Bear with me for a second. You might think this sounds funny or even unusual, but as a Mexican-American kid growing up in Southern California, I was never really introduced to Latino celebrities. Everything I knew in the pop culture world was as American as apple pie. We didn’t watch Spanish television and the only time I really listened to Spanish music was when I visited my grandma and grandpa.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved listening to mariachis and still do. But, I wasn’t really immersed in it.
Today, it’s different. Oh, how times have changed! Events like the 3rd annual Festival People en Espanol bring the world of Latino entertainment and the city of San Antonio together for all to enjoy — no matter what your cultural background.
This is my second time attending the festival and it really is inspiring to see so many happy faces — whether they were bouncing off the walls in the Disney interactive area, watching performances by teen pop stars Matt Hunter and Zendaya, meeting their favorite telenovela star, or sitting in on important panel discussions on issues that affect our community.
Every year, the festival has a specific theme and this year’s was “Inspiring the Next Generation.” With hopes of empowering the San Antonio youth, the theme even went beyond the convention walls: People en Espanol hosted several in-school events and awarded four students with a college scholarship of $5,000. Bravo!
Of course, I soaked up every ounce of Latino heritage and culture on display during the weekend, but there were a few moments that truly stood. Here are my top five moments of the Festival People en Espanol.
1. “Chicas Poderosas” Concert with Becky G and Zendaya
The “Chicas Poderosas” (Powerful Girls) concert not only stands out because I’m an actual fan of Becky G and Zendaya, but I couldn’t help but be inspired by their young fans. They screamed their hearts out and danced in the aisles to every single song they performed. Can you say “girl power?”
2. Listening to a Little Girl Sing Disney’s “Let it Go” in Spanish
We all know the animated movie that has become an obsession with our children — Frozen. As a Disney fan myself, I was checking out their interactive area when I heard a small girl singing the popular song “Let it Go.” When that was over another little girl belted it out in Spanish, “Libre Soy, Libre Soy!”
3. Exclusive Viewing of the Cristela Pilot (and accidentally meeting her)
Coming this fall to ABC, Cristela features the super funny comedian Cristela Alonzo. We were given an exclusive preview of the pilot, which is hilarious, by the way. But, before we watched it, a few of us were roaming the convention halls and literally stumbled upon her green room. She was super sweet, as I turned into an immediate fangirl and telling her I retweeted her funny tweet. What?
4. Learning Life Lessons from Bishop T.D. Jakes
Regardless of your faith, you can’t help but be inspired by some of what Bishop T.D. Jakes shares. He spoke to a captivated audience about life and hope. Some of my favorite and simple quotes include, “Success is a direct byproduct of being true to who you are,” “As long as there’s life there’s hope,” and “Be a student before you’re a teacher.”
5. Stepping Up: College at Your Finger Tips Panel
As the first person to graduate from college on both sides of my family, I was beyond inspired by the young college student sitting on-stage sharing her college experience, including encouraging students to apply for scholarships and the importance of finding a mentor. Also on stage was Rosie Castro, the mother of Julian and Joaquin Castro. Julian is currently serving as United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, while his twin brother Joaquin is a Congressman. She encouraged families to be supported of their children’s decision to attend college.More On