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Rubén Blades has been named the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year. An eight-time Latin Grammy and nine-time Grammy Award-winner, Blades will be honored as an advocate for social justice, supporting initiatives focused on political oppression, hunger and poverty, among other global issues.

Said Gabriel Abaroa Jr., president and CEO of The Latin Recording Academy: “Rubén Blades is a truly iconic artist who has inspired generations with his powerful and intelligent lyrics, and whose genius has stood for justice at all levels of society. With activism and social justice movements at the forefront of our collective conversation this past year, we can’t think of a more deserving and timely honoree of the Latin Academy Person of the Year distinction.”

“I am grateful to The Latin Academy for this recognition, and I share it with everyone who has helped me throughout my artistic life,” added Blades. “Success is never the product of a sole individual’s effort, it’s the consequence of many contributions and the will and talent of other people. Today, I thank all those who made my successful career as a musician and composer possible.”

The Panamá-born Blades celebrates more than five decades in music, starting out during the salsa revolution of the 1970s and bringing to the world such songs as El Cantante,” “Pedro Navaja,” “Plástico,”  “Prohibido Olvidar,” “Buscando América” and “Desapariciones.”

Blades is also a seasoned actor with credits in over 50 films and television series, among them: the role of Daniel Salazar in the award-winning series “Fear The Walking Dead.”

Known to work across genres — rock, jazz, pop, hip-hop, reggaeton and salsa — Blades will be celebrated with a  tribute concert, in tandem with the 22nd annual Latin Grammy Awards, the date of which has yet to be announced. Net proceeds from the Person of the Year gala will be directed toward the charitable work of the Latin Grammy Cultural Foundation.

Previous Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year honorees include Juanes (2019), Maná (2018), Alejandro Sanz (2017), Marc Anthony (2016), Roberto Carlos (2015), Joan Manuel Serrat (2014), Miguel Bosé (2013), Caetano Veloso (2012), Shakira (2011), Plácido Domingo (2010), Juan Gabriel (2009), Gloria Estefan (2008), Juan Luis Guerra (2007), Ricky Martin (2006), José José (2005), Carlos Santana (2004), Gilberto Gil (2003), Vicente Fernández (2002), Julio Iglesias (2001) and Emilio Estefan (2000).