For 100 years, the red-framed cover of the time-Magazine celebrities, big events or the most influential “People of the Year” voted annually. The fact that, in the 101st year of its existence, a magazine is now aimed specifically at the Latino community in the USA is quite a minor sensation. For the first time, the cover of the current issue is entirely in Spanish.
At Easter, a “bad bunny” adorns this issue. At least someone who calls himself that: Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio from Puerto Rico, better known by his stage name Bad Bunny. The man is a world star: the 29-year-old, who sings and raps in Spanish, has been leading the global streaming charts for three years in a row. Since he first jumped into the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2018 in tow of rapper Cardi B with “I Like It”, he has also been a big hit in the USA.
Not only musically Bad Bunny crosses borders. He can neither be squeezed into a rigid genre nor into stereotypical images of masculinity. He once explained that he didn’t want his heterosexuality to be defined by how he presented himself on stage. Kissing a male dancer, acting like a drag queen, no big deal. Fellow singer Ricky Martin has already described him as an “icon for the queer Latino community”. And not just that time-Magazine found that Bad Bunny has become one of the best advertising mediums for all those media companies that want to give themselves a youthful, diverse image. Even Hollywood is said to have considered debuting Bad Bunny as the first Latino Marvel hero.
That he died this year with his song “El Apagón”. Grammys was allowed to open, there would at most be a side note – if there hadn’t been a small controversy. As Bad Bunny performed his song about the devastating 2021 power outage in his home country, the station only played this subtitle: “[SINGING IN NON-ENGLISH]”. When the artist later accepted a Grammy himself and thanked him in two languages, it just faded in again: “[SPEAKING NON-ENGLISH]”. Sometimes diversity and cosmopolitanism already fail when it comes to speech recognition.
In Germany, too, Spanish-speaking artists are rare in the media public. German radio stations, which only play the title “en español” between Abifete and the beginning of September, have so far not even acknowledged Bad Bunny as having a real summer hit. But that too could change soon: Coachella, one of the most famous music festivals in the world, starts this Friday – with the Puerto Rican as the headliner. 2023 is the year of the rabbit.