Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Raquel Rivera Alert: Two Reggaeton Docs to Watch Out For

One of my favorite scholars, Hip Hop/Reggaeton feminist Raquel Z. Rivera, makes an appearance two new reggaeton documentaries being released this summer.

The first is Straight Outta Puerto Rico: Reggaeton's Rough Road to Glory, a film that traces reggaetons emergence from Puerto Rico’s caserios to becoming one of the most profitable genres in music. Straight Outta Puerto Rico premiered on MUN2 on July 31, 2008 and is now officially on sale at retailers like Amazon.

While the documentary is not with out its flaws, mainly the way it sensationalizes the hyper-masculine and sometimes violent atmosphere that birthed the reggaeton movement, I do appreciate the films attempt to historically contextualize the genre. This documentary is also one of the few public venues where the influence of the drug game on reggaeton is given attention and examined, albeit in a very exploitative way. The tag line for the film was basically drugs, sex, and violence, which is why reggaeton comes under so much fire and criticism in the first place. The film is a good starting point but I’m waiting for a documentary that is going to critically examine the economic and colonial realities that affected the development of the genre in Puerto Rico and elsewhere. Please check out Reggaetonica for Raquel Rivera’s take on Straight Outta Puerto Rico.

Rivera, along with another one of my favorite scholars Juan Flores, also appears in the upcoming reggaeton doc U.S.-Latinos: the Reggaeton Factor. Reggaeton Factor, obviously focuses on the impact on the development of U.S. Latino identity and development so it takes a radically different approach to the genre than Straight Outta Puerto Rico. U.S.-Latinos: the Reggaeton Factor was slated to come out this summer but it appears as though it might have been pushed back. I can’t wait to see it when it comes out, in the meantime enjoy the trailer.

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