Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

South by Southwest Revolucionado



Tech talk: the Latino Lounge’s “Spanglish Wall” at its 2012 debut in Austin, Texas. Photo: Paulina Artieda

When culture and entertainment enthusiasts flock to Austin, Texas, on March 8–17 for the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, they’ll have a chance to join in the first SXSW production with a distinctly Latino flair: The Social Revolución (TSR).

The can’t-miss cavalcade of film, music and interactive media this year will feature a meet-up for Latino techies known as the Latino Lounge, along with an awards event, Revolucionario Awards, first introduced last year to honor influential Latino change-agents. Conceived by Cultural Strategies, an Austin-based multicultural marketing agency, both events seek to appeal to young Latinos operating on the frontiers of social media.

The inspiration for TSR came from the Web 2.0 users who propelled the Arab Spring and Occupy movements. Recognizing Latino digital leaders made sense because they tend to be “much younger and open to adapting new technologies,” says Cultural Strategies’ founder Sebastian Puente.

Thanks to the buzz generated through Twitter and Facebook, and with support from digital partners such as The News Taco, Latina Lista, Twitteros, and Juan of Words, news of the competition reached 1.3 million people in 20 countries within two months of TSR’s launch, generating 140 award nominations.

The 2012 awards recognized winners in four categories: “New Americanos,” “Mobilizers,” “Innovators,” and an all-encompassing “Leader of the Revolution.” Winners included Maria Teresa Kumar, CEO of Voto Latino (Fall 2011 AQ Innovator), and Oscar Morales, creator of the “One Million Voices Against FARC” Facebook page. Music-philanthropy duo Calle 13 won “Leader of the Revolution.”

With TSR planning to build on last year’s momentum and crowdsource future concerts, Latinos’ multimedia presence in SXSW is certain to expand.

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