Ladies’ night at Latin Grammys: Lafourcade, Rosalía win big

By MESFIN FEKADU, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — A year after Rosalía made history by becoming the first solo female performer in 13 years to win the top prize at the Latin Grammys, Natalia Lafourcade followed in her footsteps with a big win at the 2020 show.

The Mexican singer won album of the year — a category dominated by male acts — on Thursday night with “Un Canto Por México, Vol. 1.” Lafourcade won three awards at the show, tying Rosalía and Carlos Vives for most wins.

Lafourcade didn’t attend the Latin Grammys, which aired live on Univision and featured a number of performances, most of them pre-taped due to the coronavirus pandemic. The show did not have a live audience or a red carpet, and some of the performances featured band members and dancers sporting masks as they entertained onstage.

Lafourcade’s wins included best alternative song for “En Cantos,” her collaboration with iLe, and best regional song for “Mi Religión.” Rosalía won her awards during the pre-telecast, including best urban song and best urban fusion performance for the hit “Yo X Ti, Tu X Mi,” sharing both wins with her song’s co-star, Ozuna. She also won best short form music video for “TKN,” which features Travis Scott and helped the rapper win a Latin Grammy before winning a traditional Grammy.

Before Rosalía’s win for album of the year, Shakira was the last solo female to win the prize in 2006 with “Fijación Oral Vol. 1.”

Residente — the most decorated act in the history of the Latin Grammys — continued his winning streak by taking home song of the year for “René” and best rap/hip-hop song for “Antes Que El Mundo Se Acabe.” Fito Páez was also a double winner Thursday.

But the acts poised to make history after receiving 13 and nine nominations each — J Balvin and Bad Bunny — both walked away with just one win. Bad Bunny won best reggaeton performance for “Yo Perreo Sola” and Balvin picked up best urban music album for “Colores.”

Despite his 13 nominations, Balvin only had a chance of winning eight honors since he competed against himself in multiple categories. Bad Bunny had a similar issue at the show.

Balvin was a winner onstage, though.

Before his performance, footage of current events such as the Black Lives Matter protests – including an image of George Floyd — and more appeared onscreen. Balvin began performing his song “Rojo” (“Red”) under two large praying hands in a white suit, ending the song with fake blood running down his hands and clothes.

Pitbull also moved the needle with his performance, where he was joined by frontline workers onstage – some playing guitar, some singing background, one on drums. Together, they performed “I Believe That We Will Win” (World Anthem),” an upbeat song Pitbull released earlier this year during the pandemic to inspire others.

“They dreamed of being rock stars playing full stadiums, they represent a large group of individuals all around the world who day after day sacrifice their lives for a safer world,” Pitbull said. “We gonna live it tonight.”

“WE WILL WIN” appeared onscreen behind the performers at the end of the song as Pitbull saluted the musicians.

Karol G — who was nominated for four awards but walked away empty handed — performed alongside classical musicians to give a new edge to her global hit “Tusa,” which features Nicki Minaj rapping in Spanish and English. Karol G shout-outed the rapper during the performance.

Karol G’s fiance, Puerto Rican rapper-singer Anuel AA, had seven nominations but didn’t win a single award. He lost best new artist to Colombian singer Mike Bahía.

Grammy, Emmy and Tony winner Lin-Manuel Miranda kicked off the Latin Grammys with a strong message about Latin music. Speaking in Spanish and English, he said Latin music “unites all of us and makes us human.”

“This is our night,” he added.

That was followed by an all-star performance featuring Ricardo Montaner, Victor Manuelle, Jesús Navarro, Ivy Queen, Rauw Alejandro and Sergio George.

Other winners Thursday included Alejandro Sanz, who won record of the year for a second consecutive time thanks to “Contigo,” his tribute song to Joaquín Sabina; Ricky Martin won best pop vocal album for “Pausa”; and Chiquis — the daughter of late singer Jenni Rivera — won best banda album with “Playlist.”

The Latin Grammys was hosted by Oscar-nominated actor Yalitza Aparicio, actor-singer Ana Brenda Contreras and salsa singer Victor Manuelle, who replaced singer Carlos Rivera after he said he was exposed to the coronavirus.


Associated Press Writer Sigal Ratner-Arias contributed to this report.

Rocker Lenny Kravitz looks back to when he found his voice


NEW YORK (AP) — Lenny Kravitz is a man of extremes — as he readily admits.

“I am deeply two-sided: black and white, Jewish and Christian, Manhattan and Brooklynite,” he writes about his first 25 years alive in his new memoir “Let Love Rule,” released last week and named after his 1989 debut album.

“The book is about me finding my voice and finding my path and walking into my destiny, whatever that is,” he tells The Associated Press.

The 270-page book written along with David Ritz explores his very special childhood and ends with Kravitz on the verge of stardom and deeply in love with actress Lisa Bonet.

“I had such a childhood and experience growing up. That’s what I want to spend my time on,” he says. “So let’s stop there. And then we’ll see if they’ll be a second book in the future.”

He’s not exaggerating about that childhood. He alternated between the then-tough Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford–Stuyvesant and in a swanky building with carved cherubs on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He ate chopped liver on matzo as well as fried fish coated with cornmeal.

The extremes continued during his life. For his sixth birthday, he was serenaded by Duke Ellington and his band at the famed Rainbow Room. Years later, his home was a Ford Pinto, which he rented for $4.99 a day.

“The extremes really work for me. I felt them. I’m comfortable living in a car or a box or a tent or a trailer, and I’m comfortable living in a mansion,” he says. “The middle — obviously, that’s fine, too. But what I’m saying is I don’t feel it the same way. It doesn’t feed me the same way. I like balancing extremes.”

Kravitz, 56, dedicated the book to his mother, actress Roxie Roker, who was best known for her role in “The Jeffersons” as Helen Willis, half of one of TV’s first interracial couples. TV producer Sy Kravitz, his father and a former military man, was strict with the younger Kravitz.

Dad and son would frequently clash, culminating in a blowout that would change both their lives. The younger Kravitz says writing about his father was healing.

“Any judgment that I had began to dissolve as I was looking at him with these fresh eyes and open heart,” he says. “Any of those harsh feelings that I had went away and I began to actually love my father in a different way that I didn’t get to love him when he was alive.”

Kravitz has the look and sound of a rock god, with a stripped-down style of straight-ahead rock ‘n’ roll that earned him Grammy Awards four years in a row, from 1999 to 2002.

But he’s not afraid to show a sillier side in the book, like the first — and last — time he got drunk, which was with a bottle of Manischewitz, or getting busted once for shoplifting five KISS cassettes. There’s even an insane sequence in which a young Kravitz saves a teenage prostitute from a pimp and stashes her in his bedroom.

Ritz, the co-writer, complimented Kravitz for being so hands-on throughout the years it took to finish the book. He says his co-writer was open and ready to explore anything.

“He’s got a lot of courage. The thing about Lenny, artistically and personally, he’s just a man of great courage,” Ritz says. Writing it together was “like being in a studio where you’re jamming.”

Kravitz’s musical influences emerge as Prince, Michael Jackson, Earth Wind & Fire and David Bowie, who inspired Kravitz to get color-changing contact lenses. The book also explores Kravitz’s spirituality and his experience of being born again.

His first band was Wave — “the Gap Band meets the Jacksons meets Rick James meets Shalamar meets the Time.” They had fog machines and sound effects, an elaborate light show and a staggering 15 members.

Among some interesting business decisions: He was handed “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Kennedy Gordy, son of legendary producer Berry Gordy. But Kravitz declined. So the younger Gordy went on to record the hit song under the name Rockwell.

On the romance front, he dated Tisha Campbell of “Martin” and met his now-ex-wife, Bonet, at a New Edition concert. “I like your hair,” he told her. In the book he admitted, “It was a lame line.”

Their blossoming relationship ends the book. “It was like she was the female version of me, and in seeing her, I was able to see myself,” he writes.

Kravitz writes that his first 25 years was a mission to find his true, authentic self. He turned down record deals that put him in a box and he even created an alter ego — named Romeo Blue — because he didn’t think he was cool enough at the time.

“Part of this book is about me accepting myself as Lenny Kravitz, as this half-black, half-Jewish kid that had this experience,” he says. “One of the wonderful gifts that one could give themselves in this life is to accept yourself.”