I love the cadence of spoken word, the fast paced hip-hop lyrics, the realism of country music and the stickiness of pop. 14 years ago, when I first came to the US, I listened to NPR while commuting back and forth between Stanford where my wife went to school and San Francisco, where I went to school. I became obsessed with the nuances of pronunciation and I wanted to learn as much as possible about it. I would mimic the pronunciation of the word “what” hundreds of times. I would memorize the cadence and enunciation of their canned intros. I was fascinated with the diversity of accents I would hear during my daily commute.
I knew I could be at home in a place where different is the standard and I knew that the last thing you want to do is to blend in. As Om Malik says “in most places in the world, outsiders like me don’t have that chance. That simple truth is what makes America so special. A chance – to be somebody even if you are nobody. America is a state of mind.” This is even more noticeable among Latinos, especially those changing the face of America.
Here are some examples that are my role models and guiding rods. They are different. They have accents and they are successful.
(…on the launch of Fusion, a TV station for US Latinos in English)
“What’s happening politically is also happening on TV,” Ramos said. “You can’t win the White House without the Latino vote and you can’t win the ratings war without Latinos anymore. It’s a parallel universe and it’s happening at the same time. The same way in which the number of Hispanic voters is growing, the number of Latinos watching television in English is growing. For political parties, and for television networks, and for digital platforms, it’s a matter or survival. If you don’t have Latinos, you’ll die. That simple.”
Pitbull is giving back by opening a charter school in the Miami neighborhood where he grew up.
The SLAM or Sports Leadership and Management school will focus on preparing young scholars for careers in the sports field.
Born Armando Christian Pérez, Pitbull explained that his own positive experiences with teachers inspired him to get involved in education.
Remember your block. Among the sea of blond-haired and blue-eyed leading ladies of Hollywood, Jenny from the Block has never forgotten her roots as a Puerto Rican Latina from The Bronx. In fact, she’s actively supported her community to further define her personal brand, and in doing so has broken down some notoriously strong stereotypical racial barriers in the entertainment industry. Fellow actress Jessica Alba has claimed the entertainer “opened doors for ethnic girls like me,” while Latin pop singer DeLuna also acknowledged how JLo “paved the way” for Latinas. Most recently, JLo has openly supported rising Latina teen artist Becky G. The key takeaway? Acting as a weaker version of someone great will rarely pave a path to a powerful personal brand, so be confident and embrace your DNA. Just as there is only one JLo, there should be only one you.