LOS ANGELES — The Latin Grammy Awards held in Las Vegas November 19 started out as a typical music awards show. The televised annual musical awards show featured musical acts from around Mexico, Latin and Central America. Two of the most famous, important, and worldwide accepted musical groups throughout Lain America and the United States came to the Latin Grammy’s, making very important political statements.
Los Tigres del Norte, an internationally famous and long time Mexican musical group known for ballads-corridos, once again featured their brand of politically inspired music focusing on immigrants and the U.S. immigrant experience. They had the crowd standing as they performed their song ‘Somo Mas Americanos’ (We are more American) in an outstanding performance.
Los Tigres del Norte finished the set by walking toward the audience and holding up a large sign that read “Latinos Unidos No Voten for Racistas!!” (United Latinos don’t vote for racists). The audience gave Los Tigres a standing ovation.
Mana, another group known throughout Latin America and with a big following in the U.S., received a Grammy for Best Pop/Rock Album. Mana is very popular with a younger generation of Latinos. Mana recently was headlining with Metallica, a popular heavy metal band at the Rock USA festival last year in Las Vegas.
Mana also engaged the audience with a statement that Latinos must vote against racist candidates. Once again the audience gave Mana a standing ovation. Mana joined Los Tigres del Norte in displaying the sign ‘Latinos Unidos No Voten for Racistas!’ Other statements were made by Grammy participants but none as significant as those made by Mana and Los Tigres.
Mana and Los Tigres had the courage to address two important issues affecting the Latino community. It was clear from the audience response that the issue of racist attacks on the Latino community needed to be addressed. The other issue was the need for some type of push back. This included registering to vote and getting out to vote.
According to a recent study by the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) 25.7 million Latinos became eligible to vote in 2014. This is expected to grow, as 800,000 new Latinos become voting eligible every year.
It was recently announced that a group of well known rock, pop R&B, country and hip-hop entertainers will be holding a TV concert highlighting the importance of tackling racism. The concert was held in Los Angeles and taped. It is called “A concert for Progress on Race in America.”
Photo: Los Tigres del Norte and Mana hold up a sign during a performance at the 16th annual Latin Grammy Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, in Las Vegas. Chris Pizzello | Invision | AP