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Marijuana seller's story of 'badass' Mexican sisters was a cultural misstep, Latinas say

By Dorany Pineda, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

The story of La Chingona is filled with demands and counter demands, job offers and threats of legal action. There's a cameo appearance by a Latina friend of Kaiser's whom he acknowledged hiring to make the company more Latina; she didn't last long.

Josh Karchmer was hired to handle La Chingona's social media in May, and "almost from the beginning, Josh had a problem with the story," Kaiser said. It was too realistic, and Karchmer suspected people would have a problem with it, Kaiser said.

Karchmer could not be reached for comment.

On May 27, Karchmer offered Plascencia samples of La Chingona products via Instagram in exchange for promotion on social media. The following day they met. Excited, Plascencia inquired about the Del Rosario sisters.

Karchmer "got a little shy," she said, telling her that they weren't real. "He told me he didn't like it ... he said that he thought that it was stupid that they made up the story."

He also disclosed that La Chingona was owned by mostly non-Latino men.

 

Plascencia felt she had two choices: "Turn around and watch the inevitable happen (meaning having someone call them out on social media), or I could use my skills and experience to help Josh make this brand what our community deserved - a brand that celebrates (Latinas), respects them and uplifts them."

She chose the latter, for a while, anyway.

In an email days after the meeting, Plascencia told Karchmer she was concerned about the fictional story:

"From the moment I saw La Chingona's branding on Instagram, I felt a sense of belonging and representation that had been missing in my years both as a cannabis enthusiast and marketer," she wrote. "Cultural appropriation is a real consideration for the target audience of this brand, aka my community. We're tired of seeing our stories and our culture taken from us and profited from."

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