On July 11, Premios Juventud — Univision’s youth culture awards ceremony — hosted a preview panel in collaboration with Women in Music Miami Chapter. Premios Juventud is one of the most anticipated shows of the summer for the urban, pop, and indie Latino genres in music, but this year, PJ is looking to host things differently.

Celebrating and diversifying talent this year is at the forefront of Univision’s vision for this year’s event. PJ says they will be highlighting and giving a platform to more women in the industry, and dedicating airtime and performances to “las duras del genero.” Thanks to Mayna Nevarez, the vision has turned into a reality expected to go down on Thursday, July 18, during the live awards and performance show.

“Our idea is to make a 50/50 balance in music conferences, award shows, presentations, and festivals.”

Nevarez was one of the masterminds behind February’s Daddy Yankee tribute performance at Premios Lo Nuestro. To celebrate the 15-year anniversary of Daddy Yankee’s Barrio Fino album, OGs in reggaeton, De La Ghetto, Yadel, and Zion y Lennox, joined contemporary stars, Ozuna and J Balvin, to each sing Yankee’s classics.

Nevarez wears many hats, being executive officer of Nevarez Communications, the chapter chair of Miami, global chair of communication, and a founding member of Women in Music. For Nevarez, bringing visibility to women in the industry has been essential to her career since WIM began in New York in 1985.

Women in Music is a series of chapters worldwide whose members are women of all stages in their careers. With about 10,000 members worldwide, the chapters are mostly made up of record label executives, artist managers, songwriters, musicians, attorneys, recording engineers, agents, publicists, studio owners, music publishers, and online and traditional marketers.

“Our idea is to make a 50/50 balance in music conferences, award shows, presentations, and festivals. We also have a mentorship program where women can sign up and have a mentor from the music industry because when women help other women, it helps us increase visibility in the music industry,” Nevarez said.

Photo courtesy of Univision Communications Inc.

The PJ panel, moderated by Maity Interiano of Despierta America, featured the event’s executive producers Ayleen Figueras and Ulises Chang. Figueras and Chang explained that social media and millennials have shaped and changed the way the awards will be broadcast, with music and youth activism primarily showcased. Their Agentes de Cambio initiative gives recognition awards live to those making changes in the community. There will also be a pop music award category; both producers agree that as pop evolves, so does the history of the genre and those of the artists rewriting it.

The PJ crew says a secret to their success and what people can look forward to this year are the viral moments they create during the show, such as Pepe Aguilar, Farruko, Prince Royce and Anitta’s 2019 Premios Lo Nuestro salsa medley performance.

“I think that’s part of how we build our shows, we think about what would people really like and what’s not out there,” Figueras said.

“For the first time, we’re going to have 25 emerging female artists during the preshow and live event.”

For this year’s 15th edition of Premios Juventud, they’re moving away from the musical concert vibe of previous years. PJ’s executives tapped into the industry’s experts within Univision (like Uforia Music) and outside for suggestions of selections based on streaming numbers versus airplay. Social trends will also be dominating the awards with categories such as Shoe-A-Holic, Producers You Know By Shoutout, Digital Influencers, Name A Better Duo … I’ll Wait, and On The Rise, a category for actors, athletes, and industry leaders. PJ also dedicated four categories out of 24 to new artists exclusively, to open the door for emerging talent like La Nueva Generacion Urbana, La Nueva Generacion Regional Mexicana, and El Agave de la Música (for young Mariachi artists). For the PJ team, their goal is to host an event that can cross generations and bring together audiences of all ages while highlighting women.

“Every time we do a show, we feel like we lack women and they’re not resonating. Women are not at a level that we need to put them on, and right now we have Natti Natasha, Cazzu, TINI, Amara La Negra, Ángela Aguilar, Karol G, and Lali Espósito as our host,” Chang said. “We’re at the forefront of putting women on the show, and for the first time, we’re going to have 25 emerging female artists during the preshow and live event. One minute of exposure can change anyone’s life, and together, we are putting our granito de arena to open the doors for anybody to see there are opportunities, and we can make it happen.”

Watch Premios Juventud on Thursday, July 18 at 7 p.m. on Univision.