The raunchy Latin genre known as reggaeton won't be soundtracking Cuban parties anymore. At least not legal ones. And that's... OK? Officials in Cuba have banned the music for its "aggressive, sexually obscene lyrics," which portray women as "grotesque sexual objects," with reactions coming from every direction.
The Cuban Music Institute's Orlando Vistel Columbié says the government will stamp out any music that runs against the country's revolutionary culture. "We are not just talking about reggaeton," Vistel said in an interview with the party-owned newspaper Granma. "But it is also true that reggaeton is the most notorious." Musicians peddling such lewd material will be dropped from official registries. Radio and television stations are also being pressured to avoid programming reggaeton. "We are in the process of purging music catalogues with the aim of eradicating practises that, in their content, stray from the legitimacy of Cuban popular culture," says Vistel. He also fired a shot at the music's production values, just for kicks, calling it "the poorest quality music."
Vistel isn't the only one who reviles reggaeton, and online reaction has been weirdly supportive of Cuba's plans:
Cuba's banning reggaeton... They said it's a mediocre form of artistic expression. I'm not at all a fan of censorship... but I mean...— Most (@MrSpradley) December 6, 2012
I appreciate Cuba's rationale for banning reggaeton. Wish America could get stuff that demeans women + is poor quality banned.— Tom Ziller (@teamziller) December 7, 2012
Hmm, we wonder if these tweets are tongue-in-cheek. Dirty, hypersexualized, macho party music might not be everyone's cup of tea, but are we really down with censorship now?
Those paying attention to reggaeton's precarious hold on Cuba won't be surprised by the ban. Officials denounced the hit song "Chupi Chupi" last year, saying that it "put the soul of the nation in the balance." Reggaeton artists like Daddy Yankee have defended their music against charges that it objectifies women, though. Reggaeton is still very much legal in countries like Puerto Rico, Panama, and the Dominican Republic, where the music thrives. And it's still legal in the U.S., of course, so keep grinding in the free world:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.