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Hispanic Heritage Heats Up Happy Valley

Based on the smooth sounds of Latin pop music coming from 119 Osmond Tuesday night, students passing by may have mistaken the lecture hall for the Mezzanine.

Had they opened the door, however, they would have discovered the source of the dance-worthy beats was none other than a PBS documentary on Latin music sensations who had transitioned to the United States’ popular music scene.

The event, officially deemed The Politics of Crossover: Latino Popular Music in the United States, was just one of various activities planned in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM).

HHM Chair Melissa Landrau-Rodriguez said this year’s theme is pop culture, so the events planned have an entertainment-based focus. The month kicked off Sept. 15th with an Opening Ceremony at Old Main and will conclude Oct. 15th with the performance of an off-broadway play, “Yo Soy Latina!” in the Forum.

The documentary, which revealed the roots of some of our favorite artists (and I mean that literally–Shakira had dark brown hair!), was just part one of The Politics of Crossover. The second half was a discussion led by Doctoral student Rafael Diaz Torres.

Torres had originally planned a powerpoint and performance as Ricky Martin, but due to a smaller turn-out than expected, he decided instead to hold a more informal talk with those in attendance.

During the discussion, Landrau-Rodriguez opened up about her move from Puerto Rico to Iowa in the 80s, noting that hearing Latin-based music in the United States made her feel more welcome. “Even if it was in English, it was a little bit of us here,” she said.

Torres concluded the discussion emphasizing the importance of being culturally sensitive and inclusive.

There’s still time to get involved with Hispanic Heritage Month, so be sure to check out the upcoming events and keep livin’ your vida loca!

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About the Author

Tara Maerz

Hi I'm Tara. I grew up in Abington (Penn State Abington is basically my backyard). I am a junior Print Journalism major. I enjoy traveling, trashy reality TV shows, cereal and pillows.

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