The 31st Annual Hispanic Heritage Awards took place on September 12, 2018 in Washington, DC!
Born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, she began practicing her craft at the age of seven and followed her dream at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. Soon thereafter, she landed a breakthrough role as Angel in the off-Broadway revival of RENT—a role that would motivate her to live her truth and come out openly as transgender. At the conclusion of the show’s run, Rodriguez embarked on a journey of self-discovery, taking time away from her craft to focus on her transition.
With her courageous reemergence into the entertainment industry, Rodriguez made numerous TV, film, and stage appearances, and in 2016, became the first transgender actress and the first transgender character, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Luke Cage. She would go on to star in the critically-acclaimed film Saturday Church, a film about the lives of the transgender community that earned her a nomination for Best Actress at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF)
The Hispanic Heritage Awards were established in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan to commemorate the creation of Hispanic Heritage Month in America. Since that time, the Hispanic Heritage Awards are considered among the highest honors for Hispanics by Hispanics. Top Latino performers and personalities pay tribute to the Honorees from the stage. The Awards are unique in that celebrities take the stage along with educators, innovators, community and business leaders, elected officials, and others. The Awards are supported by nearly 40 national Hispanic-serving institutions who co-host the program. Surrounding events include an Honorees Dinner, Youth Leadership Summit and festive After-Party.
This year’s honorees include:
Daniel Lubetzky – Entrepreneurship Award presented by Target
Sister Norma – Community Service Award presented by Nationwide
Richard “Crazy Legs” Colon – Culture Award presented by Southwest Airlines
Karol G – Inspira Award presented by T-Mobile
Mj Rodriguez – Trailblazer Award presented by Google
Jesse & Joy – Vision Award presented by Friends of the National Museum of the American Latino
Ingrid Hoffmann – Culinary Arts Award presented by AARP
Young Community Leaders – #MiVozAward presented by Instagram
Past Honorees include: Anthony Quinn, Alejandro Sanz, Ricky Martin, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Placido Domingo, Isabel Allende, Juan Luis Guerra, Zoe Saldana, Juanes, US Reps Ileana Ros Lehtinen and Xavier Becerra, Oscar de la Hoya, Mana, Rosario Dawson, Los Tigres Del Norte, America Ferrera, Olga Tañon, Pedro Martinez, Arturo Sandoval, Eva Longoria, Antonio Banderas, Pepe Aguilar, Carlos Vives, and Rita Moreno, Luis Fonsi, Gael Garcia Bernal, to name a few.
The Awards serve as a launch of HHF’s year-round award-winning programs which inspire, identify, prepare and position Latino leaders in the classroom, community and workforce to meet America’s priorities. HHF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.