If you’re a Latin music fan, mark your calendars: on November 16, the royalty of famous Hispanic people will receive honors thanks to an HBO documentary that explores the cultural impact of Latin music in the U.S. The Latin Explosion: A New America, features A-list artists like Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin, Rita Moreno, Shakira, Thalia and many more, who share their stories of success and struggles charted in this fascinating film.
Spanning decade by decade from the 1950s Cha-Cha and Mambo scenes with artists like Desi Arnaz, along with Celia Cruz and members the Fania All-Stars, who brought salsa music to the people in the 1970s, to the reggaeton of Pitbull and beyond, the documentary is narrated with candor and insight by John Leguizamo. A trailer of the film opens with Ricky Martin reminding everyone that the U.S. is the second-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, while another segment features Gloria Estefan recounting how record label execs asked her to change her name because it was too difficult to pronounce.
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We’ve come a long way baby: Latinos with “difficult” surnames now have a huge influence over U.S. culture, politics and economics. The Latin Explosion aims to show that the Latino impact on U.S. culture goes beyond entertainment. Aside from Latin music superstars, the film features Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Hollywood activist Eva Longoria. As Jennifer Lopez bluntly puts it: “It’s our time.”
As Rolling Stone reports, veteran music executive Tommy Mottola, the film’s executive producer, echoes Lopez’s sentiments regarding famous Hispanics: “We have assembled the largest array of Latino superstars ever in a film telling a powerful story of their history and immigration, politics, and rise from a small minority population to the most critical demographic in the United States,” Mottola said in a statement. “Latinos spend $1.3 trillion a year, making them one of the most powerful groups of consumers today. Latinos played a large part in the outcome of the last election and will certainly be a larger part in the upcoming 2016 election. There is no doubt in my mind that by 2025 we will have a Latino president.”
Mottola may be right: In 1950, one in 50 Americans were Latino. By 2050, it is expected to rise to one in three. Once categorized as minorities in U.S. society, Latinos are now the mainstream, and the proof is in array of famous Hispanic people and more so, in the power of their music.