The T.J. Martell Foundation for Cancer Research has honored Billboard‘s Leila Cobo and Warner Music’s Iñigo Zabala at this year’s annual Martell in Miami Dinner, celebrated on Wednesday.
The night began with the music of the band Celia Cruz All Stars, whose tropical flavor welcomed the guests.
After having dinner, the night continued with the awards ceremony, which began with the Music Industry Trailblazer Award delivered by Colombian singer Karol G to Billboard vice president, Latin industry lead Leila Cobo.
“I am happy tonight because I have the opportunity to give recognition to someone I admire, I respect,” Karol G said. “She gave us an opportunity to tell a story that other media suddenly denied.”
During her speech, Cobo expressed her gratitude to the TJ Martell Foundation. “When I got the call from TJ Martell, I thought that they were calling me to cover the event.” Cobo’s father died 23 years ago of lung cancer, so “this cause is very important, and I’ve seen what TJ Martell can do. They have found the cure for many directions, not only for lung cancer.”
Then came the Estefan Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to Iñigo Zabala by Mexican band Maná. Zabala is the president of Warner Music Latin America & Iberia. “Music has the power to unite us. In many ways, music goes beyond medicine. The music makes our live better,” Zabala said.
Stu Bergen, CEO of International and Global Commercial Services for WMG, shared this quote with Billboard about Zabala’s honor. “Iñigo has spent his career bringing great music to life — first as an artist himself with La Union, and then as a force behind a huge diversity of talent, everyone from Anitta to Maná,” Bergen says. “His leadership, creativity and expertise are invaluable as our Latin business continues to explode, I can think of no one more deserving of the Estefan Lifetime Achievement Award, and it’s great to see him honored alongside the influential journalist Leila Cobo. TJ Martell is an excellent cause and we’re all honored to support their mission.”
The ceremony, hosted by Maria Elena Salinas, concluded with an acoustic performance by Piso 21. Anuel AA, Zion & Lennox, Danny Ocean, Sofia Reyes and Cobo’s husband and musician Arthur Hanlon were among the artists who also attended the annual event.