Photo: The Black Eyed Peas' Jaime Gomez
The Black Eyed Peas’ Jaime Gomez, known as Taboo, is the 2012 recipient of the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s Outstanding Advocate for the Latino Community Impact Award.
“For many years people thought I was Asian, others thought I was the Filipino of the Black Eyed Peas,” Gomez told Efe.
“And now it’s like I’ve taken a step forward and have my own community embracing me and telling me, hey! we’re happy about all the hits you’ve had with the group but now we want to see you do the same for yourself - and we’re here to support you, to embrace you, you’re one of us,” he said.
Born on July 14, 1975, in Boyle Heights, California, Jaime Luis Gomez is the son of the Mexican Jimmy Gomez and Aurora Sifuentes, a member of the Shoshone people.
He studied at East Los Angeles public schools, graduating from Rosemead High in 1993.
For the last 15 years, NHMC has thrown a gala dinner to present its Impact Awards in honor of outstanding Hispanics and people of other ethnicities who work to the benefit of Latinos.
“Taboo is not only a sensational musician but also a tireless defender of the Latino community,” Alex Nogales, president and executive director of NHMC, told Efe.
“He has used his platform as a popular artist to raise awareness about the hard times Hispanics face and to increase respect for Latinos’ human rights across the United States,” Nogales said.
Other artists besides Gomez who will receive Impact Awards during the Friday night gala at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills include “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan, actors Michelle Rodriguez, Aubrey Plaza, Efren Ramirez and Benjamin Bratt, as well as film director Chris Weitz.
“I only know about being creative and feeling something for people as a social being, never as a political person,” Gomez said at his studio in Altadena, California.
“When I create something, when I create a song, for me it’s all due to inspiration, it’s to express something I feel,” said the artist, who in 2010 after the SB 1070 law was passed in Arizona wrote a protest song in support of the state’s mostly Hispanic undocumented immigrants entitled: “One Heart One Beat.”
Gomez said that the Black Eyed Peas are currently on vacation and each member is devoting time to individual projects.
“Little by little I’m building bridges to the Latino community,” said Gomez, who is in the midst of recording his first solo album.
“And I’m feeling really accepted and really being taken seriously as an artist outside the Black Eyed Peas,” the singer, composer and arranger said.