PBS announced actor Benjamin Bratt will narrate LATINO AMERICANS, a landmark three-part, six-hour documentary series that is set to air nationally on PBS in the fall of 2013. It is the first major documentary series for television to chronicle the rich and varied history and experiences of Latinos, who have helped shape the United States over the last 500-plus years and have become, with more than 50 million people, the largest minority group in the U.S.
Bratt, a multi-award winner for his work on television’s “Law & Order” and star of several films including La Mission, Pinero and Traffic, will narrate LATINO AMERICANS. A team of filmmakers will document the evolution of a new “Latino American” identity from the 1500s to the present day, with interviews with close to 100 Latinos from the worlds of politics, business and pop culture, as well as deeply personal portraits of Latinos who lived through key chapters in American history.
LATINO AMERICANS features interviews with an array of individuals, including entertainer Rita Moreno, the Puerto Rican star of West Side Story and a winner of Academy, Tony, Grammy and Emmy Awards; labor leader and 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Dolores Huerta, who in the 1960s co-founded with César Chávez the National Farm Workers Association, which later became United Farm Workers of America; Mexican-American author and commentator Linda Chávez, who became the highest-ranking woman in the Reagan White House; and Cuban-American singer and entrepreneur Gloria Estefan, who has sold more than 100 million solo and Miami Sound Machine albums globally.
The acclaimed singer-songwriter Lila Downs will serve as the featured artist for the series, performing the closing song in LATINO AMERICANS. Downs, born in Oaxaca, Mexico, began performing traditional Mexican rancheras as a girl, and singing with mariachis. “The importance of music as a form of cultural expression to Latinos cannot be understated,” Downs said. “It’s a privilege to have our music be a part of this series, building on that rich tradition.”
LATINO AMERICANS relies on historical accounts and personal experiences to vividly tell the stories of early settlement, conquest and immigration; of tradition and reinvention; of anguish and celebration; and of the creation of this new American identity with an influx of arrivals from Mexico, Spain, Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and countries in Central and South America.
The series is broken into the following six chronological segments that cover the 1500s to the present day.