Top names to play pre-election US-Mexico border concert

Shaun Tandon

New York (AFP) - Top names in Latin music will perform next week at the US-Mexico border to send a message in support of diversity before the racially charged US presidential election in November.

Leading Spanish-language US network Univision on Wednesday announced that the "RiseUp As One" concert will take place on October 15 at the Cross Border XPress, the walkway that connects San Diego and Tijuana's airport.

Artists to play the live-broadcast concert include Colombian superstar Juanes, leading Mexican pop singers Natalia Lafourcade and Julieta Venegas, Spanish pop star Alejandro Sanz and veteran Colombian performer Carlos Vives.

The lineup will also include rising US soul singer Andra Day, a protegee of Stevie Wonder who is from San Diego.

The concert will not be overtly partisan but comes shortly before the November 8 presidential election, in which Republican candidate Donald Trump has railed against immigration.

Trump has vowed to build a wall along the US-Mexican border and launched his campaign by describing undocumented Mexican immigrants in the United States as rapists.

"The US-Mexico border provides the perfect stage for this amazing event and is a way to highlight diversity and inclusion, despite borders," said Camila Jimenez Villa, co-president and chief content officer of the Fusion Media Group, Univision's English-language division aimed at millennials.

The concert "will celebrate, through the power of music, the connectedness of our world and the positivity that occurs when we show empathy, respect and openness to one another," she said in a statement.

The concert will also feature appearances by acclaimed Mexican director Gael Garcia Bernal, whose films include the border-straddling "Babel," as well as prominent actors of Latin origin on US television including Mia Maestro and Wilmer Valderrama.

- 'Love in the face of fear' -

Univision, which earlier announced the concert without giving details on location or performers, said it would broadcast live starting at 4 pm California time (2300 GMT), with Fusion airing it simultaneously in English.

The concert has a board of prominent cultural figures serving as co-chairs including fashion designer Kenneth Cole, basketball player Jason Collins, actor Samuel L. Jackson, legendary music producer Quincy Jones and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of Broadway sensation "Hamilton."

In a video to announce the concert, Miranda said that "we are all from the same human family" before the creation of divisions and "borders and walls."

"Now some are trying to divide us further using hate, prejudice and fear," said Miranda, a New Yorker of Puerto Rican descent.

"What if we celebrated love in the face of fear?" Miranda asked, saying the concert "will build a bridge across a border and we will be as one."

The concert's hosts will be Univision's signature anchor Jorge Ramos and television star Alejandra Espinoza.

Univision has become a major player in the US media due to the clout of the Hispanic community, which accounts for 17 percent of the country.

In 2015, Univision had a higher total viewership than any advertising-backed US network except the big four of CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox.

Other performers announced for the concert include Miguel Bose, Luis Coronel, Lila Downs, Jorge Drexler, Fonseca, Jesse & Joy, Lupillo Rivera and ensemble Los Tigres del Norte.