“Puerto Rico Está Bien Cabrón”: As Blackouts in Puerto Rico Surge, Bad Bunny Calls to Action

The Grammy award-winner releases the music video for his song “El Apagón,” which also features documentary about Puerto Rican injustices.

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Bad Bunny

As the sun sets on summer, Puerto Rican singer Bad Bunny released the music video for his track “El Apagón.” The video segues into an 18-minute documentary titled “Aquí Vive Gente” (People Live Here), presented by independent journalist Bianca Graulau. The film highlights the displacement of people and other injustices in his native island. 

The summer of 2022 will go down as the summer of Bad Bunny. With the release of his fourth studio album “Un Verano Sin Ti” (A Summer Without You), the Grammy award-winner was able to gather two billion streams in his record —  becoming the first and only album to do so in Spotify history. Last month, he also sold out Yankee Stadium on two consecutive nights, Vulture reporeds. 

Though “Un Verano Sin Ti ” serves as a multi-genre album; featuring reggaeton, mambo and everything in between, there is one common theme across the body of work— a celebration of Latin-American culture. And its newest single, “El Apagón,” (The Blackout) is no exception. 

The song opens with the popular phrase, “Puerto Rico está bien cabrón.” In Spanish, denominating something as “esta cabrón” has two different connotations. On one hand, it can mean that a thing is excellent. On the other hand, it could mean that it is terrible. When therecord was released, the phrase was an ode to the vibrant, joyous and spirited Puerto Rican culture. But as power blackouts increase in the island, tax evaders acquire native property and beaches are privatized — subjects discussed in the documentary — the once-celebratory phrase changes meaning to a call to action. 

“They’re evicting Puerto Ricans to get rich with what’s from here, with what’s native from here,” one woman, who said she was given 30 days to evict her apartment, told Graulau. 

The music video for “El Apagón” also comes days before Hurricane Fiona hit the Caribbean and caused outages, floods and mudslides. 

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Bad Bunny

It is no secret that Puerto Ricans have been overlooked for decades. But instead of stating new issues, Graulau simply explores the deep rooted troubles that boricuas have been grappling with. Pairing that with the mesmerizing scenery that Puerto Rico provides, the result becomes an educational, entertaining yet infuriating body of art that hopes to instill change in the status quo. 

As a Venezuelan, I cannot help but feel some sort of personal connection to this piece. Expressing your admiration and celebrating your culture, while also recognizing the injustices that happen back at home is not an easy task, yet Benito Martinez — Bad Bunny — and his team are able to fully master it. 

Bad Bunny’s constant celebration of his roots are simply contagious. Not only for Puerto Ricans, but for other latinos too. “El Apagón” embodies the Latin spirit. Making an upbeat party anthem from a misfortune that many Latinos have lifelong experiences with allows listeners to reclaim ownership and demand change. 

At the same time, the song itself —  just like the rest of the album — allows the representation of different genres of music and parallels the diversity of Latinos. The track starts with afro-caribbean sounds and Puerto Rican folklore. Towards the latter half, the song commands the audience to lift their spirits as it makes a switch to EDM. The song does not follow a concrete structure or a strict guideline. Just like Latin-American culture, it is a blend of different backgrounds that come together to make an electrified club anthem. 

With “El Apagón,” Martinez further establishes himself as the voice of Latinos in the global scene. From his songs to his activism, it is clear that the Puerto Rican artist is not just making art for the sake of it, but rather to hold those in power accountable and enact change in his community. 

“I just hope people in PR can watch my video before the lights go out,” Bad Bunny wrote on his Instagram story when the music video was released.