For years, White artists have dominated American pop music. With the notable exception of Black vocalists, non-White artists have rarely experienced sustained and substantial success in this market. Although Latino/a artists have made modest inroads into the pop music mainstream in the past, the current success of Latino/a singers is unprecedented for its sales figures, its domination of pop radio, the diversity of backgrounds of the Latino/a artists riding the same wave, and the degree of American media attention focused on this "phenomenon." In addition to the financial rewards enjoyed by artists (and their record companies) who succeed in the pop music market, the music industry, with its linkages to mass media and its public visibility, launches these artists into the mainstream of American culture and consciousness. For most Americans today, unlike just a few years ago, the dominant image of Latino/as is delivered and shaped by the pop music industry. For this reason, it is important to examine the current re/presentation of the Latino/ a pop music (what I call LatPop) ambassadors. In what language do they speak to the American public? What images of Latino/a culture do they convey? What stereotypes do they further? Which do they dispel? In what ways are Latino/as, as a people, the beneficiaries of this unprecedented mainstream exposure? In what ways has Latino/a culture paid a price for this commercial success?
Steven W. Bender,
Will the Wolf Survive?: Latino/a Pop Music in the Cultural Mainstream, 78 DENV. U. L. REV. 719