Prince Royce, Funkmaster Flex, Selenis Leyva & Dr. Manny Villafaña
Make Up the 20th Class of the Bronx Walk of Fame
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. was joined by hundreds of proud Bronxites and Bronxites-at-heart today for the official kick-off of “Bronx Week 2017” at The Bronx County Building’s Veterans’ Memorial Hall.
During the celebration, Borough President Diaz announced that Prince Royce, Funkmaster Flex, Selenis Leyva and Dr. Manny Villafaña would be honored as the newest members of the Bronx Walk of Fame, which is also celebrating its 20th year.
“Bronx Week is a celebration of everything that makes our borough such an amazing place, and nothing is more important to that celebration than the people who are proud to call The Bronx their home,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Every year, we are proud to welcome back the sons and daughters of The Bronx to celebrate their accomplishments and induct them to the Bronx Walk of Fame. This year we have four amazing honorees, and I am thrilled to join the people of The Bronx in congratulating them on this tremendous honor.”
“This is the time of year when the entire borough comes together to exhibit pride and show the rest of the world what a great place The Bronx truly is. We give our honorees a big hometown welcome as we celebrate their accomplishments!” says Olga Luz Tirado, executive director of The Bronx Tourism Council.
Since releasing his triple-platinum self-titled debut album in 2010, Bronx-born singer and songwriter Prince Royce has become a bona fide Latin music superstar by bringing a mix of Bachata music and contemporary R&B to the Spanish-speaking world. He has scored fifteen No. 1 hits collectively on Latin radio charts, won 22 Latin Billboard Awards, 19 Premio Lo Nuestro Awards (Univision), 19 Juventud Awards and nine Latin Grammy nominations. His current hit single Déjà vu, a duet with Shakira, is his fifteenth #1 on Billboard’s Tropical Songs chart and has ranked him at number three among artists that have garnered the most number ones in the history of this chart, earning him a new record as the fastest artist to achieve this milestone.
Funkmaster Flex is one of hip-hop’s most recognizable DJs and a legend in the industry. In 1992, as the genre was enjoying a resurgence in popularity, he launched the first-ever hip hop radio show on New York City’s HOT97 radio station. Today, Funkmaster Flex’s show is so influential that you are said to have made it in the hip-hop world when he plays one of your tracks. In addition to his radio career he has released numerous mixtapes and has worked with the likes of 50 Cent, Fat Joe, Remy Ma, Ja Rule, Mary J. Blige, LL Cool J and more.
Born and raised in The Bronx, New York, Selenis Leyva is a proud Latina of Cuban and Dominican descent and a world-renowned actress. She is earning critical praise as one of the breakout stars of the Netflix hit series “Orange Is the New Black”, which recently won its third consecutive Screen Actors Guild Award for “Best Ensemble Cast in a Comedy Series.” Leyva will reprise her role as series regular (and fan favorite!) Gloria Mendoza when the hit series returns for a fifth season on June 9th. In addition to Orange, Selenis will star as Peter Parkers teacher Ms. Warren in the blockbuster franchise film “SPIDERMAN HOMECOMING,” premiering in July.
Manny Villafaña, PhD, was born and raised in the South Bronx and is a graduate of Cardinal Hayes High School. As a young professional, he began his career in medical devices in the 1960’s as a salesman, and has since launched seven public companies. He has been granted multiple pacemaker, heart valve and stent patents that have completely transformed the industry of cardiac surgery. Dr. Villafaña’s innovative designs have saved and enhanced countless lives and have earned him the nickname “Cardiac Kahuna.” He is also globally recognized as a “Living Legend of Medicine,” a title awarded to him in 2006 by the World Society of Cardio Thoracic Surgeons.
In addition, the event served as the official unveiling of the newly restored historic murals depicting key moments in Bronx history that hang on the wall of Veterans’ Memorial Hall.
“These murals depict important events in the history of The Bronx, and they’ve never looked better than they do today,” said Borough President Diaz. “I am especially grateful to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services for their wonderful work they did to make these repairs.”
The celebration featured music by “Everything Covered” and samples of some of the best food and drink The Bronx has to offer, including the Bronx Brewery, Kingsbridge Social Club, Port Morris Distillery, Gino’s Pastry Shoppe, Bronx Drafthouse, Woops!, Chelsea Craft Brewing Company, Delicioso Coco Helado and Made in Puerto Rico.
Bronxnet hosted a video booth asking attendees to record a brief video answering “Why I Love The Bronx,” and the entire event was streamed live by The Blox TV. The Bronx County Historical Society was also be on hand to educate attendees about borough history and the newly restored murals.
Now in its 46th year, Bronx Week is the annual celebration of everything that makes The Bronx a great place to live, work and raise a family.
For more information about Bronx Week 2017, visit www.ilovethebronx.com.