Barcelona-born singer Rosalia is once again making her rounds through Latino social media, especially on Tik Tok. Ever since she teased the world with her remake of “Saoco,” a Daddy Yankee and Wisin reggaeton classic from 2004, people have been baffled at her most recent musical choice.
The international star, who was once known for singing flamenco (and she’s damn good at it too), seems to have been gliding percussive footwork and aimlessly clapping her castañuelas towards other genres.
And there’s plenty of discourse around it.
At this point, I don’t think it’s lost on Rosalia that people get fired up when she’s regarded as a Latina, despite being Hispanic. Yes, there is a difference.
Someone who is Latina/Latino/Latine has Latin American ancestry, whereas someone Hispanic is from Spain. It can get confusing because Latina/o/e can also be Hispanic simultaneously, but not the other way around.
Rosalia first caused an uproar in the Latino community when she began to receive musical nominations from highly-recognized award ceremonies like the Latin Grammys and Latin Billboards.
She has attempted to defend herself by saying that this is the only category she can get judged on. This, of course, places culpability on the Academy, and it’s understandable. After all, part of the division that we are currently seeing in the music industry is embedded in the Academy’s lack of understanding of the various genres Latin American and Hispanic music offer the world.
Apparently, Spanish-speaking people are all the same — and that’s far from the truth. It’s impossible to enclose us in four walls; we need a maze, a universe, a galaxy. Okay, maybe I exaggerated, but you get my drift.
But her dabbing into other genres hasn’t stopped — it’s continued, business as usual. Whether it’s because of appreciation or plain ignorance, the music she releases has recently been linked to the music that saw its popularity in other Latin American cultures — and the pioneers often weren’t put on the same pedestal she sits on.
A few months ago, she found her way into the Dominican genre, bachata with The Weeknd on the song “La Fama.” Then, she slid right into Dembow (another genre whose foundation lies in Afro-Caribbean influences), with Tokischa on “Linda.” Though she received backlash for those singles, she went ahead and gave us a few seconds of her upcoming track, “Saoko.” This is a non-exhaustive list, of course.
Many people see it as modern-day colonization because they feel she doesn’t give enough credit to those at the frontlines of the respective genres. However, others in the community think that limiting who samples the work of past artists is a form of gate-keeping. One thing is for sure: The conversation around Rosalia is endless.
Let’s take a look at what the internet says:
Many are not here for it.
Don’t be surprised when they start winning all the Latin awards…
it’s so bad i wanna give it a 0
While others are como sin nada (and their opinions are just as valid).
@rosalia ya pues hijitaaaa
Neither Daddy Yankee nor Wisin have commented on Rosalia’s “Saoco” rendition.