Out of all his accomplishments – discovering superestrellas like Marc Anthony, Shakira, and Ricky Martin, creating the Latin Grammy music awards, and most recently, being inducted into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame – Emilio Estefan is most proud of his heritage.
“I’m a proven fact that you never have to forget where you come from [in order] to become successful,” claims Estefan.
“At the time we [the Estefans and the Miami Sound Machine] started, we were told we were not allowed to have a Latino last name, that we had to change our music," he remembers. "But no – we did it without forgetting our roots," as have many other successful Latin Americans.
"I think we [Latinos] have accomplished so many great things and have made so many contributions to the United States, not just in music, food, and culture,” he adds. “[There are Latino] astronauts, the [former corporate director] of AT&T and [members of the] Coca-Cola [board of directors] are Latino."
Given the 305’s predominant Hispanic population, Miami needs no reminder of the contribution Latinos have made to the Magic City and the U.S. at large. But in light of the GOP's recent anti-immigration push, led by the parties most vocal mouthpiece presidential candidate Donald Trump, Estefan felt the need to remind the rest of the country of el poder de los Latinos.
So, the Latin music powerhouse called up a few of his hermanos – Pitbull, Rita Moreno, Carlos Santana, his wife, Gloria, of course, and non-Hispanics like Wyclef Jean, to name a few – and recorded “We're All Mexican.”
“What I wanted to say is that we are all Latinos,” Estefan explains. “When you attack one of us, you attack all of us.”
More of a Latin pride anthem than a D-Trump diss track, the purpose of the song was not only to defend his heritage, but to bring about unity and solidarity among all Latinos, not just Mexicans.
“When I was doing ‘We're All Mexican,’ I knew people were gonna have different opinions [because I’m not from Mexico], but I didn’t care,” el músico says. “A lot of [people in the] beginning were confused. They were like, ‘You’re not Mexican.’ No, I am Latino. We are all Latino. The only way we’re gonna be respected is by being united and [making] sure that people understand the political influence we can have in an election, being of Hispanic heritage.”
And as a 2002 appointed member of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities by former president George W. Bush, this isn't the first time Estefan has become a political voice for Latinos.
“The best thing to do is show people that we love our country,” he elaborates. “I always say when [an immigrant] lives in this country, it's like loving your grandfather and your dad — it's that feeling of having love for both counties."
Although the song doesn't throw shade at Trump per se, Estefan believes that if the TV personality really wanted a shot at being elected POTUS, he would need to change his approach and mentality toward several issues, especially those regarding minorities.
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“I’ve known him for so many years,” says Estefan. “He’s the kind of guy that has a lot of opinions. I hope that he gets good advice. He needs to get surrounded by Latinos and African Americans. I think in the long run, if he wants to be president, he needs to be the president for everybody.”
“He’s been brilliant in his business,” he admits. But success in the business world does not necessarily equate to success in a presidential election, more so, as the leader of a country.
“We need someone to bring love – somebody who can fix our problems," Estefan proposes. "Someone who’s not Democrat or Republican, but someone who is American and can bring the senate together. Whoever we elect, it needs to be a president for everybody.”
Estefan is really onto something here. Who knows? Maybe one day he'll add President of the United States to his list of accomplishments.