Gloria Estefan Opens Up About Red Table Talk–and Why Latinos Are Not a Monolithic Community

E!: Were you nervous jumping into these tough, emotional conversations?

GE: You know what? I’ve never been nervous, I was excited about the conversation. Because that’s what we want to do. There’s no subject matter at this point in my life that can make me nervous. Honestly, I feel very secure in my skin. And I have very clear opinions and thoughts that have been shaped by a lifetime of experiences. Now, are some things incredibly personal that a lot of people will be hearing for the first time? They’re gonna learn a lot of things . There’s never been an avenue before to have these kinds of conversations. So it’s a whole other ball of wax. It’s exciting for me.

E!: This show stars three Latinas—and you’ve represented the Latinx community for decades. Why is that visibility important to you in 2020?

GE: First of all, the Facebook community is worldwide, so I can simultaneously speak to fans that I have all over the world. No other platform can give me that. And because of the Smiths and their Red Table Talk, there’s already a community of RTT fans that have their own table that they started. So we hope to add to that and bring the Latinos along with us. Our dream is to be able to do some offshoot shows completely in Spanish. And I just think it’s a great way to connect. After COVID, we’ve all connected to such a degree despite being locked up in our separate cubicles in the world. 

E!: In another Facebook Watch show, Latin Music Queens, Thalía talks about being stereotyped as a Latina in the music industry. Have you felt stereotyped before?

GE: People are always gonna try to pigeonhole and put you in a box or label you with something, because that’s how people feel comfortable. I remember way back in the day I was gonna do the opening for the American Music Awards. And one of the ideas of somebody there was to put some fruit on my head. I go, ‘Hold on there, missy! I’m not Carmen Miranda! There will be no fruit on my head for this performance!’ But, you know, I don’t take it in that terrible kind of way.

Latinos, we are not a monolithic community by any means. Every one of our Latino countries is different, has its own nuances, its own music, its own food, its own stars. That’s what I like about breaking barriers. They would tell us, ‘You’re too Latin for the Americans, you’re too American for the Latins, get rid of the horns, get rid of the percussion.’ I go, ‘That’s who we are!’ To be successful, I want to be who I am. I don’t want to put myself in a box that matches all these other artists. Because then what? Who am I? So I love breaking stereotypes. And I love doing unexpected things.  

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