Nov 29, 2022 - World

Dozens more Latino musicians nominated to Library of Congress registry

Illustration of a record with a map of Latin America on it.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Just about 24 titles in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry are by Latino or Hispanic artists. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) is trying change that.

The big picture: Latinos are severely underrepresented in all media, from movies to literature and journalism.

Driving the news: The CHC on Monday submitted a list of 33 songs and albums for consideration in the 2023 registry, shared first with Axios Latino. U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), a CHC member, has for years pushed to increase representation of Latinos in media.

  • The list, curated from suggestions made on social media and elsewhere, includes "Amor Eterno" by Juan Gabriel, a staple at Mexican American parties; "Hips Don't Lie" by Shakira; Rage Against the Machine's self-titled album; "El Rey" by Vicente Fernández and "Feliz Navidad" by José Feliciano.
  • The CHC focused on artists who aren't already on the registry.

Details: Every year since 2002 the Librarian of Congress, with help from the National Recording Preservation Board, picks 25 titles that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and are at least 10 years old, according to the Library.

  • The deadline for public nominations for the 2023 registry passed, but the board has been in touch with Castro and will consider the nominations, Steve Leggett, program director for the board, tells Axios.
  • Because of the requirement that titles be at least 10 years old and can date back to the earliest recordings, the registry currently reflects a time when "Latinos were not given commercial opportunities" and were a smaller share of the population, Leggett said via email.
  • "To fill this gap, we do make special efforts to uncover recordings by Hispanic artists and other diverse artists of color," Leggett added.

What they're saying: "I want for the contributions of our musicians to be recognized and celebrated in the way that they deserve, because they have made a mark in America," Castro said.

What's next: The National Recording Preservation Board will meet next week to discuss the submissions, and the 2023 registry will be announced in late March or April.

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