Willie Colón has fused his musical talent, his passion for humanity, and his community and political activism into an extraordinary, multifaceted career.
His achievements in all his activities are widely
recognized. As musician, composer, arranger, singer, trombonist, producer
and director, he has created 39 productions which have sold over 10 million
records worldwide. He has received 11 Grammy nominations, 15 gold and five platinum records. Willie holds a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award from the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences.
Mr. Colón has been a civil rights, community and
political activist since the age of 16. He has served as Chair of the
Association of Hispanic Arts, a member of the Latino Commission on AIDS and the
United Nations Immigrant Foundation, President of the Arthur Schomburg Coalition
for a Better New York, member of the Board of Directors of the Congressional
Hispanic Caucus Institute. In 1995, Mr. Colon became the first minority to serve on the prestigious American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) national board.
In 1999, Mr. Colón was part of the Jubilee 2000
Delegation to the Vatican along with Randolph Robinson of Trans Africa, Harvard
economist Jeffrey Sachs, Bono from U2 and Quincy Jones. This initiative
earned him an audience with Pope John Paul II who offered his endorsement. This effort contributed to President Clinton's forgiveness of a portion of third world countries debt to the U.S.
In 1991 Yale University awarded him the Chubb Fellowship,
a political recognition also granted to Presidents John F. Kennedy, Ronald
Reagan, and George Bush as well as leaders Moshe Dyan and Jesse Jackson. In 1996, Hispanic Business Magazine nominated him as one of the 100 Most Influential U.S. Hispanics.
Hartford's Trinity College awarded Mr. Colon The Art of
Courage doctorate in recognition of his contributions to using art for political
change. Lehman College conferred the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters on
Willie Colón in recognition of his compositions, poems and essays and the effect his work has had on millions of Latinos throughout the world.