10/02/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT
We Latins not only make great music," proclaimed cohost Jimmy Smits at the Latin Grammy Awards on Sept. 13 in L.A., "we look good doing it!" Looking good—and celebrating—were as much a part of the ceremony as the awards themselves, which honored 40 categories of Spanish-language artists. "I am very proud and happy for my people," exulted Colombian songstress Shakira
, who took home two awards. A gleeful Celia Cruz put it even more succinctly upon winning for best salsa performance: "¡Azúcar!" (Loosely translated: Sweet!)
Indeed, non-Spanish speakers may have felt a little lost during the inaugural awards show, much of which was en español
. Still, the show's Latin pride needed no translation. "This evening," declared percussionist Sheila E., "has been a long time coming."