Baby Rasta Shot Outside Studio

SAN JUAN – Puerto Rican singer Baby Rasta, one of the pioneers of reggaeton, was wounded by gunfire early Tuesday outside a recording studio in Carolina, a city in the San Juan metropolitan area, police said.

The singer, whose real name is Wilmer Alicea Curras, was hit in the abdomen, right arm and leg, and in the back.

He was taken to a hospital in Carolina.

The 33-year-old musician began his singing career performing with Gringo on “MC Non Stop Reggae” and “The Noise,” which were the creation of veteran Puerto Rican producers Playero and DJ Negro.

The singer is in stable condition after undergoing surgery, Baby Rasta’s representative, Waldo Diaz, told Efe.

Two other men were also shot outside the recording studio.

Raymond Fuentes Echevarria, whose age is not known, was shot in the mouth and right thigh, and Ivan Nuñez Cotto, 34, was shot in the right hand.

Police found more than 100 bullet casings at the crime scene.


Ricky Martin: 'I Am a Fortunate Homosexual Man'

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- After years of keeping quiet about his personal life, pop star Ricky Martin has announced that he is gay.
"I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man," Ricky said in a message posted on his offical Web site. "I am very blessed to be who I am."

Ricky said writing his memoir and thinking about his two twin sons led him to go public.

"To keep living as I did up until today would be to indirectly diminish the glow that my kids where [sic] born with. Enough is enough. This has to change. This was not supposed to happen 5 or 10 years ago, it is supposed to happen now. Today is my day, this is my time, and this is my moment," he wrote.

Though the 38-year-old kept his sexuality private throughout most of his career, Ricky said he drew strength from that time.

"These years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn't even know existed," he continued. "What will happen from now on? It doesn't matter. I can only focus on what's happening to me in this moment. The word "happiness" takes on a new meaning for me as of today. It has been a very intense process. Every word that I write in this letter is born out of love, acceptance, detachment and real contentment. Writing this is a solid step towards my inner peace and vital part of my evolution."

Earlier this month, Barbara Walters told The Toronto Star that her 2000 interview with the "Livin' La Vida Loca" singer, where she grilled him about coming out, was a misstep on her part.

"In 2000, I pushed Ricky Martin very hard to admit if he was gay or not, and the way he refused to do it made everyone decide that he was," she told The Toronto Star. "A lot of people say that destroyed his career, and when I think back on it now, I feel it was an inappropriate question."

Ricky also Tweeted a link to his coming out announcement on his Web site, simply writing, "my life."

In an earlier Tweet on Monday, the singer posted a quote attributed to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. M.L.K.Jr.," he wrote.


Hispanics confused w/ census question

The latest government census form is fairly straightforward, but question No. 9 has proved troubling for some Hispanics.

Valenzuela, like a lot of people, isn't quite sure where she fits in.

"Obviously, I'm not white," said Valenzuela, 37. "I would consider myself Hispanic or Mexican-American, but definitely not white. The form doesn't really leave you with another option, though."

In Monterey County, the distinction could prove important to many residents because there is a large population of people who are both Hispanic and American Indian, including Triqui and Mixtec residents.

"I think the question gets to the subgroups," said Monterey County Supervisor Simón Salinas.

Currently, there aren't clear numbers on the population of Hispanics in the area who are also members of indigenous communities.

But the question of race — which comes after people answer "yes" to being of Hispanic origin — will face an estimated one out of every two Monterey County residents. According the American Community Survey, 53 percent of the county's population, or about 217,007 people, is Hispanic or Latino.

It can be confusing because Hispanic, under the Census definition, can include people of any race and from anywhere in the world.

The issue is not a new one, said David Swanson, a professor of sociology at the University of California-Riverside, and chairman of the Census Advisory Committee of Professional Associations.

"They've been trying to play catch-up for several years," Swanson said. "This issue has never been an easy one."

One reason it's so thorny? People's thoughts on the subject change throughout the years. In the 1930 census, for example, "Mexican" was considered a race all to itself.

It also indicates how society's view of Americans of Mexican descent has evolved through the years. Many were taught in schools they belonged to the white race. Others, looking at the indigenous roots of many Mexicans and other Latin Americans, disagreed with the label.

"It's been confusing for everybody ever since," Swanson said. "The census is always trying to keep up with changes in American culture, yet it needs to retain some consistency."

The first attempt to comprehensively tabulate people who are Hispanic didn't happen until 1970. Since then, an increasing number of Hispanics have marked "some other race." In the 2000 census, 48 percent of
Hispanics described themselves as white while 42 percent chose "some other race."

"In this century, some people feel comfortable calling themselves Latinos, because it's all-encompassing," said Leo Cardenas, a manager for the Census Bureau. "Other people want to be Chicano, others want to be Hispanic. ... If you're looking at the form and you're thinking, 'That's not who I am,' that's your chance to identify yourself and state how you view yourself. It's self-identification, and you will be counted."

And, Salinas said, the most important thing is that every Monterey County resident is counted.

The decennial count is used to divvy up federal money and create political districts. An estimated $526 million that came to Monterey County in 2008 was distributed based on census data. For every one person that sits out, the county could lose about $1,288 each year that could have been spent on education, health care and road improvements, according to a study by the Brookings Institute.

Those that struggle with Question 9 — race — after answering "yes" on Question 8 — Hispanic origin — should try to quickly find an answer, even though there may be no easy one.

In fact, Swanson said, there is no wrong response to the question.

"There is no set definition as to what race and ethnicity is," he said. "There's social categories, social constructs, self-identification, maybe some voting-rights acts, but there's no hard-and-set definition as to race and ethnicity."

Some people think of leaving the question blank, which doesn't solve the problem, either. An accurate count helps determine which communities receive funding and helps determine congressional districting.

"I think the key is to get counted," Salinas said. "This is significant."


Juanes and Shakira support Cuban dissidents

Colombian pop icons Juanes and Shakira are both demonstrating their serious sides, issuing statements in support of Cuban dissidents "The Ladies in White."

The Ladies in White, or Damas de Blanco, are a Cuban protest group made up of wives and relatives of jailed dissidents.

Shakira on Thursday posted a statement on her website saying "Today I join the call to action ... to support the Ladies In White, who are true heroines of our time." The singer went on to criticise Cuba's "repression and violation of human rights."

"I hope that this rising up for the freedom ... plants seeds of liberty in all the young people of the world, because it is us who justice depends on," proclaimed the "Hips Don't Lie" singer.

Meanwhile rock star Juanes said on Thursday in an emotional post on his Twitter page ""Amnesty, forgiving and forgetting ... I am with you Damas de Blanco, I'm with you families of abductees, I'm with you ... Freedom!"

Juanes went on to call for “Freedom for all the political prisoners, USA, CUBA, VENEZUELA, COLOMBIA ... wherever they may be ... freedom, please.”

Shakira is no stranger to serious political commentary, pronouncing in January that the problems of Latin America could be blamed on its colonial history.

Juanes has also been known to involve himself in world affairs, holding a peace ceremony on the Colombia-Ecuador border in December, in which he exchanged national flags with an Ecuadorian musician and urged the two countries to "never give up on the cause of non-violence and brotherhood."


Julio Iglesias smitten by beauty queen?

MANILA, Philippines - Latin crooner Julio Iglesias is reportedly smitten once again by a Filipina beauty.
Iglesias chose Binibining Pilipinas International 2010 winner Krista Kleiner, who is known by her screen name "Krissa Mae," to join his 15-city world tour. 

The music legend gave an on-the-spot audition to Krissa Mae during his concert at the Araneta Coliseum over the weekend and he immediately gave her a 3-month contract to perform with him worldwide.
"I couldn't be happier and more excited and more thankful," Kleiner told ABS-CBN News.
But Krissa Mae was quick to deny rumors that she and Iglesias are romantically involved.

"I really don't think so... He's the same age as my father and he was showing me pictures of his beautiful wife and beautiful, beautiful kids. He's very proud of his family and he's not trying to be malandi nang ganun," she said.
Kleiner is the girlfriend of prince of RnB, Jay R.
Iglesias was once married to Filipina socialite Isabel Preysler and they had 3 children, including pop star Enrique Iglesias.


George Lopez to voice Speedy Gonzales

The comedian is attached to provide the voice of the fastest mouse in all Mexico for a politically correct live-action/CG hybrid feature set up at New Line Cinema.
The Looney Tunes character debuted in the 1950s as a regular nemesis of Sylvester the Cat. A 1955 short about the tiny hero, "Speedy Gonzales," won the Academy Award for best short subject, (cartoon). Pat Boone even released a hit song about the famous mouse in 1962.

Over the years, Speedy appeared in the live-action/animation features "Who Framed Roger Rabbit," "Space Jam" and "Looney Tunes: Back in Action." But the character has often courted criticism that the ethnic characterizations of him and his compatriots (especially lazy cousin Slowpoke Rodriguez) are stereotypically racist and severely outdated.

Aware of this, New Line and the producers plan to update the brand with a modernized sensibility.

"We wanted to make sure that it was not the Speedy of the 1950s -- the racist Speedy," said the comedian's wife Ann Lopez, who will serve alongside him as a producer. "Speedy's going to be a misunderstood boy who comes from a family that works in a very meticulous setting, and he's a little too fast for what they do. He makes a mess of that. So he has to go out in the world to find what he's good at."

That path becomes clearer once Speedy befriends a gun-shy race-car driver.
"Garfield" scribes Alec Sokolow and Joel Cohen will write the script.

Lopez hosts "Lopez Tonight" on TBS and appears in New Line's ensemble hit "Valentine's Day," which has grossed $158 million worldwide after two weekends. He also recently starred in "The Spy Next Door" and provided a voice for "Beverly Hills Chihuahua."


Chayanne rolls out new album

Following a two-year break from the recording studio, Puerto Rican pop singer Chayanne is back with a new album titled “No hay imposibles” that's faithful to the artist's romantic side.

The first cut is “Me enamoré de ti,” already a popular radio track in several US markets and the theme of Corazón Salvaje, a Mexican soap opera that will be distributed to more than 60 countries worldwide.

The follow-up to the Puerto Rican heartthrob's 2007 “Mi tiempo,” the set features 12 unreleased songs, including “Si no estás,” “El hombre que fui” and “Por si mañana,” among others.

The artist's new album follows the release of his first live DVD/CD ever last year, “Chayanne-Vivo.”

Recorded between Miami , Puerto Rico, Los Angeles , Bogotá, and Buenos Aires , No hay imposibles features renowned producers Julio Reyes, Sebastián Krys, Pablo Durán, René Toledo and Javier Díaz, who headed the production.

Currently, Chayanne is in Puerto Rico on a promotional tour of the album.


Pitbull Named King of "Calle Ocho"

The biggest Hispanic festival in the nation is paying tribute to a leader in Spanish Hip-Hop.
Cuban American rapper Pitbull has been named the king of the annual Carnaval festival's biggest bash.
Carnaval festival takes place in Miami from February 27-March 14 and includes contests, tournaments, arts and jazz concerts.

Pitbull will take his crown during the festival's finale bash Calle Ocho on March 14.
The popular block party will have food, performances, music and of course dancing.

Speaking on the esteemed honor of being King for a day in a press conference, Pitbull says that he feels a “tremendous source of pride."
“For me, a Miami kid raised in Little Havana, it's a tremendous source of pride to be here because [Carnaval Miami] shows the unity of the cultures that come here.”
For more information on Carnaval visit


Aventura Continues Streak At #1 On Billboard

Los Angeles, CA, United States (CNS) - After 14 weeks on the chart, Aventura spends its 7th week at #1 on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart with their hit, "Dile Al Amor." "Dile Al Amor," the group's fourth single from their album "The Last," is their fourth #1 on Billboard's Hot Latin Songs. The group recently picked up five major awards at "Premio Lo Nuestro," including Artist of the Year and Best Tropical Album for "The Last."

At #2 for another week are Banda Los Recoditos with "Ando Bien Pedo," while Banda El Recodo de Cruz Lizarraga is at #3 for another week with the former #1 single, "Me Gusta Todo De Ti." Up a spot from #5 last week are Carlos Baute Con Marta Sanchez with "Colgando En Tus Manos" at #4 this week, the single's peak position.

Camila is down a spot from #4 last week to #5 with "Mientes" from the album "Dejarte de Amar." Shakira climbs back into her peak position of #6 for her latest Spanish single, "Lo Hecho Esta Hecho (Did It Again)."

She just released the single and video for the follow-up, "Gitana (Gypsy)," also from her album "She Wolf."
At #7 this week is La Arolladora Banda El Limon with "La Calabaza," down a spot from #6 last week. Alejandro Fernandez continues at #8 this week with "Se Me Va La Voz," from his latest album "Dos Mundos: Evolucion."

Two new entries climb into the Top 10 this week. Don Omar moves up from #11 last week to #9 with "Hasta Abajo." The single, from his album "Prototype 2.0," has already spent 5 weeks at #1 on the Latin Rhythmic Airplay chart. At #10 is the first single from Chayanne's latest album, "No Hay Imposibles," "Me Enamore de Ti." The single, which served as the theme for the soap opera "Corazon Salvaje," moves up from #13 last week.

Billboard Hot Latin Songs For the Week Ending March 6th, 2010

1. "Dile Al Amor," Aventura
2. "Ando Bien Pedo," Banda Los Recoditos
3. "Me Gusta Todo De Ti," Banda El Recodo de Cruz Lizarraga
4. "Colgande En Tus Manos," Carlos Baute Con Marta Sanchez
5. "Mientes," Camila
6. "Lo Hecho Esta Hecho (Did It Again)," Shakira
7. "La Calabaza," La Arrolladora Banda El Limon
8. "Se Me Va La Voz," Alejandro Fernandez
9. "Hasta Abajo," Don Omar
10. "Me Enamore De Ti," Chayanne

Ricky calls for focus on human trafficking

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico needs more effective legislation to halt human trafficking in the U.S. Caribbean territory, Latin superstar Ricky Martin said Monday.

Martin was visiting his native island to present a study conducted by the nonprofit Ricky Martin Foundation, a group advocating children's rights globally.

The 91-page report concludes that sex tourism and human trafficking are serious problems in Puerto Rico, and that the island is used as a transit point for smuggled women and children.

"This is happening on our island," said Martin, a winner of multiple Grammy awards, as he presented the study at the University of Puerto Rico. "We cannot turn our back on the victims."

Luis Cdebaca, director of the U.S. State Department's division of human-trafficking monitoring, praised the singer — perhaps best-known for his "Livin' the Vida Loca" single — for bringing attention to human trafficking and other forms of modern-day slavery. He said traffickers are thriving in Puerto Rico and across the U.S. mainland.

"What we are dealing with is a situation where people are suffering because no one is hearing their voice," he said.


We Are The World Spanish Version

Everyone’s anticipation for the remake of Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie’s “We Are The World” was boiling over the top by the time it premiered on television during the 2010 Olympics opening ceremony. With a new generation of “all-stars” lending their voices, we all wondered how it would turn out. The results: It raised a generous amount of money to go towards Haiti and is still #1 on iTunes, but the general reception hasn’t been as great. If you still haven’t checked out the new video, you can watch and listen to it  here.

However, it looks like we have yet another version of new peace anthem coming out. A Spanish version of “We Are The World” is slated to premiere on The Cristina Show which pulls in as many viewers as Oprah does.  A few artists such as Shakira has been confirmed to be a part of it.

According to the Associated Press, the song will also raise funds for Haitian relief and in addition to Shakria, Ricky Martin, Carlos Santana, David Archuletta, Gloria Estefan, Chayanne, Juan Luis Guerra are also on the roster to participate. The track is also produced by Quincy Jones and Univision with the help of Latino music mogul, Emilio Estefan. The Spanish version of the track will also be under the patronage and guidance of the We Are The World Foundation.

Even if you don’t speak or understand Spanish, there is a possibility that this version to premiere on Monday might even be better than the first 2010 remake. It’s also a great way to pull in people around the world for a good cause through a great melody.

What do you think of these artists making a Spanish remake of “We Are The World?”