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Sunday, October 17, 2021

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Leaders accuse rodeo of discrimination


Music performers and local community leaders are asking for community support to boycott the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s "Go Tejano Day" on March 16 due to a lack of Tejano performers.

The group, called VIVE Tejano-Houston, prompted the public to boycott the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo after City Hall declared "Go Tejano Day" on Monday, the Houston Chronicle reported.

"Please do not attend the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo," former Texas Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos said.

Ruben Cubillos, president of the advertising agency A Big Chihuahua, said that more representation is needed at the executive levels of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo board to reflect Latino involvement in the entertainment aspect and to help determine how scholarships are awarded to high school students, although information on the scholarship distribution was not made available.

"We don’t like our culture and our music being ripped away from us," Barrientos said.

The Chronicle reported in January that the rodeo’s chief operating officer, Leroy Shafer, said Tejano acts weren’t booked because of the lack of interest in the music, which currently has one AM station.

"The industry is fighting for its very existence," Shafer told the Chronicle.

Cubillos and Barrientos said that the lack of the music’s popularity is not the only issue because "Go Tejano Day" also encompasses both culture and history.

"We’re not flavor of the month here," Cubillos said of the lack of Tejano cultural representation. "This is a cultura."

Barrientos and Cubillos said they and other leaders are looking to award more scholarships to Hispanic students, have more representation at the HLSR executive level, create more awareness of Tejano music and culture, equal pay for Tejano artists and hope to increase Hispanic themed events in the Houston Rodeo, according to a release.

"What we’re hearing is that Tejano music is as dead as disco," Texas Sen. Mario Gallegos said of a meeting last week with other community leaders, such as Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia. "What I’m here to say… is that (the music industry) guys don’t have a clue of what’s going on in our neighborhood."

Tejano music performers "Little" Joe Hernandez, Roberto Pulido and Ruben Ramos were present during the conference to voice their concerns about the lack of Tejano presence at the "Go Tejano Day" in March.

"To not put a Tejano star under the bit tent, as I call it, deprives me of my kids and my grandkids (from) learning that culture," Gallegos said. "The only Tejano music that they got is at that hideout where no kids (are) allowed."

Hernandez said the HLSR board does not give performers and Latinos an opportunity to voice their concerns.

"We’re asking that they don’t boot us out," Hernandez said.

The bands scheduled to play are Duelo, a norte’ntilde;o band from Chicago, and Los Horoscopos de Durango, a duranguense band from Roma, Texas.

Tejano music contains influences from other musical genres such as country, blues, soul and rock as well as traditional Mexican music. Duranguense music utilizes brass band, saxophone and tuba. Norte’ntilde;o music includes the accordion.

"We’re not against any group," Hernandez said of boycotting the performances by Los Horoscopos and Duelo.

The performers and community leaders said they would host another celebration in place of "Go Tejano Day" from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., March 9 at Jones Plaza.

Performers and community leaders said they are looking to promote more Hispanic themed events throughout the year, such as the Chicano nights.

"We need to put the word out that we belong at ‘Go Tejano Day,’" Cubillos said.


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