Hey everyone, thanks for joining me again!
Glad all roads brought you back, here. Here’s this week’s blog and the last one with Black
History Month as the observed celebration for this month.
Latin Artists: Are They Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due?
Many people think that when a genre becomes popular over the world, those styles are being appropriated without giving proper credit to the communities and countries that originated it. Some people think that the creators of the music don’t have opportunities as a result of their art while others make money off of it. With the global rise of Amapiano music, would the world feel this way if Latinos started making music in this realm?
Some individuals in North America and the Caribbean believe that Latinos have benefited from genres like Hip Hop, Trap, Dance Music, Afrobeats, and Dancehall without showing any gratitude to the groups who created them. Will people react the same way if Latinos participate in the booming South African Amapiano genre? Amapiano, which is Zulu, meaning “the pianos,” is a subgenre of House music that first appeared in South Africa in 2012.
The South African genre really stands out with its bouncy basslines and percussion. The long drum, pianos and saxophones are common sounds in this genre. A few weeks ago, I prepared an essay about this music for my newsletter with the main goal of learning more about this musical phenomenon through study. View it here.
This time, I’m not discussing the history behind it or arguing about who was the first to do it.
I’ve been constantly wondering about this genre of music: who will be the first Latin Urban musician to collaborate on a song with a South African superstar, and where the sound originated?
I pose this query because there have already been significant crossover songs made by Reggaeton artists who either independently produced Afrobeats songs (‘X’ by Nicky Jam and J Balvin, Dream Girl (Remix) by Ir Sais and Rauw Alejandro, and Como Un Bebe by Bad Bunny, J Balvin, and Mr. Eazi), or worked with major Nigerian Afrobeats heavyweights. Since Latin performers have become so prevalent in Afrobeats music, I must admit that I’m becoming a little tired of them doing it.
This is a query that is uncommon in the Latin music community. Have Latin Urban musicians appropriated African and African American music for their own cultural purposes? I am aware that some Jamaicans believe that Reggaeton has taken the world by storm, but they also believe that the singers who have benefited from this subgenre of Dancehall have not given enough respect to the music’s origins. Buju Banton expressed his admiration for Afrobeats in an interview with “Onstage TV,” noting that the genre shows respect for Dancehall, which served as its inspiration. He noted that Reggaeton, which he claims stole Dancehall’s musical aspects and never attempted to build a bridge or show respect for it, is not like this. -Source: Onstage TV
Although Buju Banton is a legend, I’m sure most Latinos—if not all—believe that his remark is false because so many songs pay homage to Reggaeton’s Dancehall origins. On November 15, 2022, Daddy Yankee revealed in an interview with Dominican content producer Santiago Matias of Alofoke Radio Show that as a youngster, he would listen to Jamaican Dancehall music and just start rapping over it in Spanish. Yankee has previously acknowledged that Reggaeton has Jamaican origins.
He never fails to point out that Puerto Rico would not have acquired that sound and style if it weren’t for Panama’s influence and Jamaica. Along with many others, Nicky Jam, Farruko, Voltio, Notch, Lunytunes, and Ivy Queen have created songs and visuals that give credit to the Jamaican roots of the genre.
Check This Out: Should Anyone Be Able To Own A Drum Pattern? – Woke Up A Rebel
Toronto’s own ‘Drake’ has been criticized and sometimes labelled a culture vulture because of the fact that he’s worked with artists across many genres, including Grime, Dancehall, Afrobeats, Reggaeton, Dance music, Baile Funk and more. In an interview with Rap Radar, he stated that those who were critical of him participating in these genres weren’t even supporting those artists to begin.
He made it clear that “appropriating is taking something for your own personal gain and denying that it was ever inspired from this,” which I think means that if you do a song using another culture’s rhythms and not even acknowledge that you were inspired by the said genre, that’s taking for your own what someone else created because not everyone in the world is familiar with various genres and may think that artist is the originator of that sound. He also said, “Any time I embark on one of those journeys, I ensure that I am not only paying all due respects verbally. I make a point to give opportunities to people I respect.”
Source: Drake On Cultural Appropriation Claims: “I Had Blessings From The Real Dons” | Genius
Buju Banton shared his thoughts on how he believes Latinos have culturally hijacked Dancehall, and we also heard Drake’s interpretation of what it means and his justification for not doing the infraction for which he has been charged.
Anuel AA was interviewed by well-known Hip Hop analyst and podcaster “Dj Akademiks” for his “Off The Record” show on Spotify. Anuel honours the musicians who gave him the inspiration to create music. He claimed that English-speaking Hip Hop musicians had a big influence on him. I was reading the comments in a YouTube video of the interview posted by Akademiks. It saddens me that there is still a significant gap between Black and Latino communities, with many African Americans blaming Latinos for appropriating Hip-Hop culture.
Some contend that Latinos played no part in the development of Hip Hop. Latinos have been involved in the genre since the beginning, according to artists like “Fat Joe,” who have discussed this on several platforms, including Vlad TV. Dj Charlie Chase, Errol Eduardo Bedward “Pumpkin,” The Rock Steady Crew, and many others played crucial roles in the development of Hip Hop, especially in light of the fact that it all took place in the South Bronx, New York, an area with a sizable Latino population. Over 45% of Bronx residents speak Spanish, and 54% of them are Latino.. –Bronx Population 2022 (worldpopulationreview.com)
The thing about Latinos is that we come in all colours, hair types, eye colour and dialects. One thing a lot of non-Latinos think is that there are no Black people in Latin American countries other than the Caribbean nations. African culture is a major part of the Latino culture when it comes to music, food and spirituality. It’s unfortunate to see that racism and white supremacy are still rampant in Latin America. Colombia’s new vice president Francia Marquez is of African descent. She’s not being well received by a lot of Colombians who don’t believe she deserves to be there simply because of her skin colour.
Jose Tenoch Huerta Mejia was cast as Namor in the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever film. The amount of backlash he’s received from mainly Latinos is disappointing, to say the least. A brown skin Mexican actor with Indigenous roots seems to be a problem for some. It’s no secret that Latin American media has always been whitewashed. From news anchors, hosts for morning shows, telenovelas, movies, musicians etc. This is a taught behaviour, and we have an opportunity, right now to change the narrative.
When people outside of Latin America turn on Telemundo or Univision, all they see are white skin people, which is understandable why a lot of African Americans believe we are “culture vultures” when it comes to urban music. Majority of the Reggaeton and Latin Trap artists don’t look like the American English speaking rappers who are predominantly African American. We only have a few artists, such as Don Omar, Tego Calderon, Sech, Goyo, Amara La Negra and a few others, who have been able to break through the stereotypes.
After considering everything, I am confident that we can once more bring together worlds to bring about game-changing collaborations between African musicians and Latin Urban icons and to bring people together via the rhythms of Amapiano music. African and Latin music is very similar to one another.
One thing that must be made obvious is that South Africans are the sound’s creators, and every song that uses that sound must give them due honour. I think it’s only a matter of time before we hear a song in the Amapiano genre with Spanish lyrics that will become viral.
Written By: Mario Funes
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Don’t forget to check out the Artist Spotlight section of the Newsletter to find out what our picks were that stood out from the Woke Up A Rebel Playlist.
Have a blessed week!
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