Special Edition Post: Marc Anthony

Marc Anthony
Marc Anthony

This is my second post of the week. Why another one, you would ask. Tuesday night at the MLB’s All Star Game, singer and actor Marc Anthony performed the song God Bless America in front of thousands of people in attendance in the stadium and millions watching on FOX. Even though I’m not a fan of the song, I understand his performance was good (as usual). After the performance, Twitter was full of people or haters if we may, complaining about the fact of a non-american singing such an important song in such an important sport.

I need to get something out of my chest before I give you a little bit of history about the songs and the performances through the years. Not every baseball fan believes in God, so for them the “God Bless Anything” is stupid. What about people whose god is not named God (hope this makes sense)? Also, the “America” part is intended for the United States, and if you attended your history classes, you know America is a huge continent from Alaska all the way down to Tierra del Fuego. Let’s say you believe in God and like MLB’s baseball (sport full of people from around the world) it would be awesome to include in the term America the whole continent. With that said, history class is about to start. So to you people who don’t know where Mark Anthony is from and who performed in previous years, this is for you.

UntitledMarc Anthony was born Marco Antonio Muñiz in NYC back in 1968. His parents are Boricuas who moved to NYC when they were younger. But Marc was born and raised in the USA, American citizen, in East Harlem, same place as Tupac Shakur, Al Pacino and Burt Lancaster (some mediocre and unknown people). His first album was released in 1988 and in 1992 he moved to sing salsa. After that he was on his way to the top. He started acting in 1995 and was in movies with Salma Hayek and some dude named Denzel Washington. He was also a cast member of the TNT network series Hawthorne, with the main character Jada Pinket-Smith, some other skinny chick married to a big-eared unknown rapper/actor, Will Smith or something.

Also he married Dayanara Torres, Miss Universe 1993, and has two sons on that side. They got divorced and he, the Amercan-born singer, married another nobody named Jennifer López. He got divorced (apparently he likes divorces) and is now dating another pretty lady (You’re my boy Marc!!!!!). He has performed pretty much everywhere, including in the White House (and I mean the president of the USA White House, for those of you who missed the point that he was born in the United States).

In 2013, since nobody knew him, he decided and got paid to perform the song God Bless America in the MLB All Star Game. Apparently there were people who did not know who he was or the fact that he was born in NYC (a place not full of people from different descent and where the Statue of Liberty is there only to block the view). And all hell broke loose. “How is it possible that a Mexican, Spanish, Puerto Rican, non-american performs the song that represents a nation of people who appeared here from the heavens? How could the MLB, sport that only allows people whose family was born and raised in United States, allow that thing to perform such an amazing song?”

tony-bennett1_101512I bet that people who filled twitter with comments and made such non racist comments were thinking the same thing in 2008 when Josh Groban performed the song. Groban, born in Los Angeles, from all American parents (his father, Russian and Polish descent, and his mother from German descent) performed perfectly. Or in 2007, when Ashanti, whose parents are from Dominican and Chinesse descent, made a wonderful performance (with all her sexiness). I know people where happy to hear Anthony Dominick Benedetto perform the song in 2010 in the World Series. That is Tony Bennett, son of Italian parents who moved to New York back when TV had no color. I also bet they get all happy when in many games at Yankee Stadium, Mr. Roman Tynan, who was BORN in Dublin, Ireland, performs the song and also the National Anthem. About the Anthem, some of the all-american performers in other sports are:

• Christina Aguilera – Ecuadorian father and mother from Irish descent. Super Bowl XLV
• Florence Henderson “Mom Brady” – English descent. Indi 500
• Whitney Houston – African-American, Native American and Dutch descent.
• Mariah Carey – Francisco Núñez, father, is from Venezuela and mother from Irish descent.
• Celine Dion – Canadian who performed God Bless America after the 9-11 terrorists attacks in NYC and The Pentagon.

Trayvon_Martin_justice_PosterAnd I also bet that they are happy that Mr. Zimmerman was found not guilty of shooting some 17-year old kid, who happened to be black and wearing a hoodie (something suspicious only if you are a black, latino, Chinese or alien).

All sarcasm aside, it is stupid to say all that was said about Marc Anthony and his performance only because he is Boricua. Even if he was born outside of the USA, he was singing a song that represents something important for the country he lives in and has helped. At least he was not Rossanne Barr who sang the National Anthem and disrespected it in from of thousands of people.

That same hate that was sent towards him, and every latino out there, is the same hate that Matin Luther King fough against, the same hate Gandhi peacefully fought against and the same hate gay people are fighting against. I want to make a better future for me and my kids, but I am not alone in this planet. We all have to work together and stop all that hate that people feel when they see something different. We are in this together. So Mr. Anthony, you know you did great, as usual, and you know we back you up in pretty much anything (I say pretty much, because I’m still mad at him for leaving Dayanara!). To all latinos, blacks, Chinese, Italians, gays… let’s continue working to improve our lives and leave something good for our children. Cójanlo suave!

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Pride through music

People say music is an universal language. Something like that was proven in a study made by researcher Thomas Fritz, from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Germany. The study showed that regardless of culture or previous exposure, people were accurately able to recognize three emotions in Western music – happiness, sadness and fear. Every culture around the world has its music; melodies that represent certain place or people. Puerto Rico has its own also. Many people say its salsa, many others says is bomba y plena and other says in danza. I will not get into that right now, but we also have music that inspires the true Boricua in us.

Bobby Capó
Bobby Capó

I don’t know if this happens in other countries, but many songs have been dedicated to Borinquen; songs that let us know how great this Island is. One of those songs is Soñando con Puerto Rico (Dreaming of Puerto Rico), by great song writer Bobby Capó.  Composed in the 1950’s, it was considered to be the anthem of those who had to leave the Island looking for a better future in the United States. “I can’t hide the pride I feel of being Puerto Rican. And my thought, no matter where I go, moved to the Island, no matter where I go, to the blessed Island, my thoughts fly”. Every time I hear that song, and i bet that those of my readers that are Boricuas, feel the pride for your race and Island. And when you are outside it really hits you deeper in your soul. To those of you reading that are not Boricuas, or don’t speak Spanish, you will be able to feel nostalgic when you hear the song.

Lucecita
Lucecita

Moving from nostalgic songs to ones with better rhythm, we go to Amanecer Borincano (Boricua Dawn). Alberto Carrión, who started as a rock singer in the 60’s, wrote this song for his first album back in 1974. With this song Carrión describes a dawn in the Island and that we, as Boricuas, are part of it. We are sons of this God-blessed land. “I have Puertorican blood, I am the son of the palm tres, of the countryside and rivers, and of the sound of the coqui. Of valleys and coffee plantations, of sugar cane, sugar and pineapple. Of guava, mampostiales, of tembleque and mavi (these last three are Boricua delicacies)…” For me, the best performer of this unique song is Lucecita Benítez. Her voice is amazing and the feeling she carries in it makes this song one of a kind.

Have you ever heard a story of a family that moved to New York looking for something better. That was the situation of many Boricua families back in the 50’s and 60’s; looking for a better place to raise their children, or at least a better job than the ones in Puerto Rico. That feeling is stamped in Boricua en la Luna (Boricua in the Moon), a song based on the poems of Juan Antonio Corretjer performed by Roy Brown, born in USA from a north american father and a Boricua mother. The song tells the story of a man born in New York by his immigrant parents from Puerto Rico, and the way he was brought up to love the Island. “And this way I shout to the villain, I would be Boricua even if I was born in the Moon” That’s how deep the love for this Island goes.

La Universidad de la Salsa
La Universidad de la Salsa

Salsa…. simply the best music ever made, and when El Gran Combo is singing, is even better. The University of Salsa, name with which El Combo is recognized, has been around for 50 years. Song after song, rumba after rumba, the orchestra has made a lot of us dance and do the Jala Jala. One of their songs, Patria, describes in a great rhythm (unique to El Gran Combo) what Puerto Rico is. “A blue midnight, a silver dawn, a gold morning, that is my Island”, starts the great song released in the 80’s to the voice of Charlie Aponte.

Preciosa
Preciosa

And one of the best performances I have ever heard comes from a guy who was not born in this side of Puerto Rico, but in it’s extension: New York. The song Preciosa, written in 1937 by the great Rafael Hernández, is the song of Puerto Rico. Is a song that explains the beauties of the Island, and performed by Marc Anthony gives a greater meaning to the definition of Puerto Rican. “Beautiful call you the waves of the sea that bathes you. Beautiful for being an enchantment, for being an Eden… Beautiful, beautiful call you the sons of freedom”.

Songs that makes us proud to be born and raised in this Island, and even if born outside, Boricuas carry that pride in their blood. We sing, we dance, we enjoy being who we are and we will pass that pride to generations to come. Here are other songs that you will love and that show the love we feel for the Island. Verde Luz, La Perla, and if you want to know what Patria means, listen to this one, from our adoptive son Rubén Blades: Patria – Rubén Blades. If there are any other songs you may know about, let me know. Until next time, cójanlo suave!