Hispanic Heroes, Hispanic Heritage


Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia

Sept. 15 is when five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, had gained their independence. Mexico, Chile and Belize follow shortly after, on the 16, 18 and 21.

Giselle Villegas, Staff Writer

As Dia De Los Muertos just come around, what is far lesser known is the wonderful time leading up to it: Hispanic Heritage Month. What began as just a week-long celebration turned into a month-long festival taking place from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates those who have changed Hispanic history and others who continue to do so now.

One famous Hispanic painter is Frida Kahlo who executed her pain into art that, at that time, broken many social barriers. Women in the early 1900s typically never became famous for their art. Kahlo forged a path for women’s emotions to be seen and understood while painting intricate and unique pieces connecting to the colorful roots of Mexico.

“Frida did what she wanted. She was brave in a very conservative society,” Hilda Trujillo said in an article from The Guardian. “Young women today identify with Frida; they find strength in her, and they identify with that strength.”

Now Kahlo’s art hangs in Mexico City to be admired by visitors and residents alike.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, most famously known for his role as Alexander Hamilton in his self-developed Broadway show, “Hamilton” is shifting traditional barriers as well. Beginning with his first Broadway show, 2005’s “In the Heights,” Miranda began to incorporate rap and hip-hop music into classical Broadway musicals. After winning four Tony awards for “In The Heights” he eventually produced “Hamilton,” which is best known for its portrayal of founding father Alexander Hamilton through rap and its completely color-blind casting.

Selena Quintanilla began the shift in Tejano music in the early 90s. Tejano music is folk and popular music originating from Mexico with an American twist to it.

“Selena was the first female Tejano singer to ever have a large amount of success,” according to the Biography on the Selena Quintanilla website. “There was not many Hispanic females dominating the charts; women were not seen as being able to become very popular, have a fan base and produce good music; Selena proved them all wrong.”

Quintanilla began to incorporate Spanish music into American culture with songs such as “I Could Fall In Love” and “Dreaming of You,” changing the face of Latin music.

“Hispanic heritage month is a time in which I can stand up tall and have people hear my voice and see my complexion with more strength and power than is usually given in this current time,” junior Alexandra Beltran said.

This month gives power to people of Latin decent, and each of these artists has allowed opportunity for others to celebrate who they are. Their impacts motivate and give hope to hispanics that they do have chances at changing the world.