Noticias: What did Donald Trump have to do with the rise of Despacito?

Wood, Mikael.  “What Donald Trump had to do with the smash-hit remix of ‘Despacito.'” Los Angeles Times. 25 Aug. 2017.

This LA Times article, written on August 25th, focuses on the smash-hit song, “Despacito.” The original version of the song features Puerto Rican artists Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, while the more well-known remix features Canadian singer Justin Bieber singing verses in both Spanish and English. The song received much radio play this summer, according to the article, it has even spent 15 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Most recently, however, news broke that the music video (which does not include Justin Bieber) is now the most-played video on YouTube with over 3 billion views (Wood). The article is titled “What Donald Trump had to do with the smash-hit remix of ‘Despacito,’” and it therefore focuses on how a bilingual song such as this could possibly become the No. 1 song for 15 weeks in the age of Donald Trump and his racist rhetoric, specifically against undocumented Latin American immigrants. The article suggests that the rise in popularity of this song is a counterpoint to Trump’s rhetoric, and its purpose is to show support for Latin American culture, especially within the United States.

The article focuses a lot of attention on the actual rise of the song, and the fact that Justin Bieber was originally brought on to be in the remix of the song to attract American audiences. In addition, a completely new verse was written in English specifically for Bieber. What is especially fascinating is the fact that the article describes some of the reasons why and how this song became popular, and it seems to insinuate that this song is essentially a counter-protest to Trump’s denunciation of Latin American immigrants. The article even quotes Scooter Braun, Bieber’s manager, who referenced the current political climate by stating that this song has received such a large amount of airplay in the U.S. “where young Latino Americans should feel proud of themselves and their families’ native tongue” (Wood).

At the end of the article, Wood mentions several other Latin American hit songs that could be huge crossover hits soon such as “Mi Gente” by J. Balvin & Willy William, “Reggaetón Lento (Remix)” by CNCO featuring Little Mix, and “Me Rehúso” by Danny Ocean. The article is therefore suggesting that these crossover/bilingual songs could be popular counter-protest songs for our current generation. This is a direct response to the ways in which Donald Trump has described Latin Americans in his many media appearances over the past year or so. This article hopes to portray Latin Americans and immigrants as diverse people with a rich culture, and it also hopes to debunk any stereotypes that Americans may have about Latin Americans and undocumented immigrants that were formed by Donald Trump’s rhetoric.

This first-year seminar course focuses on identity, and I believe that this article embraces themes of identity in the song’s representation of Latin Americans. The article also brings up important messages of how Latin Americans are perceived in separate ways throughout the U.S. and in the media. The writer is clearly hopeful, however, that we may one day escape from the perceptions of Latin Americans that has been formed by the current presidential administration, and we will be able to embrace and appreciate Latin American history and culture.

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