2 October 2022
On 22 September, Puerto Rico was hit by Hurricane Fiona which cut out power for the island.
Bad Bunny, a Puerto Rico native and global music superstar, has consistently advocated and spread awareness about circumstances surrounding Puerto Rico.
Recently, Puerto Rico has been struck by fierce winds, extreme and torrential rainfall (over 30 inches), flash floods and landslides as a result of Hurricane Fiona. Oh, and the collapse of their whole power grid resulting in an island wide power outage. Couple that with an extremity of heat amidst summer, trouble with a safe water supply and now pretty much the whole power grid being off in Puerto Rico? It’s a fucking fiasco.
This has come almost exactly 5 years after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and also took down the electrical grid. Crazy how history really does have a habit of repeating itself, huh? Well, Puerto Rico is no stranger to blackouts.
The island wide blackout allegedly occurred 1-2 days before Fiona had even hit, with the private electrical company Luma contending that it was the result of increasingly intense high winds pre-hurricane. Regardless, the current situation is dire, with an unofficial estimation of around 1.5 million business and residential addresses having lost power. Whole bridges have flown away. The damage is catastrophic.
In Bad Bunny’s television debut on Jimmy Fallon in September 2018, he raised awareness of the decimation that Hurricane Maria had caused. His very opening statement was about the death and devastation that Hurricane Maria had caused to his native island. Although power has been restored this time faster than post Maria, it is almost day 10 without power and unofficially approx. 350,000-500,000 are still without access to power, with those who do have power utilising solar power. This means that only 65% of Puerto Rico have had their power restored in what is more than a week after this incident.
So, how has Bad Bunny helped this time? The man has consistently used his platform to give a voice to Puerto Rico when it matters. This time, it comes in the form of a newly released music video for “El Apagon” which translates to ‘The Blackout.’ Released on 17 September, which was RIGHT before the devastation of Fiona, this video comes out with a twist. What’s the twist, you ask? Well, the new video doesn’t just stop with his song. It’s followed by a 20 minute documentary called “Aqui Vive Gente” which translates to ‘People Live Here.’ Directed by Bianca Graulau who is an independent journalist from Puerto Rico, it breaks down the island’s ongoing struggles and battle with the power grid and the disproportional impact that this has had on the community and residents. It also covers matters of gentrification and how it is displacing the island’s residents and their inherent fears about becoming foreigners on their own land.
“He’s a true testament to not forgetting where you’ve come from and giving back to the community that’s raised you.”
This video and song has opened the eyes of many people who were unaware of the situation in Puerto Rico, including myself. By providing a clear and obvious representation of the reality that those who live in Puerto Rico face day by day, it paves the way for people to try to help improve the quality of life in Puerto Rico.
This man is more than just a trendy pop star, he’s a true testament to not forgetting where you’ve come from and giving back to the community that’s raised you.