For La La Vazquez, nationality and ethnicity are two different things. What’s La La’s nationality? She’s American, having been born in the Bronx borough of New York City on June 25, 1979. Ethnicity is another matter, as the actress, radio/TV personality and wife of basketball star Carmelo Anthony is the daughter of Puerto Rican—or Nuyorican, as Puerto Ricans living in or around NYC often call themselves—parents. Her ethnicity has been the source of some controversy, and in 2010, she posted an essay on her website in which she said she’s often mistaken for black—a racial designation she doesn’t exactly disavow.
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“I never said I wasn’t Black,” La La wrote. “And since when does being black and being Latina have to be mutually exclusive? In my experience, people tend to have an uninformed and rather narrow view of what it means to be Puerto Rican. For me, not looking like some people’s idea of a typical Latina has been challenging and often painful. I constantly find myself trying to justify who I am, and why should I? I’m proud of my heritage and my family.”
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Vazquez moved with her family from the Bronx to New Jersey when she was in sixth grade, and a few years later, she moved to Atlanta. While in high school, she hosted a radio show with Ludacris called “Future Flavas.” After working at Atlanta’s Hot 97 station, she moved to Los Angeles to co-host “The B-Syde” on 92.3. From there, she made the transition to TV, signing on with MTV and co-hosting the shows “Direct Effect” and “TRL.” In 2003, she founded her own production company, Krossover Productions, and in 2008, she produced the well-received Mike Tyson documentary Tyson.
In 2011, Vazquez stepped in front of the camera for “La La’s Full Court Wedding,” a reality show about the lead-up to her wedding with Anthony. That led to the popular reality series “La La’s Full Court Life,” all about her comings and goings with her famous husband and son, Kiyan. In addition to her extensive TV work, she’s appeared in the films “Gun” (2010) and “Think Like a Man” (2010).