On Tuesday, HBO and HBO Latino hosted a celebrity Red Carpet and screening event in New York City for their new documentary on the rocketing Latin presence in the United States. The NYC Premiere for THE LATIN EXPLOSION – A NEW AMERICA, took place in the Theater District’s venerable Hudson Theater ahead of its television premiere on Monday, November 16th. Produced and directed by Emmy-winning filmmakers Matthew O’Neill and cinéma vérité documentary journalist, Jon Alpert, it illustrates with stories and music a history of the countless – and growing – contributions by Latinos in the United States. POW!
The bedrock of the film is that in 1950, 1 in 50 Americans were Latino; in 2050, it will be 1 in 3, so in essence, let’s celebrate the fact and grow even stronger as a truly united, United States of America. Again: POW!
The Latin Explosion examines the history of the Latin presence in television, film, stage and record, as well as their burgeoning presence in politics and every other facet in mainstream America. Simply put: Latinos in the United States are to be among the greatest assets to 21st century America. UNIQUE & UNITED!
Beginning with the 1950’s television comedy, “I Love Lucy,” Desi Arnez was welcomed into America’s living rooms as Lucy’s Cuban husband, bandleader Ricky Ricardo, and charmed his way into their hearts as well. Then “Westside Story” brought Rita Moreno to the stage and screen, becoming the first Latina to receive an Oscar. BRAVA!
Jose Feliciano was featured as not only the first Latin artist to receive a Grammy Award for contemporary music but also as the very first to stylize the National Anthem before a public event in 1968 before the 5th game of the World Series in Detroit. BANG!
Then Santana’s emergence at Woodstock; Cheech and Chong’s brilliant comedy; the heat continued to build, lighting the fire that’s engulfed the entire nation: Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin, J.Lo, Thalia, Pitbull, Marc Anthony (naming only a few). HUGE. HAPPENING.
The event was covered by both Anglo and Latin media, print and television. The Daily News wrote: “Blowin’ up: “Latin Explosion’ shows music’s impact on U.S. culture” while Billboard reported that: “John Leguizamo narrates the doc, executive produced by Tommy Mottola and also featuring Jose Feliciano, George Lopez, Rita Moreno, Sofia Veraga and more.” MUCH MORE.
Among the epic moments was a comment by George Lopez where he points out that “Instead trying to kick us out; they should be trying to find the ways to keep us here.” Finally, as the credits rolled, Jose Feliciano’s iconic and often imitated rendition of the National Anthem aptly closed the documentary, summing it all up:
We ARE Americans. We ARE the United States. BANG!
The LATIN EXPLOSION - A New America premieres Monday, November 16th on HBO and HBO LATINO. (one more time) POW!