More Than Ever, Latin Representation Shined at the 2020 AMAs

Becky G
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for dcp

Becky G accepts the award for Favorite Latin Female Artist onstage for the 2020 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on Nov. 22, 2020 in Los Angeles.

The 2020 American Music Awards aired Sunday night from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, with artists such as The Weeknd, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift nabbing awards.

This year, Latin representation at the awards show was stronger than ever, featuring many Latin winners and even a sultry performance by Jennifer Lopez and Maluma with the TV debut of their collaboration “Pa Ti’” and “Lonely.”

For the first time, the AMAs, in partnership with Cheetos, expanded its Latin categories, including favorite male artist, favorite female artist, favorite album and favorite song.

"Latin music has been extremely popular for so long, and in recent years, we’ve seen more Latin artists and music not only dominate the mainstream, but really make an impact on overall culture," Marissa Solis, SVP of marketing, Frito-Lay North America, tells Billboard. "The popularity continues to grow within the United States and the impact is felt. It only made sense to expand the Latin categories to recognize the vast array of talent. It felt like a natural fit for the Cheetos brand to sponsor these new categories given our love for Latin culture, music and our fans."

The AMAs introduced its first Latin category Latin artist of the year -- back in 1998 and have since crowned artists such as Enrique Iglesias, Shakira, Daddy Yankee and J Balvin with the title. This year, the AMAs honored a wave of Latin artists, songs and albums that have created a buzz, with Bad Bunny, Karol G and Becky G walking away with trophies.

Bad Bunny won favorite Latin male artist and favorite Latin album for YHLQMDLG, Karol G won favorite Latin song for her Nicki Minaj-assisted “Tusa,” and Becky won favorite Latin female artist, dedicating her win to all immigrants.

"There are a number of Latin artists whose music permeates our radios and streaming services and consistently rank high on all of the top hits lists, so it is extremely important to recognize these artists in mainstream award shows because they are part of the mainstream," Solis adds. "Even more, it’s important to celebrate and highlight their exceptional work. Hispanic culture has shaped mainstream culture for decades."

In addition to the expansion of the Latin categories, Cheetos, in honor of its campaign “Deja Tu Huella,” aired a one-minute spot highlighting how a new generation of Latin artists is powering the success of Latin music on the charts.

“This year, Latin music saw over 38 billion streams, more than pop, country, hip-hop, or rock, and marks the genre’s fourth consecutive year of double-digit growth whether dominating the Latin charts or crossing over the world of pop and hip-hop,” the clip notes.

For Solis, Latin music's success today is fueled by the connectedness both from a global perspective and the ability of an artist to reach their fans. "Latin music and culture aren’t new, and in fact, it has greatly influenced popular culture for years. The passion we’ve seen globally from the fans and the impact these artists have beyond the music has also catapulted this takeover."