This year’s NCLR ALMA awards started off with a bang, and the fireworks certainly didn’t stop until the end. Hosts, Mario Lopez and Eva Longoria kept the laughs coming in all night, and the event was filled with heartfelt speeches and breath-taking moments that really showcased the spirit of the Latino community. The awards, which showcase and celebrate the activism, artistic contributions and civic work of Latino celebrities in the U.S., were definitely on fire this year.
Awards went out to stars such as Rosario Dawson, Robert Rodriguez, Tony Plana, and Carlos Santana; who were all commended for their work promoting good causes in the arts and advancing the roles of Latinos in the arts and media. Dawson thanked her mother (who was her date to the event) in a beautiful acceptance speech for the “Outstanding Commitment to Cause and Community” award, in which she said she was the reason “that I have become the woman I am today.” She was also lauded for her work with The Lower Eastside Girls Club and Voto Latino. At the end of her speech she said that the “attainable visions we have for ourselves and our communities far outweigh any challenges that come before us.”
Other highlights included the Latino cast members of the TV show “Dexter” being awarded the “Special Achievement in Television” award for playing integral roles in the show without being stereotyped. And who could forget the excellent speech by “Industry Excellence” award winner, Robert Rodriguez? He passed the torch of excellence to the next generation of Latino film makers saying, “you are the hope.”
But the real heart of the show was when Sebastian de La Cruz was honored and asked to sing the National Anthem. The young mariachi singer was ridiculed and blasted with negative-racial hate on Twitter earlier this year when he sang the National Anthem at an NBA finals game wearing a Mexican charro outfit. He was repeatedly criticized for “not being American” enough. The young boy sang a moving rendition of the song at the awards, evoking tears from quite a few audience members.
At only an hour long, the ALMA awards remain one of the shortest award shows in the business, but with so many great Latinos making huge leaps and bounds inside and outside Hollywood, it certainly won’t remain that short for long.