Corey Hawkins as Benny and Leslie Grace as Nina Rosario in “In The Heights”

Last month, I had the opportunity to view an online early screening for the musical film In The Heights (2021) dir. Jon M. Chu set to be released next month in theaters and on HBO Max June 11th, 2021.

As an avid fan of the original musical itself with a deep and personal connection to the story it tells, I had extremely high expectations for this film. The original story seen on stage is both timeless and magical, the characters intriguing and relatable, and their struggles and choices — though differing — a clear representation of their block as a…


photo by Lindsey Byrnes

Rage. Lust. Grief. Envy. Mercilessness. Femininity. We open on repetitive sounds and a lone beatbox beat before we hear a gasp and long exhale, the music building on from there. The first word we hear: rage. An almost questioning of it — the way it sneaks up on you in all of its passionate glory, and the surprise of feeling it. On a personal level, this is an almost perfect musical depiction of my journey with trauma and the stages of healing from it. …


It is an odd sensation, to have one foot out of the closet and the other firmly planted within it.

Especially during the holiday season, this sensation often comes paired with a heavy weight to bear alongside it. Whether it be for the sake of safety, for fear of being treated differently or having to face varying forms of unsupportiveness, or a unique mixture of both — it can be especially disheartening.

What should be a time for joy and for family in its most pure and authentic form…is instead turned into one of dread. …


(DISCLAIMER* this piece of writing contains topics that may be triggering to some: including mental health and suicidal ideation/attempts. read at your own risk)

As I count down the mere days until once again the calendar year marks yet another trip around the sun in my life, the panic and the beginnings of existential crisis start to settle in. [Cue Jon from tick, tick…BOOM! playing Happy Birthday on piano at the end of “Louder Than Words”]

For the last handful or so of years, my birthday has not necessarily been a day that I’ve looked forward to, but rather dreaded. My mind tends to fill with thoughts of more time lost as yet another year goes by. …


Photo by Lindsey Byrnes

Paramore: a monumental and world-renowned (albeit sometimes criminally underrated) band. A vast majority of people — whether they are aware of it or not — have heard of at least one Paramore song. If you are of the group that has not, then allow this piece to be your instructional guide of their discography. But, if you are of the group that has, then enjoy the ride.

The first time I had heard of Paramore, I was nothing but a kid with far too much angst for my age. In songs like “For a Pessimist” and “That’s What You Get”…


*world’s smallest violin plays softly in the background*

“Um…I think you mean all women-” can seem like a harmless enough comment meaning to be inclusive, but after being caringly told the implications that come along with these comments in this context — it’s hard to believe the feigned ignorance that followed the unsurprising backlash that it brought along with it.

Gina Rodriguez is an actress and self-proclaimed Latina “activist.” Although, many seem to find that her activism does not encompass all latinxs. …


ig: jhaunay

Pack it all away — the evidence of the last 365 days

Box it up, hide them deep in the attic; make room for whatever comes next

The scribbled ramblings documenting the highs, the tear-stained pages showcasing the lows

Moments wasted and moments cherished

From days where you feel grateful for this life to those where you feel hopeless — helpless

Tear down the memories where new ones will soon take their place

Rip up the roots of time passed and plant seeds of mystery

Lay them all to rest and say your final farewells

Is this gratitude? Acceptance?

Wonder…


I had not realized how bad it had gotten, how bad I had gotten. Not until it was far too late to stop it at this point, anyway.

What I experienced could perhaps best be described as a psychotic break. I felt detached from myself, yet still present; I felt numb and fully convinced that I needed things to end — permanently.

It wasn’t until I woke up the next morning, emptying my stomach into the porcelain bowl and clutching my cramping abdomen as tears steadily streamed down my face, that a question presented itself to me…

Is death what…


I hear the sounds of mi abuelo

The echoing strings of a guitar plucked and plucked until they snap; reminding me of my own heart strings

A voice I still recall sings the same old songs, the ones I haven’t heard in decades — there is only this left and age-old memories.

The consistent plucking of my strings almost becomes a dull ache, but some days it still feels fresh and new and I don’t think, I mean, I don’t know if that feeling will ever fade

But I hear the trumpets and the bells and vihuelas and yells; I…

Jhaunay-Amanie Hernandez

A sapphic Black Latine writer and future filmmaker. 21. (they/she) 💌: jhaunayamaniehernandez@gmail.com

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