The 2017 Latin Grammys Were a Celebration of Mexico and Puerto Rico

Lead Photo: Residente accepts Best Urban Song for 'Somos Anormales' onstage at the 18th Annual Latin Grammy Awards. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment
Residente accepts Best Urban Song for 'Somos Anormales' onstage at the 18th Annual Latin Grammy Awards. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment
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The 2016 Latin Grammys disappointingly didn’t touch on the political landscape, but this year, it made a shift in the right direction. Immigration and the recent natural disasters in Puerto Rico and Mexico were an important part of the show.

Hosted by Jaime Camil and Roselyn Sánchez, the event awarded a lot of the Latin music industry’s mainstays, with a few surprises thrown in the mix. Here’s everything you may have missed from the 2017 Latin Grammys:


The show kicked off with a tribute to Puerto Rico and Mexico

Hosts Jaime Camil and Roselyn Sánchez briefly spoke about the devastation that both their homes have faced in recent months. After a quick moment of silence, Residente took the stage to perform “Hijos de Cañaveral,” a song he’s positioned as an alternative to “La Borinqueña,” Puerto Rico’s national anthem. Wearing a shirt with a black Puerto Rican flag – which is used to protest conditions on the island – Residente delivered a powerful statement.

Residente went on to win several awards, including Best Urban Music Album and Best Urban Song.


J Balvin resembled a highlighter

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J Balvin actually debuted his highlighter yellow hair a few days ago on Instagram. Still, the bright hair made him stand out, which is kind of the point of award shows. When Natalia Lafourcade made her way into the crowd, J Balvin was the easiest person to spot.


Alejandro Sanz shared the stage DREAMers


When Alejandro Sanz received the Persona del Año award, he dedicated the win to DREAMers. Though he also acknowledged Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic, he used his moment to give young undocumented immigrants a platform. Immediately after receiving the prize, he sang some of his biggest hits, including “Corazón Partío,” where he shared the stage with DREAMers. As they sang the chorus, they wore black shirts that read “We Have One Dream.” The back of their shirts read, “Text Unidos to 313131.”


Lin-Manuel Miranda urged the White House to treat Puerto Ricans like humans

In a bilingual speech, where he made fun of his “medio gringito” accent, Lin-Manuel Miranda accepted the Premio de la Presidencia. He spoke about how he didn’t get to this place in his life on his own and he thanked the dozens of collaborators on “Almost Like Praying,” the Puerto Rico Relief song he wrote. Puerto Rico was on his mind during the festivities. As he asked the White House to remember that Puerto Ricans are humans, too, he repeated the name of the island multiple times – reminiscent of his “love is love” speech at the 2016 Tonys.


Mon Laferte won Best Alternative Song

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Mon Laferte, who also performed “Amarrame” on stage with a giant red rose, won Best Alternative Song, along with Juanes.


"Despacito" won big.

Hate it or love it, “Despacito” was bound to have a big night at the Latin Grammys. The song took home Best Short Form Music Video, Best Urban Fusion/Performance, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year. Panamanian writer Erika Ender joined Luis Fonsi on the stage and had her moment in the spotlight.


Ruben Blades wins the night's biggest award.

Ruben Blades’ Salsa Big Band won Album of the Year. A surprised Blades walked up to the stage to accept his award.