San Diego Professor Who Taught Class on Selena Quintanilla Will Now Teach About Bad Bunny
In recent years, popular artists like Harry Styles and Taylor Swift have inspired their own courses at colleges and universities across the country, and now it’s Bad Bunny’s turn.
According to CBS news, the Puerto Rican superstar will be the subject of a class in the San Diego State University journalism and media studies department.
San Diego already has a lot of love for Benito, who recently played two back-to-back sold-out shows at Petco Park, becoming the first artist in history to accomplish such a feat, reports KHOU. But now, students at SDSU will be able to delve deeper into his influence in the world of music, politics, fashion, and culture, and explore his contributions to the changing norms of masculinity as well as how Puerto Rico is perceived in the rest of the world.
The class will be taught by Dr. Nathian Shae Rodríguez, the associate director of the university’s journalism and media studies program, who already taught a class about Selena Quintanilla last year and has chosen Bad Bunny because of his undeniable impact on Latinx culture and beyond.
“Bad Bunny is this global phenomenon, and he has been elevated in every single way,” Rodríguez said in an interview with CBS News. “Men, women, children, older people, people of all sorts of different colors, people who don’t even speak Spanish are singing his songs.”
Rodríguez also mentioned how Benito has been able to transform reggeatón “like no other artist has,” challenging the “hypermasculine, machista” attitude that was traditionally embedded in its core.
Instead, Benito offers a more inclusive and fresh vision of masculinity that doesn’t center around toxicity and instead allows fans to see “how [masculinity] can be authentic, how it can be endearing, how it can be loving.”
Benito has also been very vocal about his home, Puerto Rico.
He’s become well-known for using his platform to shed light on the economic and social crises that Puerto Rico has been facing as of late, including his criticism of the privatized electric company that allowed the island to be without power for years after Hurricane Maria, which he sings about on the song “Apagón” from his latest album, “Un Verano Sin Ti.”
When he called out the rampant corruption in the Puerto Rican government, the island’s governor was arrested by the FBI just one week later on bribery charges.
It’s difficult to discern whether one led directly to the other, but the use of his international icon status to speak on political issues has inspired more people to see Puerto Rico and Latinx culture in a different light than ever before.
Part of his popularity, Rodríguez said, is his unwillingness to bend to the preconceived notions of what an American celebrity looks and sounds like.
The professor highlighted the singer’s authenticity as a key factor in his tremendous success and special connection with fans all over the world. “He sings in Spanish, he talks in Spanish, he answers reporters’ questions in Spanish, and that’s how he connects with his fanbase, and I think that makes him authentic, and that also makes him unapologetically him,” he said.
More recently, Benito used the release of his new single as a way to share a short documentary about the economic strife of working-class people in Puerto Rico, criticizing the United States’ exploitation of the island as a popular vacation destination.
Benito’s video zeroes in on a tax loophole known as Act 22, which allows rich Americans to move there with the incentive of paying little to no money in taxes.
Whether you’re a fan of his music, agree or not with his political views, it is undeniable that Benito is utilizing his platform in all the ways we could ask for from a celebrity and more: by showing Latinx pride, prioritizing the working class, and contributing to the ever-changing ideals of masculinity and gender in our current moment.
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