As Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close, I want to reflect on some Hispanic achievements this year. Ranging from Formula One racers, actors and musicians, 2023 has been, so far, a year of Hispanic achievement.
Coming in as my personal favorite would be Sergio “Checo” Perez. Born in Mexico, Checo Perez had his Formula One debut in 2011. In 2012 he received his first ever podium at the Malaysian Grand Prix. This dubbed him “The Mexican Wunderkind” for his incredible performance at a young age.
He signed with Red Bull Racing in 2021 and has had a few podium wins under them. In 2023, Checo Perez is ranked second in the entire 2023 Formula One grid, with two wins, two poles and 223 total points so far into this 2023 season. Perez is ranked under his teammate, Max Verstappen, and was the only person competing against Max in the race to win the 2023 F1 World Champion title.
What stood out to me was his decision to give fans a chance to design his helmet for the 2023 Mexico City Grand Prix. Earlier this year it was announced that an art campaign called “México en la Cabeza” was made in partnership with Red Bull and various Mexican sponsors like Claro and Telcel.
Perez wanted his helmet to embrace Mexican culture while he was racing in Mexico City. The final design was unveiled a few days ago. It has elements that reference his birth state of Jalisco, Mexico, the Mexican flag proudly on display at the crown of his head and Aztec symbols and print throughout the helmet. While being a top notch racer he has never forgotten where his roots are and takes that with him wherever he goes.
America Ferrera is another stellar example of Hispanic achievement this year. Born to Honduran parents, in 2002 she debuted on her first television show “Gotta Kick It Up” on Disney Channel, and the movie “Real Women Have Curves.” Another great moment from her career would be her portrayal in “Ugly Betty” as Betty Suarez, which is based on Fernando Gaitan’s Colombian telenovela, “Yo soy Betty, la fea.”
In her career, she has won a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series and she is the first Latina woman to win this award. The girl has won her cookies for sure. This year she starred in the box office blowout movie “Barbie”.
In “Barbie” America’s character Gloria gives a monologue depicting the struggles, challenges and expectations women face on a daily basis.
This monologue has touched many young girls around the world but mostly young Hispanic girls, as they are able to see someone with their background making it to the big screen. She is currently taking a new career step and directing Netflix’s upcoming movie, “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.”
Continuing in Hollywood, Xolo Maridueña and Sasha Calle both starred as DC movie superheroes this past August.
Mexican-American Xolo Maridueña plays Jaime Reyes in “Blue Beetle,” a host to an alien scarab that gives him a suit of armor that is capable of extraordinary powers. Blue Beetle was tear-jerking and well received in the Hispanic community. Especially by his native Mexican audience.
Colombian-American Sasha Calle plays Kara Zor-El, or Supergirl, in “The Flash” movie. While the movie received criticism from other aspects surrounding the main actor, one big criticism was that Sasha’s character did not get enough screen time. I think having people upset that her character was not used enough is a huge compliment to her acting.
In the music scene, Ice Spice, who is half Dominican, has been climbing in views and fame. Ice Spice this year has reached a new level in her career with the help of TikTok. She released her debut EP this year, “Like..?”. Since then, she has collaborated with PinkPatheress, Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift. Collaborating with Nicki and Taylor in her first debut year should signal her large musical presence and promise for the future.
Although this last one may not be my personal favorite music artist, I must give credit where credit is due. Peso Pluma has been taking the Latin music industry not by storm but by a landslide. Mexican born Peso Pluma has slowly but surely reached his current fame of his own accord but with his regional Mexican sound.
In 2023 Peso Pluma was able to sell out his tour dates but that did not raise his ego. Peso Pluma made it a priority of his to engage with his fans and even sell tacos at the end of his concert. Being humble granted him the opportunity to skyrocket his career.
He has performed at the VMAs this year and has won eight awards at the 2023 Billboard Latin Music Awards, including Best New Artist.
Each year I am proud to see more and more Hispanics achieve new heights, both nationally and internationally. Being able to see myself represented in racing, acting and singing is unbelievably refreshing. I hope to see more in the future.