The issue of reggaeton has caused a wave of rumours, inquisitive or not, during the last weeks. People are talking about prohibition, regulation and foreign agencies reproduce comments and forecast Cuba entering a musical Inquisition, but, it seems that nothing is going to happen.
Thanks God. The saturation and artistic indecency of the bad reggaeton is unbearable, but brutish censorship is such an evil thing that, as we all well know, will turn into heores individuals without the slightest chance of transcending, singers that don’t deserve even a second look.
They have flourished in twisted times, but they are not guilty. They take advantage of their fifteen minutes of fame and their lyrics reflect exactly how they think, what they will promote afterwards, what sells as hot cake and what will take them to the top five charts on the radio, TV, local buses and school parties.
Even if it wasn’t a bad business, censorship always stink, because it is an expression of arrogance; finding a solution by force of what should have been solved with civism or cleverness. Censors are, in Cuba and everywhere, such an extended pest as bad reggaeton singers, though calling them bad is an oxymoron. I mean, two mediocre forces entangled in a decaying fight. Result: the tragicomedy we had to endure because of Osmani Garcia, his video clip and the regulating institutions. (By the way, didn’t Osmani Garcia know when he self-proclaimed as The Voice, that once there was a guy named Frank Sinatra) To this we must add that fauna comprised of “cultivated” people who suspiciously are fans of Mozart.
I believe that, for example, from the reggaeton emerged one of the most influential Latin American bands in the last years. But art, among other things, is a mirror, and Calle 13 tells people what they have to tell them in the way it must be done and then, as the artists they are, they can afford to go to the Grammys and be irreverent in a funny way. The Cuban reggaeton is an uncomfortable mirror but by breaking it we are not going to repair or real image.
What prevents a truly determining reggaeton singer from emerging and shutting the mouths of inquisitors, scholars and foreign agencies? All popular rhythms suffered from the harassment and disdain of the old guard. Mambo, for example, suffered from it. The problem of reggaeton is not of genre, is of interpreters, is of society. And they play it loud because that’s the way to listen to low class music.
These imported reggaeton singers, lousy copies of louse Puerto Rican originals, don’t deserve to be censored, because the only effective censorship, at least for the time being, to arrange the dissemination of our popular culture and remind high school kids that there is another world, pleasant and true, beyond the insufferable glow of gold chains.
The other solutions are a little bit harder. Those are social problems that require ideas and economy, a new splendor. In the vicious circle of the four bucks, people hire reggaeton singers because they sell well, people liste to them, therefore, they are the ones you need to haave a thriving business.
Cuba must solve a couple of essential issues, and if that happens, we will see how everything returns to safe levels. We stop seeing reggaeton homogenizing mass media, how no-musicians will take their no-music somewhere else, and how, at the Lucas awards, the popularity prize will go to Van Van and not to the sinister Ángeles de la Bachata.