Opinion: Bad Bunny’s politically charged reggaeton is making waves

Last Friday, Bad Bunny released a new video for the song at a time when his home island was under threat from Category 1 Hurricane Fiona, which arrived Sunday morning, causing a general blackout, and disrupting the running water service for More than 700,000 people Leaving tens of inches of rain in some areas.

The video uses the constant power outages that have plagued the island as a metaphor for the deteriorating quality of life in Puerto Rico, a problem many activists feel is the result of government policies for privatization, budget austerity, that reduce funding for public agencies and institutions, and the incentivization of those seeking tax evasion to Set up shop on the island without contributing to the tax base. It was a sharp expression of pride, and it also featured a nearly 17-minute report from freelance Puerto Rican journalist Bianca Graulau about anti-gentrification and environmental activism in Puerto Rico.

Fiona was hit nearly five years into 2017 by the deadly and devastating Category 4 Hurricane Maria. That storm caused extensive structural damage and left many residents without electricity or water for up to a year. Now, while power has already been restored in some parts of San Juan and the metropolitan area, Mayor of Lagasin the hard-hit southwestern sector of the island, he estimated that it would take up to three months to restore electricity to the residents of that city.
Recovery from Hurricane Maria, the sluggish response of the administration of former President Donald Trump, earthquakes in the southern part in 2020, the economic woes from the 2015 bankruptcy, ongoing government scandals, and the fiscal austerity required by the Congress-mandated Financial Oversight and Administration Board. Charting a bleak future for Puerto Rican youth. Members of all generations immigrate to the United States in record numbers, such as The island lost nearly 12% of its population In the past ten years.
And Bad Bunny isn’t shy about these harsh facts. He, whose songs are sung entirely in Spanish, catapulted to almost unimaginable stardom, taking first place in the Bloomberg’s Pop Star Power Ratings For most of 2022. On Tuesday, it was revealed Bad Bunny gets the most nominations for this year’s Latin Grammy Awards, with 10 nominations, including Album of the Year. His music combines various genres of Afro-Caribbean music (most notably reggaeton and Latin trap) with a performative flair that favors the open expression of alternative sexuality. He’s often cross-dressed in his videos, and recent concerts show him gay candid dancers joining him for center stage.
Bad Bunny leads nominations for Latin Grammys

However, in an almost unprecedented way, Bad Bunny used a platform based on the perfect sun-kissed aesthetic, fun, graphic sexual lyrics, and sensual dance to become one of Puerto Rico’s loudest political voices. His commitment to activism, something also evident in his continued outspokenness during his concert tour this summer against LUMA, the US-Canada-based consortium that took on electric power transmission and distribution in Puerto Rico in 2021, began with his appearance in the 2019 protests against former governor Ricardo Rossello and continues to intensify.

“We have a government that spoils our lives.” Announced at a concert in late July in San Juan. “Loma, go to hell! It’s our country, and we are the ones who should take charge. I believe in this generation, and I want to stay and live here in Puerto Rico with you!”
Early in the “El Apagón” video, freelance journalist Bianca Graulau appeared, explaining that although LUMA promised its service would be better than the government-run Electricity Authority, the blackouts were lasting longer and residents had to put up with Seven consecutive price increases on their bills while LUMA executives Earn large amounts of money. Puerto Ricans are tired, the video confirms, and in fact there have been a series of Demonstrations in late August To demand the cancellation of the LUMA contract that appeared to have similar capacity to that in 2019.
Bad Bunny performs on stage at the FTX Arena on April 1, 2022 in Miami, Florida.
“El Apagón” is a song that suddenly morphs from a Puerto Rican bomba-like beat into electronic house music, as Bad Bunny proclaims his pride in being both Puerto Rican and “Latino”, collecting portraits of Puerto Rican national leader Pedro Albizu Camposand rapper Tego Calderon, salsa singer Ismail Rivera and former NBA star JJ Parilla. But he leaves center stage in the video after an extended break from a ballroom dance party filmed in an abandoned railroad tunnel in western Puerto Rico, and Graulau is back for the 17-minute continual addition.
Graulau interviewed several people who had been forced from their homes in the Puerta de Tierra neighborhood on the outskirts of colonial San Juan due to property speculation. this is Earth rush Partially inspired by Laws 20 and 22which allows wealthy American citizens from one of the 50 states to reside in Puerto Rico and avoid taxes on things like stocks, cryptocurrency, and real estate.
This has resulted in investors turning apartments into luxury condominiums or expensive vacation rentals and displacing residents for decades. Graulau also travels to the affluent enclave of Dorado, west of San Juan, to show how difficult it is for locals to reach a seashore controlled by wealthy landlords, violating a local. long term law Which ensure public access to all beaches.
Devastating Hurricane Fiona reaches Category 4 as it moves north, leaving disaster-stricken areas on a slow path to recovery

The stories Grolau presents in her report, “Aquí vive gente (People Live Here)”, are not often portrayed in mainstream US media – her interview with Rafael “Tateto” Hernandez, Speaker of the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico, in particular, implied. that he was an advocate of a strategy to attract transplants under Law 22. It documented that Law 22 recipients donated a total of $240,000 to Hernandez’s campaigns. José Luis Dalmão, President of the Senate of Puerto Rico; and Pedro Pierluisi, Governor.

Hernandez chirp A Saturday morning clip from his interview with Graulau said, “Bad Bunny tells other Bad Bunnies that their ears are long. Just for the record, Bad Bunny and his successful team receive the same contributing benefits from the P FKN R government that they slam from the 20/22 Rules.” Pierluisi declined to be interviewed about the video and neither he nor Dalmau commented.

Using one of the most effective investigative journalism strategies–following the money–Graulau explains why Americans should take a closer look at the relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico. The problem of pay-to-play politics appears in most election campaigns and political reform movements, and the situation in Puerto Rico is no different.

In fact, it is even worse, due to the island’s colonial status, which hampers its ability to develop a self-sustaining economy. This situation is ultimately behind 72 billion dollars bankruptcywhich created the need for the Board of Directors of Financial Supervision and Management in 2016 in the first place.

Puerto Rico has a plethora of problems, with this latest setback, its recovery from the devastation of two hurricanes in five years, and the fallout from the debt crisis uncertain. What is certain is that Puerto Ricans have a very strong national pride, an energy that Bad Bunny has tapped into, allowing him in part to become a global folk figure despite stubbornly sticking to the peculiarities of Puerto Rican slang and the island’s problems, hopes and hopes. dreams.

Through artists like Bad Bunny, Puerto Ricans know how creative they are, that they deserve to live their lives without constant power cuts and that they want to stop being displaced and using them as a tax haven and real estate playground for the wealthy.

“I don’t want to leave here” are the closing words of “El Apagón”. “Leaves they he goes.”

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