Grammy- and Latin Grammy-winning Puerto Rican rapper Residente’s newest tune, “That is Not America,” is an anthem for individuals who perceive that imperialism and compelled immigration can’t be separated from environmental points.
Each social and environmental crises are proven in bloody realism all through the music video, at present trending at #11 for music on YouTube. “That is Not America,” that includes Afro-French Cuban duo Ibeyitakes intention at police brutality in addition to air pollution from environmentally extractive industries that power Latin America’s Indigenous communities from their ancestral lands.
“Aquí estamos, siempre estamos. No nos fuimos, no nos vamos. Aquí estamos pa’ que te recuerdes. Si quieres, mi machete te muerde,” the refrain says. “Right here we’re, at all times are. We’ve not left, we cannot depart. Right here we’re, as a way to keep in mind. And in order for you, my machete will chew you.”
A lot of Residente’s anti-imperialist songs point out machetes, maybe a connection to his fixed critique of Puerto Rico’s standing as a US colony, one thing he mentioned in interviews The next Hurricane Maria in 2017. His music is a reminder that having a Caribbean identification, having a Latin American identification, comes with plenty of baggage.
“Desde hace rato, cuando ustedes llegaron, ya estaban las huellas de nuestros zapatos,” Residente raps. “For some time earlier than you arrived, the footprint of our sneakers have been already right here.”
“America is not simply the USA papá, it is from Tierra del Fuego to Canada.”
The video opens with an ode to Lolita Lebrón, a member of the Puerto Rican nationalist social gathering who shot a pistol throughout a Home of Representatives chamber assembly on March 1, 1954, alongside different nationalists calling for Puerto Rican independence. Her assault on the governing physique got here only a few years after the El Grito de Jayuya, or the Jayuya rebellion of 1950, a revolt in opposition to US imperialism within the city of Jayuya and in a number of different cities throughout the island. The deceased Lebron is now a leftist hero,
Within the video, an actress representing Lebrón shoots into the air, and close by cops begin operating towards her.
What follows are scenes of protests in opposition to closely armed police, folks forcibly separated (together with a mom breastfeeding her youngster by a fence), and what seem like college students lined up with bullet holes of their heads. The backdrop options bomba beats, an Afro-Puerto Rican model of music that usually symbolizes resistance in opposition to oppression and was a robust device for expression through the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests,
In a single scene, an Indigenous youngster sits on a tower of McDonalds-style quick meals containers; different pictures present Indigenous youngsters on piles of disposable espresso cups and Amazon packages. A person with Eurocentric options in a swimsuit is consuming steak with a glass of crimson wine. After taking a chew, he turns to wipe his face with a big Brazilian flag as one other Indigenous youngster seems to be on.
The steak-and-flag scene is the video’s least delicate reference to local weather justice and Indigenous rights. I interpreted it as a nod to the socially and environmentally damaging insurance policies of Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, When the person wiped his face, I believed for a second that I used to be taking a look at Bolsonaro himself.
Underneath Bolsonaro’s management, tens of millions of acres of the Amazon rainforest have been set on fireplace and illegally cleared for cattle and crops—high export merchandise for the nation—in only a handful of years. Indigenous forest defenders and allies who work with them are sometimes displaced and even murdered in order that there will be extra land for agricultural manufacturing. In 2021, the Brazilian Senate committee created a draft accusing Bolsonaro of crimes in opposition to humanity, together with genocide. He is made it clear time and time once more that it would not matter if individuals are displaced and the surroundings destroyed, so long as industries flip a revenue.
“This Is Not America” is an impactful and graphic condemnation of unfettered company greed and the cruelty of these in energy. It is also a warning that most of the victims of are combating again.
Residente reminds us that there are casualties from trendy imperialism. Simply because it would not seem like ships arriving on the shores of a supposedly undiscovered land, does not imply that imperialism is a factor of the previous. Residente tells us that it occurred then, and it is occurring now.
The US and different rich nations outsource our trash and our air pollution to susceptible communities. The long-lasting devastation that ensues is less complicated to disregard if we do not know the place the our bodies are—and this video goals to place these corpses entrance and heart. It ends with our bodies being laid out to type the phrase “America.”