The Latin Grammys have long been a flashpoint for the complicated ways the U.S. relates to Latinxs, and the way our vast and infinitely diverse diaspora relates to itself. The short answer to the main prevailing question—why there gotta be a separate “Latin” Grammys tho?—has been U.S. English-speaking audiences’ disinterest in Spanish language music, and also the separate music industries that have emerged because of that. But as English radio has embraced certain Spanish-language artists in the post-“Despacito” era, even as U.S. leadership has become increasingly racist and xenophobic towards every stripe of Latinxs and Latin Americans, the conversation has become more nuanced within Latinidad (including whether “Latinidad” is in itself a racist concept).
In this context, the Latin Grammys red carpet has become more of a site for making a statement, whether protesting Trump for his racist policies against immigrants or, in the case of Thursday night’s red carpet and Mexican-Chilean singer Mon Laferte, above, drawing attention to ongoing human rights abuses in Chile by pulling off a topless protest.
“EN CHILE TORTURAN VIOLAN Y MATAN”—they’re torturing, raping, and killing in Chile—in support of the protesters rallying for a more just government that does not abuse its citizens. It got the appropriate amount of attention, the point—and she wasn’t alone in turning the carpet into a sincere, real-time plea for people to give a shit.
Singer Alex Anwandter, in sleek black, also stood up for freedom in his home country; Laferte’s full look, which is sending me; Robert Vogu stood up against xenophobia towards immigrants from his own home country, Venezuela (and wore a fantastic coat); Vanessa Añez was subtler, holding up the Bolivian flag in light of the recent U.S.-supported coup against now-former President Evo Morales.
Mariachi Sol de México just looks nice. We should always be giving mariachis credit for having the sickest fits in all of music.
There was a lot of good going on out there in the purely sartorial sense too. The women of Brazilian duo Anavitória did lovely contrasting tent gowns; Anitta turned it out with a tube top bow and perfect finger waves; my king Bad Bunny wore what appears to be a Samsung Galaxy as eyewear and square-toed hard-bottom shoes, in keeping with his current Y2K/Matrix fashion story; Evelyn Sicairos paired a gorgeous forest green sequin gown with AF1s, of-the-moment and practical for those of us trying to buck the oppressive system of shitty stilettos on the carpet!
We love strong statements! Elsa y Elmar’s Elsa Carvajal mixed and matched wild patterns in a palette that I might have to “borrow” from her; Natalia Jiménez, who is Spanish, brought a stacked flower crown for a regal royal blue gown; Rosalía, also Spanish, did great in a dotted high-low and backless pumps; Thalía is a cloaked body of iridescent lava and having more fun than anyone.
Wild boys do wild things. Enrique Campos went photorealistic New Romantic; Farruko is never going to roll up in dusty kicks; Isaac Devel is not playing with the floral brocade; Ozuna is also into brocade and might deal you into a high-stakes game of poker.
Pants! I like the concept of Fer Casillas’s oversized rave formalwear, but it could have been one size smaller, as she seems a little drown-y. Marilina Bertoldi came through with that Buenos Aires dad style; Soraya’s shiny business-zone is exactly right; Victoria Kuhne’s head-to-toe Gucci is fine but Gucci is just basically over at this point, sorry everyone.
Mariachis have the best fits, part two: Flor de Toloache is always pristine.
Alessia Cara’s embroidery is lovely; Lali Esposito is giving us Paco Rabanne styles; Roselyn Sanchez looks like a Grecian statue; and Ximena Sariñana’s gown appears to be a print of her own floating head in space? I fucking respect it and want one! I want one of Ximena’s head, not mine! Best dressed!
Is Alicia Keys wearing pleather? Angela Aguilar’s green velvet is stunning, and iLe’s mock turtleneck velvet is pretty good too—sleek, modern, nice contrast with the bag. Miguel is doing what he always does, which is snacking in a long tuxedo jacket.
Aymée Nuviola’s embellished skirt is lovely; El Guincho is giving us KFC; Luis Fonsi is fine; Paz Vega’s shiny python is an unexpected and welcome twist.
Kany Garcia’s train is lovely but…
Sofia Carson’s giving her a run for her money in what appears to be a party twist on the dreaded prairie dress. Pink train BATTLE!
Juanes, old reliable, is overshadowed by Karen Martinez’s incredible column gown; Nella’s intricate embellishments are lovely and festive; Prince Royce is doing so much right here, cheeky bastard; Ricky Martin is the most interesting and debonair man on earth. (Or right now.)
ChocQuibTown is still out here, doing their thing, looking effortlessly fresh.
As are DJ Luian and Mambo Kingz. I’m sorry, is that a chinchilla Vuitton swag splash? It’s another type of statement than we started with, but wow, we contain multitudes.