The Latin Recording Academy hosted its second Leading Ladies of Entertainment with a small, private luncheon where the ongoing theme was solidarity and connectivity among women.
This year’s honorees included two music personalities — Becky and Delia Orjuela, BMI’s VP creative for Latin music — as well as two media personalities: Univision journalist and host Pamela Silva Conde and CNN en Español SVP and GM Cynthia Hudson.
“We are all connected and our obligation is to help people live their dreams,” said Hudson, who received her award from recording artist and multi-Latin Grammy nominee Kany Garcia, who met her early in her career.
The luncheon, held Nov. 13 in Las Vegas, began with a speech from Latin Recording Academy president/CEO Gabriel Abaroa, who noted that 21 out of 27 Academy employees are women and four out of seven executives are women. “You get a glimpse of the type of inclusive working environment we have,” he said.
Conde received the first award of the day from Univision producer and author Luz Maria Doria and teared up recalling her 15 years with the network.
“Thanks for challenging me. I’ve worked with great women who have been very generous with me. That’s also my commitment,” she said.
Next, Sony Music chairman/CEO Afo Verde presented the award to his artist, Becky G. Calling her “a champion” and “one of those people who comes around every 70 years.” Verde underscored how Becky G began her career singing in English but decided to “honor her Latin roots by singing in Spanish.”
It was a theme that came back time and time again during the event.
“People like Selena taught me that because I was born here and speak English doesn’t mean I’m less Hispanic,” said Becky G. “They taught me that freedom of creative expression is more important than the criticism we’ve faced for being brave. … Prioritizing happiness is so important. If I can lead by example and follow my heart, I think I’m doing my job.”
Hudson later recalled how the day she first met Selena, “she didn’t speak a word of Spanish. But she learned.”
The last honoree of the day was Orjuela, who received her award from La Santa Cecilia singer La Marisoul, who called her “una jefota [a big boss]” and someone who was eager “to share our story. Who’s always been so attentive, from Day one.”
Orjuela, who has been working at BMI for over a decade, thanked her mother, “who worked three jobs so I could go to school. She was a single mom who raised me, worked very hard. And I love that, I love working. I love what I do, and I love helping people.”