John R. Velazquez Rides Medina Spirit to Kentucky Derby Win

John R. Velazquez has the winning spirit

The 49-year-old Puerto Rican jockey rode Medina Spirit at Saturday’s 147th Kentucky Derby, which saw fans return to Churchill Downs, after a year away due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

John R. Velazquez

The three-year-old race horse, trained by two-time Triple Crown winner Bob Baffert, was ridden to victory by Velazquez, besting two-year-old Essential Quality, who was the favorite to win.

Medina Spirit’s odds of winning coming into the race were 12-1.

Mandaloun—ridden by jockey Florent Geroux—came in second place. And third place went to Hot Rod Charlie, the dark bay colt ridden by Flavien Prat.

Medina Spirit’s triumph brought Baffert into the lead, in terms of Derby wins by a trainer, with seven.

Velazquez was coming off another major win on Friday at the Kentucky Oaks competition, atop undefeated American Thoroughbred, Malathaat.

While the Kentucky Derby typically attracts a crowd of more than 150,000 people, today’s event was held at limited capacity, with just 51,838 spectators present. At the sporting events, socially-distanced spectators were required to wear masks when they weren’t eating or drinking, though some of those in attendance reportedly refused to comply.

After a year that saw the Derby held in the absence of fans, it returned to its regular spot on the calendar this year, along with the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes, the two other races one needs to win, in order to claim the coveted Triple Crown.

Preakness Stakes is set for May 15, with Belmont Stakes following on June 5.

Velasquez was inducted into the Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2012.

Gustavo Santaolalla Teams Up with CORE for COVID-19 Vaccine PSA

Gustavo Santaolalla is encouraging people in Los Angeles to get the COVID-19 vaccine…

The 69-year-old Argentine Oscar-winning musician, composer, and record producer has teamed up with Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) to create a multilingual PSA in hopes of motivating L.A.’s hardest to reach communities to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Gustavo Santaolalla

Titled “It’s Time Los Angeles,” the 30-second video, which includes original music by Santaolalla, was recorded in English, SpanishKoreanMandarin and Vietnamese.

Jaime Munguia to Fight Maciej Sulecki in June

Jaime Munguia will be heading back to the ring in June…

The 24-year-old Mexican professional boxer will now face Maciej Sulecki in a middleweight battle set for June 19, according to Golden Boy Promotions.

Jaime Munguia

The fight between Munguia and Sulecki was originally scheduled for April 24 at the Don Haskins Center at the University of Texas at El Paso, but Sulecki suffered an injury and was forced to pull out of the event. D’Mitrius Ballard was named as a replacement opponent, but Ballard was also injured before the fight. Now, with Sulecki recovered, the original fight will go on.

According to Golden Boy, strict COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place and capacity will be down to 40%. The fight will air on DAZN.

Munguia (36-0, 29 KOs) won the WBO junior middleweight title against Sadam Ali in 2018 and defended the belt five times before moving up in weight in January 2020. He has TKO victories over Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan and Tureano Johnson at middleweight.

“I feel very excited to be returning on June 19,” Munguia said via a news release. “I know it will be a tremendous fight against Maciej Sulecki. I think he is a great fighter, and I will make sure to deliver a great fight to all the fans.”

Sulecki (29-2, 11 KOs), 31, of Poland, has won three of his past four fights. He lost a unanimous decision to Demetrius Andrade when he challenged for the WBO middleweight world title in June 2019.

“There have been many changes, but I am happy that things will take place as planned,” Sulecki said. “I know that a victory against Jaime Munguia will put me on the path to challenge for a world title. That’s why securing this fight was very important to me. I feel great, and I am totally ready to show the world that I can compete against the best in the division.”

Adrian Quesada’s Black Pumas to Perform at Next Week’s NFL Draft

Adrian Quesada’s music is on draft

The 43-year-old Latino producer and guitarist and his Grammy-nominated Black Pumas band mates will perform at next week’s NFL draft in Cleveland

Black Pumas

Quesada’s Black Pumas join a roster of performers that include the Grammy-nominated rock and soul duo Black Pumas and Cleveland’s own Machine Gun Kelly.

The league announced its musical acts for the second and third days of the draft, which is back on the road after being all virtual last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A massive stage has been constructed near FirstEnergy Stadium and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to host the three-day event from April 29 to May 1.

Black Pumas will perform after the third round is completed on April 30. Their self-titled debut album was nominated as album of the year at the 2021 Grammy Awards.

Rockers Kings of Leon will help kick off the draft on April 29 before Commissioner Roger Goodell tells the Jacksonville Jaguars they are on the clock with the No. 1 overall pick.

Lin-Manuel Miranda Urges New Yorkers to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

Lin-Manuel Miranda is encouraging people in New York City to get the COVID-19 vaccine…

The 41-year-old New York-born Puerto Rican actor, singer, composer and Broadway star joined New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio earlier this week at the grand opening of a Times Square COVID-19 vaccination site intended to jump-start the city’s entertainment industry.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

“We want to gather again, and we want to tell stories in the dark,” said Miranda, the author and star of Hamilton, the Tony Award-winning musical about Alexander Hamilton. “We cannot do that if we don’t feel safe and if you don’t feel safe. So the first step in that process is getting our vaccination shots, and the next steps will follow.”

Broadway theaters have been shuttered since the coronavirus pandemic struck in March of last year. De Blasio has said he hopes dedicated vaccination sites will help the industry reopen by September.

The new Times Square vaccine site will be open to workers in theater, film and TV, said the mayor, who stressed the importance of the entertainment industry to the life of the city.

“Yes, it’s part of our economy. Much more importantly it’s part of our identity,” de Blasio said. “It’s part of who we are, it’s part of our hearts. What it means in this city, the theater, the music, the dance, the film and TV, it is our expression of everything that is New York City. It’s our creativity, it’s our heart and soul. We do something here that does not exist anywhere in the world quite like this.”

The new vaccination site, housed in a former NFL Experience store, will be managed by Susan Sampliner, the longtime company manager for the musical Wicked. Miranda said that “if anyone knows how to make a show run on time it’s Broadway stage managers. So you’ll be in good hands.”

Selena Gomez to Host Global Citizen’s All-Star “Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World”

Selena Gomez is hoping to inspire people to get vaccinated…

The 28-year-old Mexican American singer/actress will host Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World, an all-star concert that will be broadcast and streamed worldwide as part of a global effort to inspire confidence in COVID-19 vaccines and encourage people to be inoculated.

Selena Gomez

Sponsored by Global Citizen, the concert will be held at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.

Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World will be pre-taped at the stadium and air on May 8 as part of a worldwide event broadcasting on ABCCBSFoxYouTube and on iHeartMedia radio stations.

The event will include performances by Jennifer Lopez, Eddie VedderFoo Fighters, J Balvin and H.E.R.

“I’m honored to be hosting Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World,” said Gomez in a statement. “This is a historic moment to encourage people around the world to take the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them, call on world leaders to share vaccine doses equitably and to bring people together for a night of music in a way that hasn’t felt possible in the past year. I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

YouTube will stream an extended, 90-minute version of the concert on the YouTube channel of Global Citizen, international anti-poverty advocacy group. The extended version will include additional performances and appearances by various YouTube personalities.

“As a global community, we are in a race against time and the key to coming back together is the vaccine,” Global Citizen co-founder/CEO Hugh Evans said in a statement. “We need to build vaccine confidence in the U.S. and globally, and encourage people to take the vaccine as quickly as possible.

“There is a light at the end of this tunnel,” Evans added, “but getting vaccines to everyone, everywhere regardless of who they are or where they are from, is key to ensuring the end of this pandemic around the world. We must all unite to get back on track to eradicating extreme poverty.”

The broadcast will encourage donations, with the goal of ensuring vaccinations for 27 million health-care workers globally, including in the poorest countries of the world. Organizers will also advocate for “equitable distribution” of vaccines.

“Global Citizen is giving voice to a core message to Angelenos, Americans, and citizens of the world: every time someone gets vaccinated, we move another step closer to ending this pandemic,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. “Vax Live will open our eyes to the future we can forge if we all do our part, follow health guidelines and get our shots as soon as we’re eligible — a return to concerts with our fellow fans, gatherings with loved ones, and the embrace of family and friends.”

Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World is hosted by the State of California, and supported by the LA County Health Department, the City of Los Angeles, the City of Inglewood, and E. Stanley Kroenke, SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park Developer, and Los Angeles Rams Owner/Chairman.

“The State of California is thankful to Global Citizen for demonstrating what’s possible when we embrace getting vaccinated and encourage others to get immunized as well,” said Gavin Newsom, Governor of California in a statement. “Music and the arts have long brought us together to celebrate moments of hope and happiness. This concert is no exception to that. We are excited to showcase the best of California reopening in compliance with the best standards of health and safety.”

Mon Laferte Releases New Regional Mexican Album “Seis”

Mon Laferte is changing things up for her next album…

The 37-year-old Chilean singer and songwriter wrote her sixth album, Seis, while hunkered down in the pueblo mágico Tepoztlán, nearly two hours south of Mexico City.

Mon Laferte 

Mon Laferte started writing it a month after the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed.

“I was like everyone else, just filled with uncertainty,” she tells Billboard. “So I clung onto my music and my guitar because I thought, if the world ends, I at least want people to know how I was feeling.”

It’s the first album in which she sings regional Mexican (banda, corridos tumbados, mariachi) music in homage to the country she’s live in for the past 14 years. In it, she doesn’t hold back while singing about toxic relationships, past and future loves, and the love she has for her mother and other women.

“The entire writing process was very solitary, bleak and melancholic … it was nights of just me and my guitar, drinking mezcal, with the crickets in the background,” she adds.

Selena Gomez’s “Revelación” Debuts at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums Chart

Selena Gomez is No. 1 with a bullet…

The 28-year-old Mexican American singer/actress has debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums chart with her first Spanish-language album Revelación on the March 27-dated survey.

Selena Gomez

Her album arrives with 23,000 equivalent album units earned in the U.S. in the week ending March 18, according to MRC Data — marking the biggest week for a Latin album by a woman since 2017.

“I never go into anything expecting a No. 1 so I do not take it for granted,” Gomez tells Billboard. “It’s always a bit nerve racking before releasing any music because as artists we put so much of ourselves out there. For this EP specifically, I was the most nervous I have been in a long time because my heritage means so much to me and I have been talking about doing this for over 10 years. I wanted it to be perfect. I am thrilled to see the response from my fans and also from people who might not have listened to my other music.”

The Top Latin Albums chart ranks the most popular Latin albums of the week in the U.S. based on multimetric consumption as measured in equivalent album units. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams generated by songs from an album.

The seven-track Revelación was released March 12 via Interscope/IGA. Of its starting sum of 23,000 equivalent album units, album sales comprise 14,000 and the bulk of the remainder are SEA units (equaling 12.21 million on-demand streams of the set’s songs). Gomez’s debut Latin project boasts the biggest week for a Latin album by a woman in nearly four years, since Shakira’s El Dorado started with 29,000 units in its first week (chart dated June 17, 2017).

“Without a doubt the most challenging aspect was having to do all of the sessions over Zoom,” Gomez adds. “We started recording the EP right before COVID-19 shut everything down. In the beginning there were times I ended up canceling sessions because I found it so uninspiring not to be in the same room with everyone. I eventually was able to get past it and am extremely happy with how the music came together. [Producer] Tainy was very patient with me while I worked through my frustrations.”

Revelación is the first album by a female act at No. 1 on Top Latin Albums since Shakira’s El Dorado spent its fifth and final nonconsecutive week atop the list dated Aug. 5, 2017.

Gomez also notches the highest debut by a female solo act since Jenni Rivera’s Paloma Negra Desde Monterrey likewise debuted atop the list in November 2016. In between Rivera and Gomez, a collaborative set by two women launched at No. 1: Gloria Trevi and Alejandra Guzman’s Versus in July 2017.

As Gomez’s “Baila Conmigo,” with Rauw Alejandro, concurrently takes over the top spot on the new Latin Airplay chart, she becomes the first female act in over a decade to rule both charts simultaneously. The last woman to achieve the feat was Shakira when Sale el Sol and “Loca,” featuring El Cata, ruled both Top Latin Albums and Latin Airplay, respectively in November 2010.

Elsewhere, Gomez places a total of four tracks on Hot Latin Songs, all from Revelación — one of which debuts in the top 20: “Baila Conmigo” with Rauw Alejandro lifts 8-5, “Selfish Love,” with DJ Snake, is at No. 18, “Dámelo To’,” featuring Myke Towers, starts at No. 20, and “De Una Vez,” re-enters at No. 50.

“Releasing ‘De Una Vez’ as the first song was the perfect way to introduce the new music,” Gomez says. “It’s a song I really related to and I think it’s beautiful with a message of hope and healing. I think all of the collaborators bring different elements to the table. With Snake it was great because we have a history together so on a mere comfort level that was nice to have. On ‘Dámelo Tó’ Myke brings this smooth rap and it makes you crave for it to be summer because it has the kind of vibe. When we were recording ‘Baila Conmigo’ I  knew we needed a male voice on it and Rauw has the ideal sexy, soulful voice that really complements the song perfectly.”

Revelación concurrently bows at No. 1 on Latin Pop Albums and at No. 22 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart.

Shakira Barrera to Appear on 11th & Final Season of Showtime’s “Shameless”

There’s a little more shame(less) in Shakira Barrera’s game…

The Nicaraguan-American actress/drancer and former GLOW star will recur in the final season of Shameless as Heidi, the series’ last recurring character.

Shakira Barrera

Heidi is a recently released inmate who goes on a terrorizing crime spree when she hits the streets.

Starring William H. Macy, the 11th and final season of Shameless finds the Gallagher family and the South Side at a crossroads, with changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, gentrification and aging to reconcile.

Jeremy Allen, Ethan Cutkosky, Cameron Monaghan, Noel Fisher, Steve Howey, Shanola Hampton, Christian Isaiah and Kate Miner also star.

Created by Paul Abbott, Shameless is produced by Bonanza Productions in association with John Wells Productions and Warner Bros. Television.

Barrera appeared as Yolanda (aka Yo-Yo) in Netflix’s GLOW, and recently recurred on Animal Kingdom.

Her additional credits include Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Lethal Weapon and Queen of the South. She also appeared in HBO’s High & Mighty and It’s Bruno.

Rosie Perez Appears in WarnerMedia’s COVID-19 Vaccine PSAs

Rosie Perez is helping to raise awareness about the COVD-19 vaccine…

WarnerMedia is debuting a number of coronavirus vaccine PSAs featuring stars from their series, including the 56-year-old Puerto Rican actress, choreographer and community activist.

Rosie Perez

The public service announcements were created in partnership with the Ad Council, in support of their ongoing COVID-19 Vaccine Education campaigns.

The “It’s Up To You” campaign will air across all WarnerMedia and AT&T-owned cable, digital, streaming and social platforms starting next week.

Meanwhile, the Ad Council will be sharing the PSAs across their own network of distribution platforms.

The PSAs were written and directed by the internal creative team at Warner Media’s 10th Street Studios, which previously created the “Mask Up America” campaign.

In support of COVID-19 safety precautions, each of the campaign’s videos, which include Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Daveed Diggs, was produced remotely.

“WarnerMedia is proud to work with the Ad Council to continue to grow awareness and drive vaccine adoption,” said Dennis Williams, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, WarnerMedia. “Having Sanjay, Rosie, and Daveed help us create and build a conversation around getting vaccinated will not only inspire action, but also save lives.”

“We continue to be so grateful to the WarnerMedia team for their commitment to educating Americans on protecting themselves and their families from COVID-19,” added Heidi Arthur, Chief Campaign Development Officer, Ad Council. “We know that many Americans have questions about the vaccine, and are so thankful to Sanjay, Rosie, and Daveed for helping educate and inspire Americans to get the answers to their questions so they can make an informed choice about vaccination for themselves and for their families.”