The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today named international Latin pop singer/song writer Carlos Vives as the Agency’s first Inclusion Ambassador. In this role, Vives will promote social and economic inclusion of Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities in Colombia, which is essential to overcome decades of conflict and move towards peace.
“The diversity of Colombia is part of our cultural richness that we need to recognize and value,” said Vives. “I am honored to be able to use music to highlight that our identity is tied to our racial and ethnic individuality in order to build a durable peace.”
Vives, a Grammy and multi-Latin Grammy winner, is partnering with USAID to increase awareness and understanding about diversity, minority rights, and cultural heritage throughout Colombia. These ethnic communities, representing nearly 15% of Colombia’s 45 million people, are among the most marginalized in the country and suffer from exploitation, poverty, violence, discrimination, displacement, and exclusion. Four out of ten Afro-Colombians or indigenous persons are victims of the armed conflict, more than 60% live below the poverty line, and, in urban areas, unemployment levels for Afro-Colombians are five percent higher than those of the non-ethnic population.
“For Colombia to move towards prosperity and peace, the well-being and rights of all Colombians must be taken into account, especially Afro-Colombian and indigenous groups who have been historically marginalized,” said USAID’s Associate Administrator Mark Feierstein. “Partnering with Carlos Vives is an incredible opportunity to celebrate Colombia’s diverse population, raise the profile of these vulnerable groups, and create a more inclusive foundation upon which peace can be built.”
Through this partnership, Vives will:
- Highlight the importance of diversity and inclusion throughout Colombia during the upcoming Corazón Profundo tour in August 2014.
- Mentor 5-10 Afro-Colombian and indigenous music groups.
- Host a music showcase for Colombia’s Afro-Colombian Day on May 21 at his restaurant, Gaira Cafe Cumbia House, in Bogota.
- Appear in a series of public events with Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities to promote their rights and raise awareness of opportunities to rise out of poverty.
“We all deserve to have the same access to the benefits of development because in today’s world, diversity means business and development opportunities,” Vives added.
The partnership builds on USAID’s decade-long effort to support Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities to promote their inclusion, rights, and economic opportunities. Vives’s first single of his new album features ChoQuibTown, the acclaimed Afro-Colombian group.
World Premiere of “El Mar De Sus Ojos”
Artist/composer/actor and empresario Carlos Vives world premieres his highly anticipated new music video for his #1 single, “El Mar De Sus Ojos” a collaboration with ChocQuibTown on April 3rd on Telemundo’s nationally broadcasted program, “Al Rojo Vivo” at 5pm EST.
The song which debuted #1 on the Latin Airplay chart is the first official single off his upcoming album, “Mas + Corazon Profundo” the musical continuation to his highly acclaimed album, “Corazon Profundo” which included the hits, “Volvi a Nacer”, “Como Le Gusta A Tu Cuerpo”, “Bailar Contigo”, and “La Foto De Los Dos” which earned the superstar multiple awards and recognitions including 3 Latin Grammys and a Grammy nomination.
Following the world premiere on Al Rojo Vivo, Telemundo will rebroadcast the video across the network’s top rated programs, Titulares y Mas, Acesso Total, Un Nuevo Dia, and Mun2 on Friday April 4th with special behind-the-scenes exclusives only seen on Telemundo.
The video, directed by Felipe Montoya, was filmed in the city of Bogota in various artistically symbolic locations throughout the city such as the world-famous dance school, “La Casona de la Danza”, and the “Teatro Faenza” a landmark of cultural rebirth of the Colombian capital. The video was made possible due to the support of IDARTES which has helped restore cultural landmarks throughout the city. Over 150 dancers are featured throughout the video, all stemming from an open audition of over 500 dancers ranging from children to adults.
For Vives, this is a song which unites the Caribbean with the Pacific Colombian culture. Composed alongside the legendary Hugo Huertas (H2) and produced by Andres Castro the song came about over 7 years ago when they first began exploring the sounds of “tropi-pop” and hip hop. The collaboration with ChocQuibTown was a perfect pairing in representing the Caribbean roots that Vives offers along with their pacific sounds giving the song a youthful vibe that transcends all generations.
El Mar De Sus Ojos which continues to top the charts in both the US and Colombia will also have it’s online video premiere on VEVO in the coming weeks.
About Carlos Vives
Born in the Caribbean city of Santa Marta, the third largest city of Colombia’s Caribbean Region, Vives has strong ties to the indigenous peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. He has made them central characters in his lyrics and music videos, has sung in their ancient language and has invited them to participate in high-visibility events such as the Billboard Music Awards’ red carpet and his stage performances. He has also spoken frequently about the great influence that the Afro-descendant culture has had on his music. In his most recent hit album Corazón Profundo (Deep Heart), which won five Latin Grammys last year, Carlos Vives included the song “La Fantástica” (The Fantastic) which speaks about diversity and the influence of African culture in the city of Cartagena. He cast Afro-Colombian actors in the song’s video clip and in the clip to his new hit single “El Mar de Sus Ojos.”
Carlos Vives, composer, actor, and empresario, was named the most important artist of 2013 in Latin America. Considered one of the biggest and most influential artists in music who has transcended bounderies for over 2 decades, with more than 20 million albums sold, a Grammy and 10 Latin Grammys, 23 nominations by the Recording Academy (American & Latin), and multiple gold and platinum albums. He became the first Colombian artist to take home a Gramophone from the Recording Academy. Carlos Vives in less than 5 months charted two singles at #1 without releasing a new album that year. An artist who holds his country close to his heart, he’s a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF.
In 2012 he participated as a judge on La Voz Colombia (The Voice Colombia), and his album, “Corazon Profundo” debuted at #1 in sales and has produced four consecutive #1 singles in Colombia. The songs, “Volvi a Nacer”, “Como Le Gusta a Tu Cuerpo” y “Bailar Contigo” were all #1 on Billboard, also reaching #1 in Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, and Central America.
He was the big winner at the 2013 Latin Grammy Awards and nominated for an American Grammy; as well as Latin Billboards.
The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for over 50 years. In Colombia, USAID supports Colombian efforts to transition out of conflict and build the conditions for sustainable and inclusive peace. USAID works to foster respect for diversity and equal access to opportunities for Afro-Colombian and indigenous populations. In 2013, USAID’s work in this area included: the participation of 4,500 Afro-Colombian and indigenous people in workforce development programs; a partnership with the Colombian National Business Association to help 80 companies develop diversity protocols to recruit minorities; initiatives to promote food security and income opportunities for 5,000 families in rural areas; support to 50 ethnic organizations and nearly 5,700 Afro-Colombian and indigenous community leaders to promote inclusion and human rights; and 20 Fulbright and 110 Martin Luther King scholarships providing English language training and higher education opportunities to Afro-Colombian and indigenous students. www.usaid.gov