When his lyrics flooded the streets, he understood what it was. The historian Gervasio Luis García, a member of the Academy of the language in Puerto Rico, never paid attention to reggaeton until the last month of July, when more than 900 pages were published by the media that collected the words of a private chat Ricardo Rosselló, governor of the country. Conversations that, instead of maintaining a certain intellectual height and educational forms in tune with the position he held, were impregnated with homophobia, machismo and harsh and derogatory disqualifications towards rivals and political adversaries that immediately outraged public opinion, set fire to society and spontaneously pushed thousands of citizens to organize mass mobilizations against him.
During the following days the protests took the main cities, but the demonstrations, as many might have expected, were not led by leaders of the so-called "public res", but by young artists and, above all, reggaetonists. «The power could not stand so much nakedness. The vulgarity of those words revolted the people, but what surprised me is that in front of them all these musicians walked and I, as a scholar, was immediately interested in this phenomenon, ”says Gervasio García, who yesterday participated in the XVI Congress of the ASALE that takes place these days in Seville and where he gave a conference on reggaeton and language.
Perreo, reggaeton, which has always dragged the macula to be a marginal language and which has been accused of endless occasions to reify women, in those days it became the main voice of those protests that, in the end , forced the resignation of Ricardo Rosselló. «That was not born out of nowhere. Reggaeton people shout because they are not heard, because governments love to send, but they do not listen to what they are told, ”he says. He himself acknowledges that he had never felt any kind of attraction to that music and that the first time he attended it was, by chance, during a class at the university, when a student asked him if he cared that they put a few songs to later analyze them . «It is true that in the first reggaeton women appear constantly harassed by males and that the tongue is of very low quality, with some tunes and lyrics that are to be forgotten. But after that initial hatching came other names, such as Calle 13 or Teo Calderón, who were more enlightened people, who had studied music and were better prepared. It was, without a doubt, another totally different creed. They revealed themselves as enormously powerful authors, who sang what was happening in society and whose validity is very great today in the population ».
The main issue that comes up is how to fight reggaeton with inclusive language. But the paradoxical thing here is that the first platforms that gave form and air to the claims of this last summer came from sectors committed to feminism and gender equality, and that, suddenly, they saw how these creators, who for so long had He walked with San Benito to promote machismo, now marched to his side and, in addition, lent his influence and his fame to carry forward his ideas and that this scandal would not go unpunished. «I remember the interview they did to one of these reggaetons years ago about his bad reputation and he replied:` `Well, I don't know, but in my house I have a high school diploma signed by a Secretary of Education who is in the prison accused of stealing four million dollars. ” And he is right. This man was 12 years in prison. And the former secretary of this same area is also accused of stealing. In Puerto Rico there are thousands of students who have in their homes official documents signed by two thieves. "Why are we less – this artist wondered – than the supposed people who support the culture?" This is a fundamental part of the issue ».
Gervasio García explains that the tongue of reggaeton, such as the jargon of criminals or the marginal banks, He has always been treated with disdain or neglected on many occasions, but he defends, unlike many, that these musicians have a Spanish language that is their own and theirs. «There is a popular language there. Many people are shocked by the foul, but the dirty is used selectively, not that they are constantly speaking badly. They use the bad word when it is necessary to use it, without excluding, of course that there are reggaetons that are of low stew and that have a vulgarity that I do not like myself. Although there are also people with a different level, much higher, as Resident, who separated from Calle 13, and now has a series of compositions of enormous social criticism, on the same wavelength as Rubén Blades. It is a very deep and popular critical and social look that reaches everyone. He does it with a simple language, but with a few tunes very worked. But we must not forget that at this point the music business enters and appropriates this, when at the beginning they ignored it ». Gervasio García insists that at the beginning there was an undoubted machismo in the lyrics, but, «and this is important to note, that changed later. And the voice of these protests in Puerto Rico was carried by two reggaetons. They were the voice and face of a protest.
García emphasizes that, as with modernism, which was a literary trend that came from America to Spain, with reggaeton it happens the same and is an influence that comes from Latin America. «I remember that the song“ Despacito ”was heard worldwide. I remember some informative in which a seven or eight year old girl who was in a hospital knew it by heart and sang it next to this reggaeton ». For the academic this massive influence is unusual, it does not always appear in history and deserves a more precise analysis «because until that moment it had been despised, not at all, but suddenly it becomes the flag of a society, of children and of the elderly. The squares were filled. It is very impressive to hear thousands of people shouting bad words at the same time. You were wondering: "What is that?" Well, "that" is a cry of protest. Reggaeton is the rage of the individual who is ignored and, in some way, becomes foul, because that is the only way to pay attention to you. But then, behind that, is the true positive, progressive message. ” For this reason, for Gervasio García “reggaeton is the chronicle of the moment. He grabs the moment and expresses the feeling, concern, lacks and ambitions of the popular mass. It is the voice of a social sector that nobody listens to. They convey the everyday problems of this class. This is important".
Give me more gasoline
Gervasio García, who acknowledges that Daddy Yankee's "Gasolina" was the first time he heard – that hit discotee of a catchy refrain that says: "Give me more gasoline / how you love gasoline / give me more gasoline / she likes gasoline / give me more gasoline…"-. The historian remembers that «it became fashionable and the first one that had commercial resonance and that even in France it was used for commercial uses even if it had nothing to do with it. There I started to get interested. I do not see it as an outburst, but as a relevant social expression. The specialists are obliged to repair this. And do not despise it, because reggaetonists do not have academic knowledge, but they have mastery of the word and know how to use it. I remember one of them, Eddie Dee, is able, better than anyone, to communicate the feeling of a moment, a moment. To know how long this lasts, but we must study it ».
Gervasio García, not hearing anything reggaeton, now acknowledges that he stays with Residente and Daddy Yankee. He says: «The first is the great social critic; the second is something else, but in those letters there are sequels to the social message, but it is more musical in the tune, more sticky ». But it also clarifies that this music has been nourished by «trap, hip hop, reggae, which is where everything comes from. What happens is that the reggae fell short, it is too soft for them. Reggaeton is more aggressive. It is a sharper and more scathing criticism. The interesting thing is that at first nobody knew how to write the word. A thousand forms were used, following especially the English word, but later it was Castilianized, it was written as it sounds in Panama and that was when the academy of Puerto Rico proposed to the RAE to include reggaeton, as it sounds, as we write it today , in the dictionary. Now his spelling and tone match. People write this word just as the academy of Puerto Rico requested ».
. (tagsToTranslate) javier ors