I have been to quite a few of the ALMA award tapings over the years, and I am always swollen with pride to see such a top notch production put on by Latinos for Latinos.
I was in awe to hear that someone like Eva Longoria could pull together the caliber of talent she did for such a noble causa as NCLR's (National Council de La Raza) ALMA Awards Show on national television last week.
I have been in radio and the entertainment business for about 20 years. Through my time and efforts in promoting Chicano talent, I have seen first hand program directors at the local & network levels despise, demean, or show a lack of understanding and appreciation for Chicano Musica.
A dream I have always had is to be able to sue the networks that won't give Raza the same attention to our entertainment value as they do to our consumer dollars.
Then one day, NCLR announces they are laying down lawsuits against the entertainment industry for the inequities we as a Gente have endured, in connection to what we have contributed to that industry...
I have watched & waited to see what will become of this. Okay, so now we have George & Freddy in a few selcted markets, and a bunch of network and Internet DJ's that are a hybrid of Chicano & Soul...
This year's airing of NCLR's ALMA awards caused me to hang my head in sorrow. After the first hour of the show I called a camarada who has been a mentor to me in music, arts, politics and the movement for many years. My first question to him was what in the hell happened with the line-up? Are there not Raza that can represent?
..."Maybe they wanted to appeal to a wider audience?" was an initial response. A la madera with that! We've paid our dues on the economic, political & social levels. What else do they want?
We have contributed in blood and realities, so I echo each of the Ayatollah of Rock & Rolla's at http://www.latinola.com/story.php?story=3551 points as to the absurd & embarrassing representation of our Gente and our musica to everyone outside of our box at the recent ALMA Awards Show. We have nothing left to prove. We deserved the best any producer, CBO or vanguard our people had to offer...y ya que paso?...
Do you remember the first Latin Grammy show at the Staple Center a few years ago? Where were the Chicanos? Where was the gracias to Ritchie, Ruben & The Jets, Thee Midnighters, Los Lobos, The Premiers or other groups who paved the way? I think Andy Garcia summed it up during his speech when he said gracias to his agent..."Without them, you don't get what you work for and deserve in this industry," he said.
So many turned their backs on the Latin Grammys because of the farce & insult to Chicanos that it was.
I had always seen Raul Yzaguirre & NCLR as the judicial sword of our struggle. They have done great things with advocacy, education and serving as legal watchdogs on legislation that affects LA RAZA. NCLR has new leadership now, Janet Murguia, President and Monica Lozano, Board Chair. Let's pray to the Lord to forgive them for they know not what they do/did (i.e. Coors as a commercial sponsor, now THAT's hitting below the belt!)....and take a moment to reflect... our leadership is only as good as we hold them to be. We must hold them accountable. If not, then they will respond to those they feel are paying the tab. That said, let's hold them accountable!
We have our place in the heartbeat of Aztlan and we owe it to all the Chicanos who have made tireless efforts to be recognized. We must take these issues straight to NCLR, not an area rep, not a messenger, but to Janet & Monica directly.
...At least that is what I intend to do.
...and this my friends, is for the record......Alrato y que viva, que siga la lucha.
Editor's Note: You can contribute your feedback to the Alma Awards 2006 at http://www.almaawards.com/viewerfeed/feedback.html
Pablo "Tripp" Trevino is a music producer and Radio DJ with KUCR FM in Riverside, California. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org