by Tracie Morales
GRAMMY AWARDS: Despite being virtually invisible at the 49th annual Grammy Awards, Latino artists were recognized in seven categories at a ceremony prior to the televised show. Mana was awarded best Latin rock album for Amar es combatir. The Latin pop album resulted in a tie between Ricardo Arjona for Adentro and Julieta Venegas for Limón y salTropical Latin album winner was Gilberto Santa Rosa for Directo al corazón. Top honor for Mexican / Mexican-American album went to Pepe Aguilar for Historias de mi tierra. Other bests: Tejano album, Chente Barrera y Taconazo for Sigue el taconazo; Norteño album, Los Tigres Del Norte for Historias que contar Banda album, Joan Sebastian for Más allá del sol. Colombian singer Shakira took the stage with Wyclef Jean to sing the Grammy-nominated single, “Hlps Don’f Lie.” The duo lost in the best pop vocal collaboration category.
BlLLBOARD LATINO: Shakira and Mana are among the nominees announced Feb. 13 for the Billboard Latin Music Awards. Other artists nominated include Daddy Yankee, Paulina Rubio and Ricky Martin. The Miamiceremony airs April 26 on Telemundo.
HIGH-PROFILE PROJECTS: Actor Jimmy Smits is working hard producing three high-profile projects that will air on the small screen. They include two television shows and an epic mini-series about U.S. immigration. The latter will reunite director Gregory Nava and Smits, who worked together in the 1995 drama My Family, Mi Familia.
MUSIC ICON: The Grammy-winning Los Tigres del Norte will be honored in a musical tribute at the 14th annual BMI Latin Awards March 23 in Las Vegas. Other honors will be presented for Latin song of the year, songwriter of the year and publisher of year.
HERO REMEMBERED: Marine Sgt. Rafael Peralta died while saving the lives of his fellow Marines. Now his legacy continues in the film A Color of Honor: The Rafael Peralta Story, airing May 19 on the History Channel. In November 2004, Peralta was in Fallujah when he used his body to shield a grenade fired by insurgents, saving his comrades. Peralta was born in Mexico and received his U.S. citizenship when he enlisted in the Marine Corp.
SOUL FOOD: Legendary guitarist Carlos Santana announced he and his wife will launch three Mexican restaurants named afier his famous song María, María. The first restaurant is scheduled to open in California in April.