Latinx Heritage Month is the perfect time to remind ourselves of all the artists who are constantly making a way for all Latinos in the music industry. It’s even better to see that some of the hottest artists right now are so proud of where they come from and they make it a point to celebrate their cultures and remind people as often as possible that they take pride in their respective countries. Seeing someone who is deeply proud of where they come from can even inspire fans to reflect that same kind of pride for their own roots. Stars like Cardi B, Maluma, Becky G, REYNA, and J Balvin make it a point to show the love they have for their heritage in everything they do. Artists like the guys from CNCO, Camila Cabello, Bad Bunny, DaniLeigh, and Jharrel Jerome have found a way to celebrate their backgrounds, while perfectly integrating both the Latinx and American culture into their art.
The music industry has been celebrating Latinx music more than ever in the past few years and it has been refreshing and so great to witness. Award shows like the Video Music Awards have added Latin music categories that are even shown during the main broadcast. Our artists are getting the spotlight and recognition they deserve, and it’s only right–they are dominating the charts and making us all proud in the process. Stars like Cardi, J Balvin, and Maluma are on top of the world with their careers, and at every turn, they remind us that no matter how high up they go, it is always important to remember to stay true to who you are and where you come.
Cardi B was born in New York, but the influence of her parents’ cultures is so evident in her every move. Her father is from the Dominican Republic while her mom is from Trinidad, and Cardi is so proud of her Latina side. She has effortlessly meshed into the Latin music scene, creating hits with artists like Ozuna, Bad Bunny, and Jennifer Lopez. Not only that, but Cardi uses her platform to speak out on issues going on in DR so she represents her people through music, but also stays informed enough to be able to participate in and bring light to conversations regarding the issues that affect them. Cardi is at the height of her career, and it is awesome to see her remain so authentic and be so loud and clear about how proud she is of who she is.
People from Colombia tend to be inherently proud of their country. And who can blame them? They have so much to be proud of. J Balvin has made it his mission to show his homeland love with every opportunity that comes his way. The singer can easily live anywhere he pleases, but he has continued living in his country to stay close to his people. From showing love to Colombian during his appearance at the Super Bowl halftime show earlier this year to his constant expression of adoration for his beloved Medellín to constantly uplifting the Latinx community, J Balvin makes it clear that for him, being Colombian is a major part of his identity and its what makes him who he is. The best part is that with all of his success, he says that he will continue singing in Spanish, and doesn’t feel the need to sing in English in order to achieve a crossover into the American market. And he truly doesn’t need to, people all over the world are already listening and loving his music. He is one of the biggest artists worldwide, with his music being one of the most-streamed globally, but to him, his family, and his fans, he will always be El Niño de Medellin.
Maluma’s love for Colombia runs deep. The “Hawai” singer has already achieved so much in his career, gaining fans all over the world by simply being himself, yet he remains humble. When he accepted his award at the VMAs earlier this year, he began giving his speech in English and a few seconds in switched back to his native tongue. He gave a shout out to Latinos and to his country, and he recently even got some ink honoring his hometown of Medellin. What screams hometown pride more than a giant tattoo across your chest?
There was always something special about Camila Cabello since she joined Fifth Harmony in 2012. She was vibrant, full of life, and most importantly, she seemed to be so true to herself. The singer was so quick to say where she was from, to share her immigration story, to speak out for the Latino community, and flaunted her gorgeous voice while singing along to her favorite Spanish-language songs that she grew up with. It was no surprise that when she went solo, the lead single off of her debut album was the hit song “Havana”--an ode to her hometown of Havana, Cuba. The Cuban-Mexican singer has been open about her story, her upbringing, and how painful it was for her to leave the country she grew up in for a new life in America. She has become one of the biggest pop stars in the industry, and she’s doing so by making sure the world knows exactly who she represents.
Two things Becky G makes clear are that she is from Inglewood, California and that she is Mexican. The pop star has shouted how proud she is of her roots from the start of her career, even back in her YouTube days. Aside from her ridiculously gorgeous Instagram photos, some of the best things she posts are of her and her big Mexican family dancing and enjoying the best parts of their culture together. And she is never afraid of showing it off for the world to see. The singer has found great success in the Latin music world with Spanish-language songs “Mayores” and “Sin Pijamas.” While her Spanish skills aren’t flawless, Becky is proof that you don’t need to master the language in order to show pride in your Latinx roots. It’s not the language that makes you, but the love you have for your country.
The Mexican-American duo REYNA is living the dream. The sisters often pay homage to their heritage through their music and their videos, and they honestly have such a good grasp of what it means to be bicultural. Their love for music came about thanks to their grandmother, who was in a Mariachi band when they were younger, and now they are proud to show different aspects of their Mexican upbringing through the art they create. It’s not easy being a Latinx in America, but these two are proof that sometimes the best things come out of challenges.
When Univision began their search for the next Latinx boyband, they had no idea what was in store for them. Joel Pimentel, Richard Camacho, Erick Brian Colón, Christopher Vélez, and Zabdiel De Jesús were named the winners of the reality competition show La Banda, and together the five guys are a beautiful medley of various Latinx cultures. Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Ecuador, and Puerto Rico are all represented within the group and seeing each one of them represent their background so proudly is really special. The way they speak, the way they act is all so different but they have been able to mesh so well together, showing that as Latinxs, no matter which country we’re from, we’re better united than we are apart.
DaniLeigh, whose full name is Danielle Leigh Curiel, is a loud and proud Dominicana. The Florida-born singer’s parents are from the Dominican Republic but they made sure to pass down their culture and love for their island to their daughter. She released the song “Dominican Mami” in 2020 to show her pride in her heritage and to make sure people know exactly where she comes from, and that’s just one more reason to love her.
Jharrel Jerome made history when he became both the first Afro-Latino and the first Dominican to win an acting Emmy for best lead actor in a limited series for his role in Netflix’s “When They See Us” in 2019. He took the moment and turned it into an opportunity to give a shout out to his community, and said he hoped his win would help uplift actors who look like him in Hollywood. “I hope this is a step forward for Dominicans, for Latinos, for Afro-Latinos,” the actor told reporters backstage after the win. “It’s about time we’re here.” Prior to acting, he has said that his first love is hip hop. He recently released his song “For Real,” and while we love seeing him on the screen, we know he will break down barriers in the music industry as well.
Puerto Rico has had no issue with breeding superstars. Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, Luis Fonsi, etc. have all brought so much pride to the island through the years–but now it’s Bad Bunny who has become the Puerto Rican people’s pride and joy. The rapper has really flourished in recent years and has made it a point to be vocal about the issues that are going on in his homeland, from political unrest to homophobia and transphobia. He is no stranger to hopping on a plane just to attend a protest and join his fans as they fight for their rights on the PR streets. The “Te Bote” singer loves his dear Puerto Rico and there is no denying how connected he is to his island and its people.