This news special, hosted by John Quiñones, explores the recent rise in popularity of Hispanic-American stars in popular culture. Quiñones, speaking from South Beach, Florida, comments on the significant growth of Latinos in America, noting that they now make up 11% of the population. Ricky Martin, former member of the boy-band Menudo, has been enjoying great success with his solo work, as has actor/singer Jennifer Lopez, who memorably "broke out" with her role in 1997's "Selena" as the murdered Tejano pop star. Oscar Hijuelos' musically-themed 1989 novel, "The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love," won the Pulitzer Prize and became a film in 1992. Enrique Iglesias, son of Julio Iglesias, has recently become a "sex symbol" to young women with his passionate, Latin-tinged love songs, and the success of various Spanish-language radio stations has proven the "buying and staying power" of Hispanic fans. The mainstream popularity of Hispanic music dates back to the 1940s, particularly through the efforts of "mambo king" Tito Puente and Desi Arnaz, who popularized Cuban music and culture through his iconic 1950s TV role as Ricky Ricardo. Carlos Santana, who rose to fame in the 1970s, credits Puente and Arnaz with fostering his interest in music, and states that the combination of Latino and American artistic cultures is something to be celebrated.

Marc Anthony, born in Spanish Harlem to Puerto Rican parents, describes his love of performing salsa music to sold-out crowds at Madison Square Garden and other venues. His popularity has grown through acting roles and a recent hit duet with Jennifer Lopez, "No Me Ames," and he is mobbed by eager fans when he visits his former neighborhood with Quiñones, where he has been immortalized in a colorful mural. Quiñones notes that his new record, a self-titled English-language album, may alienate some longtime fans on the grounds of "selling out," but Anthony explains that performing in both languages is "like having two children" whom he loves equally, and the album soon proves to be a great success. Next, Quiñones briefly profiles Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, the American-born singer who drew on her Mexican roots and became a highly-successful crossover star before her shocking death in 1995, and whose story is told in Lopez's 1997 film.

Actors Edward James Olmos and Andy Garcia comment on the lack of Latino leading characters in films and television, noting that they themselves are often asked to play other ethnicities, and Salma Hayek and Rita Moreno agree that they have felt limited to archetypal "spicy Latina" roles throughout their careers. Hayek, who got her start in Mexican telenovelas, explains that she now is committed to taking roles that celebrate her heritage without exploiting negative stereotypes, including her recent role as a policewoman in "Chain of Fools" (2000). Singer Gloria Estefan, who emigrated to the United States as a toddler, recalls being told that her band, the Miami Sound Machine, was "too Latin" for American listeners, prompting her and her husband Emilio to record independently. Contrary to the labels' beliefs, their song "Conga" became a smash hit in several genres, and though temporarily sidelined by her near-fatal 1990 bus accident, Estefan opted to return to her Hispanic roots with her 1993 album "Mi Tierra" ("My Homeland"), also a great success. Their Miami recording studio, known as "Latin Motown," has welcomed several up-and-coming stars, including soap opera actor Carlos Ponce and Colombia rock-and-roll star Shakira, whom Estefan mentors. Estefan is also set to make her acting debut alongside Meryl Streep in "Music of the Heart" (1999). Quiñones closes the program by reflecting on the mass appeal of the "unbridled joy" found in Latin music. Includes commercials.


  • DATE: September 7, 1999 10:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:58:38
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: B:58383
  • GENRE: Music
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Hispanic Americans
  • SERIES RUN: ABC - TV, 1999
  • COMMERCIALS: TV - Commercials - "Blue Streak" motion picture^TV - Commercials - Pond's Age-Defying Lotion^TV - Commercials - Mitsubishi automobiles^TV - Commercials - Chili's restaurants^TV - Commercials - Caress body wash^TV - Commercials - Toyota automobiles^TV - Commercials - Garnier Nutrisse hair coloring^TV - Commercials - Pier 1 Imports stores^TV - Commercials - ABC/Nokia Premiere Connection Sweepstakes contest^TV - Commercials - Oldsmobile automobiles^TV - Commercials - The Home Depot stores^TV - Commercials - Domino's Pizza restaurants^TV - Commercials - AC Delco auto parts^TV - Commercials - Got Milk? campaign^TV - Commercials - "Stigmata" motion picture^TV - Commercials - Hyundai automobiles^TV - Commercials - Revlon ColorStay Liquid Lip lipstick^TV - Commercials - Mentadent toothpaste^TV - Commercials - Chef Boyardee products^TV - Commercials - Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind^TV - Commercials - Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic^TV - Commericals - Medic Alert ID bracelets^TV - Commercials - Visa credit cards^TV - Commercials - McDonald's restaurants^TV - Commercials - Wrigley's Doublemint chewing gum^TV - Commercials - Nintendo video games^TV - Commercials - Cadillac automobiles^TV - Promos - "Good Morning America"^TV - Promos - "Once and Again"^TV - Promos - "General Hospital"^TV - Promos - "20/20"^TV - Promos - "Wasteland"^TV - Promos - "Selena"^TV - Promos - "Spin City"^TV - PSA - U.S. Department of Transportation anti-drunk driving


  • Rudy Bednar … Executive Producer
  • Bob Roy … Coordinating Producer
  • Richard Gerdau … Producer
  • Robe Imbriano … Producer
  • Nina Alvarez … Producer
  • Nancy Delape … Associate Producer
  • John Siceloff … Broadcast Producer
  • Kief Davidson … Special Segment Producer
  • John Quiñones … Host
  • Ricky Martin … Interviewee
  • Jennifer Lopez … Interviewee
  • Enrique Iglesias … Interviewee
  • Oscar Hijuelos … Interviewee
  • Carlos Santana … Interviewee
  • Marc Anthony … Interviewee
  • Edward James Olmos … Interviewee
  • Rita Moreno … Interviewee
  • Salma Hayek … Interviewee
  • Gloria Estefan … Interviewee
  • Emilio Estefan … Interviewee
  • Carlos Ponce … Interviewee
  • Desi Arnaz
  • Julio Iglesias
  • Selena Quintanilla-Pérez
  • Tito Puente
  • Shakira
  • Meryl Streep