A Bushwick performing arts teacher was awarded $25,000 for her work supporting the Hispanic community as part of Chester Cheetah and Puerto Rican artist Bad Bunny’s “Deja tu Huella” (Leave Your Mark) campaign.
“It feels so amazing, I can’t begin to say how much. It’s like a dream really,” said Brizzo Torres, the Brooklyn teacher who received the prize money. “The amount of love from the community and just even letting our students know – like, you should have seen their faces, they were freaking out.”
Cheetos and Bad Bunny’s Good Bunny Foundation have partnered together for the third year in a row calling on his fans to “leave their mark on all they do.” But this year was the first year they awarded $25,000 each to 20 Latinx men and women across the United States and Puerto Rico for their efforts to better their communities.
“I am proud to partner with Cheetos for a third year. Cheetos is known to celebrate all forms of self-expression, and, each year, we’ve been able to support people out there leaving their mark,” said Bad Bunny, born Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, in a statement.
Participants were invited to post videos on TikTok from July 18 to Aug. 19 using the hashtag #DejatoHuellaFund to share how they would better their communities using the award money — whether that be through music, art, fashion or however else they knew how.
Torres was one of three New Yorkers selected for the award and, in addition to the $25,000 prize, she was invited to attend Billboard’s Latin Music Week.
“I felt like a Bad Bunny queen. We were actually celebrated on the ‘Deja Tu Huella’ panel which was incredible,” Torres said. “It was such a great time but also very educational, so I was taking a lot of notes.”
Latin Music Week is “the largest Latin music industry gathering in the world,” Torres said.
“Because we are artists ourselves, we wanted to share this knowledge with our students and our artists so we’re also working on our little takeaway seminar for that as well,” she told Brooklyn Paper. “It was such an amazing experience. It really was.”
Torres and her organization, the Good Good Collective, offer free performing arts education for children in underserved communities in Bushwick, where she has been for 10 years, and other parts of New York City as well as her hometown in San Antonio, Texas and Mexico — serving 250 children this year alone.
“This year we worked with P.S. 68 in Queens. We came through when the music program got caught during the pandemic,” Torres said, “and also in Tulum, Mexico, where we created an amazing, amazing music theater program, where they were learning three times a week, we have really great musical performance, as well as a new student in Bushwick and in San Antonio. It’s been really impactful year for sure.”
She teaches her students dance, theatre and music which she says build up their confidence — especially in the Big Apple where there is so much performing arts influence.
“I’ve always been super about giving to the community in Bushwick because that’s my home. It’s like I had a higher calling and I needed to hold myself a little bit more accountable. I was like, ‘Hey, what am I doing for the gente?’” Torres said. “That’s why I decided to go full time with the Good Good Collective and take the high-quality performing arts education to them. Mind you, I’ve taken kids to Broadway hits like ‘School of Rock’ so I want that for our kids and I want it to be free.”
In her contest submission, Torres said the $25,000 would afford her organization more sustainability as some of the award money would go toward applying to become a 501(c)(3) organization as well as creating more programs and finding a permanent physical space for students to have classes, performances, instruments, learning materials and new technology.
“Number one, we are going to get our [nonprofit] certification. We know that more opportunities will come for donors and also for grants. We want to be sustainable so that’s our first mission,” Torres said. “Our second mission is to create more programs for these kids here in Bushwick, in Mexico as well as San Antonio, and to give them the proper education so that way we can also create space for them to take it to stage and to have events where they are celebrated and highlighted and have a space to show their talent and what they’ve been working on this whole time.”
The Deja Tu Huella campaign launched in May when Cheeto’s new television commercial, “Magic Touch,” debuted during the 2022 Billboard Music Awards. The commercial features music from Bad Bunny’s newest album “Un Verano Sin Ti” – which translates to “A Summer Without You” – and displays the “magic touch the Hispanic community possesses to transform the world around them,” according to campaign organizers.
Bad Bunny says the cheesy snack company has been at the forefront of expanding the Latin American community’s presence in the United States through music, collaboration and, of course, their joint campaign.
“From expanding the Latin Music category at the American Music Awards in 2020 to collaborating with Adidas for an exclusive fashion line in 2021, and now the Deja tu Huella Fund this year, Cheetos has shown its commitment to a community that has impacted and continues to impact my life tremendously,” he said.