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‘Residente’ Deconstructs The Rapper’s Ancestral DNA, Explains Why Puerto Rico Should Be Independent

As inclusive as art can get. 

Rene Joglar Perez – better known as the other half of Puerto Rican rap duo Calle 13 – has a strong penchant for intertwining art with left-wing social activism. The new age term “woke” is an understatement for the 39-year-old, but with such radical politics and audacious outspokenness often comes resented consequences from those who fear his profound (and much needed) messages of raw truth.

In 2009, Calle 13 was banned from performing in Puerto Rico at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum because Perez called out then governor Luis G. Fortuño for his plan to lay off 17,000 state employees, according to The New York Times. But that wasn’t an isolated incident. His music videos have also been the subject of much criticism. In the visuals for one of his latest singles, “Somos Anormales,” an enormous black vagina giving birth to adults makes for an unwelcomed entrance, which caused YouTube to place an age restriction on the video.

Yet, there is a method to his madness. In his new film Residente, the 25-time Latin Grammy-wining artist is stirring a new storm. Not the kind his controversial history might suggest, either. After taking a DNA test and discovering where exactly the geographical roots of his genetic make-up are located, Perez decided he was going to make an album that represents those places, and simultaneously document his journey throughout those countries on film.

Aquí van "Mis Disculpas". Vayan al link en mi bio para que escuchen el tema completo. Beat by @trooko #Residente

A post shared by Rene Perez Joglar (@residente) on

The 90-minute documentary chronicles his travels to Siberia, Georgia, China, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Armenia and back to Puerto Rico, as he creates art with the help of those he meets along the way. There’s a young African woman who lends her soft breath taking vocals to his collection of war torn musical stories. Similarly, viewers will see a Chinese university grad who performs at a bar to showcase her talent, also contribute to his project.

Visually, the film’s cinematography is gorgeous; it swallows you into a mélange of picturesque scenes of nature. Beneath the beauty, there is also pain with deserted war torn images in countries like Georgia, South Ossetia and Armenia. Residente credits these cold vignettes as inspiration for his new catalogue of politically-charged songs.

“We decided to go to Armenia because there was a war starting,” Residente told a crowd of viewers at Spotify’s headquarters on Tuesday night (May 23). “I was writing about it, so we thought it was a good idea to go to a war zone. It wasn’t a good idea, but it was safe because the war was happening nine hours away by car. So I met these refugees from war and it was hard to listen to their stories. I felt so bad because I knew I was just visiting, and I couldn’t do anything. But then I thought I’m going to do this song, and I’m going to make a video out of it. I don’t care if it doesn’t play on the radio. I’m just going to make this happen.”

In addition to the anecdotal education, Perez also admits he learned about the power of linguistics during his travels, especially in China. Because he didn’t know the language, he had to collaborate closely with the artists he worked with and create a melody. It’s definitely a test to his musicianship, but he pulls it off impressively.

Throughout the film he narrates it in Spanish with English subtitles, and when he speaks it sounds like he is reciting a long poem from start to finish. At the end of his journey he goes back to his homeland, and deconstructs the socio-political turbulent rock the island has been under. His approach at showcasing this is far from coy. There’s footage of government officials and their constituents who are for colonization—and there’s him.

Residente – a staunch supporter of recently liberated political prisoner, Oscar López Rivera – is cemented on the idea of Puerto Rico becoming an independent entity from the U.S. He says during his journey he connected with smaller countries like South Ossetia because it reminds him of the struggles PR goes through being under the colonial grips of the U.S. government.

“I just want to be like you guys with just one flag, imagine you guys having two flags?” he asked rhetorically. “And imagine your national anthem talking about your colonizers in terms of power, it would suck.”

Residente premiered at this year's SXSW. Watch the trailer for it below.

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Ozuna And Darell Travel Through An Industrial Conquest Denouncing A Bad Love In "Vacia Sin Mi"

Gloomy cloudy skies are looming over an industrial like setting dotted with huge heavy duty trucks, as beautiful young ladies clad in yellow jumpsuits surround Ozuna in the visuals for his new single, “Vacia Sin Mi” featuring Latin trap artist Darell.

The new track is centered around the plight behind a romance gone wrong, and Ozuna is denouncing the love interest that did him wrong.  Through a hypnotic slow beat, he sings on beat about wanting nothing to do with her. He’s moved on and so should she. Darell assists the singer with brash vocals, which sound like the Spanish version of rapper Future’s signature raspy syrupy drawl.

“We want to show people a completely new concept, always looking to surprise the fans that have always supported my artistic career,” Ozuna stated in a press release.  

“Vacia Sin Mi” is the 27 year-old’s latest single off his forthcoming project NIBURU, which will be released under the record label Dimelo Vi. Just recently, the reggaeton artist made history by garnering 23 nominations for the 2019 Billboard Latin Music Awards.

We’re curious to see what new music and sound his forthcoming project will bring. Last year, he told VIBE VIVA about his previous album, Aura and what it represents for him. "Aura" is what one reflects in the heart, what you bring into the world, and what people want to learn from you,” he said. “In this situation particularly, it reflects what I have learned from fame, from all this going around my life. I interpreted all that in this album. I made international collaborations, which is something that didn’t exist in the past.”

Watch the video for “Vacia Sin Mi” above.

 

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Two Former Cops Arrested For Murder Of Brazilian Politician and Activist Marielle Franco

Brazilian activist and councilwoman Marielle Franco was murdered almost a year ago on March 14 2018, along with her driver Anderson Gomes. Now almost a year since Franco's brutal murder, suspects have been named and arrested in the case.

"Two police officers were arrested for direct and effective participation in the crime," said Rio de Janeiro's state police secretary, Marcus Vinícius Braga. "With these arrests, we get close to solving the crime."

Franco was a well-known activist in Rio de Janeiro and she used her platform to speak out on police brutality and on the behalf of Black Brazilians who have been fighting the rampant racism in their country. Just a day before her death Franco had attended a discussion titled "Young Black Women Moving [Power] Structures" and just a couple of hours later was allegedly shot by the arrested suspect retired military officer Ronnie Lessa with the assistance of the expelled cop, and another suspect, Élcio Vieira Queiroz, who was driving the car.

Franco was clearly targeted given her candidness when speaking about the corruption that plagues the Brazilian police force and the color of her skin is what convinced the men that their actions would go unnoticed. Brazilian prosecutors have stated that Franco's assassination was planned three months in advance by the two individuals, however, they are also now looking into whether Lessa and Queiroz were hired to kill Franco by someone else.

Following the arrests Gomes' widow, Ágatha Reis spoke out. "It is a weight that is starting to lift off my shoulders," Reis said. "I cannot be completely at peace. They still have to tell us who ordered these killings. It doesn't end here." Reis sentiments were echoed by supporters of Franco as #WhoOrderedMariellesMurder trended on Twitter soon after the arrests as well.

This is the first step towards justice for Franco and Gomes and it must not be the last.

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Bronx City Councilman Unveils Street In Memory Of Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz

Honoring the victim in the tragic and fatal case of mistaken identity, a New York City street has been renamed in tribute to Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz, CBS New York reports.

Guzman-Feliz was killed by members of the Trinitarios gang in the summer of 2018 after a group of its members mistakenly thought he was somebody else. He was 15. His story gained nationwide media coverage after footage showed multiple men attacking him with machetes.

It was announced that the Bathgate Avenue block would be renamed on July 25 and now nearly eight months later, the street sign has officially been unveiled. With both the family and city council members of the revel in tow, Councilman Ritchie Torres delivered a beautiful speech honoring the late Bronx native.

 

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A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words❤️🙏🏼😩 . . . Cr: @justice4junjun #justiceforjunior #justiceforjunior💔 #lesandroguzmanfeliz #juniorsworld #happybirthdayleandra #happybirthday #ripjunior #e4j #j4j #llj #longlivejunior #flyhighjunior #forever15 #restinpeacejunior

A post shared by 👼🏽JUSTICE FOR JUNIOR👼🏽🗣 (@rip_junior15) on Feb 27, 2019 at 12:49pm PST

 

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The Crowd Sang Happy Birthday To Leandra😩😭❤️ Btw THE SIGN IS UP ITS OFFICIAL😭 . . . #justiceforjunior💔 #justiceforjunior #forever15 #juniorsworld #longlivejunior #stoptheviolence #justice #e4j #j4j #flyhighjunior #lesandroguzmanfeliz #ripjunior #restinpeacejunior #restinheaven

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A Bittersweet Moment😭❤️🙏🏼🤴🏽 Long Live Junior👼🏽 . . . Cr: @camaro_clutch #justiceforjunior💔 #justiceforjunior #forever15 #juniorsworld #longlivejunior #stoptheviolence #justice #e4j #j4j #flyhighjunior #lesandroguzmanfeliz #ripjunior #restinpeacejunior #restinheaven

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“It is Junior’s memory that inspired the governor of New York to invest over $18 million in new funds for youth programming right here in the Bronx. It is Junior’s memory that inspired both the mayor and the City Council to bring new gang violence prevention services right here to the 48th Precinct," Torres said. "And it is Junior’s memory that inspired the Bronx borough president, partnering with New York State’s parks and the Fresh Air Fund, to create an upstate summer program for Bronx youth known as Camp Junior. These commemorations of Junior’s memory represent only the beginning. Junior’s impact will last as his spirit lives on.”

He went on to say, “we should remember Junior not only for the tragic loss of his life in an unspeakable act of violence. We should remember him for the lives he has saved and the lives he will save because of the legacy he leaves behind—a legacy that I am honored to memorialize right here on Bathgate and 183rd. This street will forever be the home, will forever tell the story of Lesandro ‘Junior’ Guzman-Feliz.”

 

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