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Meet the man who founded the Latin Music Awards in Kentucky

For the past five years, Israel Cuenca has highlighted Latin American artists who live in Kentucky by honoring them with the Latin Music Awards.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — You can call Israel Cuenca the man behind the music. 

For the past five years, he's highlighted Latin American artists who live in Kentucky by honoring them with an awards show -- the Latin Music Awards.  

The awards show happens the day after Hispanic History Month kicks off. Hispanic History Month honors some of the diversity that is present within the Louisville community, and it runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

“It's been five years and it's continuing to grow from where we started with I think nine categories. Now we have 16," Cuenca said. "We started with a few artists, now we have more than 60 artists now nominated. We started with maybe 300 or 400 and now we are at almost 1,000 people, so it's continued growing.”

When you attend the awards show, Cuenca said you can expect a red carpet and more than 10 artists performing live.  

“We have the business community, the cultural community and different schools like the University of Louisville and Bellarmine University," he said. "We have Jefferson Community College as well. We are going to have representatives from those institutions celebrating diversity and culture. We are bringing Frankie Ruiz Jr, a well known star in the Southside of the world.”  

This awards show highlights diversity within the culture. 

“We have artists from literally almost every single country in Central and Latin America," Cuenca said. "There is more than 20 countries in Central America, in Latin America, there's almost 700 million people from Mexico to Argentina. They are from Brazil, Ecuador, Cuba, Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Puerto Rico. I mean, literally from almost every single country in Latin America.”

But it's not just about the awards. They're giving hope to students who want to further their education. 

Cuenca said they are offering 12 partial scholarships to 12 Latino students in the community from University of Louisville and Baylor University.

"For two years, you can go to a community college," Cuenca said. "It's about the music, it's about community, it's about outreach, it's about the scholarship, it's about education, it's about bringing community together and supporting each other."

The Latin Music Awards Kentucky will be held on Saturday, Sept. 16 at Bourbon Hall on Jefferson Street and its free. 

The red carpet starts at 7 p.m., and the awards show starts at 8 p.m.

►Contact WHAS11’s Sherlene Shanklin at sshanklin@whas11.com or follow her on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.

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