By Abigail Carrillo and Ally Najera
In the span of two years Benito Ocasio Martinez, also known as Bad Bunny, has become a groundbreaking Grammy-nominated Latin Trap-Reggaeton artist who has made history in the Latino community. His progressive strides regarding music and fashion continue to break down the barriers of societal norms and stigmas. His two latest albums exhibit his hard work as a performer and promote both femininity and masculinity with his unique style.
Bad Bunny released “YHQMDLG” on February 29, 2020. The title is an abbreviation for “Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Gana,” which translates to “I do whatever I want,” referring to his dressing and acting the way he sees fit. The album has a whopping 20 tracks.
After dropping that album, rumors of a hiatus circulated making fans fearful that he would stop making music. However, earlier in May during a three-hour Instagram livestream, he teased fans by playing unreleased tracks in the background. A couple days after the livestream on May 10, he published yet another album titled, “Las Que No Iban Salir,” which translates to “The Ones that weren’t coming.” This latest album has 10 new tracks.
His dedication to his followers and impressive work ethic is clearly visible due to his tenacity as well as the quality of the music he puts out.
“To me no one, nobody, nobody, nobody, but no one, can tell me what I can or can’t do. Since I was a child, I wanted to be great, I wanted to pursue and work for my dreams,” Bad Bunny said in an interview with Rolling Stone.
Of all the tracks on “YHQMDLG,” the song which stands out the most is “Yo Perreo Sola” because of the bold meaning behind it. The background of the track focuses on women being able to dance alone without the intrusive behavior of anyone. Bad Bunny empowers women with his music. The song and music video also reiterate the idea that it is important to respect a woman’s choice, as the video ends with a line saying, as translated, “If she doesn’t want to dance with you, respect her. She dances alone.”
In the official music video for “Yo Perreo Sola,” it features him dancing as both himself and in full drag. With this fun skit he was able to pull off a full face of makeup and a dress, illustrating how open-minded he is.
“I have always felt there was a part of me that is very feminine. But I never felt as masculine as I did the day I dressed up as a drag queen,” Bad Bunny said to Rolling Stone.
Remarkably, the Latino community and his fans continue to give him massive support in regards to his dancing throughout the video dressed as a woman. Being flamboyant is very uncommon not only in the Trap genre, but also the Latino community. By doing this, he works to normalize men wearing women’s clothing despite the misconception that it is not masucline to do so.
Within the Latino community, there some people feel stigma that comes deviating from what it traditionally means to be a man. In this, some members of the community teach men to suppress feminine tendencies and solely display masculine ones. This is known as “machismo” within the Latino culture, though there are clearly deviations from it. On the contrary, Bad Bunny has blatantly spoken about the controversial topic thus exposing the dangerous truths of toxic masculinity.
In fact, earlier this February while promoting his album, he made an appearance on the Jimmy Fallon show making a bold fashion statement. As a means of making femininity in masculinity to be the norm, he wore a skirt and a T-shirt that had the name of a transgender Puerto Rican woman, Neulisa Alexa Luciano Ruiz, who was killed in a hate crime. In advocating for these social issues, he sends out an important message to his audience, normalizing what is considered to be irregular.
In the heavily male-dominated genre of Trap, the usual music produced is driven by men exuding their strong male vigor. What sets Bad Bunny apart from the usual Trap artist is his ability to push boundaries and to redefine the musical genre in itself. In his music, he is not afraid to display vulnerability.
Despite the strides made in the Trap and Latino Community, Bad Bunny does receive backlash for how he chooses to portray himself. After the very successful release of the “Yo Perreo Sola” music video, another popular Trap artist, Anuel AA, published a string of very offensive and homophobic stories on his Instagram that were indiscreetly about Bad Bunny. Anuel AA collaborated numerous times with Bad Bunny and the pair were even friends. Despite the hate, Bad Bunny clearly stays true to himself regardless of the opinions others hold and has even spoken out about the homophobic tendencies the Trap Community has.
Bad Bunny is not only a performer, but a light needed for communities led by the dark. The platform he holds is so important to the Trap and Latino community. By establishing who he is, he teaches to stay rooted in your culture while being your most authentic self, doing what you love.
“I’m true to myself. I don’t care to be someone I’m not and those around me know that and accept me for who I am. Be authentic — that’s what matters the most,” Bad Bunny said to Jezebel Magazine.