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Puerto Rico: Daddy Yankee Endorses John McCain

Puerto Rico is in the spotlight due to a recent endorsement by recording artist Daddy Yankee. Even though he is not as well known on the island, than in other parts of Latin America, U.S. presidential candidate capitalized on his fame for campaign purposes at an event in an Arizona high school. Bloggers comment on the fact that Daddy Yankee is a low profile rapper in the island and his example is not one to be emulated. So what is McCain after? Votes obviously, and as far as votes go the Puerto Rican and the Latino communities in the US.

In the words of blogger Edwqin Vazquez of Cargas y Desgargas [es]:

El reggaetonero Raymond Ayala, mejor conocido como Daddy Yankee, hizo el supremo ridículo: endosó a John McCain para presidente en una escuela de Arizona, aún cuando el pobre no tiene derecho a votar en las elecciones presidenciales.

The reggaeton singer Raymond Ayala better known as “Daddy Yankee” was part of something ridiculous: he endorsed John McCain for president in a high school in Arizona even tough the poor guy doesn't have a right to vote in the presidential elections.

According to blogger Elco Lao, he is not sure how much McCain even knows who Daddy Yankee is [es]:

aunque el candidato a presidente por el partido republicano dice que Dadi es uno de sus mejores amigos, antes de que entrara a escena tuvo que leer de una tarjeta alguna información que le hiciera recordar quién carajos era este muchacho… Por lo menos, las muchachitas de la escuela que visitó Maquein supieron anticipadamente de quién se trataba ya que mencionó la palabra “GASOLINA”.

…although the presidential candidate said that Daddy was one of his best friends, before Daddy Yankee entered the stage, McCain had to read from a card with information to remind him who the hell was this guy. At least the girls in the school recognized him when McCain mentioned the title of one of his hits “GASOLINA”…

During the activity the Star Spangled Banner was played but Daddy Yankee didn't knew the lyrics to that tune so he had to bit his lips during the anthem performance. After the ceremony the rapper sang one of his most famous hits “Gasolina” (gasoline). the song is about a girl who likes to ride in cars and in the song is constantly repeating “dame más gasolina” (give me more gasoline). The lyrics of the song contrast with McCain's energy policies and his purported plans to encourage the production of alternative energy and his plan to reward the inventor who rescues the US from its dependency on foreign oil with $300,000,000.

The news did not cause an uproar here in the island since Puerto Ricans can't vote, so none of the local media payed much attention to it. Bloggers from the U.S. consider it an act of political significance since McCain chose to address the Puerto Ricans, and other Latinos living in the states by standing by the side of a well-known recording artist.

Thumbnail photo by Rascolmkp

13 comments

  • Sofia

    I don’t want to make this a point of contention, since it’s not really the issue at hand, but I don’t really know Puerto Ricans not familiar with Daddy Yankee or La Gasolina. That song has been regularly on the radio for at least 5 years and that man -though he may not be reigning king to high school students- is still the most successful reggaeton singer to this day. Anyways, “low profile rapper” seems like an inadequate way to describe him. What I would be willing to bet is that a very small minority of Puerto Ricans in the Island know who John McCain is, and only a fraction of those care.

    What’s ludicrous about Daddy Yankee’s endorsement is the fact that he’s not an artist known for any sort of political activity outside of his claiming at one point (during the original release of the song) that Gasolina was really a song about the rising prices of gasoline and the situation in the Middle East. (no joke, I remember listening to him present the song on a radio station) Not only does Daddy Yankee have NO clue about who McCain is or what Republican politics are like but he CAN’T VOTE and he’s supporting a candidate that is not just completely ignorant of who he is but has never said a single substantial thing addressing Puerto Rico or the issues surrounding our relationship to the US.

    Refreshingly enough, Siete Nueve, a young hip hop artist who could definitely be labeled as a “low profile rapper” (specially considering he’s a part of a small, largely ignored hip hop community in the Island) and releases a song criticizing the endorsement (http://www.myspace.com/sietenueve). The song deconstructs the issue of the endorsement as much more than a political move, tying it to a larger class conflict and the issue of Puerto Ricans in the US army and poking holes all over Yankee’s endorsement, making it completely laughable. At the end of the song, the singer endorses Pedro Albizu Campos, undoubtedly the most important figure in the history of the Puerto Rican left and President of the Nationalist Party.

    Over a simple hip hop beat, the voice of Albizu is heard talking at the end of the song, finishing with a solid phrase: “the ballot box is the coffin in which to bury the Puerto Rican nation”.

    As Puerto Ricans, we’re not part of the discourse surrounding this election. They paid attention to us back in June when the democrats ran down to the Island for a couple of days to battle it out for the primary, but we’re not and never have been a priority for the US government. As far as Puerto Rican and Latin American communities in the states, we’re pandered to just like everyone else, with the only distinction being that as US citizens we don’t come into play in the immigration debate… so it’s even easier to brush us carefully to the side with an appearance in the Puerto Rican Day Parade or perhaps a photo op with a popular singer. Are we supposed to feel content now? Is Daddy Yankee supposed to represent us?

  • Very nice comment there, Sofia. I think the next step would be asking if Daddy Yankee is supposed to represent all American Latinos as well, which is how some are interpreting his endorsement.

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