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These Are Our 21 Favorite Latino Artists Ranked By Their Awards

Whether you love rocking out to reggaetón or listening to the sweet sounds of bachata, bossa nova, or flamenco guitar, we can all agree that music is something that brings us together. Music grows and changes on a daily basis, and things that are popular one day can fall out of favor in the same week (sorry, Offset). Today, we’re going to showcase some of the most popular and awarded Latino music artists in history. Their triumphs prove that good musicians need only their instrument to win over the world.

1. Celia Cruz 

Twitter @DianaUribefm

Celia Cruz can claim the singular honor of being the most popular Latin artist of the 20th century, making over 23 albums that went gold during her illustrious career. Her operatic voice gave her incredible range, and she created a stage presence to match, with gorgeous wigs, high heels, and sequined dresses. She was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1994. ¡Azúcar!

2. Selena

Twitter @SelenaLaLayenda

The Queen of Tejano Music died at only 23 years old- it’s incredible to think of what she could have accomplished if she had lived even just a few more years. She was Billboard’s top-selling Latino artist of the 1990s, and her five solo studio albums are some of the most influential of the era.

3. Tito Puente 

Instagram @titopuentejr

Known alternately as the Musical Pope, El Rey de los Timbales, and The King of Latin Music, Tito Puente is most recognized for his song “Oye Como Va.” He helped to bring several Caribbean and Afro-Cuban genres to America. He has uncountable awards, including several buildings and stadiums named in his honor.

4. Daddy Yankee 

Instagram @daddyyankee

Daddy Yankee’s single “Gasolina” helped catapult reggaetón into the American mainstream, and has helped him sell over 20 million albums. After that came “Despacito”, the first Spanish-language song to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 21 years. As of 2017, he’s won 82 major awards including 5 Latin Grammys, 2 Billboard Music Awards, and 8 Lo Nuestro Awards.

5. Gloria Estefan 

Instagram @gloriaestefan

Latin pop legend Gloria Estefan has a treasure trove of awards, including three Grammys, a Lifetime Achievement AMA, and as of just a few years ago, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She has sold over 115 million records worldwide over the course of her 40+ year career.  

6. Vincente Fernandez 

Twitter @_VincenteFdez

Vincente Fernandez is an iconic singer who helped to bring Mexican ranchera music into the mainstream. After singing on the street and in restaurants, he received his first recording contract in 1966. Since then, he’s sold over 50 million albums, has been nominated for 13 Grammys (winning three), and 33 Lo Nuestro Awards (winning fourteen), and 14 Latin Grammys (winning eight).

7. Shakira 

Instagram @shakira

Those hips sure don’t lie- dancer and singer Shakira has over 67 major awards and has sold an incredible 140 million records worldwide. She’s still the 3rd most streamed female singer on YouTube.

8. Paulina Rubio 

Instagram @paulinarubio

Paulina Rubio is one of the most talented and versatile artists of the Latin music sphere. She’s recorded Latin pop, electronic, and dance music, and is considered one of the most influential celebs in the world by Univision.

9. Juanes 

Instagram @juanes

With the release of his third solo album Mi Sangre, Colombian artist Juanes became a global superstar. He’s won two Grammy Awards and 20 Latin Grammys- and he’s only 46, and is still actively releasing music.

10. Jennifer Lopez

Instagram @jlo

Singer, actress, and producer Jennifer Lopez is truly a global powerhouse. She was the first woman to have a number one album and film released the same week. In 2002, she broke another record when her remix album J to tha L-O! The Remixes hit the charts at #1.

11. Marc Anthony 

Instagram @marcanthony

J.Lo’s one-time husband Marc Anthony is the top-selling tropical salsa artist of all time, having sold more than 12 million albums. He made the leap to the American market in the late ‘90s and has been switching between Spanish and English-language albums ever since.  

12. Carlos Santana 

Instagram @carlossantana

One of the greatest guitarists in the world is Carlos Santana, who played at Woodstock in 1969 when he was only 22 years old. Santana has worked with countless bands including his own, in a huge variety of genres. He was a 2013 Kennedy Center Honoree.

13. José José

Instagram @josejoseworldwide

Balladeer José José, who is known as El Príncipe de la Canción, was one of the most popular Latin artists of the 1980s, and has influenced generations of new singers and bands. Dozens of his albums have gone gold, and several have gone all the way to double platinum.  

 14. Los Tigres Del Norte 

Instagram @lostigresdelnorte

The corridos sung by Los Tigres Del Norte have become some of the most respected and cherished of the norteño genre. Their songs about drug running and illegal immigration have helped the genre feel more relatable to the next generation.  

15. Ricky Martin 

Instagram @ricky_martin

Often called the King of Latin Pop, Ricky Martin is so beloved that in 2008 he was given his own holiday in Puerto Rico. His song “Livin’ la Vida Loca” help jumpstart the Latin pop craze of the 1990s. His eponymous album sold over 22 million copies when it was released in 1999 and was certified 7x platinum.

16. Pitbull 

Instagram @pitbull

Miami-born Pitbull is one of the most popular Latino rappers of all time. He’s been nominated for 142 major awards and has won 45. In addition to promoting his own career, he’s also the founder of Bad Boy Latino, a Latin-focused record label that’s a subsidiary of Diddy’s Bad Boy Records.

17. Maná 

Instagram @manaoficial

Maná is considered one of the most influential bands in all Latin America, with a 30+ year career and over 55 awards to their name. Their genre-hopping style includes elements of pop, calypso, reggae, and ska. The band is comprised of singer Fher Olvera, drummer Alex Gonzalez, bassist Juan Calleros, and guitarist Sergio Vallin, most of whom have been with the band for 20+ years.

18. Hector Lavoe 

Instagram @hectorlavoevive

Puerto Rican singer Hector Lavoe helped to establish salsa in North America, and recorded dozens of albums on his own, with Fania All Stars, and as part of the Willie Colón Orchestra. His fascinating life has inspired two biopics and an off-Broadway show.

19. Luis Miguel 

Instagram @lmxlm

Luis Miguel is one of Mexico’s most cherished artists. He released his first album, Un Sol, at only 11 years old. He was one of the few artists not to make the crossover to English-language music in the 1990s, and still managed to sell over 100 million albums. His latest album ¡México Por Siempre! was released in 2017, and was certified double platinum.

20. Aventura 

Twitter @retrosonoro

Bronx-based Aventura was formed in 1994 with the goal of fusing bachata with American R&B and hip-hop music. Their unique sound made them a chart-topping hit, and although they broke up in 2011, they’re still considered one of the best bachata groups in history.  

21. Ritchie Valens 

Instagram @ritchievalensofficial

Although Ritchie Valens is most famous for the way that he died (he perished in the same plane crash that killed Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper) this trivia doesn’t give enough credit to his enormous individual talent. He was one of the first Mexican-Americans to break into the rock and roll scene and was on the verge of creating an entirely new genre when he died at only 17 years old. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, 42 years after his death.

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Today, Puerto Rico Celebrates Emancipation Day–the Day When the Island Officially Abolished Slavery

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Today, Puerto Rico Celebrates Emancipation Day–the Day When the Island Officially Abolished Slavery

Photo via George W. Davis, Public Domain

Today, March 22nd marks Día de la Abolición de Esclavitud in Puerto Rico–the date that marks the emancipation of slaves in Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico, enslaved peoples were emancipated in 1873–a full decade after the U.S. officially abolished slavery. But unlike the U.S. mainland, Puerto Rico celebrates today as an official holiday, where many businesses are closed.

The emancipation of Puerto Rican slaves was a very different process than the United States’. For one, the emancipation was gradual and over three years.

When the Spanish government abolished slavery in Puerto Rico 1873, enslaved men and women had to buy their freedom. The price was set by their “owners”. The way the emancipated slaves bought their freedom was through a process that was very similar to sharecropping in the post-war American south. Emancipated slaves farmed, sold goods, and worked in different trades to “buy” their freedom.

In the same Spanish edict that abolished slavery, slaves over the age of 60 were automatically freed. Enslaved children who were 5-years-old and under were also automatically freed.

Today, Black and mixed-race Puerto Ricans of Black descent make up a large part of Puerto Rico’s population.

The legacy of enslaved Black Puerto Ricans is a strong one. Unlike the United States, Puerto Rico doesn’t classify race in such black-and-white terms. Puerto Ricans are taught that everyone is a mixture of three groups of people: white Spanish colonizers, Black African slaves, and the indigenous Taíno population.

African influences on Puerto Rican culture is ubiquitous and is present in Puerto Rican music, cuisine, and even in the way that the island’s language evolved. And although experts estimate that up to 60% of Puerto Ricans have significant African ancestry, almost 76% of Puerto Ricans identified as white only in the latest census poll–a phenomenon that many sociologists have blamed on anti-blackness.

On Puerto Rico’s Día de la Abolición de Esclavitud, many people can’t help but notice that the island celebrates a day of freedom and independence when they are not really free themselves.

As the fight for Puerto Rican decolonization rages on, there is a bit of irony in the fact that Puerto Rico is one of the only American territories that officially celebrates the emancipation of slaves, when Puerto Rico is not emancipated from the United States. Yes, many Black Americans recognize Juneteenth (June 19th) as the official day to celebrate emancipation from slavery, but it is not an official government holiday.

Perhaps, Puerto Rico celebrates this historical day of freedom because they understand how important the freedom and independence is on a different level than mainland Americans do.

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9 LGBTQ+ Latinas Making The World A Better Place Through Representation


9 LGBTQ+ Latinas Making The World A Better Place Through Representation

Women are a driving force for change. It has been proven time and time again in history. LGBTQ+ Latinas are part of this tradition whether it is in activism, media, or representation in comic books. Here are 9 LGBTQ+ Latinas who are doing their part to make the world a better place.

Stephanie Beatriz

Stephanie Beatriz is known for her character Rosa on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” The actress wanted to create a character that someone like her could relate to and she made it happen. Rosa came out in the show as a bisexual Latina and it gave Beatriz a chance to play a character that reflects her real identity. For the first time, bisexual Latinas have someone on television that speaks to a very real and important identity.

Tessa Thompson

Tessa Thompson publicly came out of the closet as bisexual in 2018. The actress revealed her relationship with musician Janelle Monáe and fans were there to support her. Thompson made a real splash in the Marvel Cinematic Universe when she portrayed Valkyrie in “Thor: Ragnarok.” She will be slaying again as Valkrie in “Thor: Love and Thunder.”

Bamby Salcedo

Bamby Salcedo is unapologetically trans and fighting for trans lives and rights. Salcedo founded the TransLatin@ Coalition to create a network for trans Latinas to connect and help each other thrive. Salcedo is often in protests for trans lives including against Pete Buttigieg during a CNN/HRC Town Hall.

Victoria Cruz

Victoria Cruz is a gatekeeper of LGBTQ+ history. The indigenous trans woman was there for the start of the Gay Liberation movement in 1969. Cruz has been a leader in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. Cruz has continued to her fight for trans rights even in the face of transphobia in the LGBTQ+ community. As the LGBTQ+ community tends for forget its history, Cruz is here to remind them of how important the trans community is in gaing LGBTQ+ rights.

Carmen Carrera

Carmen Carrera first came into everyone’s home as a contestant on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” This was before she started her transition. Since embarking on her transition journey, Carrera has had a very successful career as a supermodel, became a stepmother, and has been championing trans rights in the U.S. and Peru. The activist has spent years breaking down stereotypes about trans people wherever she goes.

Salice Rose

Salice Rose is a major name in social media. With more than 16 million followers on TikTok, Rose has created a place for people to feel safe and included. Using comedy and her spirituality, Rose has been able to tackle important issues, like coming out.

Gabby Rivera

Gabby Rivera was tapped to write for the America Chavez comic book in a move by Marvel that was widely celebrated. Rivera was able to give American Chavez, a queer Latin superhero, an authentic voice. Rivera is also the author of “Juliet Takes A Breaths.’ The young adult novel follows a Puerto Rican girl who comes out to her family right before going to an internship on the other side of the country.

Martine Gutierrez

Martine Gutierrez is a famed photographer and artist that has displayed work around the world. The art critic Barbara Calderon wrote about Gutierrez’s identity that has been an elusive yet broad identity. Calderon spoke of terms used to identify oneself yet none seemed to accurately describe who Gutierrez is.

Lido Pimienta

Lido Pimienta is an Afro-indigenous Colombian Canadian musician who is transforming Latin music, especially the scene with her sexuality. The queer musician is unapologetic about her identity for the sake of visibility. Pimienta feels a need to stay ver visible to change the long-running history of no queer visibility in media.

READ: Here Are Some Queer Films And Shows To Watch To Start Pride Off Right

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