Coachella evokes plenty of feelings. It would be amiss of us if we didn’t talk about the vast disparity that occurs in Coachella Valley. On one hand, farmworkers, who are predominantly Latino/e, are underpaid and live in impoverished conditions. On the other hand, the ultra-wealthy pass by them on a daily basis without blinking twice about the hardships of their neighbors.
Latino USA once coined the phenomenon as the “Valley of Contrasts” – and that is its unfortunate reality. This year, Puerto Rican independent journalist, Bianca Graulau, went viral explaining the situation.
Yet, as all this all going on, Latino/e artists are also making history by being able to share Coachella stages that were once not accessible to Latin music greats. It’s very conflicting because, in some sense, two important groups are fighting for representation: farmworkers and Latino/e artists.
It would also be harmful to the Latin music industry not to give them recognition considering it has taken almost eons to give Latino/e artists the chance to perform at one of the largest music festivals in the United States. In recent years, their performances have been the talk of the internet – and this year is no different.
Let’s look at some of the moments where Latino/e artists were all the hype this year at Coachella. Check them out below.
DannyLux had a full-circle moment
During his Coachella performance, DannyLux, an emerging artist in the Regional Mexican industry, spoke about what Coachella meant to him. He recalled the traffic he faced when he was a little boy and his mom telling him it was because of the artists and the shows. Soon after, one of his dreams became getting on a Coachella, something he was able to accomplish this year.
His family, especially his father, were excited to see him perform. In fact, before his show on Friday night, his father put out a large yellow billboard in his town to state his pride. The billboard read: “My last time at Coachella I was picking up the trash. Now I’m back to see my son perform this Friday. Te amo, Dannylux. Tu papa.”
DannyLux went on to having a successful set on Friday.
Becky G shared the stage with artists Peso Pluma and Natti Natasha
The last few weeks have been hard for Becky G, but she gave Coachella her all with her performance. Upon her arrival on the stage, she expressed her pride in being a Mexican American woman. She then proceeded to pay tribute to her Mexican roots by performing “Fulanito,” “Cuando Te Besé” and “Bailé Con Mi Ex.” Peso Pluma, the Mexican artist to dethrone Bad Bunny from Spotify’s top charts in Mexico, also joined her to sing “Chanel.” Her last guest was none other than la dominicana, Natti Natasha; they both sang their single, “Sin Pijama.” At the end of their performance, they shared a small peck on the lips, which can be seen as queer baiting, but that’s a story for another time.
Becky G closed her set with “MAMIII,” a timely song considering the situation with her love life.
Kali Uchis shared an unreleased song with her fans
The Colombian artist, Kali Uchis, began her set by dancing to Plan B’s iconic reggaeton song, “Frikitona,” to pay homage to Latin music greats. She quickly transitioned to her first viral song, “Telepatía,” and continued to bless the crowd with more of her bangers. During her performance, she even shared an unreleased song from her upcoming album and the internet went wild.
Bad Bunny addresses the Time Magazine interview and more
A lot of people are not happy with Bad Bunny. From his romantic affair with notorious culture vulture Kendall Jenner to not recognizing colorism in the Latin music industry, it’s been disappointing to say the least. However, it’s still important to recognize his performance at this year’s Coachella music festival, since he became the first Latino to headline the event – ever.
He began his set by paying tribute to other Latino/e artist greats and giving a brief history on the importance to the space. Then, as usual, he brought the energy we all witnessed during his “World’s Hottest Tour” shows to Coachella’s stage and had everyone dancing. He brought out four special guests: Post Malone, Jhayco, Ñengo Flow, and Jowell & Randy.
In between his songs, he took the opportunity to talk to his fans about recent events. He told everyone not to believe anything that doesn’t come directly from him. We can only assume he was talking about claims of him dating Kendall (although an Instagram Story he posted later on made people question what he meant.) He also spoke how he never regretted writing or singing “El Apagón.”
He implied that his words were misconstrued and still stands behind the meaning of the song. The song talks about neo-colonizers, people wanting to jump on the Latino/e bandwagon, and Puerto Rico’s constant blackouts, among other things. Though he tried to clear the air, not everyone was convinced. Maybe next time, Benito.
While lauding over Latino/e artists special moments on Coachella is important, it is also crucial to continue fighting for farmworkers’ rights. You can do this by donating to organizations geared towards farmworker rights, such as Farmworker Justice.