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Photo: elkentubano.comLatinos are just 4% of the state’s population, but host their own Latin Music Awards.
Latinos are just 4% of the state’s population, but host their own Latin Music Awards. Photo: elkentubano.com

Kentucky hosts Latin Music Awards

While Latino population rises nationwide, so do shows of representation

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Latinos in Kentucky may have sounded far-fetched at one point in time, but not anymore. The population of Latinos is growing in the state, and people are realizing their presence in the form of Latin-themed awards ceremonies. One was held virtually on Sunday Nov. 22, and was the second annual Latin Music Awards Kentucky. 

The criteria to be nominated in the award show is to be Latino, and live in Kentucky.

This year’s edition featured more than 50 artists who were nominated under 11 categories that included “Best Latin Artist of the Year” and “Best Latin Jazz Artist of the Year” to name just two. 

Israel Cuenca, the show’s president said he started it to showcase the growing population and to highlight Latinos “who are part of this community, who love Kentucky, and everyday try to make some music for everyone.”

One of 2020’s winners was Asly Toro for “Best Female Latin Artist.” She is 27 years old, and moved to Louisville from Venezuela seven years ago. She writes her own music and it is a combo of Latin pop and R&B influence with heavy Kali Uchis vibes. 

Toro told Spectrum News 1 that her music stems from her feelings. 

“I never write something that I don’t feel, like, in my veins, and when I sing I just feel the whole thing in my body from head to toe,” she shared. 

Cuenca is originally from Ecuador and he also lives in Louisville. He offered insight about the awards show in honor of the growing Latino community in Kentucky. 

“There is a vibrant Latin music scene in Kentucky so that was the reason why, and also because we want to share with the community, with Kentucky, about Latin American culture, Latin American history, [and] Latin American traditions,” said Cuenca. 

In the 2000 census, 1.5% of the state's population was Latino. However in 2019, it reflected the population grew to 3.9%. 

Some have called the awards show the Latin Grammy of Kentucky and although it may not be well known yet, it reflects the representation Latinos have been seeking, and actually getting in a state like Kentucky no less.

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