Welcome to Cuba Reggaeton, but …

Erasmo Calzadilla

Osmany Garcia who recorded Chupi Chupi. photo: ecured.cu

HAVANA TIMES, Dec 12 — Reggaeton is not only a musical style but a whole way of life as well as a reflection of social changes occurring in this part of the world.

When it made it to Cuba, I received it with open arms because I loved the pace and seeing the girls perreando (“dirty dancing”), but I also delighted in it because I felt it was another knee in the gut to the “New Man” concept.

After the revolutionary nationalist populism emptied of contents universal humanistic values, it repressed almost all basic instincts and slammed shut our institutional doors to any popular initiative. Life had no other choice but to sprout up in the form of violence, “groseria” (crudeness), identification with street life, and gut instincts.

It began as something underground, something marginal, but it has gained an unprecedented power. Today it’s an ode to money, to everything macho and to alienation – something that apparently doesn’t bother the cultural officialdom.

It’s very difficult to find a state-run “recreational” center in which one can stop in for more than a half-hour and remain safe from it. What’s more, if you object, you’ll hear something like “te coge la jimagua”(*). Reggaeton has finally ousted all other musical genres and styles of life, while becoming totalitarian in the process. As such, it attacks anything different.

This is why I think the reggaeton hegemony has to be confronted and fought tooth and nail with laws, intelligence, patience, the defense of pluralism or any other tool at hand.

Even official academic elitism — barricaded in educational and research institutions but enjoying access to mass media — can contribute to this resistance (unless it too becomes totalitarian).

A few days ago, the nominations for the Lucas music video awards included the reggaeton number El Chupi Chupi, which triggered a heated debate on the Internet.

How our national revolutionary bourgeoisie reacted to that will be the focus of an upcoming post.

(*) Part of the refrain of a popular reggaeton song that meaning something like “I’ll crush you” or “I’ll trample you.”


Erasmo Calzadilla

Erasmo Calzadilla: I find it difficult to introduce myself in public. I've tried many times but it doesn’t flow. I’m more less how I appear in my posts, add some unpresentable qualities and stir; that should do for a first approach. If you want to dig a little deeper, ask me for an appointment and wait for a reply.

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