Fitting, perhaps, with the more diverse, even slightly left-field musical offerings from among this year’s Billboard Latin Music Awards nominees, the show’s afterparty headed to similarly unexpected ground. Instead of the predictable South Beach, downtown Miami, or Brickell stomping grounds, the program’s official late-night fete took over a sprawling warehouse event space in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood on NW 25th Street in the center of the city’s arts community dotted with galleries and covered in bright street art, an aesthetic that carried over to the event itself.
The red carpet was heavy on performers from showcases and events throughout the earlier part of the conference week, like L.A. rappers Awkwid, Mun2 host Yarel, and rising Top Stop bachatero Toby Love as well as Free Like Me and singer Desiree Estrada
Inside at the party, biz folks like MUN2’s Diana Mongollon, Herbalife’s Marco Antonio Gonzales, Caporaso Entertainment’s Yamil Jogral, Ignacio Rodriguez, Lulo Perez, Hernan Caporaso, The Berklee College of Music team and Elizabeth Oritiz of My Lifestyle magazine were spotted.
Just feet away, though, local artists spray-painted a Telemundo-themed, temporary, graffiti-style mural. Inside, State Farm sponsored a charity art sale dubbed The Art of Music. Featuring music-themed paintings by Puerto Rican artist Ruben Ortiz and Peruvian Guido del Carpo, proceeds from any sales went to local arts education programs. In an adjoining room, after perusing paintings, guests crossed a sparkling, lighted floor to reach towers of mini red velvet cupcakes. Back on the outdoor dance floor, partiers like Billboard editorial director Bill Werde danced to a DJ whose selections included a nearly 45-minute, all-Pitbull bloc.
One of the biggest stars of the evening, was Zumba Fitness co-founder Beto Perez, whose company wields more power now in the Latin music industry than ever before. One only had to watch the awards program itself, which was bookended by musical numbers by Daddy Yankee (“Limbo”) and Don Omar (“Zumba“) written expressly for the group fitness classes. For Perez, that really brought home his brand’s place as a top Latin music influencer, her said.
“We are the most important, successful company in the fitness world, and now a lot of artists feel like our classes are a radio station,” he said. “We play 45 percent original music — we play a song in a class, and it immediately springs up around the world. That’s why the business executives and artists from music come to us now.”
The party went late, appropriate to the party-hearty the Miami setting, where even the grown-up reggaetoneros Wisin y Yandel, whose bumping, EDM-driven performance was a highlight of the awards show, turned up at a cool 2 a.m.