Tuesday, September 13, 2011

At The Alma Awards!

Had such an amazing time at the Alma Awards this past Saturday. Most definitely, the National Council of La Raza’s (NCLR) 20th Alma Awards was the Latino Party of the year!

This year’s show has many changes, starting with the venue. For years, Alma would host at the Shrine Auditorium or in Pasadena at the Convention Center. This year, NCLR took their soul show to the beach at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Los Angeles.

I must admit I wasn’t thrilled with the venue. It was hot, muggy… guess the air wasn’t working and the seats were not elevated enough for us shorties. I spent most of the night stretching my neck and my luck had me sitting behind a super tall woman with a super high hairdo. But the entertainment, the smoothness of the taping, made these slight inconveniences worth it. Also, NCLR’s production staff, volunteers were all courtesy and helpful. Pros all the way!

There were a lot more A-lister stars and they all dazzled on the red carpet. Co-host Eva Longoria outshone George Lopez in a gorgeous coral mermaid strapless Oscar de la Renta gown. 

Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffin
Lord, help me, but Benjamin Bratt is drop dead gorgeous! He walked with Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo, Enrique Castillo, Edward James Olmos, David Zayas, Michael Trevino, Ricardo Antonio Chaviria and Tristan Wilds. Also, there were some important directors and producers like Gregory Nava, Dan Guerrero, Robert Rodriguez, to name a few. However, the most gorgeous male that night hands down was Modern Family’s Rico Rodriguez! A charmer whose talent is going to take him far!

Let's Talk ladies, Dyana Ortelli, Kikey Castillo,
Bel Hernandez & Enrique Castillo

Let's Talk co-host & CNN Reporter,
Naibe Reynoso
Hip-hop star Pitbull brought the house down with his off-the-charts performance!

Edward James Olmos reminded us that while the night was a celebration, it was the eve of September 11th and said, “We must try to help all the people who are sick because they went first to try to help when the buildings collapsed. That is my big understanding of what ten years of remember is all about.” Eddie, what a class act he is and I’m honored to call him a friend. Also, not many know that he was originally booked to take one of the planes that crashed into the Twin Towers. But the Sunday prior to the 11th, as he reviewed his flight itinerary, he realized that he would be arriving into LAX in early evening and he had to be at the Latin Grammy’s that night. So at the last minute he changed his flight and instead returned on Monday, September 10th. Destiny intervened.
Gregory Nava 

While the Alma Awards catered to the glitz and glam of entertainment, the chatter turned political when Gregory Nava, the great director, producer and screenwriter, accepted his Career Achievement Award.  “The immigration situation has gotten much worse since 9/11. The attack against the undocumented is now an attack against all Latinos,” said Nava. “This is an attack on all our culture…  we have to fight against because it is an injustice.”

The El Norte and Selena filmmaker revealed that he finished the script to Garden of Eden, which examines our current immigration issues.

Actor/Producer Enrique Castillo &
Producer Lorena Alvarado

Enjoyed seeing Danny Trejo, who wore a suit jacket that was lined with embroidered daggers… he looked “Machete” cool! He spoke eloquently about what the evening meant to him. “I love being Latino in Los Angeles,” he said. “Right now is the time for Latinos.” Oh, man, I’m in love! He speaks my Latino language! He got a huge round of applause when he said, “We’ve moved forward in entertainment industry because of people like Robert Rodriguez, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez who have pushed us into the main stream. We are movie stars, for lack of a better word, but we are out there with all of them, and I thank God for that!”

Demi Lovato & little sister
Demi Lovato performed her current single “Skyscraper” and she sang her heart out! That girl has a spectacular voice! It is better than ever. Her live performance was amazing! It was heartwarming to see that she’s happier and feeling better these days. Bravo, Demi! Keep it up!
The closing act was a spectacular performance by Latin pop icon Gloria Estefan. Her first English-language album since 2003, “Miss Little Havana.”  Her performance reminded us she still has the magic!

Naibe Reynoso interviewing Diva Eva!

I would like to mention that the sponsors of the Alma Awards spoke about how important Latinos were to their corporations, gave statistics, etc. Well, I felt they were preaching to the choir! I mean the entire audience knows this… I challenge these corporate tycoons to instead preach to other corporate leaders and billionaires who still are in the dark about the impact Latinos are making economically and demographically. Don’t preach to us… preach to them!

Don’t forget to watch the Alma Awards on Friday, September 16th at 8PM on NBC. It’s a night where every thing is Latino razzle-dazzle! I’m not going to give you the names of winners… you’ll have to watch the show! There are some surprises!

Clark Russell, hair stylist to stars and Kikey Castillo

At The Almas, Latinowood, Sept. 10, 2011 ©


  1. I understand that the ALMA awards event for television is a different event than the one that actually takes place (well, barely)... but seriously, the TV version was embarrassing... What a way to honor our creative community by ignoring the writers, directors and documentarians that make a serious attempt to create humanizing images and stories about our diverse Latino communities... I know splashy, glitzy and trivializing were at the heart of the 2011 Alma Awards but geez, if you give a Career Achievement Award to a director (Gregory Nava) at least honor that person by mentioning it during the TV show... I know it's alot about showing how "funny-loving" we are and how "cool" we are... but did the producers ever think that maybe they were reinforcing so many stereotypes with this regretable presentation... yup, it was big booties and hot mamacitas galore... seriously, NCLR, is this what we've come to in the effort to be accepted...? Sad, sad, sad....

  2. Elia,
    great article and well captured. It was fun to see me in some of the pictures. As far as "Anonymous said", there are always two sides to every coin and opinions are great, the more the merrier. I personally enjoyed the taping of the show. Look forward to your next article.
    Kikey :)