Entertainment

Some Non-Latino Celebrities Are So In Love With Our Culture And People That They’ve Started To Learn Spanish

No wonder so many non-Latino celebs love our idioma. Our good old Spanish, español or castellano (as it is actually known in Spain) is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, only behind linguistic powerhouses like Hindi, Arabic, and Mandarin. Spanish is the product of overlapping processes of colonization, war and migratory flows. The roots of its words are as diverse as Arabic (after all, the Moorish conquest of the Iberian Peninsula lasted eight centuries) and Latin, as the Roman expansion in the area left deep, expanding roots. Spanish is spoken in almost every continent: yes, Africa (Morocco) and Asia (The Phillippines) included. In the United States, Spanish is an unstoppable cultural force that now permeates all aspects of social and cultural life on both coasts. 

Today, Spanish is as diverse as our people. Argentinian Spanish, for example, has adopted many words from Italian and is known as lunfardo (beer in Argentina is not cerveza but birra, the Italian word; work is not trabajo but laburo). In Mexican-American communities in the United States Spanglish is taking a hold. No wonder many celebrities have fallen in love with our language, or have met a media naranja that teaches them la lengua de Cervantes. Here is a list of celebs that se pueden defender solitos speaking español. Some of them learnt it from birth, while others have challenged themselves. One thing is for certain, querido lector, if you speak Spanish and English you should hold your head up high. Not many people are bilingual in this blue world, so it should be a source of pride and NUNCA PERO NUNCA a source of shame. Con la cabeza en altoporfavorcito. 

Viggo Mortensen, el gaucho

Credit: emmamontenart / Instagram

The famous actor and poet has lived in Argentina, so he speaks an almost perfect Buenos Aires Spanish. We mean, could he even be cooler than this? He is a big big big fan of the Argentinian soccer team San Lorenzo, so he often travels to Argentina. 

Matt Damon, la media naranja

Credit: matt_damon_official / Instagram

This action hero found love in the most unexpected place. It is common for Hollywood celebrities to date each other (often marrying and divorcing in the space of a few months or years), but our Jason Bourne met an Argentinian bartender in Miami by the name of Luciana Barroso y fue tocado por Cupido. Matt has done everything he can to be fluent in Spanishpues pero claro, es un caballero. 

Natalie Portman, la cerebrito y mujer poderosa

Credit: natalieportman / Instagram

This woman is amazing. She is talented, smart, gorgeous and true to her beliefs. On top of all of that, she is truly multilingual. Apart from English and her native Hebrew, she speaks conversational French, German, Spanish and Japanese. Ay, no manches. Truly, she is one in a million. And now that we are speaking of Miss Portman, we gotta say this: Moby, no manches, te pasaste de lanza, viejo cochino mentiroso

Chris Hemsworth, el Thor australiano

Credit: chrishemsworth / Instagram

Our cinematic Thor is married to Elsa Pataky, an amazing Spanish actress. Even though the couple and their kids live in the beach paradise of Byron Bay, Australia, they speak as much Spanish at home as possible. He often talks about this publicly, like in this segment with Ellen DeGeneres. 

Alexis Bledel, la chica Gilmore 

Credit: alexisbledelofficial / Instagram

This young actress, who was made famous for her role in the super amazing female power role Gilmore Girls, was born in Houston, but her parents were an Argentinian and a Mexican-American, so she grew up in a Spanish-speaking household and didn’t actually learnt English until she tuvo que ir a la escuelita. OMG, so cute and amazing. 

Gwyneth Paltrow, la madre superpoderosa 

Credit: gwynethpaltrow / Instagram

The ganadora del Oscar turned health guru is super fluent in Spanish. It is so uncanny to see her roll her Rs perfectly. Wanna see? When she was 15 she went to Toledo and fell in love with the language. She has an excellent Spanish accent…. wow… Look at this. It is a bit uncanny to be honest, but in the best possible way. 

Matthew McConaughey, el gringo texano con alma de mexicano

Credit: eoghan_cowan_art / Instagram

The Oscar winner, who most recently gave us nightmares in his career-defining role in the HBO show True Detective, is a true Texan, and as such knows that Spanish is here to stay. As he says here, his hometown has a population of 82% Mexicans, and is just 90 minutes North of the Mexican border. He often tells the story of his siblings having mostly Spanish-speaking friends. If only all gringos who grow up alongside the border were like this… El mundo seria un lugar mejor. 

David Beckham, el rey de los merengues

Credit: davidbeckham / Instagram

Cue in Spanish accent (yes, from actual Spain): pues pero claro, macho, si este inglesito jugaba pa nosotros. Yes, David built a career and an international following playing for the Real Madrid, one of the elite soccer teams in the Iberian Peninsula and all of Europe. he of course picked up the language while having a jet setter life in Madrid with his wife Victoria and kids. His language skills must have come in handy when he was playing in the US soccer league for the Los Angeles Galaxy. 

Ben Affleck, el Batman con alma latina

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Ben and his younger brother Casey (puaj, we can’t stop to throw up a little when mentioning his name, given the #metoo allegations against him), lived in Mexico for a while. When Ben was 13-years-old he filmed a children’s show South of the Border, and he picked up the language. Here, you can see him conduct a WHOLE INTERVIEW in Spanish. He has worked with Mexican talent like cinematographer Chivo Lubezki and has filmed in Mexico, Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries. His favorite Spanish word? SACAPUNTAS!

Tom Hiddleston, el ex de la Taylor

Credit: supermanparaguay / Instagram

The famous British actor, who plays Loki in the Marvel Universe film series, learnt Spanish in his university years and truly makes an effort to conduct interviews in our mother tongue when dealing with Spanish-speaking networks, as you can witness hereGracias, hermano Loki. Inclusivity and diversity are strengthen with everyday acts like this! 

Jeb Bush, el hermano que no fue presidente

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Jeb Bush was the chosen one, George Sr’s son and part of the political elite. But as luck would have it, it was his brother George W., and not him, who would walk into the Oval Office as the most powerful man on Earth. Jeb speaks fluent Spanish, and he is married to Colomba Bush, a Mexican-American. As Florida’s governor and later as a presidential hopeful Bush often spoke Spanish during events. 

Will Smith, el genio que concede deseos

Credit: Men in Black / Amblin Entertainment

The man in black and newfound Aladdin genie is fluent in Spanish. By the way, Will was extra famous in Latin America since his early years, when he starred in the show known in the region as El príncipe del rap.

READ: Leslie Jones Sang ‘Como La Flor’ In An Interview And We Approve

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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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Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Entertainment

Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Luis Fonsi is kicking off 2021 with a new single. The Puerto Rican superstar premiered the music video for “Vacío” on Feb. 18 featuring rising Boricua singer Rauw Alejandro. The guys put a new spin on the classic “A Puro Dolor” by Son By Four.

Luis Fonsi throws it back to his románticas.

“I called Omar Alfanno, the writer of ‘A Puro Dolo,’ who is a dear friend,” Fonsi tells Latido Music. “I told him what my idea was [with ‘Vacío’] and he loved it. He gave me his blessing, so I wrote a new song around a few of those lines from ‘A Puro Dolor’ to bring back that nostalgia of those old romantic tunes that have been a part of my career as well. It’s a fresh production. It sounds like today, but it has that DNA of a true, old-school ballad.”

The world got to know Luis Fonsi through his global smash hit “Despacito” with Daddy Yankee in 2017. The remix with Canadian pop star Justin Bieber took the song to new heights. That was a big moment in Fonsi’s music career that spans over 20 years.

There’s more to Fonsi than “Despacito.”

Fonsi released his first album, the fittingly-titled Comenzaré, in 1998. While he was on the come-up, he got the opportunity of a lifetime to feature on Christina Aguilera’s debut Latin album Mi Reflejo in 2000. The two collaborated on “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” Luis Fonsi scored multiple Billboard Hot Latin Songs No. 1s in the years that followed and one of the biggest hits was “No Me Doy Por Vencido” in 2008. That was his career-defining romantic ballad.

“Despacito” remains the second most-viewed music video on YouTube with over 7.2 billion views. The hits did not stop there. Later in 2017, he teamed up with Demi Lovato for “Échame La Culpa,” which sits impressively with over 2 billion views.

He’s also appearing on The Voice next month.

Not only is Fonsi working on his new album, but also he’s giving advice to music hopefuls for the new season of The Voice that’s premiering on March 1. Kelly Clarkson tapped him as her Battle Advisor. In an exclusive interview, Fonsi talked with us about “Vacío,” The Voice, and a few of his greatest hits.

What was the experience like to work with Rauw Alejandro for “Vacío”?

Rauw is cool. He’s got that fresh sound. Great artist. Very talented. Amazing onstage. He’s got that great tone and delivery. I thought he had the perfect voice to fit with my voice in this song. We had talked about working together for awhile and I thought that this was the perfect song. He really is such a star. What he’s done in the last couple of years has been amazing. I love what he brought to the table on this song.

Now I want to go through some of your greatest hits. Do you remember working with Christina Aguilera for her Spanish album?

How could you not remember working with her? She’s amazing. That was awhile back. That was like 1999 or something like that. We were both starting out and she was putting out her first Spanish album. I got to sing a beautiful ballad called “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” I got to work with her in the studio and see her sing in front of the mic, which was awesome. She’s great. One of the best voices out there still to this day.

What’s one of your favorite memories of “No Me Doy Por Vencido”?

“No Me Doy Por Vencido” is one of the biggest songs in my career. I think it’s tough to narrow it down just to one memory. I think in general the message of the song is what sticks with me. The song started out as a love song, but it turned into an anthem of hope. We’ve used the song for different important events and campaigns. To me, that song has such a powerful message. It’s bigger than just a love song. It’s bringing hope to people. It’s about not giving up. To be able to kind of give [people] hope through a song is a lot more powerful than I would’ve ever imagined. It’s a very special song.

I feel the message is very relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic we’re living through.

Oh yeah! I wrote that song a long time ago with Claudia Brant, and during the first or second month of the lockdown when we were all stuck at home, we did a virtual writing session and we rewrote “No Me Doy Por Vencido.” Changing the lyrics, kind of adjusting them to this situation that we’re living now. I haven’t recorded it. I’ll do something with it eventually. It’s really cool. It still talks about love. It talks about reuniting. Like the light at the end of the tunnel. It has the hope and love backbone, but it has to do a lot with what we’re going through now.

What do you think of the impact “Despacito” made on the industry?

It’s a blessing to be a part of something so big. Again, it’s just another song. We write these songs and the moment you write them, you don’t really know what’s going to happen with them. Or sometimes you run into these surprises like “Despacito” where it becomes a global phenomenon. It goes No. 1 in places where Spanish songs had never been played. I’m proud. I’m blessed. I’m grateful to have worked with amazing people like Daddy Yankee. Like Justin Bieber for the remix and everyone else involved in the song. My co-writer Erika Ender. The producers Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres. It was really a team effort and it’s a song that obviously changed my career forever.

What was the experience like to work with Demi Lovato on “Echáme La Culpa”?

She’s awesome! One of the coolest recording sessions I’ve ever been a part of. She really wanted to sing in Spanish and she was so excited. We did the song in Spanish and English, but it was like she was more excited about the Spanish version. And she nailed it! She nailed it from the beginning. There was really not much for me to say to her. I probably corrected her once or twice in the pronunciation, but she came prepared and she brought it. She’s an amazing, amazing, amazing vocalist.

You’re going to be a battle advisor on The Voice. What was the experience like to work with Kelly Clarkson?

She’s awesome. What you see is what you get. She’s honest. She’s funny. She’s talented. She’s humble and she’s been very supportive of my career. She invited me to her show and it speaks a lot that she wanted me to be a part of her team as a Battle Advisor for the new season. She supports Latin music and I’m grateful for that. She’s everything you hope she would be. She’s the real deal, a true star, and just one of the coolest people on this planet.

What can we expect from you in 2021?

A lot of new music. Obviously, everything starts today with “Vacío.” This is literally the beginning of what this new album will be. I’ve done nothing but write and record during the last 10 months, so I have a bunch of songs. Great collaborations coming up. I really think the album will be out probably [in the] third or fourth quarter this year. The songs are there and I’m really eager for everybody to hear them.

Read: We Finally Have A Spanish-Language Song As The Most Streamed Song Of All Time

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