Univision's Jorge Ramos: 'Artists Have a Very Important Role in a Democracy' (Exclusive)
The journalist, whom Donald Trump ejected from a press conference, discusses the impact the creative community can have in politics.
Univision's Jorge Ramos may be best-known to many for his run-in with Donald Trump. But the Mexican-born TV personality, who has long held court as Univision's nighttime news anchor (and has his own Sunday interview show, Al Punto), is the most important Latin journalist in the United States -- it wouldn't be inaccurate to consider him a Latin Anderson Cooper. In the wake of Super Tuesday and the release of his new book, Sin Miedo ("Fearless"), which recounts his interviews with global influencers, Ramos offers his take on why artists should be even more political.
Now is the time to confront the candidates.
I take Donald Trump very seriously, and with danger ahead -- in the form of a presidential candidate who promotes hatred and intolerance against Latinos, Muslims and other minorities -- I believe more artists must take on the responsibility of participating politically.
In Mexico, where I grew up, artists, writers and musicians constantly give their opinions on the political process. When Shakira, Ricky Martin or Mana decide to talk, they know they can have an impact on their society. And in the film community, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Alfonso Cuaron and Guillermo del Toro speak about politics all the time.
But in the United States, I don't see singers, artists and writers getting involved politically like their counterparts in Latin America, and that's something I've been trying to fight. I invite artists to my show every Sunday, and one of the conditions is that, while I'm happy to discuss their new album or movie, they also have to talk about politics. This has led to animated conversations with Mana, Pitbull, Joan Manuel Serrat, J Balvin and Ricardo Montaner.
Artists have a very important role in a democracy: They know whatever they say can be repeated millions of times in social media, and they're realizing their voices are so important they have to use them responsibly.
A decade ago, our artists were just following what other American artists were doing; they were silent on politics and very vocal about arts, music and literature. But not anymore.
- As told to Leila Cobo. This article was originally published in the March 12 issue of Billboard.