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Successful Refugees and Immigrants Leading the Way, Part 4: From Refugee to International Superstar - Gloria Estefan

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Gloria Estefan, known as the "Queen of Latin Pop," was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1957. Still a toddler, she and her family fled to Miami, Florida, USA, in 1959. In 1975, the then 18-year-old Gloria Fajardo / García met Emilio Estefan, who led a band called the Miami Latin Boys. The band released its second English-language album, Primitive Love, in 1985. The album contained three top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. First, “Conga” peaked at #10 and became Ms. Estefan’s signature song a few years later. Unfortunately, in 1990, tragedy struck and Gloria was seriously injured in a severe bus crash. However, thanks to her intense determination and perseverance, Gloria made a miraculous comeback. Ms. Estefan, the most successful crossover performer in Latin music, has received multiple Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards. In 2015, Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio each received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from then-US President, His Excellency Barack Obama. It is the highest civilian honor in the US. The reasons cited for the selection were for their role in popularizing Latin music globally and opening doors for other Latin artists through their success. In 1997, she founded the Gloria Estefan Foundation, which supports various charities. The foundation monetarily supports no-kill shelters and helped fund the creation of the Vero Beach Dog Park. Over the years, Ms. Estefan has received numerous awards for her humanitarian efforts. In May 1993, Gloria made her first visit to New York’s Ellis Island, a previous port of entry for the US that welcomed 12 million immigrants when it was operational. Her selection shows Ms. Estefan’s role as a wonderful ambassador for her culture who proudly represents Hispanic people who have immigrated to the USA.
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