By Paula Henriquez
HAVANA TIMES — Has anybody ever listened to the lyrics of some reggaeton songs? I hardly understand them, I find it difficult to understand what they’re saying, but when I sit down and focus on the lyrics, I have to admit I don’t like them one bit. Yes, the beat is contagious. Careful, I must confess that I’ve danced to many songs at one party or another, however, the message some of the songs convey… leaves a great deal to be desired.
Behind my house, there’s a “discofiñe”, a kind of club for teens, so you understand what I’m talking about. It’s open every Friday and Saturday and, every weekend, a large crowd of teenagers come, who have nowhere else to go and much less the money to pay to go out, looking to have a good time. Up until there, it’s a great idea, it’s cheap and they even sell reasonably priced snacks.
The only problem though is that they only play reggaeton, not any kind of reggaeton, but the most vulgar kind you can imagine. They listen to the same songs two, three or more times a night. And I ask myself again, has anyone ever sat down and listened to what they say in these reggaeton songs? Or am I the only one struck by all of this?
The aforementioned songs normally deal with social issues, family life, married life, politics, etc. I don’t know what else they touch on, but I know they’re very varied in their content. Alongside the “conflicts” they present, they also put forward “solutions”, and that’s my point, these “solutions” aren’t always the most… appropriate, to say the least.
The sad thing though is to see how many, and here I’m referring to adults as well, make these songs their life philosophy. Verses from these songs become part of popular slang, you can hear people quoting verses about any subject from this genre anywhere.
I know us Cubans are very chatty, that we use proverbs and humorous phrases in our daily speech, but to go from that to include lines from these vulgar songs into our daily speech and actions is going too far… lacking finesse or humor, that’s how a lot of us young people think anyway.
That said, I think about those teenagers, and even children, who go every Friday and Saturday night to the discofiñe, who are learning to follow this philosophy. More than that though I think about its owners and the message they are indirectly sending out to these young human beings in the making everyday. Where are the parents of these teenagers and children? As a mother of a young girl who is reaching adulthood, I must admit this subject worries me a lot… and I know a lot of young and not so young parents who feel the same way too.
Like I said at the beginning, I don’t want to criticize this musical genre, I only want people to reflect upon what they’re listening to. If you haven’t done so already, sit down and really listen to the words of one of these songs and ask yourself if you would adopt it as a lifestyle, as a life philosophy. And ask yourself a more important question, is this what they want, what we want for the future of our children, families and society…?