Episode 017: “The Republic of Hugo Balta” with Hugo Balta (ñ.pe)
This week’s micro-doc features Hugo Balta, the Senior Director of Multicultural content at ESPN, immediate past President of the National Association for Hispanic Journalists and the Chair of the Journalism Track at Hispanicize 2015. Balta is Peruvian-American and an ñ whose parents immigrated to the United States from Peru in their early twenties. Most recently, Balta spoke to Oscar De La Hoya, about the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. De La Hoya has actually fought both Mayweather and Pacquiao, and could offer an interesting bi-cultural take on these two boxers. His experience as a Mexican ñ naturally came out speaking with ESPN interviewer and fellow Latino, and who is also perhaps an ñ as well. We have seen this cross-cultural perspective over and over in our interviews. Balta and De La Hoya’s stories are those we want reiterate. The pride they both feel for being American and also from Peru or Mexico respectively, is what being an ñ is all about. Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
Hugo: Hola mi nombre es Hugo Belta. I am the senior director of multicultural content at ESPN. I am also the immediate past president of the National Association of Hispanic Journalist and I am the chair at the Journalism track at Hispanic Eyes 2015. I am an ñ. Both my parents are from Peru. I am a Peruvian American born in Patterson, New Jersey. Looking back it’s magical because you go from your whole experience being one language, English dominant and then you go into another country that everyone looks like you, everyone speaking a different language, Spanish and you kind of feel special. You feel special because you have the ability to, where you came from the United States, to communicate, engage and participate in English and then you go to Peru and you can do the same in a different language. Most recently we spoke to Oscar de la Hoya about the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, a fight of major interest and, uniquely, Oscar de la Hoya has fought both. So we took the opportunity of saying we will interview him because we have an interest in talking to him much more than just the fight which a lot of different analyst and former boxers are doing in English and Spanish, our interest in talking to him was also about his bi-culturalism.
Oscar: You know what, I was born here I am proud of it being US citizen and this great country that gave me everything, you know but at the same time I am so proud of my Mexican roots and my heritage and just being proud of where you are from because you might be helping somebody else that’s in that same position that you are.
Hugo: Being in an environment where he was talking to another Latino who was not just interested in the Xs and Os of the upcoming fight but more about him and who he is as a person and sharing his experience that naturally came out and I firmly believe that it would not have come out if it was not for speaking to someone like himself a member of the bi-cultural community, perhaps an ñ but also being able to have time to talk more about not just the headline but more about himself. My mother was 19 years old when she came to this country. My father was 22 years old. They were kids, they didn’t understand the language I can’t imagine what it was like where they came from, that need and that type of courage and that has always been a fuel of inspiration in the work that I do professionally, in the work that I do as a volunteer and the sense of responsibility that I feel not just with my Peruvian community but with Latinos overall. They are asking me where I am from as if I am not from the United States. I am from the republic of Hugo Balta and certainly only other ñ’s can understand that experience.
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