Entertainment

Here Are The Latinos Who Have Taken Home The Top Prizes From The Grammy Awards

The 2019 Grammy Award ceremony is fast approaching, and it is a good opportunity to recall how Latinos have slowly but surely escaped the niche of Latin music and totally slayed the mainstream awards. Shakira, Ricky Martin, and Bruno Mars are but a few of the musicians with Latino blood who have proudly worn their heart and their heritage on their sleeve. As Spanish-language and Portuguese-language music has broken into popular culture worldwide and talented Latinos have slain language and ethnic barriers, Latino culture has become a source of pride, fun, and inspiration.

Here are 21 times that Latinos took home a Grammy, showing everyone that harmful stereotypes are pure fiction and political trickery. They also proved that music is indeed the language that can tear down real and imaginary walls.

Bruno Mars (birth name: Peter Gene Hernandez) for “24K Magic”

Year: 2018

Category: Best Album of the Year

Image: 2018-01-29T051540Z_216392007_HP1EE1T0DBVL6_RTRMADP_3_AWARDS-GRAMMY. Digital Image. eNCA

The proud Hawaiian of Puerto Rican descent showed everyone what Boricua rhythm can do when it is pumping through your blood! A bailar se ha dicho.

Carlos Santana for “Supernatural”

Year: 1999

Category: Best Album of the Year

Image: Carlos-Santana-Grammy. Digital Image. Ultimate Classic Rock

The godfather of Mexican-American rock totally smashed the Grammy awards in the turn of the century. His guitar sounds still haunt our fondest memories of the weird 1990s.

Stan Getz & João Gilberto for “Getz/Gilberto”

Year: 1964

Category: Best Album of the Year

Image: R-170884-1324248990.jpeg. Digital image. Discogs

Brazilian bossa nova became mainstream with the release of this amazing album. You should listen to “Getz/Gilberto” while sipping a delicious pineapple juice while watching the sunset.

Ruben Blades for “Mundo”

Year: 2003

Category: Best World Music Album

Image: ruben_blades_grammys. Digital image. Playa Community

The superstar from Panama is a master of salsa, but he has been able to combine it with other rhythms throughout his decades-long career. “Mundo” is the perfect album for our globalized times, and it ruled supreme in the World Music category.

Sergio Mendes for “Brasileiro”

Year: 1993

Category: Best World Music Album

Image: sergio_mendes_hero118685141. Digital image. GRAMMY.com

This Brazilian powerhouse beat the favorites, the Gipsy Kings, in a year when it seemed impossible. Mendes proves that there is nothing Latinos can’t do when they set their minds to something.

Caetano Veloso for “Livro”

Year: 2000

Category: Best World Music Album

Image: caetano. Digital image. O portal da noticias de Globo

Caetano Veloso is like the Brazilian Bob Dylan. A poet and troubadour, Veloso has been able to capture the essence of our convoluted times. If you haven’t listened to him… well, you should.

Antonio Sanchez for “Birdman”

Year: 2016

Category: Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media

Image: 635911665189820341-USP-ENTERTAINMENT-58TH-GRAMMY-AWARDS-79703050. Digital image. USA TODAY

This Mexican-American jazz one-man-band injected energy into the Oscar-winner movie, following the main character’s every step with an incessant, delirious beat. There’s no arguing. His music made the movie the hit it became to be.

Lin-Manuel Miranda for “How Far I’ll Go” (Moana)

Year: 2018

Category: Best Song Written for Visual Media

Image: Giphy. @disneymoana

Miranda burst into the scene with “In the Heights” and hasn’t looked back. He is so talented we wouldn’t be surprised if he wins many more Grammy awards in his lifetime.

Bruno Mars for “Unorthodox Jukebox”

Year: 2014

Category: Best Pop Vocal Album

Image: 1200x630bb. Digital image. iTunes Apple.

It seems that Bruno Mars can do it all. This year he beat Lana Del Rey and Justin Timberlake, not an easy feat by any means! He just makes us mover el esqueleto doesn’t he?

Jose Feliciano

Year: 1969

Category: Best New Artist

Image: Giphy. @soultrain

This Puerto Rican trovador has made everyone, including non-Latinos, sing “Feliz Navidad” at the top of their lungs. Talk about an iconic musician.

Bruno Mars for “That’s What I Like”

Year: 2018

Category: Song of the Year

Image: That’s_What_I_Like_Remixe. Digiral image. Wikipedia.

Our money was on “Despacito,” a nominee whose win would have been truly groundbreaking for Latinos. However, we were super happy for Bruno Mars, though.

Carlos Santana (with Rob Thomas) for “Smooth”

Year: 2000

Category: Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals

Image: Giphy. @SonyMusicColombia

There’s no doubt that 2000 was the year of Santana. We can still remember this very suave collaboration with Rob Thomas let me forget about it, woooo.

Christina Aguilera (with Lil’ Kim, Mýa and Pink) for “Lady Marmalade)

Year: 2002

Category: Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals

Image: large. Digital image. We hear it.

This awesome badass girl has an Ecuadorian father and a German mother. We can still hear this collaboration for the Moulin Rouge soundtrack, in which her voice penetrated deep in our pop culture memory. She was equally unique and sexy. Don’t lie. You know that you just started singing the song when you saw the title.

Gustavo Dudamel for “Brahms: Symphony No. 4”

Year: 2011

Category: Best Orchestral Performance

Image: Giphy. @medicitv

Gustavo Dudamel is a great Venezuelan conductor who is the inspiration behind Gael Garcia Bernal’s character in the amazing TV show “Mozart in the Jungle.” He is an energetic conductor who has revolutionized classical music with his fun style.

Christina Aguilera for “Ain’t No Ather Man”

Year: 2006

Category: Best Female Pop Vocal Performance

Image: Giphy. @xtina

Well, Aguilera has one of the best voices ever this side of Amy Winehouse. Her range is just fantastic and we can just imagine the concentration it must take to sustain some of those bluesy notes. Una chingona.

And of course Christina Aguilera again! This time for “Beautiful”

Year: 2003

Category: Best Female Pop Vocal Performance

Image: MV5BNWQ4NTZiODYtNWIxMy00NThkLTljMTMtYjk0NTBlZTI4N2VhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNTk1NTMyNzM@._V1. Digital image. Internet Movie Database

All hail the queen. She is one of the greatest vocalists of our time and her awards prove it.

No surprises here… Christina Aguilera again.

Year: 1999

Category: Best New Artist

Image: christina-aguilera-best-new-artist-grammy. Digital image. Today in Pop.

This was just the beginning of what was to come: a total takeover of the pop music scene. Yes, Britney Spears had the moves and the scandals, but Aguilera had that raspy voice that made us temblar como gelatinas.

Esperanza Spalding

Year: 2011

Category: Best New Artist

Image: esperanza_custom-656025a93c6a8ca33d6ac4afe7e08ef7a78bffa5-s800-c85. Digital image. NPR.

Few people in the world are as talented as Esperanza, who is a true representation of America’s multicultural society. Her father is African-American and her mom has Latino, Native American and Welsh genes. Esperanza plays a multitude of instruments and just brings unrivaled energy. Trivia fact: she beat Justin Bieber for this award.

Armando Manzanero

Year: 2014

Category: Lifetime Achievement Award

Image: 636513209910027130. Digital image. Hola News.

The Mexican composer and singer has probably influenced world music more than anyone else. Ask your abuelita about the great Armando Manzanero and her face will light up. This award is reserved for true legends only, and Don Armando is certainly one.

Leonardo “Flaco” Jiménez

Year: 2015

Category: Lifetime Achievement Award

Image: musicetc2-1. Digital image. San Antonio Current.

This true legend of Tex-Mex music was recognized for his influence in spreading Latino rhythms in Hispanic communities all across the U.S. He got recognized the same year as George Harrison and Buddy Guy, which gives you an idea of his importance in the music industry.


READ: Before ‘Despacito’: 25 Latino Artists Who Stormed the Grammys 

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America Ferrera Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Working On ‘Gotta Kick It Up’ With Sweet IG Post

Entertainment

America Ferrera Celebrates 20th Anniversary Of Working On ‘Gotta Kick It Up’ With Sweet IG Post

It has been 20 years since America Ferrera’s dream of becoming an actor back true. She took to Instagram to reflect on the moment that her dream started to come true and it is a sweet reminder that anyone can chase their dreams.

America Ferrera shared a sweet post reflecting on the 20th anniversary of working on “Gotta Kick It Up!”

“Gotta Kick It Up!” was one of the earliest examples of Latino representation so many of us remember. The movie follows a school dance team trying to be the very best they could possibly be. The team was down on their luck but a new teacher introduces them to a different kind of music to get them going again.

After being introduced to Latin beats, the dance team is renewed. It taps into a cultural moment for the Latinas on the team and the authenticity of the music makes their performances some of the best.

While the movie meant so much to Latino children seeing their culture represented for the first time, the work was a major moment for Ferrera. In the Instagram post, she gushes over the celebrities she saw on the lot she was working on. Of course, anyone would be excited to see Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt hanging out. Yet, what stands out the most is Ferrera’s own excitement to realize that she can make money doing what she loves most.

“I wish I could go back and tell this little baby America that the next 20 years of her life will be filled with unbelievable opportunity to express her talent and plenty of challenges that will allow her to grow into a person, actress, producer, director, activist that she is very proud and grateful to be. We did it baby girl. I’m proud of us,” Ferrera reflects.

Watch the trailer for “Gotta Kick It Up!” here.

READ: America Ferrera’s “Superstore” Is Going To Get A Spanish-Language Adaptation In A Win For Inclusion

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This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

Entertainment

This Artist Has Been Breaking Barriers As A Non-Traditional Mariachi

On a recent episode of ABC’s game show To Tell The Truth, three celebrity panelists were tasked to uncover the identity of a real mariachi singer.

Each contender embodied “non-traditional” attributes of mariachi culture either through physical appearance or language barriers, leaving the panelists stumped.

When it came time for the big reveal, with a humble smile 53-year-old Timoteo “El Charro Negro” stood up wowing everyone. Marveled by his talents, Timoteo was asked to perform unveiling his smooth baritone voice.

While not a household name in the U.S., his career spans over 25 years thriving on the catharsis of music.

Timoteo “El Charro Negro” performing “Chiquilla Linda” on Dante Night Show in 2017.

Originally from Dallas, Texas, Timoteo, born Timothy Pollard, moved to Long Beach, California with his family when he was eight years old. The move to California exposed Pollard to Latin culture, as the only Black family in a Mexican neighborhood.

As a child, he recalled watching Cantinflas because he reminded him of comedian Jerry Lewis, but musically he “got exposed to the legends by chance.”

“I was bombarded by all the 1960s, ’70s, and ’50s ranchera music,” Timoteo recalls to mitú.

The unequivocal passion mariachi artists like Javier Solis and Vicente Fernandez possessed heavily resonated with him.

“[The neighbors] always played nostalgic music, oldies but goodies, and that’s one thing I noticed about Mexicans,” Timoteo says. “They can be in their 20s but because they’ve grown up listening to the oldies it’s still very dear to them. That’s how they party.”

For as long as he can remember, Pollard “was born with the genetic disposition to love music,” knowing that his future would align with the arts.

After hearing Vicente Fernandez sing “Lástima Que Seas Ajena,” an awakening occurred in Pollard. While genres like hip-hop and rap were on the rise, Pollard’s passion for ranchera music grew. It was a moment when he realized that this genre best suited his big voice.

Enamored, Pollard began to pursue a career as a Spanish-language vocalist.

El Charro Negro
Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

At 28, Timoteo began learning Spanish by listening and singing along to those artists he adored in his youth.

“When I decided that I wanted to be a mariachi, I didn’t think it was fair to exploit the culture and not understand the language,” he says. “If I’m going to sing, I need to be able to communicate with my audience and engage with them. I need to understand what I’m saying because it was about honor and respect.”

Pollard began performing local gigs after picking up the language in a matter of months. He soon attracted the attention of “Big Boy” Radio that adorned him the name Timoteo “El Charro Negro.”

Embellishing his sound to highlight his Black heritage, Pollard included African instruments like congas and bongos in his orchestra. Faintly putting his own spin on a niche genre, Pollard avoided over-saturating the genre’s sound early in his career.

Embraced by his community as a beloved mariachi, “El Charro Negro” still encountered race-related obstacles as a Black man in the genre.

“There are those [in the industry] who are not in the least bit thrilled to this day. They won’t answer my phone calls, my emails, my text messages I’ve sent,” he says. “The public at large hasn’t a problem with it, but a lot of the time it’s those at the helm of decision making who want to keep [the genre] exclusively Mexican.”

“El Charro Negro” persisted, slowly attracting fans worldwide while promoting a message of harmony through his music.

In 2007, 12 years into his career, Pollard received a golden ticket opportunity.

El Charro Negro
Pollard (left) seen with legendary Mexican artist Vicente Fernandez (right) in 2007. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In a by-chance encounter with a stagehand working on Fernandez’s tour, Pollard was offered the chance to perform onstage. The singer was skeptical that the offer was legit. After all, what are the chances?

The next day Pollard went to his day job at the time and said, “a voice in my head, which I believe was God said, ‘wear your blue velvet traje tonight.'”

That evening Pollard went to a sold-out Stockton Area where he met his idol. As he walked on the stage, Pollard recalls Fernandez insisting that he use his personal mic and band to perform “De Que Manera Te Olvido.”

“[Fernandez] said he did not even want to join me,” he recollects about the show. “He just was kind and generous enough to let me sing that song on his stage with his audience.”

The crowd applauded thunderously, which for Pollard was a sign of good things to come.

El Charro Negro
Timoteo “El Charro Negro” with Don Francisco on Don Francisco Presenta in 2011. Photo courtesy of Timothy Pollard.

In 2010, he released his debut album “Me Regalo Contigo.” In perfect Spanish, Pollard sings with great conviction replicating the soft tones of old-school boleros.

Unraveling the rollercoaster of relationships, heart-wrenchingly beautiful ballads like “Me Regalo Contigo” and “Celos” are his most streamed songs. One hidden gem that has caught the listener’s attention is “El Medio Morir.”

As soon as the track begins it is unlike the others. Timoteo delivers a ’90s R&B love ballad in Spanish, singing with gumption as his riffs and belts encapsulate his unique sound and story.

Having appeared on shows like Sabado Gigante, Don Francisco Presenta, and Caso Cerrado in 2011, Timoteo’s career prospered.

Timoteo hasn’t released an album since 2010 but he keeps his passion alive. The singer has continued to perform, even during the Covid pandemic. He has high hopes for future success and original releases, choosing to not slow down from his destined musical journey.

“If God is with me, who can be against me? It may not happen in a quick period of time, but God will make my enemies my footstool,” he said.

“I’ve continued to be successful and do some of the things I want to do; maybe not in a particular way or in particular events, but I live in a very happy and fulfilled existence.”

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