A political moment turns into a cultural celebration on Spanish-language television+ READ ARTICLE
The 2014 Latin Grammy Awards were delayed by 17 minutes Thursday night so President Obama’s announcement on immigration could be carried live with Spanish translation on Univision.
But that wasn’t the only impact President Obama had on one of the most-watched Spanish-language broadcasts of the year. From the first minutes of the show, his decision to give legal status to nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants was celebrated as an affirmation of Latino power. Host Eugenio Derbez, a Mexican actor and comedian, started off the theme in his opening remarks. Here is a translation:
Good evening. Welcome to the Latin Grammys, an award that today celebrates 15 years of excellence in Latin music at an international level. What a way to start the night. On Univision we are celebrating that, little by little, millions of Latinos in this country are beginning to benefit. It was about time that the rights of Latinos were recognized, because it was long ago that we stopped being a minority. Latinos are an important part of what moves this country. What is more, Latinos are already part of this country, gentlemen. And what a better stage to celebrate this great news than this one of the Latin Grammys, because if you notice, Latinos have always used music to cross borders. What’s more, I have an uncle who crossed the border inside a piano.
That joke was segue to a bunch of more traditional award show one-liners.
Later in the night, the theme continued when Spanish crooner Enrique Iglesias accepted the award for Song of the Year. He gave a shout out to the President’s actions in his acceptance speech.
Good evening. We’re here in France, in Paris, and we want to send you a very big hug. We wish we could be there with all of you celebrating. This night is not only historic for all the Latino artists, but for all the Latino people who live in the U.S. A big hug. Thank you.
Then Carlos Vives, a Colombian singer, accepted an award further into the show. “I want to dedicate this especially to President Obama,” he said at the end of his speech, holding up his golden gramophone trophy.
The White House, which had scheduled the remarks to coincide with the Grammys, seemed pleased by the result. Shortly after Iglesias made his comments, the official White House Twitter account retweeted the news of his shout out.
In 2013, 9.8 million people watched the Latin Grammy Awards on Univision, making the channel a top-three network for the night in the U.S.