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The Despacito Effect

With the plethora of year end stories, were sure you’ve heard this year’s rise in Latin music perhaps referred to as the “Despacito effect.” We like to think that the rest of the world finally caught on to how banging our cultura’s music and artists are. 2017 saw mainstream artists collaborating to catch the wave, but also new and established Latino artists reach new heights. Beyonce teamed with J. Balvin on “Mi Gente”, British pop group Little Mix teamed up with CNCO on “Reggaeton Lento” and of course the mother of all collabs Justin Beiber got down with Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee on the ubiquitous summer anthem “Despacito”, which had folks from China to Italy singing along. Aside from the collabs there were a slew of millennial stars that had breakthrough years such as Camila Cabello, Becky G and Cardi B, to those who came of age such as Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez. And let’s not forget the gents. Artists like Residente, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Romeo Santos continued their can’t miss trajectories and offered some much-needed inspiration and escape from the ills of 2017.

People Pitch in for Puerto Rico & Mexico

September saw some the worst natural disasters on record devastate Latin America and the Caribbean. A 7.1 earthquake caused damage in the Mexican states of Puebla and Morelos and in the Greater Mexico City area, including the collapse of more than 40 buildings and thousands injured. If that were not enough within weeks Hurricane Maria struck the Caribbean in what has come to be regarded as the worst natural disaster on record in Dominica and Puerto Rico, with a death toll now over 500 and much of Puerto Rico still without electricity or running water.

Yet, if any silver lining can be gleaned from these tragedies it was the outpouring of support both the Mexican and Puerto Rican communities at home and abroad. Donations poured in, celebrities used their platforms to establish relief initiatives both local and charity benefits to raise funds by those affected hit the ground running.

Unity March for Puerto Rico

Speaking of relief efforts, on November 19th thousands of citizens travelled to Washington D.C. to participate in a march organized by activists to bring attention to said efforts and the failures of the government in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Entitled the “Unity March for Puerto Rico” the goals of the march were straight forward – a repeal of the Jones Act, forgive the island’s debt and a new plan to rebuild Puerto Rico. Beginning at the steps of the Capitol Building a procession proceeded to the Lincoln Memorial and made for a day filled with music, camaraderie and faces chanting slogans against the Jones Act, the debt, and in support of the Puerto Rican people. Political and star power were on hand in the form of U.S. Representatives Luis Gutierrez, Adriano Espaillat, Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda and icon Rita Moreno as well as a video message sent by Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan.

The march was successful in bringing media attention to the continued struggles of the island and letting the residents of Puerto Rico know they have not been forgotten.

With 2017 almost in the books, we look forward to displaying even greater resolve, fostering an even greater sense of community and finding some more heroes in 2018.

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