It’s no secret that Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” remix featuring Justin Bieber singing in Spanish is super popular. The crossover hit has broken records and continues to dominate the charts. However, many people were not happy with Bieber when he appeared to mock the song during a live performance. Bieber also admitted that he didn’t know the lyrics after fans asked him to sing it at a recent concert (they weren’t too happy about that either).
Regardless of how you feel about the popularity of the song or that Bieber sings in Spanish now (sort of), “Despacito” is a cultural phenomenon, so it’s not going anywhere for a while.
Last week, streaming service Spotify featured this sponsored post on Instagram:
dear @Spotify , take this down. this is disrespectful. I'm sure we all agree.
ALL LATINXS. pic.twitter.com/GZ56lzHncn
— paletero papi (@pablocurates) June 14, 2017
Obviously, the post, which called Bieber a “Latin King,” pissed some people off.
Social justice activist Jeronimo Saldaña was one of the people who were extremely upset over the post, so he did something about it.
In his petition for Spotify to take the sponsored post down, Saldaña writes: “Make no mistake about it— Justin Bieber is most definitely not a Latino. In fact, Bieber’s recent antics mocking the lyrics to ‘Despacito’ by singing gibberish instead of the actual Spanish words show a flagrant disregard for Latinxs and our culture. That’s why Spotify needs to learn some cultural competence before launching these types of ignorant ads campaigns. We want Spotify to pull this ad.”
Saldaña tells mitú that he was also upset about the fact that Spotify recently featured a playlist specifically for the anniversary of the Pulse shooting but didn’t have any Latinx artist on the playlist.
“So the Justin Bieber ad was just the last straw,” Saldaña said. “Our cultura is not for sale and recording one song in Spanish does not make you a ‘Latin King’ and most definitely does not define you as a Latino.”
Saldaña adds that “singing one song in Spanish doesn’t make you the king of a genre” and that he’s not sure what the label “Latin King” even means.
When asked which Latinx artists should be featured on Spotify, Saldaña said he likes Chicano Batman, Carla Morrison, and Rita Indiana.
mitú reached out to Spotify regarding their sponsored post and the petition, and this was their response:
“We made a creative decision to feature Justin Bieber in our ad because we wanted to celebrate ‘Despacito’ as key cultural moment when music genres crossover. We realized that this could be seen as culturally insensitive so we have pulled those ads.”