Most demographic projections say Latinos will make up 30% of the U.S. population by 2050. But representing audiences and depicting Latino culture does not mean artists have become change-makers or decision-makers. This list is full of groundbreaking artist-activists.
Latino Leaders consulted industry experts and observers to discern the 15 most influential Latino artists in the U.S. They represent a diverse spectrum of roles, from actor to executive, from writer to icon. The criteria used to determine the most influential Latino artists are: national recognition, advancement in their field and philanthropic impact.
Grammy-winning Musician, Producer, Philanthropist
Anthony is an actor, singer, record producer, and television producer. He is the top-selling tropical salsa artist of all time. He is a two-time Grammy winner and five time Latin Grammy winner. He was the recipient of the 2009 Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Chair's Award. Anthony has been a long-time advocate for children in poverty throughout Latin America, working through the Maestro Cares Foundation.
Writer of The House On Mango Street
Cisneros rose to prominence with a coming-of-age novel that has been called an avant-garde masterpiece. The relatable central character, Esperanza Cordero, is a young girl from a poor Latino neighborhood in Chicago. The book uses vignettes, poems and everyday observations. Her newest book, A House of My Own is due for release this month. She is the founder of two organizations that serve writers, the Macondo Foundation (now administered by the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center) and the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation. Sandra is also the founder of the Latino MacArthur Fellows (Los MacArturos).
Grammy Award Winner, Singer, Writer and NFL Franchise Part-Owner
Estefan is one of the world's best-selling music artists of all time, with an estimated 100 million records sold worldwide, including 31.5 million in the United States alone. She is the most successful crossover to date. She has won seven Grammys and has been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Estefan was also awarded the Ellis Island Congressional Medal of Honor, which is the highest award that can be given to a naturalized U.S. citizen. She has written two children's books and together with her husband owns a minor interest in the NFL team, the Miami Dolphins, becoming the first Latino NFL owners.