News Column

Cultural Impact: Hispanicize 2012

May 21, 2012

by J. NISEN, Contributing Writer


Hispanicize, an annual event focusing on Hispanic trends, now in its third year, has taken an important step in its evolution. It has found a permanent home in Miami.

Hispanicize CEO Manny Ruiz refers to the new home base as the Madison Avenue of the U.S. Hispanic world.

"We started in Dallas, then LA, and we love both cities," Ruiz told HispanicBusiness. "But the reality is that Miami is perfect and the only suitable location for a variety of reasons. It's a city that itself reflects the growth of the Latino population and its empowerment in the economy and in politics."

Ruiz calls Miami "the center of Hispanic media," adding that the city "comes built in with a national media platform that you cannot find anywhere else in the country at least not as heavily concentrated, and ready to broadcast. It's the perfect place to be discovered or better heard."

In its first two years, Hispanicize focused on including brands, social media, marketing and bloggers. This year, Hispanicize 2012 opened its doors to filmmakers and advertisers.

In 2013, Ruiz says, the event will include musicians as well. It's his next step on the path to position Hispanicize as "the place to discover, including thought leaders, trend setters, and talent that we would embrace, culturally speaking."

Hispanicize 2012, which ran April 10-13, saw more than 160 speakers at more than 60 sessions. Attendees were free to attend any session, regardless of the session's subject or the attendee's expertise.

This, according to Ruiz, allows for cross-pollination that is rife with learning opportunities and the potential for making connections.

Ruiz said attendees are "bonded by their position as content creators," and have more interest in each other's fields than they might realize. He cites independent filmmakers sharing low-budget marketing schemes, major actors attending sessions on how to effectively use Twitter, and bloggers attending film sessions "because they are talking about how to tell stories."

The results this year were very much in line with Ruiz's end-goal: to impact culture through its influencers. Ruiz wants to ensure U.S. Hispanics have a prominent place in our society in terms of growth and upward mobility. Without that, Ruiz feels, the overall direction of the U.S. will be stunted.

"The way to the White House is by cultural influence," he says. "It's when you can get the rest of the U.S. to understand and embrace the influence of Latinos, like ones that we gather at Hispanicize, that helps names like Lopez to not carry a stigma.

"The Latino community has always been good at having industry-focused events," he continues, "but what we found by bringing all industries together is that we have a very, very strong symphony on our hands, and that's what has made so much music. All these people together make a powerful music."

Source: (c) 2012. All rights reserved.

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