Three Very Successful Puerto Ricans
Puerto Ricans are proud of their rich cultural heritage, comforting foods, friendly ways, festive music, and family customs. Because music and performance has been an integral part of the culture, there have been many Puerto Ricans who have made it and are on top of their game. Here’s a list of three of the most famous Puerto Ricans in their industry.
J.Lo: the powerhouse
Jennifer Lopez is the middle daughter of 3 from a modest Puerto Rican family growing up in the Bronx, New York. She was a backup dancer for New Kids on the Block, In Living Color Fly Girl, and backup dancer for Janet Jackson until she got her big break as the lead star in the film, Selena. From then on, she ambitiously climbed her way to the top by acting in several big films such as Anaconda, Out of Sight, and The Cell. J.Lo’s strongest contribution to the arts was from producing bestselling albums. Having sold over 70 million records globally, she is recognized as one of the greatest women in music and her net worth is estimated at over $150 million. In addition to acting and producing dance hits, J.Lo is also a fashion icon. Having successful changed her hair styles over the years and being one of the key female figures that has transformed the standard of beauty to being derriere focused. She not only has her own fashion and perfume lines, she also endorses several products. You think that’s already a busy lifestyle, but she still makes time to be a mom to her twins!
Benicio Del Toro: versatile villain
Son of two greatly respected lawyers from the Santurce district of San Juan, Benicio grew up around family who were deeply committed Puerto Rico and its communities. Because he excelled in drama classes while attending UC San Diego, he dropped out and pursued acting full-time which lead to him to land roles as minor drug villains during the late 1980s in Miami Vice and Drug Wars: The Camarena Story. At the age of 21, Benicio earned the distinction of being the youngest actor to play a Bond henchman, as the role of Dario, in License to Kill. From playing a drugged out lawyer named Dr. Gonzo in Fearing and Loathing in Las Vegas opposite Johnny Depp, to being a smooth talking Jewish gambling thug in Snatch with Brad Pitt on the roster, and most recently, a two-timing Mexican drug cartel enforcer named Lado opposite Selma Hayek in Savages. He has an impressive long list of awards including Golden Globe Award, BAFTA, Independent Spirit Award, Academy Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award. Benicio Del Toro definitely has been one of the most humorous and interesting characters on and off screen.
Lloyd Banks: G-Unit mayhem
Christopher Charles Lloyd is a multi-racial rapper of mixed Puerto Rican and African American descent raised in Queens, New York City. He took his name “Banks” from his great, great-grandfather, with whom his uncles also share. The rap group G-Unit was formed and founded by childhood friends that consisted of Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, and the most notorious member, 50 Cent. Because Banks was much younger than Tony Yayo and 50 Cent, he was left out waiting for 50 and Yayo to return home from their big tours with Nas, Cash Money, and Ruff Ryders. All that time waiting gave him the opportunity to stir up a buzz by rapping and making mixed tapes for which he is renowned for. When 50 Cent was granted his own record label by Dr. Dre, 50 had Banks featured in a few of his album’s songs and then they released their first official album in 2003. Despite mainstream success with G-Unit, Banks continued to be part of the underground scene and even received the Mixtape Artist of the year in 2004 for which he said he is most proud of because it came directly from the fans who appreciated his music the most. In 2005, Banks was nominated for a Grammy award for Best Rap Solo Performance category. Despite rivalries with other rappers and arguments over bling, Lloyd Banks is still one of the most solid hip hop artist in the industry of having to put out 3 collaborative albums with G-Unit, 3 solo studio albums, and 12, going on 13 mixtapes.
About the author:
Curtis West is a contributing writer for KingIce.com. KingIce.com is an online retailer of hip hop jewelry and urban apparel.