Her Voz

The Power of Presence

Today, started off as most other days—cup of tea, check my emails, read my inspirational verse of the day and lastly the blogs!

Having made my way to Latina.com, I reached their entertainment poll—“Did Calle 13 Go Too Far?” Interesting, but go too far how or doing what?

Before I answer, I must give some readers a brief introduction to Calle 13:
Taken from wikipedia, Calle 13 can be described as “a five–time Latin Grammy Award and Grammy Award–winning Puerto Rican hip hop and alternative–reggaeton duo formed by half–brothers René Pérez Joglar and Eduardo José Cabra Martínez.” They are best known for the diverse musical style that fuses jazz, bossa nova, salsa, tango, electronica, and cumbia. “Reluctant to label their music to a specific genre,” Calle 13’s front man Rene Perez Joglar, also known as “Residente,” does label their music, “full of sarcasm, satire, parody, and shock value.”

The question “Did Calle 13 go too far” was not only ignited by Residente’s choice words, but also his selected wardrobe during the Latin MTV awards–––2009 Los Premios. Watched by millions, the 2009 award show received much controversial attention. Calle 13’s actions took stabs at Colombian President Uribe, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and Puerto Rico’s governor Luis Fortuño.

Disagreeing with Uribe’s somewhat conservative alliance with the US—taking on leftist rebels in a blood bath of massacres related to drug trafficking; also insulting Governor Fortuno’s decision to layoff 8,000 public workers on the island of Puerto Rico, Residente sensationalized current political and global issues.

As a result, Mayor Jorge Santini of San Juan and Bogota’s Mayor Juan Manuel Llano, striked back by canceling Calle 13’s major concert venues throughout both San Juan Puerto Rico and Colombia. In an effort to censure the artists, Mayor Llano stated, “Manizales has decided under no circumstances or for any reason can this group take part” (Manizales Festival).

Watched by tv, reported by newspaper journalists, and discussed on blogs and other Web sites, this topic has caused a global multimedia stream of discussion. Was Calle 13’s front–man, “Residente,” simply practicing freedom of speech—creating political and social awareness of global issues in Latin American countries? He is in fact entitled to his opinion. Or was his opportune time, which platformed his views, too offensive and absolutely insulting?

64% Say: “No way! It’s great to see one of our stars spark an important discussion. There’s too much going on in the world for us to just ignore it.”

Whereas 36% Say: “Absolutely. No one should talk smack about someone else’s mami! He could have protested in a less offensive way.”

One anonymous voter, shared his/her views by stating, “Uribe fights terrorism 24/7/365. His father was killed by terrorists. His statements were not only ignorant but highlighted the lack of historical knowledge and true facts that is so emminent in the minds of socialist individuals in South America;”

Residente followed in the dangerous path of many former artists like the Dixie Chicks and Sam Cooke, which cost ticket sales for some, and even life for others. No doubt risky, but I have seen it before and am quite glad young audiences were exposed to it. Awoken to the growing turbulence and reality some Latin American Countries and their citizens are facing.

To read more on this topic:
USA Today: P.R. Union Leaders Clash with the Police

NY Times: Colombian Town Cancels Concert Over T-Shirts

Latina.com: Did Calle 13 Go Too Far?

Blogamole: Calle 13 Gets Slapped in the Face with Concert Cancellations