Emilio Estefan, Wilmer Valderrama, Akon and Jenni Rovera Get Political at Billboard Latin Music Awards with Lili Gil

Click Here to Watch: http://video.foxnews.com/v/1599908110001/

By Lili Gil, Hispanic Market Expert, Co-founder XL Alliance, TV/ Media Contributor

In the midst of the glitz and glamour of the Billboard Latin Music Awards in Miami, Fox News Latino asked deep questions while celebrities sashayed across the red carpet.

While most of the media was interested in ‘what are you wearing?’ And ‘how do you feel tonight?’ We struck a different chord with the celebrities. We asked: ‘What are your views about the role of Latinos in this year’s election?’ And they loved it! 

We were praised for elevating this important matter and the artists were quick to open their heart and share their perspectives.

Emilio Estefan was quick to mention his participation in a call with the White House on Friday, and Wilmer Valderrama, who is actively involved with the organization Voto Latino, got extremely passionate about the growth trends of our community and his dissatisfaction with the Arizona law. R&B recording artist, songwriter and record producer, Akon talked about the importance of unity and the power of minorities sticking together to make a difference and let their voices be heard. 

La diva de la banda, Jenni Rivera, was equally passionate to motivate Latinos to get involved.

You may wonder, why did we get political on the red carpet? Because our voice, our community and our influence is paced to make a critical difference on the race to the White House. A cover on TIME Magazine, controversies over the Arizona Law, a potential vice presidential candidate,  Marco Rubio and many more, are at the core of our conversations. Even for celebrities who are doing voter drivers and attending meetings at the White House.

Latinos represent a potential 21.7 million eligible voters, according to the Pew Hispanic Center; however of those eligible in 2010 only 6.6 million actually headed to the polls; a number that can mark a historic difference in this year’s election. This disconcerting 30 percent or 15 million gap has been recognized by many organizations like Voto Latino; which is touring with the Mexican band Maná as part of their ‘Drama Luz’ tour; and other celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, Jon Secada and Shakira have joined various functions at the White House in efforts to amplify and raise issues of our community.

If celebrities, who travel weekly, sleep four hours a day and carry an agenda of 20 priorities are taking the time to get involved politically, why are we not all doing the same? Just as we follow their gossip and fashion trends, let’s realize that nothing is more fashionable than setting our own political trend in America this year… just as they are. Click here and get registered to vote!

Lili Gil is Hispanic business strategist and cofounder of XL Alliance, a cultural marketing firm. She is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and serves as a regular contributor to Fox News Latino. You can follow Lili on Twitter @liligil.

Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/entertainment/2012/04/27/celebrities-get-political-on-red-carpet-at-billboard-latin-music-awards/#ixzz1tISpSmxd

Romney’s ‘Self-Deportation’ Solution at GOP Debate Shows a Candidate Out of Touch by Lili Gil for Fox News Latino

After a heated opening between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney over capitalism and Freddie Mac consulting at the NBC Florida debate, surprisingly the night’s most memorable moments took place when Latino matters surfaced.

Just in time to resonate with 22 percent of Floridians who are Latinos and the 1.2 million Cubans who reside in Florida, Fidel Castro’s fate of heaven or hell was the only moment that woke up this lifeless audience. Gingrich said: “I don’t think Fidel will meet his maker. I think he’s going to the other place.”

But by far the the most memorable and the oddest moment was Romney’s brilliant solution to immigration: self-deportation.

Immediately, a flood of live tweets from viewers, political insiders and Latino influencers jumped to criticize his confusing answer.

When asked about the process to send people home, Romney’s solution left the audience intrigued, speechless and confused. “The answer is self-deportation (with some remote laughter on the background) When they don’t have work or documents they will go back home…Ultimately we will then allow people to get back in line at home until the reach the front of the line,” Romney said.

Can Romney Get the Latino Votes He Needs?


The line? What line? One tweet from @AlxWindyCity said “hahaha…I’m, sure there is a line forming as we speak”  Also a sympathetic Rick Santorum was quick to describe how his parents and grandparents were able to “follow the process,” which was completely different from today’s bureaucratic and limited process to follow for those wishing to “get in the line.”

Is there a process for those who graciously self-deport so they can get into “the line” back at home? No, which highlights Romney’s ignorance on the issue. As a naturalized citizen who had to make sense of “the process,” it is disappointing to see GOP candidates so out-of-touch with the true complexities of the current immigration process. 

Ever wondered what the path to citizenship is? Let the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) answer the question for you: After a basic requirement of being over 18 years of age, the U.S. government requires you to be a green card holder for five years! So, how do you get a green card if you want to “get in the line?” Three or four clicks later and the USCIS website then takes you to a long list of green-card application forms that basically can be summarized as the following:  A. be the child of a U.S. citizen, B. marry a citizen, C. be a refuge and/or D. qualify for the limited and convoluted job, entrepreneur or investor options. 

Did you know that someone who comes into this country “legally” with a student visa has virtually no clear path or option to become “legal” after graduating from his college, masters or PhD? Note, these are not DREAMers (DREAMAct candidates), but “legal” immigrants who are stuck in limbo…

The issue is complex, and clearly Romney’s self-deportation strategy confirmed his lack of a strategy all together. And, while entertaining, immigration may not be the only winning card to get to the hearts of a diverse Latino population in Florida, which is dominated by Cubans in south Florida and Puerto Ricans in central Florida. 

Why does this matter anyway? Because in 2008, according to the Pew Hispanic Center, President Barack Obama won 57 percent of Florida’s Hispanic vote, while 42 percent went to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), making Florida the first of many more battlegrounds like Nevada, Colorado and Arizona where Latinos could represent the winning difference for the GOP in their race to the White House.


Lili Gil is an award-winning business and Hispanic market expert and business and political media contributor. She is also co-founder and managing partner of XL Alliance a business strategy and marketing firm dedicated to help business leaders and corporations navigate and enter emerging multicultural markets. Gil was recently selected by the World Economic Forum as one of only 190 Young Global Leaders identified across 65 countries for her leadership, community and business impact. You can follow Lili on twitter @liligil



Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2012/01/24/en-serio-romneys-brilliant-solution-to-immigration-is-self-deportation/#ixzz1lEU5i5iM