Bad Bunny Partners with Cheetos for “Deja Tu Huella” Campaign

Bad Bunny’s making his (orange) mark…

Over the weekend, videos of the 26-year-old Puerto Rican Latin trap and reggaeton singer filming in the streets of California’s Boyle Heights in flooded social media. He was spotted by fans doing various takes for an upcoming Cheetos commercial, and the cat was out of the bag. “I wasn’t expecting that,” he tells Billboard by phone. “The word got around and it was like a sold-out concert,” he jokes.

Bad Bunny x Cheetos

After teaming up with various brands this year including Crocs, Bad Bunny has now joined forces with Cheetos for its “Deja Tu Huella” campaign — a new multi-platform initiative designed to rally the next generation to leave their mark in their culture.

“This initiative is important because it’s the union of two brands, the commercials are amazing, and it’s an encouragement for the Latin community,” says Bad Bunny, whose real name is Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio. “I feel proud because we are using our tools and the motivation to invite Latinos to leave their mark in what they love and to reach their goals whether it’s in music, sports, or the arts.”

Through “Deja Tu Huella,” Cheetos wants to celebrate and help lift up the Latino community.

“I’m leaving my mark in many ways,” Bunny continues. “For me, it’s important to leave my mark with my creations in music but also as a human being. My music has traveled far around the world and 100 percent in Spanish with my Puerto Rican slang. Wherever I go, in every interview, I let everyone know that I am Latino and Puerto Rican and I think that I have left that mark well placed in the whole world.”

But the partnership is more than just a campaign.

Cheetos, in collaboration with the singer’s Good Bunny Foundation, is giving back to the Hispanic community with a $500,000 commitment. This complements the recently announced PepsiCo and PepsiCo Foundation commitment to the Latino community with $170 million in support over five years to further build on its long-standing efforts to address racial inequality and create opportunity, according to an official press statement.

“It’s undeniable that Hispanic culture has shaped American pop culture. And it’s that culture that has inspired much of Cheetos initiatives in food, fashion, and entertainment,” said Marissa Solis, svp of marketing, Frito-Lay North America, in a statement. “On the heels of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re proud to kick off a campaign that pays tribute to the Latinos who are pushing boundaries and rewriting the rules. And, we’ll have a lot of fun along the way when we see what Mr. Bunny and Mr. Chester has a store for fans this November.”

The Bad Bunny and Cheetos collaboration will be unveiled on Sunday, November 22 during the 2020 American Music Awards, where he’s a four-time nominee. As part of the AMAs partnership, Cheetos is also sponsoring the expansion of the Latin award categories including favorite male artist, favorite female artist, favorite album, and favorite song.

As for the “Yo Perreo Sola” singer’s favorite Cheetos flavor? “I like the ‘Flamin’ Hot Limón’ the most,” he concludes.

Carlos Vives Performs 21-Minute Set as Part of NPR Music’s Tiny Desk At-Home Concerts

Carlos Vives is putting his desk foot forward…

The 59-year-old Colombian singer-songwriter is the latest artist to appear as part of NPR Music’s Tiny Desk at-home concerts, bringing his Colombian flavors to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

Carlos Vives

During his 21-minute set earlier this week, during which he was joined by a seven-member band, including his longtime backup vocalist and gaita player, Mayte Montero, Vives kicked off things off with his 1995 hit “Pa’ Mayte,” showcasing the spirited champeta dance.

He then performed one of his newer records, “Cumbiana,” dedicated to the diverse community of Colombia, his Shakira-assisted bop “La Bicicleta,” and the infectious “No Te Vayas,” released earlier this year — all while dancing barefoot in the comfort of his own home.

“On this Tiny Desk during this quarantine, we have written most of the songs for our new album, Cumbiana Vol. 2, next to our producer Andres Leal and Martin Velilla,” says the six-time 2020 Latin Grammy nominee during his performance.

Vives is confirmed to speak at the 2020 Billboard Latin Music Week taking place October 20 to October 23. He’ll be joined by internationally renowned Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel, music and artistic director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, in an enlightening conversation on the power of music and the arts as a global agent of change for a better society.

 

The new Tiny Desk (home) concerts, which have featured special guests like Billie Eilish and BTS, are “the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.”

Tanya Saracho Among Top TV & Film Creators Demanding More Latinx Representation in Hollywood

Tanya Saracho is calling for more Latinx representation in Hollywood…

The Mexican playwright, screenwriter and actress is among some of the top creators in television and film who are demanding for change when it comes to Latinx representation as Hispanic Heritage Months comes to an end.

Tanya Saracho

In an open letter to Hollywood more than 270 Latinx showrunners, creators, and television and feature writers, including Saracho, Lin-Manuel MirandaGloria Calderon-Kellett, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Steven Canals, John Leguizamo, Linda Yvette-Chavez, Carolina Paiz, Marco Ramirez, Javier Grillo-Marxuach and more are calling for systemic change in the entertainment industry.

The letter begins: “As we come to the end of Hispanic Heritage Month in the midst of a global pandemic and continued racial injustice, many of us in the Latinx community have found it difficult to celebrate. Inspired by the activism of the Black and Indigenous communities, many of whom also identify as Latinx, we stand in solidarity with our fellow Black, Native and Indigenous writers, co-signing their WGAW Open Letters and echoing their demands for systemic change in our industry.”

“As Latinx Showrunners, Creators, TV and Feature Writers, we are incensed by the continued lack of Latinx representation in our industry, especially among the Black and Indigenous members of our community,” the letter continues. “Our stories are important, and our erasure onscreen contributes to the persistent prejudice that prevents real change in this country. This prejudice is not as overt as the one that keeps immigrant children in cages and separates families at the border, or as violent as the racism that is killing our Black, Brown, and Indigenous community members at the hands of police.”

“But when we are onscreen, we’re often relegated to stereotypes or villains. And as a recent​ ​New York Times OpEd​ states, ‘White elites cannot muffle a huge, vibrant community for decades and not expect consequences. For Latinos in the Trump era, these consequences are deadly, from Hurricane Maria to the Walmart shooting in El Paso and the pandemic, as well as soaring hate crimes.’”

The letter points out that the Latinx community makes up 18.3% of the U.S. population but it is not reflected in film and TV. There are only 4.7% feature writers and 8.7% TV writers that are Latinx. As Latinx writers move up to Showrunner level, the stats only get more dismal. “By refusing to tell our stories AND by refusing to put us in charge of telling them — Hollywood power brokers are complicit in our exclusion,” the letter remarks.

This is even further supported by a recent study from CAA and Parrot Analytics, which shows that even though television shows are a lot more diverse than they were three years ago, not all racial and ethnic groups were equally well represented in scripted debuts. Latinos and Hispanics remain significantly underrepresented despite being one of the fastest-growing demographics in the country.

While there are shows like One Day At A Time that having managed to get multiple season orders, there have been other Latino-fronted shows in the past years, like The Baker and the Beauty and United We Fall — that have been canceled before getting the chance to find their footing beyond one season.

The letter can be summarized with three words included heavily throughout: “We are tired.”

The open letter does not mince words with the demands and draws out exactly what needs to be done including creating stories for and about the Latinx community by Latinx creators; greenlighting Latinx-fronted projects; respecting all aspects and intersections of the Latinx cultural representation; and hiring Latinx creators for non-Latinx projects.

The letter, which was posted on social channels with the hashtag #EndLatinXclusion, closes with “Stories are powerful. Stories change the world. Let’s get on the right side of history so we can continue to create needed change and tell captivating stories together.”

This initiative was launched by the Untitled Latinx Project (ULP) founded by Saracho. It’s an all-Latina advocacy group formed to increase representation of Latinx created stories for television. The goal of this call to action was uniting the professional community of Latinx writers, creators and showrunners.

Read the letter in full here.

Mariachi Divas Among the Acts Taking Part in Mariachi USA’s First-Ever Digital Festival

Mariachi Divas are among the acts taking their Mariachi USA show online…

For the first time in its 30 years of existence, the Mariachi USA festival is going digital and hosting a free two-hour special event in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, featuring the Grammy-winning all-female mariachi band based in Los Angeles.

Mariachi Divas

The virtual festival will take place on Sunday, October 11.

The festival, founded in 1990 by artist and producer Rodri J. Rodriguez, was held every summer at the iconic Hollywood Bowl, but because of COVID-19, this year’s event will look different.

“To know we weren’t having a show at the Bowl was heartbreaking,” Rodriguez tells Billboard. “We know what this festival means to our musicians, which is exposure, and our now multigenerational audience since we are now entertaining the grandkids and great grandkids of those who have supported us since day one.”

This year’s virtual fest, which will stream on YouTube, will feature mariachi ensembles from all over the U.S., including Mariachi Divas, Mariachi Los ReyesMariachi Lindas Mexicanas and Mariachi Nuevo Tecatitlán, to name a few.

“We still have to take music to the people and I needed to create something that would put a little bit of money in our musician’s pockets because they are hurting,” says Rodriguez.

Sidelined by the global pandemic, the mariachi community, which depends heavily on gigs in order to make an income, has reinvented the serenata. Now, wearing face masks in addition to their traditional charro suit and standing six feet apart from each other is the new norm.

Rodriguez also had to reinvent the festival in order to make it work. “We had to pre-record everyone because mariachi is very unique. It’s not just three or four bandmembers. Some groups have 16 and each state has different COVID-19 regulations,” Rodriguez explains. “Some recorded in backyards, horse ranches and empty theaters. I have been so impressed with how everyone stepped up. It’s exciting and motivating.”

As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to an end, Rodriguez hopes this virtual festival will remind the Latino community that, “there is pride in what we do and what we own. What we own is our heritage and our culture and no one can take that away from us,” she says. “With our concerts we deliver a very specific message and that’s a message of passion and the pride that we all carry within us and that cannot be silenced.”

The first-ever virtual Mariachi USA festival will stream here on Sunday starting at 8:00 pm ET.

Amazon Music Launches Amazon Music LAT!N Hub, Featuring Exclusive Music, Videos & More From Artists Like Natanael Cano

Natanael Cano has found a new connection

Amazon Music is putting a big focus on Latin music with the launch of “Amazon Music LAT!N,” featuring the 19-year-old Mexican singer in a new editorial video series, Género101,

Natanael Cano

The Latin music brand features a broad umbrella that includes over 100 new and revamped playlists, an emerging artist program, merchandise, video and multiple catalog programs among many other initiatives.

Using the tagline “La Musica que nos conecta” — a reference to the fact that Latinos come from many countries and cultures but are connected by music and language — the LAT!N hub, which includes music in Spanish and Portuguese, will live within Amazon at amazon.com/latinmusic.

It seeks to establish Amazon as a major player in Latin music streaming and content, as well as retail.

“The big differentiator [with other streaming services] is the ability to work cross functionally with the other Amazon verticals and services like Twitch and Prime Video,” explains Rocío Guerrero, who assumed the newly created position of global head of Latin music at Amazon in January.

“We can do things 360. It’s unparalleled and it will live within the Amazon.com ecosystem.”

Prior to Guerrero’s arrival, Amazon Music had been relatively perfunctory with its approach to Latin music, offering playlists and a big catalog but little else. Latin content was hardly ever marketed  The launch of LAT!N marks a major investment and commitment to the music.

“What they want is to expand with even more audiences and fans and engage them with Latin music,” Guerrero says. A major thrust is positioning Amazon as a destination that focuses not only on reggaetón and urban music, which dominate the major Latin playlists around the world, but on all genres of Latin music, aiming for Amazon’s “broader” — as Guerrero calls it — audience, including older listeners.

“For instance, genres like bachata, salsa and Regional Mexican are big in Amazon Music,” she says. “We have a spotlight now. And we can shine a light on all the genres of Latin music.”

Guerrero came to Amazon from Warner Music Latin, but previously spent years overseeing U.S. Latin content in Spotify. Since joining Amazon in late 2019 she has expanded the Latin music global team, hiring Ana Martinez as label relations and Cristina Martin to head marketing for Latin music global and retaining Amaya Mendizabal as senior music curator.

After planning for the first half of the year, the official LAT!N kickoff features an original, acoustic version of Maluma’s global hit “Hawái.” It will be followed by exclusive weekly releases of new renditions by Karol G, Christian Nodal and Romeo Santos during Hispanic Heritage Month, with more planned moving forward.

At the same time, a catalog program called “Raices” will kick off with a spotlight on Marc Anthony that includes a mini documentary shot in his home, and will highlight Latin catalog content on a monthly basis. Likewise, an emerging artist program, “Rompe,” which is similar to Amazon’s “Breakthrough” program in the U.K., will highlight a local emerging artist every month, beginning with Colombia’s Las Villa and Interscope artist Nobeat.

New content will go beyond music to include five new editorial video series, available in English and Spanish. The first, Género101, will highlight different sub-genres of Latin music, beginning with an episode on corridos tumbaos explained by Natanael Cano. An Alexa component is also in development that will allow listeners to ask their virtual assistant questions and get replies in different artists’ voices.

The core of LAT!N, of course, will continue to be playlists — now expanded to 100 — including Latin global hits playlist Platino (formerly titled Fuego Latino), new music playlist Hoy, and a Clásicos playlist that features classics for each genre. Says Guerrero: “We cannot commit to just one audience only.”

Selena Gomez to Receive Arts Award During This Year’s Hispanic Heritage Awards

Selena Gomez is being recognized for representin’…

The 28-year-old Mexican American singer will receive the Arts Award during the 33rd Hispanic Heritage Awards, which will air on October 6 on PBS stations and streamed on PBS.org.

Selena Gomez

At the same ceremony, Bad Bunny will receive the Vision Award, and actress Jessica Alba will receive the Business Award for her entrepreneurial and philanthropic activities.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, there won’t be a live ceremony. The PBS special will feature filmed performances from across the U.S. and Latin America.

The awards were created by the White House in 1987 and commemorate the establishment of Hispanic Heritage Month in the U.S.

Jose Antonio Tijerino, president and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, said in a statement that he is “thrilled to recognize Selena Gomez with the Arts Award for her impact on American and global culture through her music [and] movies but also for her courage as an advocate for mental health.”

In April of this year, Gomez revealed that she has bipolar disorder. She has discussed her condition in several interviews.

In his statement, Tijerino praised Gomez’s courage in opening up about her mental health challenges.

“There’s power in vulnerability and Selena has made it okay to talk about difficult issues we all deal with, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Selena is a role model for so many for so many reasons.”

Gomez has been a pop star for more than a decade, first as the leader of Selena Gomez & the Scene, and since 2013 as a solo artist. All three of her solo studio albums, Stars Dance, Revival and Rare, have reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

In November 2019, Lose You to Love Me” became her first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100.

La Santa Cecilia to Take Part in This Year’s Virtual Edition of LA’s “El Grito” Benefit Telethon

La Santa Cecilia are getting into the grito game…

Los Angeles’ El Grito has gone virtual for its 2020 edition amid the global coronavirus pandemic, but that won’t stop the Latin American band from taking part.

La Santa Cecilia

Traditionally held at the steps of City Hall, the first-ever virtual telethon will feature musical performances and highlight the many contributions that the Latino community has made to Los Angeles’ culture, history and economy.

In addition to Los Angeles-based La Santa Cecilia, this year’s diverse lineup will include the participation of Los Tucanes de Tijuana, Ozomatli, and El Conjunto Nueva Ola, to name a few.

Presented by the City of Los Angeles and Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, the benefit telethon will also provide relief to Angelenos affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and raise funds to support Comunidades Indígenas en Liderazgo (CIELO’s), Undocu-Indigenous Fund.

In addition, as unveiled in an official statement, “the City of Los Angeles will join the Consul General of Mexico in re-enacting the historic Cry of Dolores and ringing of the bell, which commemorates the call to arms pronounced by Miguel Hidalgo in 1810 which launched the Mexican War for Independence.”

Co-hosted by Telemundo 52 Los AngelesElva Saray and NBC4’s Belen de Leon, the El Grito livestream officially kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month, airing from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Tuesday, September 15 via El Grito’s official website.

Tin Tan Honored with Google Doodle

Tin Tan is the man on Google

The Mexican actor, singer and comedian was the official Google Doodle for September 19.

Tin Tan

Born Germán Valdés, he was known for wearing zoot suits and popularizing Mexican-American pachuco culture and caló Spanglish slang speech. Tin Tan was born in Mexico City on this date in 1915, and launched his career in Ciudad Juarez. It was there, working as a janitor in a radio station, that he adlibbed into the microphone in an empty studio, not knowing it was live. He was an instant success and was promoted to radio announcer.

Tin Tan’s movie career followed, with the comedic character he created becoming a classic of Mexican cinema. He appeared in more than 100 films, and also voiced characters including The Jungle BookBalooand Cat O’Malleyin the Aristocats for Spanish-language versions ofDisneyfeatures.

Tin Tan Google Doodle

Mysteriously, Tin Tan turned down the opportunity to appear on the cover of The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. He was immortalized with a statue of his likeness that stands in the Zona Rosaneighborhood of Mexico City. 

The Tin Tan doodle, on what would have been his 104th birthday, is part of Google’s Hispanic Heritage Monthcelebration series.

Kali Uchis Among the Artists Featured on Pandora’s New Latin Music Station “El Detour”

Kali Uchis is taking a special detour…

Pandorais adding a new Latin music station, El Detour, which aims to highlight the work of Latinx recording acts who don’t necessarily belong to a genre or have the exposure of mainstream artists, like the 25-year-old Colombian American singer/songwriter.

Kali Uchis

Uchis will appear alongside acts like Girl Ultra and The Marias, all known for their distinct and vibrant music styles, from R&B to psychedelic soul.

“We wanted to create a station that highlights the genres and artists that don’t necessarily fit in a box and defy genres, music that is outside of the mainstream created by Latinos both in Latin America and the U.S.,” Marcos Juarez, Pandora’s head of Latin music, tells Billboard. “We were very intentional in the way that we chose songs. We wanted to highlight Latin music in 2019 that is outside of the mainstream.”

The Pandora Latin team, including music programmer Leticia Ramirez who came up with the El Detour station name, oversees Pandora’s Latin offerings, including El Pulso’s urban music and RMX, a station dedicated to the regional Mexican genre. 

El Detour aims to show the diversity of Latin music in thoughtfully curated playlists that include everything from electro-pop to tropical fusion as the music streaming platform celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month


“It became clear to us that there were a ton of artists — and this has been true for ages — operating in the margins outside of mainstream commercial music,” Juarez said. “El Detour highlights some of these bigger artists who are huge right now such as Cuco, Kali Uchis and Bomba Estero, artists we have heard of and some are signed to major labels. But we also really wanted to highlight and celebrate a lot of those artists working to build audiences in their respective regions.”

Juarez revealed that Pandora is kicking off the El Detour marketing campaign with Cuco, Kali Uchis, Helado Negro and The Marias, adding that they represent a diverse cross section of distinct sounds.

“Something in English, something in Spanish, they are bicultural and they straddle both sides of Latin identity, American identity and they are emblematic of young Latinos of the U.S. consuming music from all over the place,” Juarez said. “We see this reflected in festival culture such as Viva Pomona[in Southern California] or Tropicalia, which is coming later in the year.”

Juarez also pointed out some of Pandora’s offerings of Latin classics, nostalgic music from around the world, such as Mexico, Puerto Rico and Colombia. It’s a way of “creating relatable listening music experiences in whatever genre or mood you are in,” he adds. 

“Pandora has always been adept at fostering discovery,” Juarez said. “With this project we are looking to accelerate that process of discovery and put music in front of people that otherwise may not be aware of. Latin music continues to thrive and I think we have had success in being reflective of Latino culture and being representative of the diversity of it all.”

Briarcliff Entertainment Acquires US Rights to Raúl Castillo’s Latino Superhero Film “El Chicano”

El Chicano will be sweeping into theaters next year…

Briarcliff Entertainment has acquired U.S. rights to the Latino superhero film with an all-Hispanic cast, including star Raúl Castillo.

El Chicano

The action film tells the story of twin brothers Diego and Pedro (both played by Castillo), who grew up together on the streets of East Los Angeles. As adults, their lives took radically different paths as Diego became a celebrated detective for the LAPD, and Pedro turned to a dead-end life of crime. When clues start connecting Pedro’s death to a case Diego is working on, a mythological figure from his youth, The Ghetto Grim Reaper, draws Diego in deeper than he ever expected. He becomes that figure, a Hispanic version of Batman or Black Panther.

The film also stars George Lopez, Aimee Garcia, Emilio Rivera, Kate del Castillo, Mr. Criminal, Noel G. Marco Rodriguez, Marlene Forte, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Sal Lopez, David Castañeda and Armida Lopez.

El Chicano marks the feature film directorial debut of 25-year veteran stuntman Ben Hernandez Bray, who co-wrote the script with Joe Carnahan.

Carnahan was frustrated waiting for Bad Boys 3 to come together, he succumbed to Bray’s rationale and bailed on one franchise in hopes of starting another.

“I was frustrated with Bad Boys 3, and Ben had been talking about this for a decade,” Carnahan said. “He would tell me that 25% of movie tickets are purchased by Latinos, and so where are their big heroes? We wrote this on spec, and these white oil and gas guys from Canada gave us the money to make it at an under $8 million budget. It got an amazing response at the L.A. Film Festival. We believe in this, and that it can find a big audience and launch a franchise.”

Said Bray: “Just the fact that we’re making this announcement during Hispanic Heritage Month, which celebrates the vital and important presence of Hispanics and Latinos in North America, is wonderful to me. The time is now for a film like El Chicano. A Latino superhero franchise is long overdue, but to have the forces of Joe Carnahan, Frank Grillo, Tom Ortenberg and Lorenzo di Bonaventurain the mix just makes it even sweeter and well worth the wait!”

The film will be released theatrically on March 22, 2019, with a reported target of 600-800 screens.