Bad Bunny at the VMAs: a Figure Beyond Music

Last Sunday, the MTV Video Music Awards took place. Between the announcements and the presentations, Bad Bunny's kiss with one of his dancers drew attention. Is the reggaeton player a figure beyond music? .

Bad Bunny at the 2022 VMAs

Photo: YT-MTV

LatinAmerican Post | Staff

Listen to this article

Leer en español: Bad Bunny en los VMAs: una figura más allá de la música

The MTV Video Music Awards already have the tradition of being awards that always leave something to talk about. This year was no exception: during his presentation, Bad Bunny kissed a man and a woman from among his dancers . The press and his fans have not been able to stop talking about this during the week, what is so special about it?

In addition to his highly commented presentation, Bad Bunny won one of the most important awards at the award ceremony: Artist of the Year. This fact is relevant not only for the artist, but for the entire region, as it is the first time that a non-English speaking musician has won the award in this category. In his speech, Bad Bunny was proud of his Latin descent and his intention to conquer the industry without having to sing in another language.

Let's go back to the presentation: Bad Bunny sang "Tití me preguntó", one of the most successful songs from his latest album, "Un verano sin ti". Happy to perform at Yankee Stadium, the Puerto Rican reggaeton artist offered those attending the ceremony a complete show. At the end of the song, one of his dancers interrupts the chorus to give him a kiss. Bad Bunny receives it and turns to kiss a male dancer as well.

The kiss has given much to talk about. It is already common for this type of gesture to take place at the VMAs gala and, however, it is still an event for some. Firstly, there are those who wonder about the artist's sexual preferences. There are also those who criticized the gesture; and those who celebrated it. Why so much scandal?

MTV Video Music Awards: a Stage of Freedom

The VMAs stage is already traditionally a propitious environment for artists to have the freedom to have gestures that in other stages would be controversial or censored. It was at this event that Madonna performed "Like a virgin" in a wedding dress in 1984. This show thrilled audiences at the time, who were amazed at the risks the queen of pop was willing to take on the stage. Madonna repeated then in 2003 and in her presentation of the VMAs she kissed Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. This is perhaps the most obvious antecedent of what Bad Bunny did this year.

The presentation of Miley Cyrus on the same stage, but in 2015, was also highly commented. On this occasion, the artist wanted to show, through her dresses, her presentation, and her dance, that she was beginning a new creative stage that was moving away every time more of the Disney girl she once was.

Bad Bunny: Beyond Music

This is not the first time that Bad Bunny has taken risks in the visual commitment that accompanies his music. His way of dressing and his style in general go against the path that the most traditional reggaeton singers have cultivated since the early 2000s.

Two years ago, Bad Bunny released the video for his song "Yo perreo sola." In it, he does a lip sync of the chorus that says "yo perreo sola" and that is actually sung by the Puerto Rican singer Nesi. In the video, Bad Bunny plays a woman who tells the men, who do not exist in the video, that she twerks alone. The lyrics of the song emphasize that women can dance alone and that they should not be harassed by men in nightclubs. This, once again, was applauded by some and criticized by others.

Also read: Bad Bunny Day: Does Your Favorite Celebrity Have a Day?

It's Enough?

Although it is true that Bad Bunny has broken stereotypes that were previously the rule of reggaeton, perhaps this is not entirely enough for there to be a paradigm shift. His visual proposal is undoubtedly interesting and original, different from what we have been seeing for two decades in reggaeton. His style, moreover, has prompted others to change it as well and has diversified this musical genre, which may be one of the most listened to in the world.

However, is it enough to give it applause on the basis of female and LGBTQ+ representation? Perhaps, instead of dressing as a woman in his video, Bad Bunny could have given Nesi visibility, not only in the video, but also in the credits of the album, in which she is not mentioned.

Her feminized image (painted nails, skirts, heels, makeup) have certainly made the staging of reggaeton more interesting by playing with gender stereotypes. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that these visual proposals respond to the needs of the market. Bad Bunny brings a new proposal because that has been the demand of his audience, increasingly younger and more progressive. The young audience, reggaeton listeners, have already tired of the stereotype that Bad Bunny has been able to break and make obsolete. And he has known how to monetize it.

His proposal is interesting and his influence undeniable; but we must not forget that a man disguised as a woman, although it is a risky gesture, is not the same as a woman. The same as with the LGBTI community: kissing another man on stage is a sign of the more open world we live in, but it is not a reason to applaud him for “representing” members of this community. Bad Bunny does more for women, collaborating with them, giving them credit and visibility, than dressing up as them.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button