Yahritza Y Su Esencia Open Up About Controversy: ‘Not Our Parents’ Fault’
At the time, they said their hometown of Yakima, Washington has “spicier,” “better” food than the dishes they tried in Mexico… and a few other divisive remarks. However, they are now calling the entire incident “heartbreaking.”
As you may already know, singer Yahritza Martínez, 16, told a Mexican interviewer in an unearthed video: “I’m not saying I hate Mexico; I just don’t like Mexico.”
In another interview, she added, “[In Mexico City,] I don’t like when I wake up when I’m sleeping. Because you hear the cars and the police sirens.”
At the time, older brother Armando Martinez, 25, added, “I don’t really like the food. I prefer the food where we live [in Washington].”
The cherry on top? 18-year-old Jairo Martinez’s comments on Mexican dishes: “For me, it’s also the food because I’m very delicate. I really only eat… chicken that doesn’t have chile.” Watch it for yourself here:
Now on tour, the “Frágil” band spoke to De Los about the backlash they received after their comments. Armando Martínez explained, “We weren’t prepared for it, and now, we’re learning from it.”
The band said the divisive comments while going through a family separation due to immigration status
As per their new interview, younger siblings Yahritza and Jairo never spent time in their parents’ homeland of Michoacán, Mexico, because of other family members’ immigration statuses.
Meanwhile, older brother Armando, born in Michoacán, emigrated to the United States with his older sister and parents when he was three years old.
The 25-year-old was undocumented for much of his life until recently gaining an O-1 work visa. However, this meant he had to live in Mexico City for seven months while waiting for all his paperwork.
Yahritza recalled to De Los, “I was so lost, because we’d always work as a team. And when we’d see him, it would hurt for us to leave our brother behind.”
Armando also told Billboard this past June, once he was already back in the United States, “This year, I feel like it slowed us down so much. We couldn’t tour until I got back. Thank God that now we’re here.”
“For all our family, it was a sacrifice. Because we’re not used to being apart,” he added. “It was really hard to get [things] done.”
As fate would have it, the band made those polarizing comments while Armando was still living in Mexico in January. At the time, the three were finally together after not seeing each other for four months. During that now-infamous interview, they were all feeling a slew of emotions.
Jairo remembered, “We kept thinking, we didn’t know when we’d see [Armando] again.”
When talking about the incident, Armando says he feels “confused.” He referred to the backlash, which included people writing comments like: “When I have kids [I’m going to] have to take them to Mexico every summer so they don’t embarrass me like Yahritza y su Esencia 😭.”
As Armando sees it, those comments are unwarranted.
“I didn’t get to choose where I was born,” he said. “I didn’t get the choice to immigrate to the U.S. That’s what confuses me. It confuses my siblings as well, because they were born in the U.S. You can’t force anyone to like or do anything because of their race.”
Yahritza y su Esencia call the incident a “heartbreaking” learning experience
Over on TikTok, Yahritza y su Esencia issued an apology to all of their fans following their comments.
“We want you to know that what motivates us every day to write songs and make music is our great pride in having Mexican blood in our veins,” Yahritza explained.
“It doesn’t matter where we were born; we are proudly Mexican.”
Saying they were “embarrassed,” Yahritza continued, “We’ve seen the recent comments on social media and believe the fans are right.”
“We didn’t know how to express ourselves correctly,” she described. “Instead of speaking about how much we love the country, especially Mexico City, we said comments that were out of place.” At that point, the band issued an apology “with all [their] hearts.”
Similarly, the siblings told De Los that the incident was “heartbreaking.”
“The whole thing was heartbreaking for us,” Yahritza said. “And for our parents to see all that.”
Armando added, “It’s not our parents’ fault.”
“My dad always told us that Michoacán is really different from Mexico City,” he said. “We’re not used to the big-city lifestyle.”
They also talked about their bicultural identity: “So many kids get bullied just for not being able to speak Spanish right— or they get bullied for being too Mexican in the U.S.”
As Yahritza told the outlet, “Being able to call ourselves Mexican is the best thing. It’s an honor.”
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