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NO ONE doubts Bad Bunny’s talent and ingenuity. It took both to become the biggest and most successful artist in the world—and the first Latino to do so. In the end, Bad Bunny did what no Latino had ever done before: become a global superstar, capable of completely transcending cultural barriers, surpassing the rest of the world’s artists in popularity.
Not only do the numbers back him up (such as being the most listened to artist on Spotify), but his overwhelming presence in the mainstream media attests to this. The New York Times profiles him, he’s front and center at the VMAs, he’s on Obama’s most listened to songs list, and he fills as many of the world’s biggest venues as he wants.
Unfortunately, Bad Bunny doesn’t leverage his talent to transcend the small debates and become a Latin artist for the whole world. No, he needed, surely driven by the industry, to give in to activism and get involved in political discussions that he clearly has no idea about.
In his latest video, for his song El Apagón, the Puerto Rican artist included a documentary report by journalist Bianca Graulau in which he demonstrates that he has no interest in seeing the island, which he supposedly holds so dear, prosper.
The report focuses on how investors are starting to arrive in Puerto Rico, buying buildings or remodeling them and this is presented as a problem. The journalist calls property owners who notify tenants that they will no longer be able to live there, because they will be remodeled or sold to other owners, criminals. Appealing to manipulative sentimentality, the report skillfully portrays the tenants — who, it seems it should be remembered, are not landlords — as victims of the selfish interests of the wealthy.
Journalist Graulau, in a crude and obscene effort, puts the outdated class struggle between rich and poor back on the table. Unfortunately backed by the most popular artist of the last two years. The documentary presents the increase of investments, the accelerated construction of luxurious resorts and the increase of tourism as vices that are perverting the island.
It is no exaggeration to say that the documentary presents development as a problem. It questions tourism and raises the idea that the rich are stealing from the island. It pettily leaves aside the discussion about the jobs, wealth and prosperity that investment and increased tourism will inevitably bring to Puerto Rico.
Paradoxical, because Bad Bunny, a millionaire artist with investments such as his restaurant in Miami, is one of the Puerto Rican benchmarks of success and prosperity from an investor who believed in his talent.
Bad Bunny does not want Puerto Rico to prosper. Otherwise, it would not bother him that more and more rich people see the island as a paradise to invest and live; that businessmen see the fertile and paradisiacal land to build resorts and that there are more and more attractions for tourists to see the island as an option for their vacations. This is the only way Puerto Rico will emerge from the poverty and corruption that the artist so despises and denounces.
Orlando Avendaño is the co-editor-in-chief of El American. He is a Venezuelan journalist and has studies in the History of Venezuela. He is the author of the book Days of submission // Orlando Avendaño es el co-editor en Jefe de El American. Es periodista venezolano y cuenta con estudios en Historia de Venezuela. Es autor del libro Días de sumisión.