Controversy Surrounds Peso Pluma’s Appearance at Chile’s Viña del Mar Music Festival

In a country known for its vibrant music scene, the Viña del Mar International Song Festival stands out as one of the premier showcases for Latin American artists. Established in 1960, it has played host to some of the most iconic performers in the region. However, this year’s festival has been mired in controversy due to the scheduled performance of Mexican singer Peso Pluma.

The Controversy Unveiled: Alberto Mayol’s Accusations

The controversy began when Chilean sociologist and academic Alberto Mayol published a scathing opinion piece on Radio Bíobío’s website. In the article, Mayol accused Peso Pluma of glorifying the narco lifestyle in his songs, citing lyrics that celebrate the extravagance associated with drug cartels and allude to sexual relationships fueled by narco wealth.

Mayol didn’t stop critiquing the artist; he also aimed at the festival organizers, including Televisión Nacional de Chile (TVN), Canal 13, and the Municipalidad de Viña del Mar. He argued that hosting a show featuring what he referred to as a “pro-narco artist” was an affront to the values of the Republic of Chile.

René Lues Steps In Urging Festival Cancellation

The controversy gained further traction when René Lues, a councilor from Viña del Mar, penned a letter to the city’s mayor, Macarena Ripamonti. In the letter, Lues urged the cancellation of Peso Pluma’s performance scheduled for March 1st, the festival’s closing night.

He argued that using public channels, resources, and spaces to promote this genre of music and narco-related songs was inappropriate. Lues emphasized the need for society not to romanticize criminal figures with a history of violence and bloodshed.

Peso Pluma, whose real name is Hassan Emilio Kabande Laija, is a 24-year-old artist known for his work in reggaeton, Latin trap, and corridos tumbaos—a subgenre blending urban music with regional Mexican sounds.

In recent years, his fame has skyrocketed, especially among young audiences. In 2023, he ranked as the fifth most-streamed artist globally on Spotify, and his hit song ‘Ella baila sola,’ featuring Eslabón Armado, was the fifth most-played track on the platform.

Balancing Act: The Dual Themes in Peso Pluma’s Lyrics

While Peso Pluma’s lyrics touch on themes like love, power, and wealth, they also include references to drugs, such as ‘tusi’ (‘They don’t need flowers, just a pink powder’) and notable drug traffickers like Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán (‘I’m from El Chapo Guzmán’s people’).

The president of TVN’s board, Francisco Vidal, confirmed ongoing discussions about Peso Pluma’s participation in the festival, stating that they were carefully evaluating the singer’s presence in the upcoming edition.

Currently, Mayor Ripamonti, a left-wing Frente Amplio coalition representative, has not publicly commented on the matter.

TVN’s Dilemma: Evaluation and Contemplation

However, Chile’s Minister of Interior, Carolina Tohá, expressed her concerns during a press conference. She stated that the government and authorities were worried about the rise of songs promoting narco culture and sexism, pointing out that these songs often perpetuated derogatory views towards women and reinforced discriminatory paradigms.

Also read: The Mexican Urban Revolutionized a 2023 That Went Beyond Reggaeton

The controversy surrounding Peso Pluma’s participation in the Viña del Mar International Song Festival underscores the tension between artistic expression and societal values. As the debate rages on, it raises fundamental questions about the role of music and entertainment in reflecting and influencing the culture and values of a nation.

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