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Media Contact: Jasmin Espada
National Puerto Rican Day Parade Announces All-Star Roster of Honorees and Its 2023 Theme: Música, Cultura y Alegría
San Juan – (April 25, 2023) At a press conference at the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture headquarters, the Board of Directors of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade (NPRDP) announced its first installment of honorees for the 66th annual celebration of Puerto Rican culture, history, and contributions to our global society. Under the 2023 theme, Música, Cultura y Alegría (Music, Culture and Joy), the iconic procession will march 35 blocks up New York City’s Fifth Avenue on Sunday, June 11 beginning at 11am EDT, featuring the best in Puerto Rican heritage and achievement.
Música: NPRDP will pay tribute to legendary figures in Puerto Rican music, as well as today’s artists that continue shaping musical genres on a global scale. The 2023 celebration will highlight the incredible contributions that Puerto Ricans have made across numerous music, creating and co-creating genres like Salsa, Boogaloo, Hip-Hop, Freestyle, House music and others.
Cultura: Since its genesis, the Parade celebration has been about preserving and promoting Puerto Rican culture and heritage. This year’s celebration will highlight distinguished honorees whose work has showcased Puerto Rican culture and contributed to its ongoing evolution across the Fine Arts, Film, Literature and Gastronomy. Additionally, the Parade will pay tribute to the Indigenous peoples of Puerto Rico, including the native Taínos, one of the three cultural pillars that comprise Puerto Rican heritage and identity.
Alegría: Whether residing in the Puerto Rican archipelago or in the “patria extendida” (diaspora), Puerto Ricans are known for being joyful, warm, upbeat, and colorful. The parade is a physical manifestation of these characteristics, which give the celebration its unique sense of festivity. Honorees will include accomplished and award-winning Boricuas across a wide variety of entertainment platforms, including the Theater, Comedy, Television and Sports.
“The NPRDP Board selected this theme because these words embody the essence of the 2023 celebration, and they encapsulate the tributes and honorees we will recognize during the Parade and related events,” says Louis Maldonado Pérez, NPRDP Board member and former Board Chair. “We encourage everyone in our community to join us on Fifth Avenue on June 11, and we hope this theme will inspire all participants as they plan their float designs and presentations for a festive demonstration of Boricua pride and achievement.”
Honorees Recognized for Lifetime Achievement
The NPRDP announced a collective of accomplished, luminary figures as Lifetime Achievement.
Chucho Avellanet – Singer, comedian, actor and television personality, whose career has spanned over 5 decades. He is best known for his talents as a crooner and is considered to be one of Puerto Rico’s most important and iconic voices. He has played a critical role in Puerto Rico’s musical scene, and his body of work has contributed to the great Puerto Rican songbook. He continues to fill concert venues to this day.
Josie de Guzmán – Tony-nominated musical theater actor and singer who was hand-selected by Leonard Bernstein to play the role of “María” in the 1980 revival of West Side Story, for which she earned her first Tony nomination. She participated in several national TV shows, including Deadline, The Cosby Show, Miami Vice, All My Children, and many others. Offstage, her philanthropic work includes collaborations with Broadway Cares, Equity Fights AIDS, and the Actor’s Fund, which provides support and assistance to those in the entertainment industry.
María Teresa “Tere” Marichal – Actor, writer, ventriloquist, playwright, and television personality whose TV show “La Casa de María Chuzema” aired on PBS in Puerto Rico for 25 years, which educated and positively impacted an entire generation of children through the art of cultural storytelling.
Jacobo Morales – Pioneer of Puerto Rican cinematography and the first filmmaker from Puerto Rico to be nominated for an Academy Award. He is the most influential film director in Puerto Rico’s history and is still an active player to this day. An actor, comedian and writer, Morales is also a philanthropist, supporting various charitable organizations in Puerto Rico.
Antonio Martorell – Accomplished painter, graphic artist and writer who recently received the National Medal of Arts from President Biden. Martorell was instrumental in the creation of the Hurricane Maria Memorial in New York City’s Battery Park, called “Mi Grito Hacia el Mundo” (My Cry to the World), whose paintings were featured to honor those we lost as a result of Hurricane Maria.
Angel “Cucco” Peña – Multiple Grammy- and Emmy-Award winning composer, arranger, conductor, music director, trumpeter, and singer whose body of work sp ans musical eras and genres; from collaborations with Willie Colón, Celia Cruz and Gilberto Santa Rosa to Marc Anthony, Ricky Martin, Olga Tañón and Daddy Yankee. Most recently he is played a vital role in reviving Puerto Rico’s musical theater scene, directing large-scale productions of “In the Heights” and “West Side Story” in San Juan.
Silverio Pérez – Musician, comedian, motivational speaker, and television personality. He cofounded the nueva trova group Haciendo Punto en Otro Son, and his political satire has been staged in Los Rayos Gamma shows, beginning in the 80s. They are still performing today. He has published over ten books, is known for his quick wit and infectious humor and the ability has and organized several tours to El Camino de Santiago, in Spain.
Other honorees announced include:
• Ambassador: Nilda María Comas – Multiple award-winning Master Sculptor
• Trailblazer: Omi Hopper – Chef, contestant on “Next Level Chef” and social media influencer
• Athlete of the Year: Alelí Medina – ISA Para Surfing Gold Medalist (visually impaired category)
• Ambassador: Dr. Antonio Mignucci – Biological oceanographer and veterinary technician
• Trailblazer: Rebeca Nieves Huffman – Career coach and social media influencer
• Ambassador: Dr. Ariel Orama – Award-winning filmmaker, actor, and clinical psychologist
• Trailblazer: Ivelissa Rios – Chef, life coach and social media influencer
• Ambassador: Ana Teresa Toro – Accomplished journalist and novelist
In February, the Parade board announced this year’s celebration will be dedicated to the municipality of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Closely aligned to the recognition of Aguadilla, the NPRDP announced a tribute to the life and music of legendary Puerto Rican composer and musician, Rafael Hernández Marín, who was born and raised in Aguadilla and is considered one of the greatest Puerto Rican composers of all time and one of the most prolific composers of Latin America. Other posthumous honorees include:
• Tito Puente – Grammy Award-winning percussionist, composer, and bandleader
• Tito Rodríguez – Legendary singer and bandleader
• Marisol Malarét – Puerto Rico’s first Miss Universe winner, television host
• Antonia Pantoja, PhD – educator, social worker, organizer, prolific author, and activist
Environmental Protection and Sustainability
Every year, the NPRDP raises awareness of a prominent issue or cause to the Puerto Rican community. In 2023, the Parade will continue working to raise awareness on the importance of sustainable practices to protect Puerto Rico’s environment and natural resources. This includes its beautiful beaches, which have been under threat not only from beach erosion but to privatization; so much so that local residents are being prohibited from enjoying them.
The National Puerto Rican Day Parade will march up New York’s Fifth Avenue, in one of United States largest cultural celebrations with an estimated attendance of 1 million people. The Parade will be broadcast on the WABC Channel 7 in New York at 12 noon EDT and streamed on the station’s website, abc7NY.com, and on the station’s free news and connected TV apps on Amazon FireTV, Android TV, Apple TV, and Roku. For more information about the Parade and a full calendar of events, visit www.nprdpinc.org.
The NPRDP Board of Directors thanks the following sponsors and media partners for their support in making the 66 th Annual celebration possible: Corona, Manhattan Beer Distributors, the Walt Disney Company and ABC7 New York, City University of New York, Liberty Coca-Cola, the Amazing Mets Foundation, Miranda Family Fund, Popular Bank, NBC4 and Telemundo47 in New York, the Spanish Broadcasting System and Ponce Bank.
About the National Puerto Rican Day Parade
Renown for being America’s largest celebration of Puerto Rican pride and achievement, the Parade is an iconic platform for cultural preservation and collective legacy-building that was born from the New York City Puerto Rican community’s struggle for equity, inclusion, and validation in the 1950s. Under its slogan, Un Pueblo, Muchas Voces (One People, Many Voices), the NPRDP promotes Culture, Arts and Education, with special tributes to historical figures and key themes to raise awareness of critical issues and causes to our community.