Under Alex Gallardo, New Artistic Direction For Sony Music US Latin

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At a time when Latin music is experiencing unprecedented popularity and Sony leads the Latin category in U.S. market share, according to Nielsen Music, Nir Seroussi’s unexpected exit from Sony Music U.S. Latin — on Jan. 18, after four years as president and another four as managing director — came as a surprise to the Latin music community. Sony did not give a reason for the change, although both the label and Seroussi said they were parting on amicable terms.

But the announcement of Alex Gallardo, 43, as the division’s new president puts an artist favorite at the helm of the company and reinforces its commitment to investing in A&R.

“Sony Music Latin Iberia is the home of the artists and will always be. It’s my most important flag,” Afo Verde, Sony Music Entertainment’s chairman/CEO of Latin America, Spain and Portugal tells Billboard. “[Alex] is a consummate professional, musician, A&R, lover of music and all of its creative process from start to finish.”

Gallardo, who spent six years as senior vp A&R for all of the company’s regions and is known as firm and even, will oversee a staff of nearly 100. “What’s important is to understand artists, their needs and motivations, and to create the best environment possible for their creativity to flow,” he says. And his appointment was met with praise from many in the artist community. In a statement, Shakira called Gallardo a “professional” who is “in touch with the musical landscape and understands artists,” while Ricky Martin says, “His focus, knowledge and passion makes artists trust the process.”

To read the complete article, continue on to Billboard.

Disability in the Workplace: It’s on Us

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Group picture of the Respectability Organizations members

Actor Vincenzo Piscopo shares his D&I experience as a Coca-Cola employee.

After more than two decades of working for the Coca-Cola Company, actor Vincenzo Piscopo knows what it means to leverage opportunities for people with disabilities within a company. Educating employers and encouraging volunteerism in the community are all ways he’s found success within Coca-Cola’s philanthropic endeavors.

Piscopo’s career with Coca-Cola has taken him to several different areas of the organization, including finance, IT, marketing and innovation. His extensive background in advocating for people with a disability within the workplace has given him a broad understanding of what other companies lack.

He has been the director of community and stakeholder relations for a year now and has been given the opportunity to “fill his file cabinet,” as Piscopo says, with knowledge about how to advocate for women, Hispanics, African Americans, LGBTQ and people with disabilities.

Marketplace, Workplace, and Community
Coca-Cola created a Business Resource Group (BRG) to promote inclusion in the workplace with subgroups for specific minorities. Each group has three main objectives within the BRG: marketplace, workplace and community.

For people with disabilities, the goal in terms of the marketplace is to ensure the company leverages the opportunity that people bring as consumers. “Yes, it’s the right thing, but it’s also an opportunity,” Piscopo says about the business standpoint of hiring people with disabilities and the value they bring to the workplace.

Vincenzo Piscopo and Vivian O’Neal

The workplace objective refers to increasing the hiring and retaining of employees with disabilities. Piscopo discussed the importance of educating people within the company on disability etiquette, how to recognize when something is not accessible, how to provide accommodations, etc.

The third and final objective, community, works to provide community partnerships, collaborate and promote volunteerism.

It’s on Us: Disability in the Workplace
Many times, advocates find themselves frustrated with those who don’t know how to conduct themselves when working with people with disabilities. However, as Piscopo points out, “it’s on us” to educate and make people aware.

Piscopo worked for Coca-Cola before an accident ultimately left him paralyzed from the waist down. Since his accident, Piscopo’s employees have become more curious about the disability community and genuine accessibility.

Ignorance is often not disguised as discrimination, but rather fear of the unknown. Piscopo says diversity in the workplace expands our “file cabinet” and gives employers more resources to enlighten everyone on disability etiquette.

Piscopo is a proud board member of RespectAbility, a non-profit that fights stigmas and focuses on advancing opportunities for people with disabilities.

Source: respectability.org

Oscars 2020: Jonas Rivera makes history as first two-time U.S.-born Latino Academy Award winner

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Toy Story 4 latino producer Jonas Rivera stands outside in Disneyland with two other producers

After winning the Oscar for animated feature, “Toy Story 4″ producer Jonas Rivera was stunned and pleased to be reminded that he is now the first U.S.-born Latino to win multiple Oscars.

Rivera previously won for the 2015 film “Inside Out.”

“As if my mind couldn’t be more blown about the last five minutes, thank you for that,” Rivera said. “I’m a little bit out of my body right now. It means the world to me. I can’t even really put it into words.”

And he had an inspirational message for others in the Latinx community dreaming big dreams, even if he couldn’t deliver it in Spanish.

“The only Spanish I learned was when my grandparents would fight,” he joked, before adding, “You work hard, you put your guts into it … and it does happen.”

Pictured left to right: “Toy Story 4’s” Oscar-winning producers Jonas Rivera, from left, Josh Cooley and Mark Nielsen at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Fla.

(Matt Stroshane / Disney)

Continue on to The Los Angeles Times to read the complete article.

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira delivered a red-hot Super Bowl halftime performance in Miami

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Jennifer Lopez Super Bowl draped in Puerto Rican flag during Halftime show

The Latina powerhouses were joined on stage by J Balvin and Lopez’s daughter.

Ever since Shakira and Jennifer Lopez were announced as headlining the Super Bowl LIV Halftime show, it was expected that the two would bring the Latino Power, and the singers did not disappoint.

The divas delivered a nearly 15-minute performance that began with Shakira, who opened with “She Wolf,” followed by a medley of her hit songs, including “Whenever, Wherever” and “Hips Don’t Lie.” Viewers at home and in the stadium were surprised to hear Shakira launch into “I Like It,” the song made famous by Cardi B., until Puerto Rican singer Bad Bunny, who was featured on the track, joined in on a Super Bowl remix of sorts. Shakira also wowed with her guitar playing — or slaying — skills, nodding to Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” as she belly danced atop a fiery projection.

J. Lo’s performance followed with a demonstration of her pole dancing talents, courtesy of the movie “Hustlers,” in which she stars. It was just one of a dozen-plus choreographed pieces which showed her versatility as a performer and, yes, as a singer. Among her greatest hits mini-set were the classics “Jenny from the Block” followed by snippets of “I’m Real,” and “Get Right.” She then changed into a silver and nude one-piece and launched into “Waiting for Tonight.”

Colombian artist J Balvin joined Lopez for a performance of “Que Calor,” while she sang “Love Don’t Cost a Thing.” The two switched to “Mi Gente,” on which Balvin collaborates on with Beyoncé, who was also in the building. As Balvin exited the stage, Lopez went into “On the Floor” and touched hands with her daughter Emme, who led as a vocalist in a chorus of children performing a slowed-down moving version of “Let’s Get Loud.” This was followed by Emme, whose father is Marc Anthony (also present in the stadium), delivering the chorus to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” Referencing her own heritage, Lopez was draped in a coat bearing the Puerto Rican flag.

Continue on to Variety to read the complete article.

Selena Gomez, Cardi B and more Latina celebs you can find on this rising social platform

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Selena Gomez pictured smiling looking casual in a sweatshirt

Move over Instagram! Tik Tok is becoming the new IT app and some Latina celebs are already getting on board – including Selena Gomez, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez and more. If you were one of the millions of users who had Vine, then you might already love Tik Tok without knowing it.

The addictive app is a space where creativity abounds and you’ll get trapped in a rabbithole of hilarious clips that will make you LOL, see some serious dance moves and wild viral trends.

To get to know a little more, we spoke with the CEO of The Influencer Marketing Factory, Alessandro Bogliari, to get some insights on how the video app works. “You don’t even have to sign up and the app will show you some of the best videos,” he told HOLA! USA when asked why people are eagerly tapping to download.

“Then, when you sign up, the AI [algorithm] will recognize your behavior in the app and will start showing you only videos that you should like based on what you engage with. I can easily spend one hour just scrolling on the ‘for you page’ without getting bored, [the] contents are so original and funny that it’s highly addicting,” he added.

Continue on to HOLA! to read the complete article.

Why Bad Bunny Matters to a New Generation of Latinx Fans

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Bad Bunny performs before large audience

I switched off my uncle’s playlist of classic salsa tunes and turned up Bad Bunny. We sat poolside in Dorado, Puerto Rico, with a small Bluetooth speaker beside us. My uncle, a conservative lawyer in his 60s, rolled his eyes when he heard “Bad Bunny, baby.”

With sold-out stadium tours and features from top American artists like Drake on his records, Bad Bunny has graduated from Puerto Rican grocery store clerk to international sensation in the last three years. Millennials have embraced him, but many old-school Boricuas are turned off by the Bunny explosion.

Upset by the lewdness of the lyrics of “Sensualidad,” my uncle picked apart each sexual innuendo and remarked on the raunchiness of today’s reggaeton culture. On a mission to change his mind, I chose to play to him Bad Bunny songs with underlying depth. First, I played “Estamos Bien,” an uplifting anthem released nearly a year after Hurricane Maria. Next up, “Desde el Corazón,” a love letter to Puerto Rico dedicated to his neighborhood and the local artists who inspired him to write music.

As a rebuttal, my uncle put on “Burbujas de Amor” by Juan Luis Guerra, a melodic, classic love song full of imagery. He rocked back and forth proclaiming, “He is a poet.” I had to admit, Bunny to Guerra was a stark contrast, but then again so were we.

For Latin Baby Boomers like my uncle, the archetype of a man was the head of the household who rarely showed his vulnerable emotions. There was dignity in the unity of marriage, and cursing was seen as inappropriate or low-class. The lyrical, heartfelt singers of my uncle’s childhood provided a way for those same men to connect with and express the deeper romantic sentiments in the clean music.

The themes in Latin music are largely the same throughout the generations — love, loss, hardship — only with different mouthpieces using forms of expression that reflect their audience.

In the 1990s, Latin music in Puerto Rico fused with reggae and American hip-hop to create reggaeton. This new wave of music, created by underground youth culture in the clubs of Puerto Rico, was a creative outlet during inner-city sufferings. Typical of Caribbean culture, it was done with a great dance beat. From the streets of the island to worldwide dominance, reggaeton burst through the English-speaking Western market, and now we are all living in a post-“Despacito” world.

Our music today is a celebration of Latinx culture. What was once understated is now screamed from the rooftops, or rather rapped to sold-out crowds at Madison Square Garden. Latinx Millennials and Gen Z are unapologetically ourselves. We choose our pronouns, our lovers, and express ourselves freely.

This is mirrored in one of our hottest artists, Bad Bunny. His music videos and style defy gender norms and pave the way for further inclusivity and acceptance for all. Bad Bunny is a part of the movement of today’s youth to speak up and speak out. His uniqueness emulates this generation’s custom-made individuality and Latin pride.

As my uncle and I playfully debated the rise of Bad Bunny, taking turns as DJ, I realized why his music means so much to me personally. In not taking himself so seriously, I’ve learned to do the same. It’s OK that I’m a mix of cultures both Puerto Rican and European. It’s OK that I’m the gringa of the family. It’s OK that I was born on the mainland, where I’m not American enough, yet on the island I’m not Boricua enough. It’s OK that when I can’t think of a word in Spanish, I switch to English. It’s OK for me to be exactly as I am.

Continue on to Pop Sugar to read the complete article.

Demi Lovato Will Sing National Anthem at Super Bowl LIV

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Demi Lovato singing on stage

Demi Lovato will sing the National Anthem before kickoff at Super Bowl LIV, taking place at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami on February 2nd.

The news comes shortly after she was announced as a performer for the 62nd Grammy Awards on January 26th.

The singer confirmed the news on Instagram, writing, “Singing the National Anthem at #SBLIV 🏈 🏈 🏈 See you in Miami 🌴 @NFL.”

The National Anthem will be broadcast around the world as part of the Super Bowl’s pregame show. Past National Anthem performers include Whitney Houston, the Dixie Chicks, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Billy Joel, Diana Ross, Gladys Knight, Mariah Carey, the Backstreet Boys, Pink, Alicia Keys and Idina Menzel.

Christine Sun Kim will sing the National Anthem in American Sign Language on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).

The NFL and Fox previously announced that Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will be the halftime performers for Super Bowl LIV.

Continue on to MSN to read the complete article.

‘Ugly Betty’ Gave Television An Unlikely Latina Heroine

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Silvio Horta pictured with America Ferrera on red carpet at Hollywood event

Betty Suarez, the lead character in the ABC dramedy “Ugly Betty,” was the unlikeliest of heroines and everyone ― from those who taunted her on the job at an upscale fashion magazine to her close-knit family to the audience watching the show at home ― thought so.

“All the stuff you want to do, owning a magazine … it doesn’t happen for people like us, unless you’re J.Lo or something,” her nephew Justin (Mark Indelicato) told Betty (America Ferrera) on the stoop of their home in Jackson Heights, Queens, where they lived with her undocumented father, Ignacio (Tony Plana), and her spirited sister, Hilda (Ana Ortiz).

Justin was only in middle school and yet he already understood that success was limited to a select few from his family’s working-class background. For him and so many others, the American Dream was exemplified by the beautiful Jennifer Lopez, one of the few examples of U.S. Latino representation in Hollywood in the 2000s.

But Silvio Horta, the creator and showrunner of “Ugly Betty” who died earlier this month, offered an alternative version of prosperity for new generations of Latinos through a character who was less aspirational and more relatable, a young woman who wasn’t conventionally attractive but was still the daring protagonist of her own life.

Betty had bushy eyebrows, braces, glasses and frizzy hair — pop culture’s hallmarks of the ugly duckling. She was also curvy, which was unfortunately groundbreaking for a show in 2006, as evinced by the second episode of the series. Drama arose over releasing an actress’s unretouched photos at Mode, the fashion magazine where Betty worked. Sure, there had been curvy girls on television before, but they somehow always seemed to be the butt of the joke, a caricatured sidekick to the more traditionally good-looking lead. Not Betty.

Let’s not sugarcoat it. Betty was harassed by her co-workers because of her looks, lack of fashion sense and Latinidad. It was no secret around the office that everyone knew she had only been hired because her supervisor’s father didn’t want his son, Daniel (Eric Mabius), sleeping with his assistants anymore. In an attempt to embarrass her and drive her to quit, Daniel has her fill in for a model at a photo shoot. Watching Betty stand alongside those models, attempting to strike sexy poses in a revealing outfit she is wholly uncomfortable in while everyone laughs at her, is one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the series. She is also routinely called fat and one of her co-workers, Amanda (Becki Newton), has a penchant for using an exaggerated Spanish accent around her and warning her not to get chimichurri sauce on important documents.

Yet somehow Betty remained strong. She never buckled under the pressure of her hostile work environment — though doing so would have been understandable. Instead, she focused on her dream of writing for magazines.

Continue on to Huffington Post to read the complete article.

MBEs: Get Certified Today

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Young Hispanic couple, woman with laptop computer

Why certify? Businesses that are certified as minority owned are subject to different laws and regulations than other businesses and as such are very different entities from typical enterprises. Unlike a standard business license or registration, a minority-owned business enterprise certification is not required to run a minority-owned business, although certification can provide many benefits for a company—especially in regards to government contracting.

Below are some of the certification processes your company can expect to navigate when seeking minority-owned business enterprise certification. Also listed are the requirements that must be met by businesses that are seeking certification.

  • Manufacturers – Maximum number of employees must not surpass 500 or 1500, depending on the product being manufactured.
  • Wholesalers – Maximum number of employees must not surpass 100 or 500, depending on the product being provided.
  • Service providers – Annual sales receipts must not be higher than $2.5 or $21.5 million, depending on the service being provided.
  • Retailers – Annual sales receipts must not be higher than $5.0 or $21.0 million, depending on the product being provided.
  • General and Heavy Construction businesses – Annual sales receipts must not exceed $13.5 or $17 million, depending on the type of construction the company is engaged in.
  • Special Trade Construction businesses – Annual receipts must not be higher than $7 million.
  • Agricultural businesses – Annual sales receipts must not be higher than $0.5 to $9.0 million, depending on the agricultural product being produced.

Business Requirements

1) The company applying for certification must have a racial minority owner who owns at least 51 percent of the company.

2) The same owner must hold the highest position in the company.

3) The company must pay a fee based on company annual gross sales and also file an application that details basic company information, such as what year the business was founded.

4) The company’s primary business locations must be available for site visits.

Getting Bids

Build Relationships. When it comes to winning bids in the government contracting marketplace, contacts are everything. Business owners are advised to take the time to make connections, build relationships and network extensively. The contacts a business develops are often the key to furthering their success in government contracting. Proactively networking with larger companies, agencies and even competitors can lead to subcontracting opportunities while also showing agencies that you are a trustworthy and reliable business partner.

Subcontract. Building a reputation as a professional enterprise is crucial to the success of any business. Winning a government bid isn’t only about the monetary aspects involved with a contract; other factors are evaluated, too. An agency will often look at company financials, work history and reputation before selecting a winning organization. It helps to have contacts who can vouch for your company and the work that you do. By subcontracting, you build your reputation and gain valuable experience.

You never know when the contacts you develop will come in handy. Therefore, you should make each and every relationship meaningful because in the long run, these are the relationships that will further your company’s success.

Government RFPs are a great way for minority-owned business enterprises (MBE) to win spot and term contracts. Every year, the U.S. federal government spends more than $200 billion on goods and services, all of which are provided by private companies and many of which are minority-owned businesses. From federal to state, local and special districts, all levels of government have programs in place to increase their involvement with certified minority-owned business enterprises. Only companies who have gone through the MBE certification process are eligible for the money that is made available through such programs.

Source: BidNet

Historic rock festival at sea to benefit Native American Heritage Association (NAHA)

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Poster promo for the 2021 Rock Legends Cruise

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida – Since 2010, Native American Heritage Association (NAHA) have chartered an entire Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship, and created a historic rock festival at sea known as Rock Legends Cruise (a “cruise for a cause”).

Now in 2021, (The Rock Legends 2020 cruise is sold out) Don McLean will join Styx, Blue Öyster Cult, Warrant, Lita Ford, Walter Trout, Frank Marino & Mahogany Rush along with to be announced artists for the Rock Legends Cruise IX setting sail from Ft. Lauderdale on February 18, 2021. For cruise packages, pricing and more go to www.rocklegendscruise.com!

With previous performers like Sammy Hagar & The Circle, Bad Company, Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo, REO Speedwagon, ZZ Top, Foreigner, The Doobie Brothers, Alice Cooper, Paul Rodgers, Peter Frampton, Gregg Allman and so many more, each cruise is a guaranteed blast, while raising awareness about NAHA’s Mission. Although the cruise has drawn adults of all ages, most are of an age that placed them at the beginning of the rock revolution and who appreciate our artists’ places as cultural icons. After all, rock and roll is for everyone!

About NAHA:
For nearly a quarter century, Native American Heritage Association (NAHA) has been front and center in responding to a quiet crisis among our Nation’s Forgotten People, the Lakota (Sioux) on Reservations in South Dakota and Wyoming. Founder David Myers literally began NAHA by delivering food & clothes in the back of a station wagon on weekends. From those humble beginnings, and through the commitment of NAHA’s faithful donors, staff, and affiliates, the most recent fiscal year saw over $52 million in direct aid (food, clothing, and basic life necessities).

These Reservations are on some of the most desolate and remote acreage in the country, remaining out of the sight and headlines of mainstream America. With desperation, hope is easily lost, and leads to statistics most people would say, “Can’t possibly be true in America.” But it is. Up to 80% unemployment, suicide rates 70% higher than the population at large, infant mortality exceeding many third world countries, diabetes and resultant death at twice the national rate…these and many more statistics are the bitter reality that face this proud group of people every day. Pine Ridge, Rosebud, Crow Creek, and Cheyenne River are not mythical names in some western novel. They are real places, with real people, who often live out tragic lives.

This Latina Entrepreneur Shares 4 Things She Kept In Mind As She Built Her New Venture And Raised $4 Million

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Latina entrepreneur Shadiah Sigala pictured smiling wearing a blue dress

Shadiah Sigala co-founded HoneyBook back in 2013 as a business management tool for creative entrepreneurs. Under her leadership, HoneyBook helped creatives navigate everything from invoicing to building community. As the company grew, and Sigala with it, she realized that everyone from the company’s employees to its users were graduating into different chapters of their own lives as well.

“Kinside was inspired by my experience as a first-time-founder and first-time-mother at my previous startup, HoneyBook,” shares Sigala, while explaining the inception of her second venture, Kinside. “As a cofounder and as one of the early parents on the team, my pregnancy left me responsible for determining many of our company policies. Soon, more babies would start springing up in our employee population, and our family leave, parental benefits and workplace culture matured to meet the need. However, when we sought out a child care benefit to enhance our efforts, we found that nothing quite fit our modern workforce. So I decided to do something about it and start Kinside out of the famed Silicon Valley accelerator, Y Combinator.”

Closing in on a year and a half, Kinside has graduated out of Y Combinator and has publicly launched with a total of $4 million in VC funding raised over 18 months. The solution it is offering is both for parents and the companies that employ them — a child care app that works for both the person just launching their career to the executive leading the company.

“I’ve learned that the desire to be the best for your children is universal, and it transcends job title, salary, race, personal beliefs, location,” explains Sigala.

Below Sigala expands on 4 key areas that played the biggest difference in starting and raising funds for her second startup.

Learn from your past experiences

“My first startup, HoneyBook, was a crash course in scaling a product and company quickly—from learning about organizational best practices to managing teams, and making executive decisions,” shares Sigala. “Today, I have the benefit of pattern recognition in a way that’s doubled our pace. We have gone from 10 beta employers to over 1,000 in fewer than 18 months.”

As Sigala noted, don’t be afraid to use prior experiences and transferable skillsets — whether from past startups or corporate settings — to help set yourself up for success in future endeavors.

The right co-founders

Sigala’s first company, HoneyBook, emphasizes how important it is for creatives to build supportive communities around themselves and how the same can be said for founders of startups.

“My secret weapon is my cofounders,” explains Sigala. “I lean on them to steer the ship, make important decisions, and think through tough challenges. It doesn’t hurt that they are both black-belts, wicked smart, and incredibly funny.”

Figure out what grounds you

An entrepreneur’s journey isn’t full of only highs, figuring out what will ground you during the lower moments is what will help you hold on and keep going. Sigala credits her experience growing up Latinx with helping inform her perspective as an entrepreneur.

Continue on to Forbea to read the complete article.