By Kristie Rodriguez, Senior
Since the influence of the Spanish Conquistadors of the 16th century, Hispanic Americans have journeyed to gain representation and respect in Florida. During the 1980’s, the music industry was forever changed and the spotlight was on Florida as Gloria Estefan, a Cuban-American from Miami, became the first Latin-American female to top the charts. Her gift of combining her culture with traditional pop music appealed to a wider audience. Internationally, Estefan was a success; this sparked an awareness about the influence of Hispanic culture in Florida and propelled Estefan as a role model and reminder that anyone, despite of their background, can create their own success in the United States. Through her numerous contributions to Florida culture and philanthropy through foundations that support the wellbeing of the public and social development, her impact shapes Florida by highlighting her background while spreading positive messages.
Additionally, Estefan’s popularity in the music industry shaped Florida, for Cuban culture was represented through her songs and dance. Particularly, she was the first Latina woman to break a #1 hit Billboard in the late 1980s and early 1990’s with songs such as “Coming Out Of The Dark” and “Don’t Wanna Lose You.” Other milestones include winning seven out of the fifteen Grammy nominations for her vivacious albums such as Mi Tierra, Alma Caribeña, and Abriendo Puertas. Estefan’s success stemmed from including her background as a Cuban in her music, including salsa and Latin beats, as well as incorporating elements from her Miami upbringing such as pop and disco. Her influence gave voice to Hispanic Americans who call Florida their home, and her music lives as a representation of one’s success from embracing one’s roots and background as a Cuban-American.
In addition to her impact on the music industry, Gloria Estefan has also influenced philanthropy projects in Florida with the intention of spreading positivity and promoting cultural development, education, and support for immigrants who struggle to make a living. Similarly, she donated a million dollars to the Miami Project to support a cure for Paralysis, and she contributed to the Hispanic Unity of Florida to aid immigrants in finding moral and financial stability. Estefan’s creation, the Gloria Estefan Foundation, promotes health, education, and social development by hosting benefit concerts and donating to people who “fall through the cracks, that can’t get help from big organizations,” as illustrated in the mission statement for her program. Overall, Estefan highlights her philanthropic efforts by providing financial support for Hispanic immigrants, children, and disabled people; all of her efforts benefit those in need in Florida’s community.
As a result, Gloria Estefan is worthy of the recognition because she certainly has shaped Florida. Through her music and philanthropies, she has not only made a positive impact, but also she has given back to support Florida. Her impact as a singer and business leader continues to shape Florida in a way that will promote encouragement for aspiring artists and individuals who want to change the world by helping others and embracing their culture.
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