Rubén Blades is the man of the moment…
The 72-year-old Panamanian musician, singer, composer, actor, activist, and politician has been named the Latin Recording Academy’s 2021 Person of the Year as part of the organization’s 22nd anniversary.
Blades, who has won nine Grammys and eight Latin Grammys, will be honored for his commitment to fighting for social justice and supporting initiatives that raise awareness about political oppression, hunger, poverty and more.
With songs like “Prohibido Olvidar,” “Buscando América” and “Desapariciones,” Blades has also been a champion for change in Latin communities and beyond.
“I am grateful to the Latin Academy for this recognition, and I share it with everyone who has helped me throughout my artistic life,” said Blades. “Success is never the product of a sole individual’s effort, it’s the consequence of many contributions and the will and talent of other people. Today, I thank all those who made my successful career as a musician and composer possible.”
Blades, also a two-time Emmy-nominated actor having starred in more than 50 films and television series, including Fear the Walking Dead, joins a roster of past Person of the Year honorees that includes Juanes, Vicente Fernandez, Juan Gabriel, Alejandro Sanz, Gloria Estefan and Maná, among others.
“Rubén Blades is a truly iconic artist who has inspired generations with his powerful and intelligent lyrics, and whose genius has stood for justice at all levels of society,” said Gabriel Abaroa Jr., president/CEO of the Latin Recording Academy. “With activism and social justice movements at the forefront of our collective conversation this past year, we can’t think of a more deserving and timely honoree of the Latin Academy Person of the Year distinction.”
Blades will be honored during the Person of the Year gala featuring a tribute concert that will include renditions of Blades’ repertoire performed by artists and friends.
Details of the event will be announced at a later date.
Proceeds from the gala will go toward the charitable work of the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation which, among other things, funds scholarships for Latin music students around the world.