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Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, also known by his Latin trap and reggaeton alter ego Bad Bunny, is a Puertocrian singer and rapper. In addition to appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to perform “Ignorantes” with reggaeton artist Sech, Bad Bunny also starred in the Super Bowl LIV Pepsi halftime show with Latin artists Jennifer Lopez, Shakira and J Balvin.
Bad Bunny is known for incorporating a variety of genres into his music, such as, bachata, soul and rock. Reggaeton is a form of dance music influenced by hip hop, dancehall and Caribbean music, and it was popularized in Puerto Rico in the late 1990s. The music genre proceeded to spread across the globe rapidly.
In his appearance in The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Bad Bunny confirms rumors about his recent debut album titled “YHLQMDLG,” an acronym for the Spanish phrase “Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Gana,” which translates to “I Do Whatever I Want.” One song in particular, “Yo Perreo Sola,” quickly gained publicity after the album’s release. The song and video bring attention to sexual harassment, transphobia and toxic masculinity, especially in Latin America.
In honor of sexual assault awareness month, here are a few highlights of the underlying messages in “Yo Perreo Sola.”
What does “Yo Perreo Sola” mean?
On March 27, the “Yo Perreo Sola” music video was uploaded on YouTube, featuring Bad Bunny dressed up as three different drag personas. Each Bad Bunny drag persona is unique in style and embraces it with perreo, a type of Latinamerican dance referring to “twerking.”
The combination of lyrics and imagery in the music video deliver the message that no means no and women should not be objectified. Hip hop female artist Nesi and Bad Bunny rap the chorus with the repeated phrase, “Yo Perreo Sola,” which translates to “I twerk alone.” In the song’s opening verse, Bad Bunny also raps “Que ningún baboso se le pegue,” which translates to “Don’t let a pervert touch her.”
The beginning scene of the video features Bad Bunny’s first drag persona. Wearing a cherry red dress, multiple shirtless men approach Bad Bunny. Bad Bunny quickly activates an imaginary force blowing the men away.
While Bad Bunny dresses in drag and the music video primarily revolves around the female perspective, Bad Bunny’s male identity is also shown. One scene shows Bad Bunny in chains, symbolizing resistance toward pursuing a woman who does not want to be pursued. This scene encourages male viewers to do the same.
“Bad Bunny, in my opinion, uses his platform to break the mold of a singer in this realm,” said Sunny Kim, a senior from Midland, Mich., via email. “Instead of producing music about objectifying women, he does the contrary. I love that he is breaking down the barrier of toxic masculinity, in that he asks men why they feel the need to ’touch’ or ’dance’ with girls at the club without their permission or to keep persisting.”
One of Bad Bunny’s other drag personas in the video dances in a green lit room with signs on the wall that read, “Ni una menos” (“No one [women] less”) and “Las mujeres mandan” (“The women rule”). These signs allude to the Ni Una Menos movement, a movement that may have been influenced by the #MeToo movement in the United States regarding sexual harassment in the workforce.
Latin America falls behind the social movements in the United States. An enormous wave of unresolved homicide toward women 20 years ago in Juárez introduced the concept of femicide to Latin America. Femicide is defined by the act of killing a woman only because she is a woman. During this time, “Ni una más” (“not one more”) protests formed as countless femicides occurred, ranging from Mexico to Argentina.
After her male coworker doused her with gasoline and lit her on fire, Peruvian citizen Eyvi Agreda was left in the hospital with second and third degree burns. A “ni una menos” movement quickly began in Perú, spreading across the continent in protest for political and social change to the misogynistic acts of violence and femicides.
With some men feeling the need to prove their masculinity through women, harassment, sexual or not, continues to be a major social injustice. In hopes for cultural change, Bad Bunny has established himself as a part of the “ni una menos” movement through his music and public presentation. His message extends beyond the Latin American movement and applies across the world: Let a woman be who she wants to be, and do not force her to do something she doesn’t want to do.
Transphobia and the “Machismo” Culture
Not only does Bad Bunny advocate for women, but he also supports the LGBTQ+ community and breaks the stigma of “machismo,” which is a Spanish term used to describe someone with strong masculine pride.
Bad Bunny’s support of the LGBTQ+ community is evident through his drag personas. The recent murder of transgender woman Alexa Negrón Luciano in Puerto Rico influenced Bad Bunny to show feminity, something he wanted to do even if it meant risking his audience, some of which includes men who may subscribe to the “machismo” culture.
“It’s one thing to be a vocal ally and speak out about LGBTQ+ issues,” said Mitchell Wiltzius, a sophomore from Kingsford, Mich., “but to actually represent oneself in a way that could ‘hurt’ or ‘help’ one’s career is valiant and respectable.”
In his performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Bad Bunny pays tribute to Alexa, wearing a shirt reading, “Mataron a Alexa, no a un hombre con falda” (“They killed Alexa, not a man with a skirt”). Bad Bunny’s intent to bring light to the violent acts towards transgender people in Latin America also brings attention to the harm of the “machismo” culture, which is synonymous with toxic masculinity in the United States.
“[Machismo culture] includes the set of behaviors and rules of conduct that are inculcated into boys by our society as being strong, tough and independent, showing no emotion,” said University of Texas Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Victor Saenz in a “Young Latino Males” article. “And the idea of machismo only reinforces this through a cultural lens.”
Bad Bunny challenges the concept of “machismo” in this video by refusing to conform to the societal expectation of Latino boys to be “manly.”
His video isn’t the only time Bad Bunny has expressed his authentic-self. Bad Bunny’s social media is a prime example of the influential artist continuing his advocacy, wearing nail polish and showing more feminine characteristics. In doing this, Bad Bunny helps to break down society’s rigid gender barriers.
“When I saw the video, I was very happy because there was a Latino man breaking our very toxic stereotypes that is very predominant in Latinx culture,” said Frank Hernandez, a sophomore from Houston, Texas, via email. “The message at the end is also very fitting because so many people still do not understand what consent is, and the fact that Bad Bunny is advocating for Trans rights is a win to the LGBTQ+ community.”
Why is this important?
The “ni una menos” movement, in addition to transphobic and toxic masculinity culture, runs beyond the Latin American borders, impacting the United States as well as other countries. Because of this, Albion College is ultimately a campus where students might find themselves encountering these issues.
“The song Yo Perreo Sola is important to the Albion community because the song is about dancing alone, and not for somebody else,” said Saige Jost, a sophomore from Saline, Mich. “It’s important to respect each other’s opinions and boundaries, no matter what the situation is.”
In a society that is slowly but surely moving along the social movements of feminism and LGBTQ+ acceptance, there are new terminology and concepts used to describe the behavior and efforts for cultural change.
“Bad Bunny is helping be a part of that change,” said Wiltzius. “He’s making the people who are uncomfortable with reality mad because they cannot control him [as his new album title alludes to]. Bad Bunny definitely gained a new fan in his release of ‘Yo Perreo Sola’. It’s time women, LGBTQ+, and allies alike take time to make those living in heteronormativity look, notice, and recognize that everyone is not straight, or wants to dance with you.”
In a society changing from decade to decade, it may be difficult to keep up to date with all of the information, but it is the act of willing to learn about the unknown that will help progress society. Gender unicorns can help learn how to differentiate between gender-related terminology.
Although people cannot leave their homes during this time, quarantine has left most victims of abuse alone with their abusers, and harassment still occurs. The following is a contact list of resources:
-For urgent or emergency services, contact SAS (Sexual Assault Services at Calhoun County) directly 24/7: 888/383-2192 or a LSSA (Local Sexual Assault Advocates) volunteer which can be found on the Albion College website
-Albion College Counseling Services– 517/629-0236
–The Anna Howard Shaw Women’s Center (AHSWC)– 517/629-0226
–AWARE Jackson – 517/783-2861
–National Domestic Violence Hotline– 800/799-SAFE
–Legal Services of South Central Michigan– 269/965-3951, 800/688-3951
–Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender National Help Center– 888/843-4564
–Ozone House (Ann Arbor) – 734/662-2222
–Equality MI (Detroit)– 866/926-1147
-The UrSafe app is the first and only hands-free, voice-activated personal safety app fully integrated with 911 to empower everyone to stay safe anytime, anywhere.