Gloria Estefan is an iconic Cuban-American singer, songwriter, and actress who has made significant contributions to the music industry, global humanitarian causes, and the Cuban community. Born Gloria Maria Milagrosa Fajardo Garcia on September 1, 1957, in Havana, Cuba. Gloria grew up in Miami, Florida, after her family fled the communist regime of Fidel Castro.
Estefan’s career in music began in the late 1970s after she joined a group formed by her future husband Emilio Estefan, called the “Miami Sound Machine”. This group produced a unique sound consisting of Latin rhythms, pop, and dance music that eventually became known as the “Miami Sound.” As the Miami Sound Machine grew in popularity, Estefan's stage presence and inspiring lyrics continued to become more powerful, making her an instant hit among a diverse audience. Together the band went on to produce numerous hits, including “1-2-3,” “Conga,” and “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You,” ultimately helping Estefan earn the title of “Queen of Latin Pop.”
Gloria’s connection to Cuba has been an integral part of her music and identity. Throughout her career, she has been a vocal advocate for the rights of Cuban people. Her platform primarily focuses on issues of political oppression and censorship. In 1990, Estefan made history for Cuba after returning for the first time since her family’s exile. During her return, she performed in a concert that was broadcasted across Cuban television. The concert helped to raise awareness of the daily struggles of the Cuban people.
After realizing the difference Gloria could make with her platform, she began to get deeper in the fight for Cuban rights. In 1995, the Gloria Estefan Foundation was founded by Gloria and her husband. This foundation helped support charitable organizations that work one-on-one to improve the lives of Cuban people and promote cultural exchange between the United States and Cuba.
In addition to her contributions to the Cuban community, Gloria broadened her reach into global humanitarian contributions. Aside from her foundation that was dedicated to promoting education, health and cultural initiatives, she used her voice for several other issues. Some of the ways Gloria used her platform was to advocate for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Hurricane Relief Efforts, and Bongos Cuban Cafe over the years. In 2010, Estefan was appointed to the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities by President Barack Obama. In this role, she helped promote arts education and cultural diplomacy between Latin America and the United States. She continues to be a vocal advocate for Cuba and global humanitarian efforts.
Gloria Estefan is a musical icon whose contributions to both the music industry and global humanitarian efforts have been life changing. Her connection to the Cuban community as well as her advocacy for the people cannot be overstated. Overall, Gloria Estefan's impact on music and society will be celebrated for generations to come.
To learn about Proclaim Cuba's humanitarian work, visit our Medical Missions Outreach.