Camila Cabello Performs Mariachi-fied Version of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” at White House

Camila Cabello is bringing a little sabor to the White House this holiday season…

The 24-year-old half-Mexican Cuban-born singer joined a star-studded list of performers for PBSIn Performance at The White House: Spirit of the Season on Tuesday — and brought along a full mariachi group for her rendition of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”

Camila CabelloJulia Garner and Jill Biden introduced for her performance from the Grand Foyer as Cabello rocked an all-red jumpsuit and matching gloves.

“Such an incredible honor to perform again at the white house,” Cabello tweeted with a clip for her performance of the Bing Crosby 1943 classic. “Wishing you all a wonderful holiday with your loved ones.”

Among the other performers were Eric Church, Jonas Brothers, Pentatonix, Billy Porter, along with Andrea Bocelli and his children Matteo and Virginia.

This isn’t the first time Cabello has visited the White House. During her time in Fifth Harmony, the group performed “All I Want for Christmas” for Barack Obama‘s National Tree Lighting in 2016, and also sang “Happy Birthday” to Michelle Obama‘s Let’s Move campaign during the White House Easter Egg Roll in 2015.

Cabello previously performed the song (alongside a mariachi) during NBC‘s Michael Bublé’s Christmas in the City earlier this month.

“I wanted to pay tribute to my Mexican heritage with this Christmas cover of I’ll be home for Christmas,” she wrote on Instagram about the tribute. “Luis [Miguel] did it first and in Spanish, but I wanted to bring it to an audience that normally doesn’t get to hear the beauty of Mariachi music.”

In Spanish, she added: “Much love to Mexico and to the beautiful music of my country. Merry Christmas! I hope you enjoy this cover that’s now available on Amazon Music.”

Cabello first introduced a mariachi to her music during Latinx Heritage Month for her NPR Tiny Desk performance, when she performed a track called “La Buena Vida.”

“I’m gonna sing a song called ‘La Buena Vida’ which is part of my upcoming album Familia and this is one of my favorite songs on the album so thanks for having me and I hope you guys enjoy it, let’s get it,” she said as she was joined by the band.

https://twitter.com/Camila_Cabello/status/1473675680424542217

 

Earlier this month, during a conversation with Kid Cudi, Anderson .Paak and the Sparks Brothers for The Hollywood Reporter‘s Songwriter Roundtable, the Fifth Harmony alum opened up about how writing a song for her Cinderella film helped her with her mental health.

“I don’t think I know how to write in any way that isn’t personal to me,” she said. “When I was working on ‘Million to One‘ for Cinderella, to be totally honest, I was going through a really hard time with my mental health.”

“It was just a period of a lot of anxiety and sadness for me, and that song had me feeling like, ‘I can overcome this. I know that I can make my life better.’ I feel like I channeled my personal journey into the one of the character. The character was super confident — everybody was telling her no, but she knew,” Cabello added.

Camila Cabello to Perform on PBS’ “In Performance at the White House” Special

Camila Cabello is headed to the White House

The 24-year-old Cuban Mexican is set to take part in PBSIn Performance at the White House, which will return with a holiday season special to air on network on December 21.

Camila Cabello

But Cabello isn’t the only Latina to participate.

Kirstin Maldonado and her Pentatonix group mates will also perform during the special.

The program will be taped from December 11-14.

Jennifer Garner will host the special, with performances by Andrea Bocelli, Matteo Bocelli, Virginia Bocelli, Eric Church, the Jonas Brothers, Norah Jones, Billy Porter, Northwell Health Nurse Choir, Voices of Service and “The President’s OwnUnited States Marine Band.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will deliver remarks, and the event, titled Spirit of the Season, will highlight the holiday decor of the White House.

This will be the first In Performance since 2016, as none were held during the presidency of Donald Trump. The special also will be different in that the performances will be taped over a span of a few days, rather than a concert in the East Room, as has been tradition. That is because of Covid-19 protocols.

“We look forward to sharing more special performances recorded at the White House to capture the essence of our nation at its best,” Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president and chief executive officer of WETA-TV, said in a statement.

The Northwell Nurse Choir is a group of frontline nurses that formed last year as their profession faced the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic. Voices of Service is a quartet that has used their platform to show the impact that music can have on service members recovering from post traumatic stress disorder.

The In Performance specials began in 1978 with an East Room recital by pianist Vladimir Horowitz.

The special is produced by WETA, in association with Ken Ehrlich Productions. Executive producers are John F. Wilson and Ehrlich, with producer Renato Basile and director Toré Livia.

Carlos Valdes to Appear in Starz’s Watergate Drama “Gaslit”

Carlos Valdes’ latest project is (gas)lit!

The 32-year-old Colombian actor and singer is set to appear opposite Julia Roberts and Sean Penn in Starz’s Watergate drama Gaslit.

Carlos Valdes

Valdes will appear in a heavily recurring role alongside Patton OswaltNat Faxon, Erinn HayesPatrick Walker and Raphael Sbarge.

Also joining in recurring roles are Anne Dudek,  Chris ConnerBrian Geraghty, Nelson FranklinReed Diamond, Johnny BerchtoldAdam Ray and Billy Smith.

Based on the first season of the Slate podcast Slow Burn, Gaslit is a modern take on Watergate that focuses on the untold stories and forgotten characters of the scandal – from Richard Nixon’s bumbling, opportunistic subordinates to the deranged zealots aiding and abetting their crimes to the tragic whistleblowers who would eventually bring the whole rotten enterprise crashing down.

The story will center on Martha Mitchell (Roberts). A big personality with an even bigger mouth, Martha is a celebrity Arkansan socialite and wife to Nixon’s loyal Attorney General, John Mitchell (Penn). Despite her party affiliation, she’s the first person to publicly sound the alarm on Nixon’s involvement in Watergate, causing both the presidency and her personal life to unravel. As attorney general, Mitchell is Nixon’s most trusted adviser and best friend. Temperamental, foulmouthed and ruthless – yet hopelessly in love with his famously outspoken wife – he’ll be forced to choose between Martha and the president.

Valdes will portray Paul Magallanes, one of the FBI Agents assigned to the Watergate case. He and his partner, Angelo Lano (Chris Messina), come up against the full force of the White House as they investigate the events of June 1972.

The series is created and executive produced by Robbie Pickering. Matt Ross will direct and executive produce.

Valdez best known for his role as Cisco Ramon / Vibe on The CW television series The Flash and other Arrowverse-related projects.

Alvaro Bedoya Nominated to Serve on Federal Trade Commission

Alvaro Bedoya could be trading up…

The Peruvian-American privacy advocate and visiting professor of law at Georgetown University, has been nominated as one of five commissioners to the Federal Trade Commission.

Alvaro Bedoya

The White House announced Joe Biden’s nomination of Bedoya on Monday.

If confirmed, Bedoya likely will be another staunch advocate of taking robust action to rein in the power of big tech platforms.

He’s the founding director of the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law. The White House noted that his Bedoya’s research and report on facial recognition technology that paved the way for new restrictions on the use of the practice.

Bedoya would succeed Rohit Chopra, who Biden has selected to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Biden nominated another advocate of strong enforcement, Lina Kahn, who has been critical of the growth of large tech platforms, and appointed her to chair the commission after her confirmation. Among other things, the FTC is reviewing Google’s proposed acquisition of MGM.

Bedoya previously served as the first chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law.

He is a naturalized citizen born in Peru, and co-founded the college scholarship Esperanza Education Fund. He’s a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School.

Justino Diaz Among This Year’s Kennedy Center Honors Recipients

It’s an Honors of a lifetime for Justino Diaz.

The 81-year-old Puerto Rican operatic bass-baritone is among the recipients of the Kennedy Center’s Kennedy Center Honors this year, as the organization plans to return the ceremony to its traditional time and format in December.

Justino Diaz

In 1963, Díaz won an annual contest held at the Metropolitan Opera of New York, becoming the first Puerto Rican to obtain such an honor and as a consequence, made his Metropolitan debut in October 1963 in Verdi‘s Rigoletto as Monterone.

Diaz’s big roles throughout his career were in the operas of Mozart, taking on the title role of Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro a total of 27 times in his Met career.

He was also a renowned Scarpia and Iago in his time. He was famously picked by Franco Zeffirelli to take on the villain in his film version of Verdi’s final tragic masterwork; Scarpia was the last role he sang on the Met stage.

In addition to Diaz, the recipients for the December 5 event will be singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, actress and singer Bette MidlerSaturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, and Motown Record founder and producer Berry Gordy.

CBS will broadcast the 44th annual ceremony, and it will be live streamed on Paramount+ and available on demand.

The Kennedy Center Honors traditionally takes place in the first weekend of December, with events at the White House and the State Department preceding the ceremony at the Kennedy Center Opera House. But because of Covid-19, the most recent honors were postponed until May this year, with the ceremony spread out over several days with a mix of indoor and outdoor events, some in person and some pre-taped. Instead of a White House reception, President Joe Biden had a smaller gathering of the honorees.

In a statement, Kennedy Center president Deborah Rutter said, “After the challenges and heartbreak of the last many months, and as we celebrate 50 years of the Kennedy Center, I dare add that we are prepared to throw ‘the party to end all parties’ in D.C. on Dec. 5th, feting these extraordinary people and welcoming audiences back to our campus.”

Alexis Valdés to Star in HBO’s Limited Series “The White House Plumbers”

Alexis Valdés has landed a plum(ber) role…

The 57-year-old Cuban actor and comedian will star in The White House Plumbers, HBO’s five-part limited series that revisits Watergate, one of the biggest political scandals in American history.

Alexis Valdés

Valdés will star alongside Corbin Bernsen, Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux.

The series, now in production, hails from Veep executive producers Alex Gregory, Peter Huyck, David Mandel and Frank Rich.

Created and written by Gregory and Huyck and directed by Mandel, White House Plumbers is based part on public records and the book Integrity by Egil Bud Krogh and Matthew Krogh. It tells the true story of how Richard Nixon’s own political saboteurs and Watergate masterminds, E. Howard Hunt (Harrelson) and G. Gordon Liddy (Theroux), accidentally toppled the presidency they zealously were trying to protect.

Bernsen will play Richard Kleindienst, the Harvard-educated attorney general that is tainted by the ITT scandal and a contentious confirmation process. He refuses to use his power to shield the Plumbers from investigators.

Valdés plays Felipe De Diego, a Cuban-American real estate broker and yachtsman who participates in every Plumbers operation except the one which ends in their arrest.

Harrelson and Theroux executive produce White House Plumbers with Gregory, Huyck and Mandel. The limited series is a co-production between HBO and wiip.

Valdés’ previous credits include El juicio del PDO, Con Cariñito and 90 millas.

Huascar Medina Nominated for Membership on National Council on the Arts

Huascar Medina may soon be joining the National Council on the Arts.

The Latino poet, writer, and performer, Kansas’ first Latino Poet Laureate, is among President Joe Biden’s intended nominees for the council.

Huascar Medina

The eight-person list, posted on the White House website, also includes choreographer and educator Christopher Morgan, executive producer of Harlem’s Apollo Theater Kamilah Forbes, the president of John Prine’s Oh Boy Records (and widow of the late folk music icon) Fiona Whelan Prine, and ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro.

Medina has worked as a freelance copywriter and as the Literary Editor for seveneightfive magazine publishing stories that spotlight literary and artistic events in northeast Kansas. His poems can be found in his collection How to Hang the Moon published by Spartan Press. He’s the winner of ARTSConnect’s 2018 Arty Award for Literary Art. His new collection of poems Un Mango Grows in Kansas is available at huascarmedina.com.

The National Council on the Arts was established in 1965, with members appointed by the president and approved by the U.S. Senate for staggered six-year terms, advises the National Endowment for the Arts on agency policies and programs, and reviews and makes recommendations on applications for grants, funding guidelines, and leadership initiatives. If approved, Biden’s nominees will join other members serving now.

Biden’s roster of nominees is:

  • Kamilah Forbes, executive producer at the Apollo Theater. A veteran stage director and producer, Forbes’ Broadway credits include The Mountaintop and Stick Fly, as well as Off Broadway’s By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, written by two-time Pulitzer prize-winning writer Lynn Nottage, among others. She served as  associate director on the Tony Award-winning A Raisin in the Sun, and Emmy Award-winning The Wiz Live for NBC. Most recently, she directed Between the World and Me on HBO and HBO Max in November 2020. Forbes is set to direct a Broadway musical adaptation of Soul Train alongside producer Questlove, playwright Dominique Morisseau, and choreographer Camille A. Brown;
  • Christopher Morgan, choreographer, educator, facilitator, curator, and arts administrator. Morgan is Executive Artistic Director of Dance Place in Washington, D.C., and has directed Art Omi: Dance, an annual collaborative residency for international choreographers in New York;
  • Ismael Ahmed, co-founder of The Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Michigan and co-founder of Detroit’s world music festival Concert of Colors;
  • Kinan Azmeh, artistic director of the Damascus Festival Chamber Players, a pan-Arab ensemble dedicated to contemporary music form the Arab world;
  • Huascar Medina, the 7th Poet Laureate of Kansas. He currently works with the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission reimagining and developing innovative programming for the poet laureateship;
  • Jake Shimabukuro, the world-famous ukulele player who, in 2001, signed a historic deal with Epic Records/Sony Music that formed the basis of a string of hit albums and standing room audiences. He has played with world-renowned orchestras and at prestigious venues and events such as the Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center, and Sydney Opera House, Bonnaroo, SXSW and Fuji Rock Festival;
  • Constance Williams, who, with a background in publishing, marketing, and small business and financial consulting, was the economic development and small business coordinator for Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District. She has served as the Chair of the Board of The Philadelphia Museum of Art and is now Chair Emerita, and was also a trustee of the National Museum of American Jewish History;
  • Fiona Whelan Prine, President of Oh Boy Records, the country’s second-oldest independent record label still in operation. Prine oversees the multiple Grammy Award-winning recordings and publishing copyrights of her late husband, American songwriter John Prine, and serves as Founder and President of the newly established Hello in There Foundation, named after a classic song written by her late husband. In the last year alone, her community involvement has raised more than $1 million for important social causes, including those related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Auli’i Cravalho to Perform at PBS’ Televised Independence Day Celebration “A Capitol Fourth”

Auli’i Cravalho is embracing the independence

The 20-year-old part-Puerto Rican actress/singer will perform at this year’s Independence Day celebration A Capitol Fourth, which will feature a pre-taped concert and live fireworks from Washington, D.C.

Auli’i Cravalho

The city has lifted almost all COVID-19 restrictions, and President Joe Biden is planning an event at the White House that day, his goal for having at least 70% of the country with at least one COVID-19 shot.

But producers have been planning the show for months, with COVID-19 forcing them to set aside the traditional live concert on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

In addition to Cravalho, others who will perform at the event are Jimmy Buffett, Cynthia Erivo, Alan Jackson, Pentatonix, Jennifer Nettles, Train, Gladys Knight, Mickey Guyton, Ali Stroker, Jimmie Allen and Laura Osnes.

The National Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Jack Everly, will perform John Williams’ Olympic Fanfare, honoring U.S. participation in the upcoming Summer Olympic Games. The orchestra and the Joint Armed Forces Chorus will accompany the fireworks with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.

Vanessa Williams will host the event, with Renee Fleming set to open the show with the National Anthem. The concert will honor men and women of the military, with other participants including the U.S. Army BandPershing’s Own,” the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, The Joint Armed Forces Chorus and The Armed Forces Color Guard provided by the Military District of Washington, D.C.

The concert, a co-production of Michael Colbert of Capital Concerts and WETA-TV, will air on July 4 from 8:00 pm to 9:30 pm ET on PBS, and it also will be broadcast to the American Forces Network. NPR stations also will air the event, and it will be streamed on Facebook, YouTube and PBS.org through July 18.

Cravalho rose to acclaim as the voice of the title character in Disney’s computer animated musical Moana. Her other credits include NBC’s Rise and Netflix’s drama film All Together Now.

Manny Mua Interviews Joe Biden About COVID-19 Vaccine

Manny Mua is helping the White House encourage people to get vaccinated…

The 30-year-old Latino make-up artist, YouTuber, entrepreneur and beauty blogger, whose real name is Manuel Gutierrez Jr.,

Manny Mua

The White House has tapped YouTube stars, including the 30-year-old Latino make-up artist, YouTuber, entrepreneur and beauty blogger, for COVID-19 vaccine messaging, as Joe Biden and Anthony Fauci appear in new videos released as part of a virtual town hall in an effort to reach young audiences unsure or hesitant to get the shots.

Manny Mua, whose real name is Manuel Gutierrez Jr., conducted an interview with President Jo Biden, in which he asks about the rumors of a vaccine passport needed to travel or to go to concerts.

“Federally, we are not going to have any mandate, and we don’t keep records, federally, of people who have gotten the vaccine,” Biden said. He said that the rumor of vaccine passports “just plays into paranoia in some people, in particular young people. That is just not the case.”

Manny Mua also asked Biden that if he were stranded on a desert island, and he could only bring one skincare product, what would it be?

“I happen to be Irish, and I think my wife before I headed to the island would tell me, you better bring some sunscreen,” Biden said.

Others appearing in the videoes include the stars of Brave Wilderness, hosted by Nathaniel “Coyote” Peterson and Mark Vins, who have an outdoor adventure channel, and Jackie Aina.

Ana Cabrera to Anchor CNN’s “CNN Newsroom” During the Week

Ana Cabrera is expanding her role at CNN

The cable news network has announced changes to its weekday morning and dayside lineup, with the 38-year-old Mexican American broadcast journalist joining the roster.

Ana Cabrera

Cabrera, who has anchored CNN’s weekend newscasts for the last four years, will now anchor CNN Newsroom weekdays from 1:00 – 2:00 pm.

The news network also unveiled new roles for Jim Acosta and Boris Sanchez on weekends, with all changes effective in April.

Sanchez will join Christi Paul as co-anchor of Weekend New Day on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Sanchez previously served as a CNN White House correspondent.

Acosta will anchor CNN Newsroom on Saturdays and Sundays from 3:00 – 6:00 pm. Acosta had previously been named the network’s chief domestic correspondent. Prior to this new role, he covered the White House for CNN for the past seven years, having served as Chief White House Correspondent since 2018.