How Bad Bunny made a point of raising social issues using his popularity

Benito Antonio Martinez Ocasio, better known by his stage name Bad bunny, is a 27 year old singer from Puerto Rico who has dominated the music business.

By posting his rap music on SoundCloud in 2016, bad Bunny started his career in Puerto Rico, His newfound fame soared quickly. While still a budding musician in 2017, he worked with Cardi B and Drake. Later that year, his debut album, X 100pre, was released, and the rest is history.

In 2020, 2021, and 2022, Bad Bunny rose to the top spot as Spotify’s most streamed artist. His 2022 World’s Hottest Tour concerts earned the second-highest revenue in the United States of all time, third-highest revenue in the country, and sixth-highest revenue in the history of a Latin artist’s tour. Un Verano Sin Ti, his most recent record, became the first album in Spanish to be nominated for record of the Year at the 2023 Grammy Awards. In order to confront the social conventions that are ingrained in the Latino community and to address political concerns that are detrimental to his own Puerto Rica, Bad Bunny used his music to achieve this degree of fame and recognition.

With a history of social and cultural activism, Martinez has fought against toxic masculinity in Latino society. Martinez promoted his album YHLQMDLG by making an appearance on THE Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon in the early months of 2020. He brought attention to Alexa Negron Luciano, a homeless transgender woman who was shot and died in Puerto Rico for using a women’s restroom by wearing a skirt, pink jacket, and a t-shirt that read, “They killed Alexa, not man in a skirt,” during his performance. His remarks had a significant impact on the Latino community because they addressed Negron Luciano’s misgendering in Spanish media reports as well as the problems with toxic masculinity and trans-phobia in Latin America in front of over a million live viewers.

I’ll take action that is within my power to combat violence against women. I shouldn’t have a feminist message in my speech. It’s a universal message, “Bad Bunny remarked in an interview given months after the performance, addressing gender-based violence in Puerto Rico and admitting his involvement in the LGBTQ+ community.”

Additionally, Martinez includes feminist songs like “Solo de Mi”, which raises awareness of domestic violence while also focusing on the female perspective and reclaiming power. In this “Yo Perreo Sola” music video, which opposes sexual assault and harassment of women, he performs in drag.

Martinez’s proud Puerto Rican background left traces in his songs to emphasize the island’s current state in addition to his support for gender and sexuality rights. Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, killing 3000 people, causing an estimated $94 billion in damages, and becoming the deadliest natural catastrophe to strike the United States in the previous 100 years.

The song “Estamos Bien” (We’re Good) from Martinez’s debut album, which he dedicated to the hurricane victims a year later, has since become the rallying cry for the community’s resiliency and camaraderie. The song is a reaction to the Trump administration’s underfunding and disregard for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which led to Puerto Ricans suffering from blackouts, a shortage of clean water, and issues with food distribution.

He launched his act with footage of Hurricane Maria’s strong winds and devastation before dedicating his 2018 broadcast debut performance to its victims on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. He reminded the American audience by saying, “A year later, many are still without electricity in their homes,” as he switched to English. Even after more than 3000 deaths, Trump maintains his denial. “Estamos Bien” encourages Puerto Rican to come together to improve their local neighbourhood because they are all focused on surviving in spite of the federal government’s abandonment.

More recently, in September 2022, Martinez used his artistic ability and platform to give the people of Puerto Rico a voice regarding the problems they encounter as a result of American government policy. Martinez, who grew up in public housing in Puerto Rico, prides himself on being a man of the people and draws in followers by addressing current local problems. His “El Apagon” (“The Blackout”) music video, from his 2022 “Un Verano Sin Ti” album, transforms into a documentary outlining the negative repercussions of government legislation.

For instance, Act 20 and Act 22 financial incentives for Americans moving to the island at the time the film was released contributed to Puerto Rico’s satisfaction by displacing natives and treating them as second-class citizens. A manifestation of modern colonialism is the island’s gentrification.

“El Apagon” starts off like a typical music video with drone footage of Puerto Rico and dancing locals, but is suddenly cut off by video of a poer grid explosion and journalist Bianca Graulau outlining the significant impact the on-going blowouts brought on by a private company, Luma Energy, that affect the locals. The four-minute dong ends, and the video changes to “Aqu Vive Gente” (English: “People Live Here”) an 18-minute documentary in which Graulau discusses political and socioeconomic topics while speaking with residents of the Tierra de Puerta low-income neighbourhood. The video also shows rallies against the illegal privatization of public beaches in Puerto Rica, which drives inhabitants out of their homes and out of their price range.

Act20and 22, which provides incentives for wealthy American from outside of Puerto Rico to move to the island and decrease their income tax to 0-4%, has increased the island’s attractiveness with investors. The laws encouraged developers to build upscale apartment buildings and holiday rentals in the public housing-serving low-income neighbourhoods. Influencers and crypto currency tycoons from the mainland are also moving to the island, such YouTube content producer Logan Paul, who acknowledged on his podcast in 2021 that the tax savings were the key factor in his decision to do there.

Bad Bunny is a significant character in the Latino community who offers them a voice in the music industry after Spanish singing artists began to dominate the English-dominated American charts. Martinez steadfastly refuses to record songs in English, refusing assimilation, as Latino singers like Marc Antony, Ricky Martin, and Shakira switch to English for the mass-American consumer that desire success in the charts. His success serves as a testament to the fact that Latino artists may be successful without experiencing cultural erasure, maintain their native Spanish, and amplify their communities’ voices to promote social and political change.

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