By Irene Escudero |
Cartagena (Colombia) (EFE) He knows that heartbreak is not a new topic for men or women, it’s just that they are watched at every step they take.
“We are blamed for everything and we don’t realize that we still give too much power to male opinion and perception,” the Puerto Rican artist said in an interview with EFE, who, after making her debut with her brothers on Calle 13, has already built a career thanks to love, heartbreak and above all to sing to the issues that matter to him.
Since she launched Ilevitable, in 2016, with which she won the Grammy, Ileana Cabra has not hesitated to talk about politics, colonial wounds and, above all, feminism.
“The reality that I live as a woman and as a Puerto Rican leads me to talk about the abuse of power that we unfortunately experience,” she alleges as a way of finding solutions and singing about “finding a way to work collectively” that abuse.
She knows that getting out of these historical debts is a “slow process, but it is not impossible to get out of them and I believe that the same thing happens with both feminism and colonialism: they are very deep roots, but the fact that they take years That does not mean that we have to get used to it ».
That is why it is essential, he said during his visit to Colombia to attend the Hay Festival in Cartagena, that we must “unlearn” and “detoxify ourselves” in order to “transition” and thus feel “truly free.”
The island of Calle 13
De la Ileana de Calle 13 remains in an adolescence that she has never completely left, because “one never gets very adult either.”
She remembers that it was “super crazy” and “unexpected”, but at the same time she finds it logical that her brothers -Eduardo José Cabra (Visitor) and René Pérez (Resident)- included her in this mythical formation: since she was little she wanted to make music, she played the piano although he never thought he would end up singing “Latinoamérica” or “Dare” with his brothers.
But with them she learned and thanks to them she entered an environment where until recently there were not many women. “Perreo is something normal in Puerto Rico and I have been perreo since I was a child,” she confesses, but she also remembers feeling the “taboo”, the fact that as a woman she was seen as “easy” for wanting to perreo.
And then Ivy Queen arrived, chanting “I want to dance, (…) that doesn’t mean I’m going to bed”. And she began to identify because that’s how she felt.
There “that female voice is established a bit without submitting to macho standards or patriarchy” in music, reggaeton, which is part of Puerto Rico as it is already the rest of Latin America.
Decolonization and denunciation
And that it is also transforming despite the fact that it is “the genre that has found it most difficult to express itself openly about what is happening politically in Puerto Rico and socially.” But following a trail that Calle 13, among others, opened, is now tearing down those walls.
Proof of this is that Bad Bunny, who stopped his tour to return to the island to join the protests against Governor Ricardo Rosselli in 2019, took advantage of a video clip that says “Puerto Rico is a bastard” to denounce that power cuts are constant. and that Puerto Rico is a bastard but for those who have the money to enjoy it.
“It is important that within the romanticization that Puerto Rico has, they also talk about the crisis and the reality that we are going through, because it is painful,” asks the Puerto Rican.
In the 2019 protests, he also showed very typical ways of fighting and resisting, a “combative perreo”, as iLe calls it, where reggaeton filtered into rallies and marches, where they danced and celebrated while protesting, in a “let’s go” to fight here until this thing is solved, but we are going to have fun too ».
Feminism in the veins
In parallel, there is also an opening towards a more inclusive reggaeton, which loses the violence and machismo of the most classic.
“Reggaeton has always been super macho and super violent,” explains the artist, but now, although those sexual songs from the beginning continue to exist, “the woman is part of the sexual activity that they are going to have,” it is no longer based on dominance , but one speaks of enjoyment and consensus.
“Right now we perhaps have a freedom that we did not have before,” he sums up, although he regrets that “other things are still happening that have not changed so much and there are many macho men and many macho women” who continue to promote “this toxic way of living” .
That is why for her making feminist lyrics is a constant because she is “scared” that it becomes normal to see a woman murdered or the patterns of abuse in women’s daily lives.
Because, she concludes, “the true purpose is simply to find that women are eh…” and it is hard for her to find the words for how obvious they are: “the purpose is to find that women are people without further ado.”