Entertainment

Vogue México Put A Spanish Music Artist On Their Cover And Called Her Latina And Latinos Almost Set Twitter On Fire

It seems the difference between “Latinx” and “Hispanic” continues to confuse the masses where both terms are incorrectly used interchangeably to describe the collective Spanish speaking community. This time the controversy comes with the reveal of Spanish flamenco artist Rosalía on the cover of Vogue México, as the face for their list of  “20 artistas latinos.”

If you were alive over the weekend, then you likely caught the Twitter backlash that criticized Vogue for its latest faux pas.

For its latest cover, Vogue México recently featured Rosalía for an issue that headlined a group of “20 artistas latinos.

Rosalía, again, is not Latino. The artist was born in Catalonia, Spain and while she has collaborated with Latino artists like J Balvin, she is– again– not Latino. Vogue’s cultural flub is a reminder that as much of a rising influence as Latino artistry and culture continues to be, the nuances of our culture and history remain in the blindspots of many consumers. And yes, even of Vogue México’s, a media giant, that has made great strides to improve the diversity on its pages in recent years, particularly with features of minority women like Mexican indigenous actress Yalitza Aparicio. 

Latinx Twitter was quickly ablaze with comments reminding people of the correct usage: “Latinx” is for Latin America, “Hispanic” is reserved for those from Spain. 

But beyond the literal distinctions, the term “Hispanic” is loaded with ties to colonial history between Latin America and Spain. Starting in the 1500s, what was then known as “New Spain” (colonized areas including Latin America) led to the massacres of indigenous communities or forced assimilation to Spanish culture. Additionally, diseases wiped out a large portion of the population leading to mortality rates as high as 90 percent throughout Latin America.   

In short, despite the fact that Rosalía speaks Spanish, calling her Latina is culturally insensitive and grossly inaccurate.

Rosalía herself discussed the difference during an interview with Fader in May 2019 saying “If Latin music is music made in Spanish, then my music is part of Latin music. But I do know that if I say I’m a Latina artist, that’s not correct, is it?” The singer, who makes music inspired by Andalusian flamenco culture, clarified that she’s “part of a generation that’s making music in Spanish” and suggested that others should decide if she should be included in a modern definition of what “Latin” music sounds like.

In the interview, she addressed how the term is used loosely in the media though the article does mention the controversy she sparked after saying she felt “Latina” when she traveled to places like Mexico. 

Since the Vogue México cover is in Spanish it can be translated to “Latin Artists” referring to Spanish music overall.

However, due to the sensitive nature of the terminology, it’s important to take the opportunity to highlight the importance of the distinction. 

This isn’t the first instance in entertainment where the distinction needed to be made. Recently, One Day at a Time creator Gloria Calderón Kellett tweeted about how she needed to clarify that the writer she’d been sent was Hispanic not Latinx

She then tweeted a chart created by Bustle to provide a visual interpretation of the differences between “Latinx” and “Hispanic.” 

The music industry as a whole has yet to adopt this vocabulary and properly use it and the uproar is not on the spotlight placed on Rosalía but rather the fact that there are plenty of indie Latinx artists who deserve attention. 

Rosalía is a five-time Latin Grammy nominee who came out with El Mal Querer in November of last year.  She spoke with Billboard about the Andulasian influence in her neighborhood growing up that sparked her love for flamenco since the folkloric music has its origins in that community in Southern Spain. 

“That folklore is part of who I am, and that’s the key: I don’t want to lose my roots. I think that’s what gives you your identity. Rather than trying to adhere to some kind of global pop standard, it’s much more interesting to look to my roots and to the popular music of where I’m from. Not now or ever will I put flamenco aside,” she told the publication. 

Though her last album was an ode to flamenco, she has explored other more contemporary sounds and collaborated with Latinx artists include J Balvin, who is from Colombia. Their reggaeton track was a global hit providing an opportunity for a distinction to be made between the way they could’ve been identified but that wasn’t necessarily the case. 

Even well known Spanish artists like Enrique Iglesias and Alejandro Sanz are often referred to as Latino/Latinx artists. Yet, even the U.S. census has been identifying people of Spanish descent using “Hispanic” as a catchall term since 1980. In neither instance was the word used properly and the vocabulary continues to evolve now that the gender-inclusive term Latinx has become the preferred identifier for younger generations. 

While Rosalía’s music is worthy of attention and praise, it’s important to note that, like Portugal and Brazil, Spain and Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America are two distinct cultures that shouldn’t be conflated. If English artists and Americans can be identified as such and not grouped together solely based on language, it’s not much to ask that distinctions be made when it comes to “Latinx” versus “Hispanic.” 

Lil Nas Is Performing His Super Hit “Old Town Road” At The Grammys Alongside BTS—The First Ever K-Pop Band To Be Invited On Stage

Entertainment

Lil Nas Is Performing His Super Hit “Old Town Road” At The Grammys Alongside BTS—The First Ever K-Pop Band To Be Invited On Stage

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BTS and Lil Nas definitely dominated the music scene in 2019. Radio stations couldn’t stop playing their music — and we couldn’t stop listening. And because we can’t decide who we love the most, The Recording Academy and CBS confirmed that the rapper and K-pop group will be performing together at this year’s Grammys.

BTS is going to perform at the Grammys!

The news was shared by the Recording Academy itself just a short time ago, and it’s even more exciting than an initial report that said only RM would be performing. 

Initially, fans thought that only one BTS member would be performing.

An initial report that said only RM would be performing. In a lengthy profile on Lil Nas X published yesterday by Variety, sources suggested that the BTS singer, producer and rapper would take part in an “Old Town Road” showing, but that hadn’t been confirmed by the Recording Academy. Now, the entire band has been included, which is much, much more thrilling for all involved, especially for BTS’s Army.

BTS will make history as the first K-pop group to perform at the Grammys.

While fans were hoping they’d attend the 2020 ceremony as nominees, this is still an incredible leap forward when it comes to Korean acts being considered by the American music industry.

Get ready for a K-country-hip-pop crossover.

This won’t be the first time all these genres mash up though. In July 2019, a remix of Nas’ “Old Town Road” was released that featured the Korean group’s rapper, RM, retitled “Seoul Town Road,” a mashup that’s likely to fit into their Grammys collaboration.

BTS and Lil Nas won’t be the only ones at the “Old Town” party.

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The Grammys have other eclectic guests slated to join in for the number as well. Country star Billy Ray Cyruswill, of course, reprise the duet part that took the tune into overdrive early in its chart life. Diplo’s also going to be on stage.

The EDM star did his own “Old Town Road” remix.

Diplo invited Lil Nas X onto his stage last May at the Stagecoach Festival for the young rapper’s first live appearance, so it’s only natural that Lil Nas would make the DJ and producer a part of his show. And lastly, to really mix it up back in the direction of country, young yodeler Mason Ramsey is also joining the chart-topping artists on stage.

With six nominations in total, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year, Lil Nas X is one of the artists with the most nominations.

Lil Nas is tied with the most nominations with Billie Eilish. The two are surpassed only by Lizzo, so it makes sense that he’d want to make his performance extra special by including all of the musicians that helped make his hit even more popular. 

The star-studded performance was planned to honor the song’s many remixes

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2020 🧞‍♂️🧞‍♂️🧞‍♂️

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The segment has been called “Old Town Road All-Stars,” and in it, we’ll see the six-time nominee deliver a thrilling show of his 19-week No. 1.

According to Forbes, inIncluding BTS in its telecast is sure to help the Grammys improve ratings.

The award show’s ratings have been slipping for years. An issue that many award ceremonies have faced over the past decade. Which is why adding the most popular and beloved band in the world is sure to get plenty of people to turn on their TVs who otherwise probably would not have.

BTS and Lil Nas will be joining an incredible lineup of previously-announced performers, such as Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Ariana Grande, Jonas Brothers, Camila Cabello, and many, many more. The Grammys will air live on CBS this Sunday, January 26 at 8 PM EST.

How ‘Guantanamera’ Sung By Celia Cruz Helped Me To Better Understand My Abuelo’s Exile From Cuba

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How ‘Guantanamera’ Sung By Celia Cruz Helped Me To Better Understand My Abuelo’s Exile From Cuba

credit: Cuban passport image belonging to writer's mother / Photograph provided by Alexandria Portée / Flower design by Canva.com

My mother was six when she fled to the United States from Cuba with my abuela and her two siblings. After reuniting with my abuelo who fought against Fidel Castro in the Bay of Pigs War, they moved to Chicago, where they built a life for themselves completely from scratch, still gripping tenderly onto the heritage and cultures that connected them to families and friends back at home. In their efforts to keep and sustain our family’s Cuban heritage, my abuelos and my mother taught me and my siblings to love and cherish the many different and beautiful contributions that their island country has given to the world: cuisine, cafecito, Bacardí, music, and José Marti.

Naturally, as any proud Cuban-American, I have benevolently held onto all of these as my own personal tokens from an island I have never visited or known. I’m quick to boast about each of them as if they were conjured up by my own mother’s hard work in the kitchen. Still, none have Cuba’s treasures have made me feel quite so intimately linked to my family’s first home like the beloved Cuban song “Guantanamera.”

Like my abuelos and my mother’s stories of Cuba, “Guantanamera” is a song that has grown and adapted through its journey. I have heard the story of my abuelos’ wedding day more than a hundred times; the tale of how my mother cried when kids at her school called my abuelo —a Bay of Pigs prisoner who singlehandedly saved hundreds of lives after being captured by Castro — a criminal; the account of my abuela wringing her hands as she debated enrolling her children in Operation Peter Pan and how she later boarded a cargo ship holding onto only her children and memories of her life to meet my abuelo in the United States. Each anecdote is the same but is always slightly altered in some way depending on the storyteller’s mood and time that I plead for their retelling. Some days they’re drawn out, told with prideful smiles, but often they’re said quickly with an ache to forget the portal of bittersweet memories my questions have sent them through. So similarly goes the many different versions of “Guantanamera.”

It is widely accepted that the original lyrics of the song, considered to be Cuba’s unofficial anthem, were romantic in nature, but over time, the song has been interpreted as a political ode. Brought from the rural regions of the island and to airwaves by Cuban radio host Joseíto Fernández in the 1920s, the song quickly caught on among fans. Fernández performed it regularly on his show and, in the tradition of most folk music, improvised and changed verses based on the week’s events. Some days he sang about politics, and other days he purred lyrics that harped about azucar and its rising costs. Still, the song’s opening lines and chorus, “Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera / Guantanamera, guajira Guantanamera,” always remained the same.

Cuban composer Julián Orbón adapted the “official” lyrics to the song using verses from Cuban freedom fighter José Martí’s poetry collection “Versos Sencillos.” Orbón’s version, the one most commonly recorded by music artists, used Marti’s lines about a “sincere man” who was from “where the palm trees grow (Yo soy un hombre sincero/ De donde crece la palma).

This adaptation, combined with other lyrics from Martí’s poems that express compassion for Cuba’s poor, is ultimately what turned “Guantanamera” into the country’s most recognized patriotic anthem. In the U.S. and internationally, the song has been interpreted and adopted as a rally for peace (in 2004, for instance, the Swedish government flipped it into an offbeat rap song to promote recycling) and performed by a wide range of artists. In 1966, the Sandpipers did a version that became an international hit, and in the years that followed, singers like Jimmy Buffett, Pitbull and even the Fugees recorded their own editions. My personal favorite is the one sung by Cuban-born singer Celía Cruz on her album “Bravo” in 1967.

My Spanish has never quite allowed me to communicate with my abuelo in his native language fluently, but “Guantanamera” has let me do so.

Most conversations with my abuelo come with a melding of his so-so English and my mediocre Spanish. Together, we’re able to find a common ground that allows us to make each other laugh, exchange “te quiero mucho muchos” and grants me the ability to learn about the family and life he was forced to leave behind. In worse case scenarios, my abuela, a retired Spanish teacher, or my mother will intervene to translate. But when it comes to “Guantanamera,” abuelo and I have never needed assistance. Together, we’ve sung the song, our separately known variants, not always familiar with the lines each other sings but always well aware that in those moments they fill us with a deep love for each other and the versions of Cuba we both know.

Recently, during a visit with my abuelos, we sat together in their snug living room listening to Celía Cruz’s illustrious take of “Guantanamera” as her throaty voice sang over flute trills and drums. Old pictures of primos and tias looked down at us from the walls as we first listened carefully to the lyrics.

There’s no knowing what will prompt one of the Cubans in my family to break out into song. My most playful tía will chorus a line to tell stories; my brother does it at the dinner table even though he knows he’ll be told it’s rude, and my mother does it when she wants you to be in a better mood. Like them, my abuelos and I couldn’t help ourselves as Celía’s lively low-range voice started the chorus. Not against the charms of “Guantanamera.” Soon enough, abuela, abuelo and I were all singing the different Spanish versions of the song we hold dear.

Truthfully, if ever there was a moment that I thought I could burst from feeling so whole, it was sitting there in their living room, watching as the burden of my abuelo’s struggles of exile, always easy to decipher in his quietly distracted stares, seemed almost completely forgotten as he sang with pure delight.

“Guantanamera” is a song that has had a rhythmic presence in my life for as long as I can remember.

Like the smell of aftershave on my abuelo’s worn blue guayabera and the cheekiness of my abuela’s wily grin, I could make out that song anywhere, even despite the many versions it holds. Including the one I’ve heard my abuelo hum while brushing his teeth and the one my mother tries to keep in tune to while singing along to Cruz as she drives in the car. Like the different impressions of the song, Cuba is a country that has been strongly woven into our different narratives. Still, while my relationship and experience with Cuba will never tug on the strings of my heart with the same pang as it does on my abuelos or my mother, “Guantanamera” reminds me that the island is much more of a home than a foreign place that my family’s exile might try to make me believe.