Hispanic stars wow inaugural gala
BY SUZANNE GAMBOA/The Associated Press
WASHINGTON January 18, 2009 — Latino entertainers Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony graced "la alfombra roja" — the red carpet — at Union Station to give a Hispanic flair to the inauguration pre-celebration Sunday.
They posed quickly for cameras with no visible signs of the marital distress that tabloids have been buzzing about recently. The two were to entertain the crowd at the end of the night.
Anthony traded a hug with Miami-born Wilmer Valderrama, star of "That '70s Show," as he swiftly moved off the carpet.
Valderrama actively promoted registration and voting among young Latinos during the presidential election.
"All of us performers, not until this election did we really understand what we could do," Valderrama said.
Though focus of the night was entertainment, the music quickly mixed with politics. Members of Congress filtered in and mixed in the VIP room with some of the stars.
Tony Plana, who plays Betty's father in the television series "Ugly Betty," said he was ecstatic about President-elect Barack Obama's victory. He said an Obama administration could improve the lives of all minorities.
But he also said Hispanics deserved a better spot on the inaugural festivities list.
"It's a concern this event tonight is not an official event of the administration. It's a little sad for me Latinos had to organize their own event," Plana said. He said he hoped it did not mean Hispanics would be relegated to a back seat. The event was organized by the National Council of La Raza and other Hispanic organizations.
"American Idol" runner up David Archuleta kicked off the night with "The Star-Spangled Banner" and he was quickly followed with music by War.
Other entertainers at the event included Mexican singer Lila Downs, comedian George Lopez, actress Rosie Perez, telenovela actress Angelica Vale and others.