At this point, 2015 is a blur and it’ll get hazier as we approach December 31 (pass the coquito please!). So it’s time to look ahead to 2016 and the Latinos who will own the worlds of movies, TV, and music.
1. JR Castro
If you’re into Bryson Tiller then Castro is right up your alley. The up-and-coming R&B singer’s debut single, “Get Home (Get Right)” featuring Kid Ink and Quavo was great table setter and his latest, “F.M.N.,” produced by the legendary Timbaland is already picking up momentum. The Las Vegas singer drops his mixtape, You, in January so get ready to get lit.
2. America Ferrera
The Honduran American actress returns to primetime TV in NBC’s Superstore. It’s been getting rave reviews and being compared to a mix of Family Guy meets The Office. Will the Emmy fairy strike twice? We think so.
3. Room 28
Much respect to the LeJuan James and LeLe Pons of the world but the ladies and gents of Room 28 have been doing the comedy thang longer. And now the comedy collective, comprised of mostly Dominican Americans, is finally getting recognized. As one of the talents of Mas Mejor, a Latino-focused digital studio headed by Saturday Night Live alumni Horatio Sanz and Fred Armisen, Room 28 are bound to go viral all up in your MacBook Pro, mobile, and, also your papi’s pants.
4. Becky G
At 16 this proud Mexican American landed a CoverGirl deal. At 18 she landed a coveted role as the Yellow Ranger in the 2017 Power Rangers film. Oh in between that time frame she collected plaques for her hit single, “Shower.” For Becky, 2016 is all about the music. Playlists you have been warned.
5. Bruno Mars
How in the world do you have a monster single without releasing a full-length album? Just ask Bruno Mars. He did just that when he was the featured singer on Mark Ronson’s ubiquitous “Uptown Funk.” Next year though our ears will be treated to an official album by the most electrifying performer since MJ.
Romeo. Henry. Lenny. Max. Aventura. The band of your Latina teenage hearts returns with a month-long residency at the United Palace Theatre in Washington Heights to whisk you away into heaven. But will this spark a nationwide tour? Put a velita on and you never know.
7. The Cast of Narcos
Netflix’s Narcos is perhaps the best damn TV show streaming right now. Season 2 promises to be even more jam-packed with stellar acting performances by Wagner Moura, Ana de la Reguera, Stephanie Sigman, Pedro Pascal, and more. It’s so good we’ll even forgive the at times shaky Colombian accents.
8. Cierra Ramirez
Not only is the Mexican American actress on one of the groundbreaking TV shows in recent memory, ABC Family’s The Fosters, she’s also eyeing a return to music in 2016. If her music is anything like her Instagram feed, expect it to be on fi-yah.
9. Bodega Bamz & The TanBoys
Nathanial de la Rosa has the potential to be the next big Latino rapper to pop. The Spanish Harlem native’s previous mixtapes, Strictly for P.A.P.I.Z. and Sidewalk Exec set the streets ablaze and his TanBoys collective is prime to do the same. “It’s humbling when I have O.G. Latinos come up to me saying, 'I’m proud of what you’re doing. You’re representing my culture correctly,’” he told Latina. “Because the fact that we haven’t had a large representation of Latinos in the music industry it’s sad. We had Big Pun, we have Fat Joe, N.O.R.E, Peedi Crakk, but we don’t have an extensive amount.” Things are about to change thanks to Bamz.
10. Genesis Rodriguez
The L’Oreal spokes model is one of the busiest actresses in Hollywood. In 2016 alone she’ll be hamming it up with Kevin James (The True Memoirs of an International Assassin) and rejoining director Kevin Smith in two films, Moose Jaws and Yoga Hosers. Plus, her Miami Heat aren’t half bad.
11. Daddy Yankee & Don Omar
Before J. Balvin and Maluma there was DY and DO. The two reggaeton kings launched The KingDom 65-concert tour earlier this month and will run through 2016. To put it in American hip-hop terms: imagine of Jay Z and Nas did a massive tour…exactly.
12. Oscar Isaac
He’s ending the year with a little movie called Star Wars: The Force Awakens so he could’ve easily mailed it in for 2016. But that’s not the way the Guatemalan and Cuban actor has made it to the A-List. Isaac will be the Apocalypse, the lead villain in the latest installment of the X-Men franchise. Boom!
13. Tessa Thompson
With Creed she became this generation’s updated, independent Adrian and she’ll continue to shatter the mold in 2016. The Afro-Latina actress gets to sink her teeth into the Anthony Hopkins-led Westworld on HBO. “People can say acting isn’t rocket science and it’s not curing cancer,” Thompson told Vanity Fair, “but I think film and art really do shape us in ways that we can’t even connect to sometimes or even understand.”