The face of music in the U.S. is slowly changing -- well, at least its ethnicity is. When the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards released their nominees Tuesday, a familiar category was included: "Best Latino Artist of the Year."
Jennifer Lopez, Juanes, Pitbull, Wisin y Yandel and Romeo Santos are the nominees for the 2012 award and we may actually see them next to Drake, Rihanna and the Biebs live from Los Angeles’ Staples Center during the Sept. 6 broadcast even though the award is on a separate voting site.
While we'll find out the winner of the "Best Latino Artist of the Year" during the MTV Video Music Awards, the winning artist will not be officially crowned until the separate Spanish-subtitled showing on Tr3s: MTV, Música y Más on Sept. 15.
Even though the award winner will not accept the title during the live broadcast, the bigger issue at hand may be the award category itself.
As NewTimes Miami’s Victor Gonzalez points out artists currently more popular on the Billboard Latin Album Chart have been overlooked in favor of nominees who have “ethic names and enough crossover marketability to satisfy advertisers.”
“C'mon, MTV. If you want to celebrate diversity, invite everyone to the party," Gonzalez wrote.
The music industry has seen this divide before with the introduction of the Miami-based Latin Billboard Awards in the 1990s and the Latin Grammy Awards in 2000 -- both introduced as separate award shows to recognize music produced in Spanish and Portuguese worldwide.
But the Grammy Awards, it seems, is seeing the need to make changes to their “Latin” categories as the genre takes force within their English-speaking audience. In June, the academy announced that the “Best Latin Pop, Rock or Urban Album” category would be split into “Best Latin Pop Album” and “Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album” for the 55th annual Grammy Awards in February 2013.
“With the focus squarely on ensuring the Awards process is pertinent within the current musical landscape, the Board of Trustees continues to demonstrate its passionate commitment to keeping The Recording Academy a relevant and responsive organization in our dynamic music community," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy, in a press release.
Check out the gallery below to listen to some of the biggest hits from the 2012 "Best Latino Artist of the Year" nominees.