Rivera-Rideau’s central argument in this chapter is that Reggaetón has become racialized as Latino in the United States in the same way that Hip-hop has been racialized before it. The racialization of these genres of music are damaging because these genres are portrayed by the media as deviant and criminal. Because of these portrayals in the media, Reggaetón and rap have both come to be known as urban (or hurban in the case of Reggaetón), gangster, and violent. When these genres are portrayed negatively and then associated with an entire race of people, it reduces the people, the music, and the culture to simple negative stereotypes.
Originally, Reggaetón and Latin music in general was not portrayed positively but also was not seen as hoodlum. The first artists to popularize Reggaetón had lighter skin and were portrayed as discoveries and as sexualized, spicy Latinos or Latinas. One example of this is Ricky Martin who is much whiter and was one of the first to bring Latin music to the US. Ricky Martin. Ricky Martin was never portrayed as hoodlum, he was portrayed as sexy and almost white. As Reggaetón evolved and more Afro-Latinos began to get into the genre, it became seen in a more negative light like rap. Another factor that contributed to the negative portrayal of Reggaetón in the US is the fact that many of the artists who performed Reggaetón were immigrants who were usually lower class and lived in poor urban areas. The economic status and living conditions of these artists made it easier for the media to portray the artists and the entire genre as urban and hoodlum.
Reggaetón is an interesting area of study that may help us learn more about cultural exchanges in America. In Reggaetón we can see that some artists have made an attempt at fusing Reggaetón and rap for example N.O.R.E however this has caused push back from African American and Latino communities. This may be indicative of the situation that Latin american immigrants face in the United States. Latin American immigrants may attempt to assimilate into American culture by attempting to connect to African Americans with whom they share some cultural and ethnic identity however when they attempt this there is often a push back from the African American community. These Latin American immigrants seem to face the same problems when they try to connect with White Americans which puts them in a strange place because they are not quite White and not quite Black.