Gloria and Emilio Estefan received a special tribute and award, presented by Pitbull, at the 30th annual Premio Lo Nuestro. Here's the moving speech they gave.

By Lena Hansen
February 23, 2018 12:22 PM

Gloria Estefan and Emilio Estefan received a special tribute at the Premio Lo Nuestro in Miami last night. The Grammy-winning Cuban power couple was honored with PLN’s Excellence Award during the televised music award show, which aired on Univision. The tribute included a video collage of their Miami Sound Machine days and special greetings from Shakira, Quincy Jones and Andy Garcia. Bachata singer Leslie Grace, Italian trio Il Volo and salsa crooner Victor Manuelle sang some of Gloria’s hit songs, including “Mi Tierra” and “Rhythm is Gonna Get You,” which brought the crowd, including the famous duo, to their feet to dance.

In an emotional speech that left the singer, 60, and the producer, 64, teary-eyed, fellow Cuban American star and Miami resident Pitbull thanked the Estefans for being role models. “Back there they were telling me that they wrote me something to say to Gloria and Emilio,” the rapper said. “But I’m here to speak from the heart so I looked up and I asked: ‘Celia, please help me. Queen please help me’,” he said referring to the late Salsa legend Celia Cruz, whom he asked for inspiration to find the right words.

Credit: (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images)

“And the Queen said: ‘Azúcar!‘ (“Sugar,” Cruz’s iconic saying) and I told the Queen: ‘Dale, I’m going’,” Pitbull said over a cheering crowd. “I want to thank you for all the doors you opened for all Latinos all over the world, for the Cuban community and culture, for people from Miami that come from nothing and get ahead by giving it their all. I have lived in many neighborhoods in Miami, bad and good. One of them was Wynwood, and there my window was broken and the mosquitoes and flies and lizards didn’t come inside because I had a poster of Gloria Estefan. So I want to tell you both thank you, thank you, and thank you again. And like Celia said: ‘Tell the princess and the godfather ¿Qué volá? [What’s up?],” he concluded.

After giving Pitbull a hug, the Estefans accepted the trophy with a affecting speech. “This Premio Lo Nuestro means a lot to me because I feel that I’m part of you, that I’m a part of each of the Latin countries that make up this great United States and make our country stronger, more beautiful and with more flavor,” Gloria said, continuing: “I want to dedicate this to my mother, whom I lost on June 13, for [keeping] my culture alive in me and for telling me that strength comes from preserving your roots and who you are. I also dedicate this to my children and my grandson, who still feel Latinos even though they were born here.” Emilio added: “Now more than ever we are proud of being Latino and I dedicate this award to my country, Cuba, may it one day be free.”