Wednesday, September 28

Bad Bunny criticizes the “plunder” of Puerto Rico in a political video clip-report

To consider that an artist is committed to social causes, it is not necessary that all his work explicitly deal with politics. And when you’re at the musical top it’s not always an easy task to do it. But Bad Bunny shows that there are things that go beyond that. One can take advantage of his position to serve as a speaker for others. Through the video clip uploaded to his channel of the song The blackout, Benito Martínez Ocasio positions himself once again against the injustices that are being experienced in his country. He does it through a report by the independent journalist Bianca Graulau with the title of People live here. It is currently in platform trends and already has more than five million visits.

Bad Bunny is the artist we deserved thanks to reggaeton and not in spite of it

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The video clip uploaded to his YouTube channel last Friday, lasting more than 20 minutes, begins with the song from the album A summer without you He soon clarifies his intentions in a more explicit way and gives meaning to the very title of the song: before the first minute he shows the news of the electrical blackouts that are taking place on the Caribbean island.

Following the report, the culprits of the energy shortage are the private US company LUMA Energy and the Puerto Rican government. In 2021, the current governor, Pedro Pierluisi, privatized the electricity service in favor of the company. He did it under the argument of development and recovery, since in 2017 the Hurricane Maria disaster had devastated almost the entire country’s electrical network. Now there is a worse energy supply, blackouts abound for more than 20 hours and the price of electricity bills has increased up to seven times in the last year. “The blackouts translate into students doing their homework in the dark or even people who cannot connect their medical equipment at home,” they denounce in the report.

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States; it is a Commonwealth with self-governing status. It is considered the oldest colony in the world, due to the influence and power of the United States over the archipelago since Spain ceded it in 1898. That is, the final sovereignty rests with the North American country. Thus, there are laws that benefit American companies.

In the documentary, the journalist points to Law 22, “the Law to Encourage the Transfer of Individual Investors to Puerto Rico,” which, in practice, allows foreigners not to pay certain taxes when they move to the island.

The report shows how for a few years tourism to Puerto Rico has also been promoted by the media powers of the United States. Which, they denounce, has resulted in the privatization of resources and public goods, such as electricity, public housing, schools or even beaches.

“I was paying $230 a month to rent my house. Now they pay $150 per night from Airbnb,” denounces a Puerto Rican woman who has lost her home to public order after the sale of properties. “They kick us out of our houses to benefit from our own land,” criticizes another evicted woman. “I don’t want to leave here / I don’t want to leave here / Let them go”, denounces Don Benito in the song.

In the report they also speak with the accused party. Although they warn that many requests for interviews have been rejected, such as that of the current governor Pierluisi. The President of the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico, Rafael Hernández, offers the institutional version. According to the journalist, Hernández has received economic donations from US companies thanks to Law 22. Although he considers that US companies have brought “development” to areas of the archipelago, he assumes that in “certain areas” it can be seen “as if the The government is taking away resources” from the inhabitants. “It mortifies me that they treat us as ignorant, or as criminals, when it is the companies that break the law,” denounces in the report a cleaner in the areas where private residences have been built in the Dorado Beach area.

All this situation has had its answer. In the face of the “colonial plundering of the territory”, many Puerto Ricans have fought in defense of their land. After several demonstrations against the construction of a new residential area in front of the Rincón beaches —with police actions included— the case went to court and the construction was declared illegal and the demolition of the work was decreed. Neither the responsible company nor the Government did. The protesters were the ones who brought it down. “This is my beach / This is my sun / This is my land / This is me”, concludes with the lyrics of the Grammy winner for best urban music album of 2022 in the report.

It is not the first time that the artist positions himself

This is not the first time that Bad Bunny has taken sides in a social struggle. He already did it in 2019, allowing himself to be seen in the protests against the then governor, Ricky Roselló, whose chats with sexist and homophobic comments were revealed. Those protests were led by other musicians of the stature of Daddy Yankee or Residente.

But it is not only limited to messages due to an immediate problem. He wanted to change the musical structure. Although other artists labeled in reggaeton or urban music are criticized for reproducing sexist prejudices, the objectification of women or homophobia, ‘the bad rabbit’ shows contrary political messages.

Although there are those who even brand him as macho for the song MINE with Drake, in Just of me, he positions himself precisely against that toxic possessiveness that had been criticized in the previous song. “I am not yours or anyone else’s, I am only my own”, sings the Puerto Rican accompanied by a video clip against male chauvinist abuse.

It has also positioned itself against homophobia and gender roles. He has been one of the first artists of the Latin genre to deconstruct aesthetics, such as the fact that only women can wear dresses or paint their nails. About this, the video clip of I dog alone. when he released the album YHLQMDLG, He went out to present it with a shirt that read: “They killed Alexa, not a man in a skirt”, due to the murder of a trans girl in Puerto Rico for having used the women’s bathroom.

If Bad Bunny continues to lead the music charts, his political slogans will also influence his listeners. It doesn’t take everything to be a denunciation song to make things change. Sometimes it’s worth changing the way you do things. And more and more people are becoming aware of injustice, be it gender, class or race oppression. And Benito himself knows it well, that in The blackout expresses: “Be careful with my corillo, we are a lot”.

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