Rubén Blades: Person of the Year 2021 in the Latin Grammys

The Panamanian singer will be honored for his artistic and social achievements in the 22nd edition of the event.

Ruben blades

The Panamanian has become a reference both inside and outside of music, for which the Latin Grammy awards him the recognition of Person of the Year 2021 Photo: IG-ruben.blades

LatinAmerican Post | Theoscar Mogollón González

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Leer en español: Rubén Blades: Persona del Año 2021 en los Grammy Latinos

Singer-songwriter, musician, actor, producer, lawyer, politician, activist. What else does Rubén Blades do? The Panamanian has become a reference both within and outside the music sector, something that the Latin Recording Academy has taken into account to grant him the recognition of Person of the Year 2021 in the next gala of the Latin Grammy.

The continuous commitment in the fight for social justice has been one of the flags that Blades has waved the strongest. Lately, he has been supporting different programs around the world that raise awareness about political oppression, hunger, and poverty, among others. As reported by the Academy itself on its website, thanks to "his music and songs such as "Prohibido olvidar", "Buscando América" y "Desapariciones", [Blades] has been a promoter of positive and significant changes in the Latino communities and beyond them".

Likewise, Gabriel Abaroa Jr., president / CEO of The Latin Recording Academy, did not want to miss the opportunity to dedicate him a few words. "Rubén Blades is a truly iconic artist who has inspired generations with the powerful and intelligent lyrics of his songs, and whose genius has promoted justice at all levels of society." Beyond music, his social commitment and activism have driven the decision to pay tribute to him as the Person of the Year in 2021.

«El éxito nunca es producto del esfuerzo de un solo individuo, es consecuencia de muchas contribuciones y de la voluntad y talento de otras personas. Hoy doy gracias a todos los que hicieron posible el éxito de mi carrera como músico y compositor. Agradezco a La Academia Latina esta consideración y la comparto con todas las personas que me han ayudado a lo largo y ancho de mi vida artística». - Rubén Blades

A multifaceted person

Born in Panama City, Rubén Blades Bellido de Luna became an emblematic figure in the salsa revolution during the 1970s. Classic songs like "El Cantante", "Amor y Control", "Pedro Navaja", "Plástico", among many others, became indispensable songs for many Latinos around the world.

In addition to being an icon of his genre, he has also collaborated with rock, jazz, pop, hip-hop, and reggaeton artists, adding his magic with memorable melodies. Although the years go by and with them the music has undergone its evolution, Blades always manages to reinvent himself by producing impeccable creations that fuse his Afro-Cuban salsa roots with the sounds he is learning from around the world.

As for his acting skills, he has been nominated for the Emmy Awards and has starred in more than 50 films and television series in both English and Spanish, becoming one of the most acclaimed characters in the series "Fear The Walking Dead" that is still broadcast. In addition, the artist graduated as a lawyer from the School of Law and Political Science of the University of Panama (1974) and from the Harvard Graduate Law School LL.M (1985, Master of Laws). To his extensive and magnificent resume are added the five years that he served as Minister of Tourism of Panama (2004-2009).

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Grammy winner

For this special gala, there will be the participation of several music stars, who will pay tribute to him with an emotional concert that will include interpretations of his well-known repertoire. The Latin Recording Academy awards these recognitions to musicians of Ibero-American heritage who, in one way or another, have achieved achievements in the Latin music industry and for being recognized for their humanitarian efforts.

It should be remembered that the funds that are raised during the ceremony for the Person of the Year of the Latin Academy are always destined to charities of the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation. The last artist to be honored was the Colombian Juanes in 2019, who joined the select group that has figures such as Maná, Shakira, Juan Gabriel, Marc Anthony, Juan Luis Guerra, Julio Iglesias, Emilio Estefan, among others.

In turn, Blades has managed to win several awards throughout his career. At the Grammys, he was recognized nine times: Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album (1987, 1989, 1997, 2016 and 2018), Best Latin Pop Album (2000 and 2015), Best World Music Album (2003), and Best Salsa / Merengue Album (2005). For its part, in the Latin Grammys it has the same number of trophies: Best Contemporary Tropical Album (2003), Best Short Version Music Video (2009), Best Songwriter Album (2010), Best Tango Album (2014), Best Salsa Album (2011, 2015 and 2017), Best Album of the Year (2017) and Best Tropical Song (2020).