The Grammy Awards Sunday night robbed the best-selling Spanish-language song of ALL TIME not once, not twice, but, yes, a whopping three times.
“Despacito” was undoubtedly the biggest song of 2017. It sold nearly 7 million track-equivalent copies last year. It tied the record for the longest-running No. 1 on the Hot 100 in history, sitting at the top for 16 weeks. It’s also the only YouTube video in history to reach 4 billion views, making it the most-watched video in more than 50 other countries across the globe.
This is an impressive feat, and moreso when we revisit Latin music’s journey at the Grammy’s. To put it in perspective, the last “remotely Latin” nominees to even make it close were Carlos Santana’s English-language “Smooth” and Ricky Martin’s English “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and this was 18 years ago in 2000. The first (and only) time a non-English song won Song of the Year was at the second Grammy Awards, in 1959, when an Italian song called “Volare” took the top honor.
So, does it surprise us that the biggest Latin song of all time didn’t take home the gold? Nope. But one can dream.
To cheer you up, here’s the latest episode of Latino U.S.A where host Maria Hinojosa dives into the making of this epic song. It will make you proud!
The Beginning: 13 days into 2001, a massive earthquake hit El Salvador. This earthquake was no joke. At least 944 people were killed, more than 5,000 were injured, and tens of thousands of homes destroyed. To help, the U.S. gave 200,000 Salvadorans Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to live, work (and play) legally in the U.S. Aren’t we just so nice?
The Turning Point: No fear of la migra for these folks! Until Nov. 2016, of course, when the U.S. elected their very own version of a Latin American populist. Since then, Trump has been notably deplorable to our community, most recently by ending protections for 800,000 young undocumented immigrants, unless Congress grants these DREAMers a path to legal status by March 5.
But also…The Department of Homeland Security said that because El Salvador had been reconstructed since the earthquakes, it was time for more than 200,000 Guanacos to get lost by September 2019.
The Aftermath: The country may be better now, but El Salvador ain’t exactly paradise. Drought, poverty and la mara sill ravage the country. Imagine, if on top of that, 200,000 people, many who have been here for most of their lives, were to just roll up like, “Howya doin’?”
To understand this struggle first-hand, meet the Salinas family, TPS-holders in danger of being deported.