

    cla says:

    c’mon really?
    i kind of expect a lot better then this

    Maria says:

    Oh boy. This is certainly a beautiful spread, but Dia De Los Muertos is a deeply sacred, deeply religious observance for us Mexicans. Appropriating it to promote a brand of champagne is, well … wrong and very, very offensive. It’s great that you’re inspired by other cultures, but that doesn’t mean that one of our most important spiritual traditions, that links us with our family and ancestors, should be used for sponsorship.

    Yas says:

    Agreed, Maria. The post is beautiful, but appropriating another culture, especially for sponsorship, is in no way okay. Even if you are inspired or feel you are honoring a culture, it’s incredibly offensive and disrespectful.

    Stephanie says:

    How fun! Love this the food looks delish!

    x
    StephC

    http://sstephcc.blogspot.com/

    Jamie says:

    I have to agree. My father moved to the United States from Mexico and actually died on Dia de Los Muertos some years ago. For me, it’s always a special occasion to commune with his spirit, my family and that part of my culture. It’s a beautiful (religious) holiday and one of Mexico’s most important, intimate ones. Yes, it’s beautiful and has joyous parts, and if you’re inspired by it, great! That said, it IS a religious holiday (not just Catholic but as part of our indigenous heritage) – not one that should be used in a sponsorship!

    Jessie says:

    I agree with the people above. I feel that this is pretty distasteful, appropriating a religious Mexican tradition to try to market a French champagne house. I can certainly appreciate drawing inspiration from other traditions, but I don’t feel like this post honors Dia de Los Muertos. The rich heritage of the tradition is totally eclipsed by the sponsorship aspect of this post, and it’s really disappointing.

    bri says:

    thank you for all of your comments, good and bad. as far as the concern for us not honoring your traditions, i understand. to be clear, ivan and his family are mexican and they helped us put this whole thing together. this was not meant to be offensive in any way, and i am very sorry if you felt that way. we really appreciate your feedback, it brings to our attention that celebrating each other’s cultures can be complicated and we do our best to do it with love and sensitivity. we have a very diverse team here at designlovefest, and this brings up a good topic of discussion around our office. we called upon ivan who is of mexican decent to help guide us through our celebration. thanks for hearing me out.
    lots of love,
    bri

    Maria says:

    Sorry love – one person does not represent an entire culture!

    Maria says:

    The apology itself (sorry if you were offended) comes across as tone deaf to all of our concerns. Best of luck to you with your blog and all of your future ventures – I won’t be reading anymore, but have enjoyed it!

    Nicola says:

    Baby girl: tacos, churros and Mexican hot chocolate really isn’t the most authentic Dia De Los Muertos menu. All of the symbols, while lovely in pictures, have religious and historic undertones. This year, many Dia De Los Muertos celebrations (both in Mexico and around the United States) are being used to honor the souls of innocent victims who have been slain in the epidemic of gang/drug violence. You may have met well, but please really take some time to think about that.

    Tamara says:

    Damn it…the painted hands are genius!

    Catherine says:

    Beautiful. The flowers are spectacular. I’m not offended one bit. And I won’t be offended at any Christmas or Easter “sponsorship” postings either. xo

    Allison says:

    You take a beautiful Mexican tradition, and use it in a sponsored post? Girl really? Then you use the tired “but I have a (insert non white race here) friend and they said it was okay” excuse. This is really disappointing.

    Katerina says:

    Catherine – that’s a sweet sentiment, but it’s much more complicated than that. There are some deeply neocolonial undertones here, and beyond that it’s basically apples and oranges. Christmas and Easter have a very different cultural meaning in the United States- yes they are important religious holidays to some people, but it’s generally accepted as a set of (let’s largely secular) cultural traditions – that nearly every single American takes part in to some extent or another (regardless of faith or lack thereof). And let’s face it – it’s accepted here that they’re very commercial. Mexico is far more religious as a whole and spirituality (culled from a unique meeting of European Catholicism and both indigenous and African traditions) permeates every facet of life (and per all of these traditions really, many physical objects – including some seen here – have special spiritual significance). For many, Dia de los Muertos is the most important spiritual holiday of the year (akin to say, Eid al Fitr for those who practice Islam) – and it is just that – spiritual. In Mexico, religion is celebrated with a sense of art, creativity and frequently joy. I get why it’s appealing (and honestly, instagram-friendly). That doesn’t change the fact that it is profoundly intimate and about the blessed reunion of kindred souls. You might be offended if say, Easter were appropriated by a group who didn’t share that tradition at all. But even if you were not, it doesn’t matter. There are very different historical and sociocultural circumstances at play. And you do not get to dictate when people of a certain group are offended. It would be *slightly different if this blog were simply taking inspiration from it, but capitalizing on another culture’s most sacred traditions is another story.

    Elle says:

    This is one of the worst cases of cultural appropriation I’ve ever seen, and your response to informed, justified comments here is highly ignorant and uneducated. I suggest opening a history book instead of a bottle of sponsored champagne. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    victoria says:

    having been in the studio working & watching while bri, ivan, natalie, amy & joanie worked so hard on this post, i can assure you there was no mockery, no disrespect displayed or intended. i think ivan’s family recipes were being recreated, and i didn’t get the sense anyone meant anything but the best intentions here. things can easily be misconstrued on the internet but i think in this case you can see that bri and her team meant no ill will, or any disrespect. she’s explained that, ivan has explained that so i think it’s time to move on to bigger issues. i hope you concerned here are as vehement with your politics and are letting your government representatives know what bothers you about the world as much as you’re able to vocalize here. that might really have some substance and good in the bigger picture.

    Elle says:

    @ Victoria: Unfortunately there aren’t any government representatives to address the ongoing problem of cultural appropriation by bloggers to earn a quick buck. Thanks for your concern, though!

    victoria says:

    @elle exactly my point – it’s such a ridiculous waste of time and if you’ll be honest, it’s just mean-spirited. contact your government representatives about real problems in the world, like health care, education, and poverty in the country instead of spending all your time visiting and revisting this site for updated comments. because that’s exactly what you’ve been doing.

    Julia S. says:

    @Victoria– I love when someone lectures dissenters from a pedestal of white privilege because we dared to voice our problem with blatant sponsored cultural appropriation. It’s really rich.

    And you will be happy to know that I do contact my government representatives “about real problems in the world”– on a regular basis, in fact, and often during my off time from working and volunteering.

    Rebecca says:

    Bri (and now Victoria),

    I considered myself an engaged reader of your respective blogs, but your approaches to this sacred occasion — and responses to the criticism — have completely turned me off from reading your content and supporting your sponsors from here on out.

    Victoria, your dismissive attitude of our criticisms is completely disrespectful. How can you assume that these commenters, including myself, do not advocate for the marginalized in our respective communities and fight for causes much greater than this? How dare you accuse any of us of “wasting our time” by voicing our dissent when we see elements of our culture commoditized and distilled down to only its “pretty” elements, while disregarding its sanctity and spiritualism. You know what is mean-spirited? The long history of (and continued) discrimination and marginalization of Chicano/a voices by people who allow privilege to get in the way of understanding.

    While I’m sure this sponsorship deal “didn’t mean any harm,” the fact of the matter is that — regardless of the intent — it did.

    Jamie says:

    @Victoria – The marginalization, discrimination and ignorance that minority groups face in the US doesn’t stem primarily from the legal system (there are plenty of laws in place that purport to provide equal protection and rights). The fact that you are so dismissive of legitimate voices of dissent from the culture you have chosen to appropriate is well, part of the problem – especially since most of the comments above seem to be respectful and articulate. Ignorance of its significance is one thing before you hit publish. The refusal to consider alternative viewpoints and dismiss those as a waste of time is another – and insulting. I’m sure you didn’t think this post was a waste of time when your studio, as you said, poured their time and energy into it. I have to agree with Rebecca above, particularly as a Latina, that I’m turned off from reading this usually great blog based on the responses.

    victoria says:

    it is not my style nor my desire to aggravate this conversation. but i’d like to apologize if i seemed disrespectful and say that i just don’t think we’re seeing eye to eye on the larger picture here and then i’m going to stop. so many of your concerns are my own, which is why i was surprised at the reaction to this post, especially knowing firsthand that this post came from a place of love, beauty, and creativity at heart. there was nothing ill-willed about it. i do very much respect your opinions, and truthfully i probably errored on the side of being curt in defense of someone i know truthfully meant no harm, and anything but.

    Mr Smart says:

    Whats wrong with cultural appropriation?

    Yas says:

    Victoria – It is so unbelievably dismissive to say that commenters hurt and offended by a post that commodified a deeply sacred holiday are mean-spirited and to insinuate that none of us work to combat these types of things in our daily lives. As many of us have echoed, It doesn’t matter that the post came from a place of “love and beauty” and frankly, the fact that you’ve painted us to be some aggressive group out to trash DLF proves that you certainly aren’t coming from a loving or open place at all. It’s great that you’re trying to defend your friend, but your comments made this whole thing a lot worse.

    Bri – Thanks for reading our concerns. That being said, an apology that starts along the lines of “i’d like to apologize IF i offended” isn’t a real apology and is entirely insincere. You did something wrong, and despite the fact that you didn’t mean to, and you should own that. You justifying it by saying that Ivan is Mexican is basically the “It’s okay, I have a black friend” argument. You are right, cultural appropriation is a deeply complicated issue and I really hope that you’ll take the time to learn more about this on your own. The bottom line is that you made thousands of dollars off another culture’s traditions and people have the right to be mad.

    Ellie says:

    @ Victoria and Bri – The intention doesn’t really erase the impact (the road to hell is paved with good intentions as they say). I can think of countless examples (both historical and contemporary) of cringe-worthy “homages” to other cultures and ethnicities that come don’t come from a place of ill-will, but are still deeply hurtful and offensive (dating back to colonialism and also the earliest stages of our country’s history of racial inequality, but still going strong today). It would have been great if you had done more comprehensive research into Dia De Los Muertos beyond its swoony, most photogenic elements (but still really, churros?). Ok, that didn’t really happen and you published something that several Mexicans (among others) have politely told you was offensive. They explained why, respectfully offering insight into the culture that you have chosen to capitalize on. Instead of respectfully hearing them out and using this as an opportunity to learn more and engage in a meaningful conversation, you have flippantly dismissed them as “bad” and “nasty” (ah, the angry minority dismissal) and assumed the passive-agressive (actually it comes across as more aggressive than not) “sorry that you’re offended” stance. Since neither of you have experienced what it means to be a person of color in the United States, and what constant, day to day marginalization, stereotypes (however loving) and dismissal is like or can do to one’s psyche (in addition to opportunities, quality of life, etc.), I hope that you’ll at least start to open your eyes more to that experience (there are any number of books and articles to start with). I’m really disappointed in this blog. Also, the “creativity” excuse is a bit tired Victoria. At the end of the day, this is a post that clearly involves talent and hard-work, but at the end of the day it’s a sponsored post to market bubbly wine.

    Jackie says:

    It is truly a beautiful post, it inspired me to learn more about the Dia de los Muertos. Having said that, maybe it would be more sensitive to avoid doing sponsored posts using another culture tradition. Not that you can not celebrate ( respectfully) it with your friends, but at least not making money from it wouldn’t be distasteful ( maybe if this post was going to do something for charity to help minorities would be a good way to show that you understand that you are privileged and you should be using this for your own profit). Maybe, as an idea for a post, you could address how Cultural Appropriation is never the most creative idea someone can have, and then give ideas of things we can do instead.

    Again, the visuals you created were beautiful, and I will keep coming back to your blog, specially to see if you can find a way to make it up for the people who were offended by this post. I still love your blog, and I really want to see you use this post as a learning experience to be more sensitive to other peoples traditions. <3

    All the best wishes, Jackie

    Britt says:

    Agree fully with Jackie. Love the idea of celebrating holidays outside your culture but doing it this way is in really bad taste. I’ll be be peacing out on this blog.

    Morgan Denno says:

    I have to agree with the commenters on this post. I believe this religious holiday could’ve been handled in a better way, with a better response to readers and with a better partnership. The photos are beautiful, but they deeply offend a very spiritual and respect-based culture. I think this is a good reminder to be cognizant of cultures that aren’t our own!

    Mr Smart says:

    Don’t listen to the tumblr bores, they have nothing better to do. They are just pretending to be offended.

    Mr Smart says:

    If you are a Spanish Mexican or Latin and celebrating Day Of The Dead you are also culturally appropriating the original MesoAmerican culture. In the early 21st century in northern Mexico, Día de Muertos is observed because the Mexican government made it a national holiday by its educational policies from the 1960s and has tried to use it as a unifying national tradition in the north of the country.

    I hope to see outraged Aztecs spamming this page too…

    Yo a la verga says:

    First of all excuse my spelling for my first language is Spanish. Well this is just ridiculous; how dare you appropiate a really important spiritual and religious celebration for us, the Mexicans? Did you research about the spirituality of the objects used in this celebration? Do you really care about it, or just think it is pretty? Did you know that we are people that deserve to be respected as well our traditions? And the worst of this post is not that it is sponsored by a French champagne house, but the fact that you don’t want to see the wrong you did; you are dismissing the dissent of an entire country/culture; you want to look like you are the victims of this. You are the mean-spirited and you are wasting your time. Sincerely this is really hurtful, and really wish you could see the wrong you did and honestly apologize for it. If you don’t believe me how ridiculous this is, let me put you an example: is like you whites celebrated an Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, Japanese, or any other cultural festivity that isn’t yours. I wish you well, but will not longer read your blog. Thank you for your time. Good night

    Mr Smart says:

    What a fake comment above. This person has despite not being an english speaker has managed to be up to speed with all the buzz words of the english sjw tradition. And Yo a la verga means to suck a dick. How rude. The Spanish mexicans appropriated the holiday in the first place long after they trampled over the original inhabitants.

    Paola says:

    Day of death is one of the most important holidays also here in Europe. I really love the way Mexican celebrate it, its not as sad as here. I can’t understand why some writers are so offended by this post? Ok, the champagne wasn’t the best decision I admit. But she writes “it offers us the oportunity to celebrate the ones we loved and have gone before us”. The important meaning is there. I can’t see she is making fun of your tradition? she’s honouring the beauty of the mexican colors, I can’t see nothing mean in it?
    For me this is an important day and helped me a lot in my grief after my parents death. So why can’t other cultures also benefit from this helpful and beautiful experience? For me it’s also unifying.
    Bri, you are a wonderful person, so inspiring, keep going on sharing so much beauties 🙂

    Katerina says:

    @Mr. Smart – You seem to be trolling here, but I’ll respond anyway against my better judgment.

    Part of the unique nature of Latin American identities (and there are multitudes) is the interplay between indigenous, African and European roots (which is far different than in North American identities). As with the United States and nearly every country in the world that was at one point colonized (e.g. most of them), there is a shameful history stemming from colonialism (and as in North America, European slavery). Many (probably most) Latin Americans are themselves a blend of these three groups now – and many countries uphold that racial blending as a point of pride (a rainbow state if you will – it’s a common political slogan and motto throughout Latin America). The past has happened (and much of it, tragic) and as a result, so many aspects of Latin American cultures – from food to design to religion and holidays to regional languages to literature – honor elements from indigenous, African and European traditions. While that sort of diversity and unity is a point of pride, there is of course, also constant mediation on what that really means and how that plays out in a sociopolitical sense today (which is why Latin America is the motherland of magical realism – it’s an important part of postcolonial literature and one that honors a host of different world views). For the record, there are a huge number of pre-Columbian indigenous groups in Mexico today (Nahuatl, Maya and Zapotec being the largest – not Aztec).

    Dia de Los Muertos existed in Mexico before Spanish colonization. Although there are now Spanish and Catholic elements to it, it incorporates a number of other traditions – just like nearly everything else in Latin America.

    @ Paola – I’m afraid that’s basic branding to appeal to the corner of the market.

    Jo says:

    I get that you might be feeling totally blindsided by these comments, when you had pure intentions from the start. Like others pointed out, though, that doesn’t mean that cultural appropriation didn’t happen here. I’m not Latina, but Asian, and recently read this article that helped open my eyes.

    Please take this as a learning opportunity to learn more about why this might have offended.

    https://ayadeleon.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/dear-white-peoplequeridos-gringos-you-want-our-culture-but-you-dont-want-us-stop-colonizing-the-day-of-the-dead/

    Mr Smart says:

    @katerina
    I don’t see what your comment has to do with the post being offensive. I already know about Latin American history thanks.

    Kim says:

    This post, your reactions to this post, as well as SF Girl By Bays comments to this post have completely turned me off both your blogs. I am a long time reader (5 years+) of both and will definitely not be returning. Pretty disgusted to be perfectly honest.

    Mr Smart says:

    The whole cultural appropriation argument is nothing but one huge non sequitur. There are myriad logical fallacies in the argument. If I may post but a few such fallacies.

    Some white people like latin culture.

    Some white people don’t care for latin culture.

    Therefore all white people should not participate in some form of latin culture.

    Or

    White person takes part in ethnic minority cultural practice.

    Said ethnic minority are oppressed by other whites.

    Therefore white person should not partake in minority cultural practice.

    Or

    X finds white persons partaking in minority cultural practice offensive.

    White person says a member of that minority does not find it offensive.

    X says that member is not representative of minority group despite trying to represent minority group themselves.

    And so on…

    Kim says:

    Also, instead of staying quiet, at the very least do some damage control and get rid of Mr Smarts disgusting, trolling comments. What a shitshow this post is.

    Mr Smart says:

    There is nothing disgusting about my comments.

    Mr Smart says:

    The problem with you sjws Is you think all this unverified unfalsifiable and unscientific garbage is beyond scrutiny, which is why you think you can go out in force and try and tear these women to shreds. Your phoney outrage doesn’t convince me, sorry.

    Katerina says:

    @Mr. Smart – I was responding specifically to your rant beginning with “If you are a Spanish Mexican or Latin and celebrating Day Of The Dead you are also culturally appropriating the original MesoAmerican culture.” How lovely of you to flippantly dismiss the perspective of a Latina though and presume that you know more.

    The issue, I think most people are taking, is not with an interest in the culture, but with the blatant capitalization on sacred/religious aspects of the culture. In fact, I think nearly every voice of dissent above, has politely explained why Dia De Los Muertos is a deeply spiritual part of Mexican culture(s). That in itself could be a deeply educational and mutually enriching dialogue for those with a genuine interest in another culture. The most troubling part of this post – again it seems nearly everyone on this thread agrees – has been the response to blatantly dismiss the Latin perspective (even aggressively). There is truly nothing about that sort of response that indicates any respect or genuine interest in that culture(s). Now what is the historical / sociological term for capitalizing financially on another culture/nation without respecting its people? Colonialism.

    Mr Smart says:

    I never said I knew more than you, just that I knew all the things that you posted about. And if it is your knowledge then it is not your perspective, so you are wrong on both counts.

    As for colonialism that is just not true. I can capitalise on anything without respecting the originator (which I have already pointed out is a very shaky notion indeed) yet in order to be oppressive, a key attribute of colonialism, I have to capitalise on something at the expense of the originator. If the western imperial powers had merely traded cultural practices with other parts of the world without understanding all the nuances of that culture, and had not also enslaved and murdered them, then colonialism would not have happened. To try and equate this photo with colonialism only shows your own dismissal of the true victims of colonialisation.

    Katerina says:

    @ Mr. Smart – You’re talking in circles. You were dismissing every Mexican commenter’s viewpoint by implying that Dia De Los Muertos – by nature of incorporating Spanish and Catholic elements, the holiday itself was a productive of colonization. I pointed out that as with any postcolonial region it is more complicated than that – that blended European, African and first nations identities are a part of everyday life everywhere in Latin America and that the holiday itself predated the Spanish colonization of Mexico.

    Secondly, I was referring to the entire basis of this post – that DLF is using another culture’s capital (here their cultural capital) for their own personal gain. That itself is a form of cultural colonization/a neocolonial mindset. It is alive and well, and the “true victims” of colonization aren’t just the ones who died at the hands of the Spanish in the 16th Century. Its legacy is alive and well and still deeply impacts postcolonial people in innumerable ways (from economics to culture to international policy to the everyday stereotypes, however mild, that people of color face every day). Honestly, the fact that you seem to imply that any voice of respectful dissent from Latin women when a white woman is speaking/using religious parts of the culture for financial gain is “tearing her apart” makes me dismiss anything further you have to say. Your original comments make it clear that you truly aren’t familiar with the Mexican cultural landscape today, despite your implied assumption that you know it all.

    Alma says:

    This is a complicated issue. And there’s a lot of emotion attached. I’ve read all of the comments and the links to other blog posts and then reread them all.

    But, I’m not understanding EXACTLY what part of the post is cultural appropriation–is it the sponsorship by a non-Mexican brand champagne? is it the images inspired by the Day of the Dead traditions in Mexico? is it the idea that maybe someone will buy champagne (which is not a Mexican product or company) and they are benefiting by the connection to the Mexican Day of the Dead imagery? is it that DLF is not a Mexican-American and she’s inspired by a holiday that is connected to Mexico and many other countries? is cultural appropriation the financial benefit from ideas/images/symbols from a culture not ones own? does one need to be Mexican to enjoy and be inspired artistically by Mexican culture?

    Help. I understand that there is a lot of hate and misunderstanding out there in American culture. I understand the frustration of always explaining to people who don’t get it. Can someone help me understand a little better even if my responses and questions are not perfect?

    laura says:

    @Alma – It is that DLF is appropriating sacred/spiritual components of Mexican culture – not out of genuine respect or interest – but for her own financial gain. And that the response has been dismissive of those who have expressed disapproval and their explanations of why.

    laura says:

    @Alma – Also. this isn’t an art project. This is a commercial. The brand is trying to seem hip to appear, and sold products, to a particular corner of the office. I’m not saying that commercials/advertisements can’t be creative, but the underlying purpose is financial gain.

    laura says:

    *appeal

    Mr Smart says:

    Katerina you are wrong again. You portray the celebration as a sort of syncretic practice evolving naturally over the centuries, when in fact it is almost as new to vast proportions of Mexicans as it is to white Americans. A quick google search will show this to be the case.

    I see you have quietly retracted your initial statement that what was going on was Colonisation itself and have decided to concede it as a ‘form of cultural colonisation’, which is an incredibly shaky notion as well as borderline nonsensical. This sort of fluffy hyperbole eventualy withers away when properly scrutinised.

    And you would dimiss anything I had to say anyway. I am not here to convince people who already think they are right but to offer a counter balance to the dominant narative of the thread.

    Katerina says:

    @Mr. Smart – I have no further responses to you, you arrogant, racist prick.

    Lindsay says:

    Here’s a good example of the right way to celebrate Dia De Los Muertos through art and creativity for those interested in learning more about the spirit of: http://remezcla.com/film/short-animated-film-dia-de-los-muertos/

    Jen says:

    I read this post when it first was published and it left a bad taste in my mouth.. so I returned today to see if it was just me feeling this way and I see that it isn’t!

    My reason for really having an opinion on this is that I’m a white kid who lived in Guadalajara for several years while studying. While there I experienced Dia de Los Muertos several times and celebrated with friends in their homes eating food and drinking cocoa and listening to their different stories. It is a unique and special holiday for Mexicans!

    That being said, living in LA may make inhabitants (Bri and crew) feel as though they have a very good understanding of Mexican culture, but that does not entitle them to this. Taking this holiday and spinning it into a sponsorship post is not appropriate… why not do Halloween? That’s a pretty generic holiday that is celebrated globally.

    Anne says:

    Sorry Ladies. Mr. Smart is right on. It’s gone too far and should have stayed in academia, but unfortunately because of the internet everyone considers themselves an expert on colonialism, post colonialism and cultural appropriation. Such harsh criticism of a person should require a solid foundation in facts, and in this case, historical ones. This is a good article if you’re curious to see how this cultural policing has gotten out of hand.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/08/21/to-the-new-culture-cops-everything-is-appropriation/

    Anne says:

    In fact I think this excerpt is speaking directly to this situation!

    “Welcome to the new war on cultural appropriation. At one time, such critiques were leveled against truly offensive art — work that trafficked in demeaning caricatures, such as blackface, 19th-century minstrel shows or ethnological expositions, which literally put indigenous people on display, often in cages. But these accusations have become a common attack against any artist or artwork that incorporates ideas from another culture, no matter how thoughtfully or positively. A work can reinvent the material or even serve as a tribute, but no matter. If artists dabble outside their own cultural experiences, they’ve committed a creative sin.”

    Cathy Young

    Jane says:

    Anne – it’s not any of your business to tell actual Mexicans what or what they can be offended be – when a part of their culture that they consider sacred – and a religious experience – is commodified for no purpose other than financial gain.

    Jane says:

    Of course I mean, what they can or cannot be offended by. Above the conversation veered off course when Mr. Smart chimed in (again a non-Latino trying to tell Latinos how to interpret their own culture) and tried to make the actual practice of Dia De Los Muertos offensive. The issue that nearly every single person pointed out was the commodification.

    Jane says:

    Lindsay’s link above is a good example of dabbling outside of one’s culture in a way that isn’t horribly disrespectful.

    Livia Kizli says:

    Uau! To me there’s nothing to be said about this post besides: So pretty!!! Please guys, just breath, open your hearts to beauty, love and colors, focus on the good and positive, choose to believe in good intentions and encourage creative work!!! Our world needs that, so much!
    Love you all, hope you have a great day! <3 <3 <3

    Chelsea says:

    Wow, this whole post and Victoria’s responses just scream “I’m an uneducated privileged white girl.”

    El Jefe says:

    No mamen!! Todos los que se dicen muy Mexicanos son una bola de pendejos!! Si supieran que los Mexicanos nos reímos de todo y no perdemos tiempo en las pendejadas de “cultural appropriation.” Si de verdad entiendes nuestra cultura estarías callado y emocionado con este post, ya que a todos nos da mucho gusto ver un blog así. Los Mexicanos no encanta ver que el Día de los Muertos sea celebrado como en este post. Y sin nos alcanzara para la champaña a todos aun mejor.

    If you do not understand Spanish I just said I agree with Mr. Smart and most of you Social Justice Warriors should get a life!!!

    ATT The Mexican

    Dolores says:

    I am Mexican. My family makes shrines every year and Dia de Los muertos has helped me tremendously in the grieving process of losing loved ones. i can’t speak for Bri to know whether or not she gets what was offensive about the post (the commodification) but I can tell you that her blog is pretty straightforward. She always works with brands. Probably always gets paid. And I would say that she probably wasn’t thinking of the deep ramifications of presenting this post. The post was really pretty and superficial. Most of DLF’s work is…it’s embarrassing to see other Mexicans act have such thin skin. If the holiday means something to YOU then honor it. This isn’t honoring it. Your time would be much better spent heckling the idiots on FOX who really are making statements about Latinos.

    Elizabeth says:

    Victoria’s/SFgirlbybay’s responses are the perfect example of white fragility: a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include outward display of emotions such as anger, fear and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence and leaving the stress-inducing situation

    For those who say, sure it’s a problem, but you shouldn’t waste your time taking Bri to task about it – would you say the same to someone pointing out a completely chauvinistic post that was offensive to all females? Would you shame commenters for expressing their offense, and tell them the only legitimate way to respond to sexism in the world would be to only read and comment on articles on the Lily Ledbetter act?

    This kind of subtle racism is pervasive and needs to be pointed out to those who perpetuate it.

    Let’s be real. Bri’s team took a spiritual practice from another culture, removed all but the most superficial nod to the spiritual aspect of it, and turned it into an OMG-like-totally-SUPER-fun-day-drinking-party for white girls. So she could advertise booze. And make money for it.

    Kathy says:

    It’s great that you’re inspired by other cultures, but that doesn’t mean that one of our most important spiritual traditions, that links us with our family and ancestors, Chaussures Supra Skytop

    Pingback: Funeral Blog

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