Jimmy Humilde, founder of the Los Angeles.-based Humilde Records, took to the Forum stage Saturday night (Aug. 24) for the S.M.O. y Los Reyes Del Corrido concert and lit up what appeared to be a joint as a protest to President Donald Trump and a sign of solidarity to recording artist Ramon Ruiz of band Legado 7.
Ruiz was recently detained by ICE and unable to be part of the concert in Inglewood, Calif. "You guys don't know what the hell [Ruiz] is going through. He was just picked up by immigration," Humilde declared. "I want everybody to put your middle fingers up in the air like this. I want this middle finger to represent every single motherf—ing Mexican American in this motherf—er. F— Donald Trump."
At press time, a label publicist was unable to provide further information on the reasons behind Ruiz's detainment.
Fans hollered and whistled in support, and smoked marijuana throughout the five-hour show which ended at about 1 a.m., and resulted in penalties for going past curfew, according to a spokesperson for Humilde Records. The S.M.O. y Los Reyes Del Corrido show kept more than 6,000 audience members wanting more as the new generation acts of regional Mexican music each took turns on the stage, including Fuerza Regida, Legado 7, Arsenal Efectivo, El De La Guitarra and Junior.
Because of the number of acts on the roster, "we started a little behind schedule," said a spokesperson. The showcase also included Hijos de Garcia, Pancho Barraza, Enigma Norteño, Regulo Caro and Adriel Favela, among others. Here are some other highlights of the show:
Corridos for all: The urban regional Mexican label founded by Humilde and partners Roque Venegas and Jose Becerra has reached a new generation of corridos fans, including second and third generation Mexican Americans in the U.S. Carlos Sotelo, 25, of Paramount, Calif., took his girlfriend Jessika Quintero, 24, of East L.A. and had a blast, they said. "We don't smoke," Sotelo says, "but that didn't stop us from coming to the show. The music was awesome and it's important for people to know that one of the biggest messages from these shows is that no matter who you are or where you come from, you can achieve your dreams. That inspires me all the time. It's not just about smoking, drinking."
A Legado 7 moment: Ruiz, who co-founded Legado 7, was notably absent since he was detained by ICE, but that didn't stop members of the band from performing, paying homage to their bandmate and spreading the #FreeRamon message.
Paper trails: Some fans interviewed at the concert said that attending concerts in a new era of politics is a challenge, especially when the government is sending a message that if you don't have the proper documents, you will be deported. The night's music and performances were celebrated, but still, the overarching message from Humilde is to unite and stay stronger than ever. The Humilde Records founder, known for taking the stage between acts to speak to audiences, took to the stage to light up.
New day: Even when the lights came up approaching the 1 a.m. hour, fans were still chanting for more. Humilde had to get on a microphone and encourage everyone to go home. A spokesperson for Humilde said the show ran over by 45 minutes. Fans remarked that the hours-long show was worth attending as they left with merchandise, from caps to T-shirts and hoodies of their favorite artists, selling for $40 and up.
Humilde means humble: Jeffrey Quevedo, 30, of South Central, said that he's washed cars for Humilde and other employees of the label and did not want to miss out on one of the biggest concerts of the year. "Jimmy does a lot of for community, but he doesn't necessarily have to announce it," said Quevedo, who had just bought a beer after waiting in a line of about 40 people. "I have done a lot of work for major celebrities and big executives and Jimmy and his team will do things like offer me something to eat or drink as I'm working, and those are the kinds of things that can make a difference in such a positive way."