Unless you have been living under a rock, you know how the song “Despacito” has completely taken over radio airwaves, digital platforms, and articles written praising the song.
Sure, I can get into it and discuss what a moron Justin Bieber is for mocking the Spanish language, even though he “sings” in the remix version of the song, but Ricardo Mondolfi, a contributor over at Huffington Post already discussed this angering topic. So since I do not feel like being petty and continue trashing Bieber for taking advantage of the Latino culture; I much rather discuss something else about the song.
While Puerto Ricans Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee are credited with the song, and with being the pop/urban faces of the International hit, a Panamanian songwriter is also is also a crucial part of the song. Not any Panamanian, a woman, yes, a woman. Erika Ender is the co-author of “Despacito” along with Fonsi.
Now, here’s the most significant aspect of having Erika be part of the viral success that the song has become. Not only has the song maintained the number one spot on the Billboard charts for four consecutive weeks, with over 69 million streams. The song surpassed Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble,” Adele’s “Hello,” and Baauer’s “Harlem Shake” in the record number of streams. “Despacito” is the first Spanish song to take the number one spot since 1996’s “Macarena” by Spain duo Los Del Río. This Fall, Erika will be entered into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame. In this category, she happens to be the youngest and the first woman ever to receive such recognition. Also, back in Panama, she created the “National Inter- School Talent Festival,” competition for young artists to showcase their talent in singing, dancing, filmmaking, and songwriting.
I mean, can we talk about Superwoman status? Ender joins a selected few to reach such impressive and praiseworthy level of success in a music world dominated by male and with limited female representation.
The success of the song surpasses many barriers, the two decades timeframe since a Spanish song has reached a number one spot on the chart, having two Puerto Ricans be the lead singers, and most importantly, crediting a woman as being a co-author.
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The praises that the song has been receiving should make all of us Latinx proud. We live in a country where the mere sound of speaking Spanish in public is reason enough to be threatened, where Trump supporters feel the need to make us feel inferior for the color of our skin, of our accent, and who we are. A country where women are treated as second-class citizens. How ironic that the number one song in the country goes against everything Trump’s America stands for.
In the praises behind “Despacito” is where we prove just how powerful we are as a community, and we should celebrate that two Puerto Ricans and a Panamanian woman are the musical voices of all of us.