Entertainment

Shakira’s Song ‘Whenever, Wherever” Reaches No. 1 After Her Super Bowl Performance But Latinos Have Always Adored Her

As the youngest in five, I rarely had the chance to travel alone.

How could I? With a paranoid mom and a closed-off dad, it was hard to ask for permission to venture out on my own. Sure, I had traveled a lot including abroad but I was either always with a family member or close friends. One year, my friend Sandra and I ventured throughout Mexico — a country I had never discovered on my own. When I was younger, I mostly stayed in the state of Nayarit because that’s where my family is from. So I never had a reason, or the courage, to learn more about the surrounding states in Mexico.

That was until my friend Sandra introduced me to a magical city, right in the center of the country.

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She had studied in Queretaro, Mexico, as part of her study-abroad program in college. I felt a little ashamed that someone like me — a proud Mexican Latina — had never been there, let alone any other state outside of Nayarit.

She took me there years later when I was 25 and fell in love with this incredible historic city — and sequentially someone else too.

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One night — at a club — I saw a man, unlike anyone I had ever seen before.

Think of a Mexican version of John F. Kennedy Jr. He was dapper, preppy, and totally hot.

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Completely out of my league too — or so I thought.

I didn’t think I’d ever see him again, but the following night we returned to that same club and there he was, but this time at the table next to ours.

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I coyly started dancing with him because why not? We ended up dancing the entire night together and I felt like I was literally floating.

Being there, in Queretaro, among local Mexicanos, listening to their music — unfiltered and unAmericanized, I had never felt that alive in my life.

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This is when I discovered so much incredible Latin music like FobiaCafe Tacuba and Shakira.

I should rephrase that. I discovered Spanish-speaking Shakira years after she had released her 1998 album “Dónde Están los Ladrones?”

The album catapulted her into a Latin superstar and I was in awe of her rocker chick vibe.

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While I loved my individuality as an alternative Chicana, I sure didn’t embody the independent woman I longed to be.

Even though I expressed a love for Spanish rock music, I was in a lot of ways very shy.

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But Shakira’s album made me feel different.

The song that truly moved me on that album is called “Si te vas.”

At first listen the song comes off as a ballad but it’s much more of a painful rock song that happens to be about a loss of love — as most songs are.

However, in this track, Shakira’s angst is infused throughout it just by the way she vocalizes certain aspects of the words.

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But this is my favorite part:

“Si te vas si te vas si te marchas

Mi cielo se hará gris

Si te vas si te vas ya no tienes

Que venir por mi

Si te vas si te vas y me cambias

Por esa bruja pedazo de cuero

No vuelvas nunca mas, ya no estaré aquí.”

But back to my imaginary love story. His name was Antonio.

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And he was an architect that lived in Queretaro. I was infatuated, to say the least. After our night of dancing, we went on a couple of dates, and one, in particular, that is too steamy to get into.

Soon after I returned to California soon after still on cloud nine.

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But that’s all it took.

I really thought I was in love with this Mexican heartthrob.

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When I returned to my real life, Antonio and I kept in touch.

We emailed, talked on the phone, and in my head, I was already scheming about how to go back to see him.

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I didn’t know how I would go back to Queretaro, but I knew that I had to. What I felt for Antonio was undeniable and I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way.

I didn’t tell anyone about my plan.

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I would just sit in my room — yes, I was a 26-year-old that still lived at home — and listened to Shakira’s album and think about Antonio.

One day it hit me. I would save money, enough for three months’ worth of rent, and move to Queretaro.

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I talked to my parents about it and simply said: “I need to get away and just write.”

My parents didn’t fight with me over the plan.

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I secretly think they just wanted me out of the house. And so I saved, and saved, and saved, every penny I could get my hands on. When I finally had enough, I bought a one-way ticket to Mexico City. I don’t even remember being scared.

I just remember having a direct plan and listening to my Shakira playlist.

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It didn’t feel like I was alone either. When you’re traveling alone and listening to music, it’s like your famous friends are there right there with you.

I stayed at the most picturesque house in Queretaro and didn’t even tell Antonio that I was coming to town.

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Yes, that was probably a mistake, but I didn’t care to hear anything negative. I guess underneath I knew what I was doing was kind of nuts, but love makes you do crazy things. When I did tell Antonio that I was in town, he said what I was dreading:

“You didn’t come here for me, did you?” he said.

“No! Of course, not. I came to write,” I said quickly.

“Oh, that’s good, because I have a girlfriend,” he said.

I think at that moment my body went numb because I don’t remember feeling sad or angry, just kind of in shock.

“How long have you been with her?” I said. I should note that it had only been a few months since I had last seen him.

“Always,” he said. “I’ve always been with her.”

The next couple of hours were a daze, but I cried myself to sleep that night. Here I was in Queretaro, all alone, and three more months to go. The next morning, I got up early, turned on my Shakira playlist and went for a run.

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Even though I was sad about the fact that Antonio had a girlfriend the entire time we were together, I realized how special it was that I was in this amazing city.

For the next three months, I did write.

I wrote a lot in fact, and I also met someone else.

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That relationship didn’t go beyond my time in Queretaro, but I loved knowing that heartbreak would not be the end of me.

The joy of being alone in Queretaro and doing exactly what I had envisioned all on my own was all I needed.

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Even now when I listen to “Si te vas” I never feel sad about Antonio, just pure happiness that I did something pretty extraordinary and have memories that will last me a lifetime.

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Kali Uchis’ “Telepatía” is Becoming a Global Hit Thanks to TikTok

Latidomusic

Kali Uchis’ “Telepatía” is Becoming a Global Hit Thanks to TikTok

PHOTO: JORA FRANTZIS

Through the power of TikTok, Kali Uchis is taking her song “Telepatía” to the top. The Colombian-American singer is sitting comfortably in the top 10 of Spotify’s Top 200 chart in the U.S. thanks to a TikTok trend.

This isn’t the first time that TikTok brought new fame to songs.

TikTok has proven to be quite the catalyst for today’s top hits. The app assisted in getting Olivia Rodrigo’s “drivers license” to the top of Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it remains. TikTok also reinvigorated interest in Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” last year thanks to Doggface’s viral video. Now Uchis is getting her long overdue shine with “Telepatía.”

“Telepatía” is becoming a global hit thanks to the same phenomenon.

At No. 7 on the Spotify U.S. chart, “Telepatía” is the highest-charting Latin song in the country. Bad Bunny’s “Dákiti” with Jhay Cortez is the next closest Latin song at No. 14. “Telepatía” is also making waves across the globe where the song is charting on Spotify’s Viral Charts in 66 countries and in the Top Songs Charts of 32 countries.

There’s also plenty of “Telepatía” memes.

Uchis is turning the viral song’s success into strong sales and streaming. On this week’s Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart, “Telepatía” debuts at No. 10, marking her first top 10 hit on the chart. There are also memes circulating on other social media apps that are contributing to the song’s virality.

“Telepatía” is one of the key cuts on Uchis’ debut Latin album, Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios). It’s the best example of her translating that alternative soul music that she’s known for into Spanish. The song is notably in Spanglish as Uchis sings about keeping a love connection alive from a distance. It’s timely considering this era of social distancing that we’re in during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uchis is currently nominated for a Grammy Award. She’s up for Best Dance Recording for her feature on Kaytranada’s “10%” song.

Read: You Have To Hear Kali Uchis Slay This Classic Latino Song

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Once A Cartel Hub, Colombia’s Medellín Has Become A City Of The Future

Culture

Once A Cartel Hub, Colombia’s Medellín Has Become A City Of The Future

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Medellín, Colombia was once home to one of the world’s most powerful cartels – Pablo Escobar’s Medellín Cartel. During the ’90s, drug gangs and guerrilla fighters controlled the city’s streets and few people ventured out the relative safety of their immediate neighborhoods.

That Medellín is a distant memory for many Paisas thanks to the fall of the cartels, but also to a distinct set of ideals and values that have shaped the city’s development over the last decade.

Medellín was named the world’s third city of the future and it’s leading in so many categories.

Medellín is nestled in a valley high in the Andes, and many of the city’s poorest residents live in comunas they built on the steep slopes. And although the city still struggles with high rates of poverty, city planners are working to bridge the divide between these poor communities with little access to public amenities and the core of Medellín.

The technology that helped save Medellín is not what you’d see in San Francisco, Boston or Singapore—fleets of driverless cars, big tech companies and artificial intelligence. It is about gathering data to make informed decisions on how to deploy technology where it has the most impact. 

Where most smart-city ­initiatives are of, by and, to a large extent, for the already tech-savvy and well-resourced segment of the population, Medellín’s transformation has for the most part been focused on people who have the least.

The city’s cable car system is one out of sci-fi novels.

Think of a gondola suspended under a cable, floating high off the ground as it hauls a cabin full of passengers up a long, steep mountain slope. To most people, the image would suggest ski resorts and pricey vacations. To the people who live in the poor mountainside communities once known as favelas at the edges of Medellín, the gondola system is a lifeline, and a powerful symbol of an extraordinary urban transformation led by technology and data.

“The genius of the Metrocable is that it actually serves the poor and integrates them into the city, gives them access to jobs and other opportunities,” says Julio Dávila, a Colombian urban planner at University College London. “Nobody had ever done that before.” As people of all classes started using the cars to visit “bad” neighborhoods, they became invested in their city’s fate, heralding a decade of some of the world’s most innovative urban planning

Designers have created safe spaces for all with parks and libraries.

The Metrocable succeeded in connecting Medellín’s poorest neighborhoods to the rest of the city – but where would they hang out? This lead to the construction of five libraries sprinkled throughout Medellín, all surrounded by beautiful greenery. These “library-parks” were among the first safe public spaces many neighborhoods had ever seen. 

The key ingredient of Medellín’s transformation, experts agree, is perspective: The city looked beyond technology as an end in itself. Instead, it found ways to integrate technological and social change into an overall improvement in daily life that was felt in all corners of the city—and especially where improvement was most needed. “Medellín’s vision of itself as a smart city broke from the usual paradigms of hyper-modernization and automation,” says Robert Ng Henao, an economist who heads a smart-city department at the University of Medellín.

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