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I'm Ashamed of My Accent When I Speak Spanish, but It's the Heart of My Identity

Becky G on Her Mexican Background

Becky G: "My Spanish Is Flawed and I Didn't Grow Up in Mexico, but I Take Pride in My Roots"

Becky G is a CoverGirl, singer, and actress appearing in the new Power Rangers movie coming out in 2017.

Everyone has their own version of the American dream. People come from all over the world to live in the land of the free. For my Mexican grandparents, the American dream began with a need for a better life, better education, and better job opportunities for their loved ones. For some, like my grandpa Miguel, it also means leaving family behind for a while to secure a life and home of their own.

For all four of my grandparents, who are all living, healthy, and present in our lives, by the way, their version of the American dream became a reality. I am blessed to have the time I spend with them to learn about their stories. They have been fortunate to see all of their own children get married and have children of their own. As the next generations grow up, the American dream evolves again into even bigger dreams. Thanks to my abuelitos being so brave, coming to this country with only the clothes on their back and not much money in their pockets, we, my parents, siblings, and cousins, can now follow our own dreams.

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My dream was always to be an entertainer and entrepreneur, to travel and share my passion with the world, to make something of myself and for my family. I wanted to make my grandparents proud. Now, when I walk on a stage, onto a set, or even sit down to do an interview, I think of them. I know they're watching. To have their support means the world, because if it weren't for their bravery, I would not be where I am today.

"You don't look Latina" or "You don't even speak Spanish." These are the remarks that us second- and third-generation-born American Latinos often hear. The truth is, the lack of language knowledge does not lessen the Latin blood running through our veins or the stories our last names carry. There is no "look" to the passion us Latinos carry within us. Although my Spanish is flawed and I didn't grow up in Mexico, I take pride in my roots. My family's history and the fact that all the traditions and morals passed down have shaped me to be who I am today is what it means to be a second-generation-born Mexican-American for me.

I might not speak Spanish perfectly, but I honor my grandparents and culture in many other ways. Food is a very important thing in my family, for example. I've learned to cook from my mother, abuelitas, tías, and even my little sister. It's not just about the Mexican food we've learned to make; it's the unity we have in the kitchen that connects me back to our Latin roots. Food is always better when you're preparing and sharing it with others. Even when we didn't have that much money in the bank, there was always enough food for everyone. Music is definitely another way we connect with each other. I grew up cleaning the house to low-rider oldies, cooking to Selena, not to mention hearing live mariachi at every family wedding and quinceañera — I love it and I try to let that music influence my own.

Now that I'm in the spotlight and have kick-started my dream, my responsibility is to share my experiences with other young Latinos. I want to show them we are capable of anything, that race shouldn't put us in a box. That although we are a "minority," we are the majority. We are everywhere. We are family. We must stay driven and keep hope, and we must never lose sight of our dreams.

Image Source: Getty / John Sciulli
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