August 19, 2022

2. Rubén Blades

Rubén Blades Bellido de Luna is a true renaissance man. The Panamanian singer, songwriter, actor, musician, activist and politician has not only done it all, but done it superbly. He began his career writing and performing Afro-Cuban salsa and Latin Jazz along-side fellow greats Willie Colon and The Fania All Stars. The creator of dozens of hits including the indelible “Pedro Navaja” and what many consider the second national anthem of Panama – “Patria”, he’s won over eight Grammy awards during his musical career. While some may stop at that, not Blades, he’s also been on the big screen appearing in such films as The Milagro Beanfield War and Crossing Over, along with three Emmy Award nominations for his performances in The Josephine Baker StoryCrazy from the Heart and The Maldonado Miracle. Yet, he hasn’t limited his talent or ambition to entertainment, he put that LLM Degree he earned at Harvard Law School to good use, when he made a run for the Presidency of Panama in 1994. Although not victorious he earned 18% of the vote. Moreover, we may not have seen the last of Blades in the political world. He has recently expressed his interest in making another run for president of Panama in 2019.

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