Last month, Rita Moreno finally received the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors. Moreno earned this distinction. She is one of only 12 artists who have ever won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony, as well as the first Hispanic to have won all four awards. Seems like it was only yesterday that Latino groups publicly criticized the Kennedy Center for excluding Latinos for a decade from the awards. And, our voices were heard.
Gloria and Emilio Estefan recently were among the recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom, presented by President Barack Obama, is the nation's highest civilian honor and presented to individuals who have made special contributions to the security or national interests of the United States.
It was 1999, when Ricky Martn performed at the Grammys and the international superstar crossed over to mainstream. It was the "Latin Explosion" in the making. Madonna and the entire audience were on their feet giving Ricky Martin a standing ovation.
The Latino influence is being felt more than ever before in pop culture, music, and entertainment.
Latinos won big at the Golden Globes. Gael García Bernal, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Oscar Isaac all had their moment. "On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan" on Broadway is a hit.
We are rewriting history through the eyes of a new generation.
The Estefan’s paved the way for Ricky Martin, Shakira, J.Lo and other Latino superstars, or as Gloria has said, she "pushed the door open" to mainstream America.
Beyond Broadway and the small screen, Latinos are strengthening their voices. But Latinos influence more than the music and entertainment industry, we have tremendous buying power and political clout.