LOS ÁNGELES.- Una calle de la ciudad de Los Ángeles fue nombrada en honor al fallecido cantante mexicano Vicente Fernández (1940-2021) durante las celebraciones que se llevaron a cabo la noche del viernes en California a propósito de la Independencia de México.
El concejal Kevin de León lideró el cambio de nombre de la calle, adyacente a la icónica Plaza del Mariachi del barrio Boyle Heights, un área eminentemente latina.
La antigua calle Bailey ahora se llama Vicente Fernández para honrar al ícono musical mexicano, quien falleció en diciembre pasado a los 81 años.
Fernández fue uno de los máximos exponentes de la música ranchera, con 55 años de carrera, alrededor de 100 álbumes y más de 75 millones de discos vendidos por todo el mundo, además de poseer una gran trayectoria cinematográfica.
Fue ganador en tres ocasiones del Grammy y desde 1988 tiene una estrella en el Paseo de la Fama de Hollywood, donde el pasado mes de diciembre sus admiradores dejaron muestras de cariño tras conocerse su fallecimiento.
Vicente Fernández, king of ranchera music, is honored with Boyle Heights street naming
On Mexican Independence Day, Boyle Heights honored “El Rey.”
Tricolored Mexican flags and festive green, white and red papel picado decorations adorned Mariachi Plaza, where a crowd of roughly 300 visitors was serenaded by live musicians and on loudspeakers.
Timeless favorites by the late ranchera king Vicente Fernández — including “Volver, Volver” and “Por Tu Maldito Amor” — echoed for blocks, until the countdown started, the crowd roared, a purple curtain dropped, and a stretch of Bailey Street bordering Mariachi Plaza was rechristened Vicente Fernández Street.
Fernández’s widow, Maria del Refugio Abarca Villaseñor, known as “Doña Cuquita,” traveled to Los Angeles from her home near Guadalajara to celebrate with the crowd.
“My husband would have been very proud and always loved his fans and the community of Los Angeles,” Villaseñor told reporters as she headed to the plaza. “My family is touched by this recognition.”
Los Angeles experienced an outpouring of grief when Fernández, known for his romantic rancheras and timeless folk anthems, died Dec. 12 at the age of 81.
Droves of fans — new generations joining veterans — connected with Fernández over the years, thanks in part to his unflinching nature. As Mexican artists began to sing in English to reach a wider audience, Fernández continued to belt out his romantic ballads in Spanish. The singer often embarked on grueling tours across North America, promising to play for his fans “as long as they would listen.”
A career that started on the streets of Guadalajara spawned more than 50 albums, two dozen films, three Grammy Awards and eight Latin Grammys. Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca, the largest stadium in the country, was the site of Fernández’s final live performance in 2016.
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Beyond the prizes, his legendary songs “La Ley Del Monte” and “El Rey” were the anthems and party-closing signals for countless immigrants and native-born and second-generation Latinos in Southern California.
“Look at my playlist: Vicente Fernández makes up 80% to 90% of my songs,” said Los Angeles mariachi Cesar Gutierrez, 51, a native of Fernández’s Guadalajara who played Friday at the plaza. “His music is full of emotion — love, sadness, joy and hope — he gave us all those things during his life.”
In the aftermath of his death, Los Angeles mourners flooded the sidewalk with candles and flowers around his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and gathered at Mariachi Plaza to grieve the loss of a superstar they called by his nickname, Chente.
“If you’re Mexican, Vicente Fernández was either on in your house, your neighbor’s house, on your tia’s radio or somewhere,” said Victor Lugo, 43, of Baldwin Park, who came to Mariachi Plaza on Friday to see the name change and celebrate the legacy of the man whose voice was always present at “countless parties.”
“My last memory of Chente was watching TV and hearing about his death,” Lugo said. “It’s nice to replace that.”
The path toward Friday’s ceremony began in January, when Los Angeles Councilman Kevin de León, whose Eastside district includes Boyle Heights, introduced a motion to rename Bailey Street after Fernández.
The motion met some unexpected turbulence when members of the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council objected; they were upset they had not been consulted and were disturbed by a recent groping allegation and a homophobic remark Fernandez had made.
Several members of the Boyle Heights community, however, argued in support of Fernández at a neighborhood council meeting Jan. 26. More than 30 members of the public spoke in favor of the renaming, with six opposed.
On Feb. 15, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted for the street naming.
BY ANDREW J. CAMPASTAFF WRITER