We're celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month with Future Hispanic History Month, highlighting rising stars who are creating history before our very eyes. Today we honor Pitbull, both in the form of our Fuse.tv spotlight and Fuse TV's Pitbull: Beyond Worldwide special, premiering tonight at 8/7c.
Born Armando Christian Pérez to Cuban parents in Miami, the 35-year-old rapper has been dropping albums since 2004's M.I.A.M.I., which right off the jump featured collaborations with Fat Joe, Trick Daddy and Lil Jon (five times). Since then he's done numerous world tours, gotten two No. 1 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 (2011's "Give Me Everything" feat. Ne-Yo and 2013's "Timber" feat. Kesha) and collaborated with the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, Shakira and Chris Brown. On Oct. 7, only a little more than a year after Dale, he hits the big 10th album mark with Climate Change.
“How is my heritage reflected in the music that I make?" he told Jorge Ramos last year. "I embody it everywhere I go. If you don’t know where you’re from, you don’t know where you’re going. And if you don’t stand for something, you’re going to fall for anything. I’m very proud to be a first-generation Cuban-American.”
Back in 2009, he reflected on that complex legacy for CNN:
"My mother, she's like, 'Look, you're American, son. You were born here in the States.' My father? My father said, 'You're Cuban-American.' My mother would call me Chris, because my middle name's Christian. My father would say, 'No, your name's Armando.' But in my blood, what it tells me is, 'You're Cuban-American.' The music is what makes you, the food is what makes you, the way you've been taught mentally."
Pitbull has shown himself to be a generous, philanthropically minded person. In 2013 he opened a charter school called SLAM—Sports Leadership and Management Academy—for grades six through 12 in his childhood Miami neighborhood of Little Havana. "[A] lot of these kids are so creative ... but no one believes in them," he told NPR. "No one [motivates] them. I relate to them ... but then I give it to them raw."
Another person getting it raw from Pitbull? Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, whose racist rhetoric has gone far enough that the rapper refuses to visit his hotels. “I can’t for the simple fact that you’re speaking to a culture that I ride, I die for. And that culture is the only reason I’m having this conversation right now.”
Watch Fuse's premiere of the Pitbull: Beyond Worldwide special tonight—Tuesday, Oct. 4—at 8/7c on Fuse. Find Fuse in your area with our Channel Finder, and check out the following preview, where Pitbull teases a 2017 tour with Enrique Iglesias: