Hasta Abajo the red bull mini doc
In May, Red Bull Music Festival New York released a mini-documentary by Jazmin Garcia entitled Hasta Abajo ("Get Down") and it's sure to make you feel empowered and wanna shake your tail feathers at the same time. The short film evokes a new appreciation for the genre of Reggaetón, what it stands for and how it relates to female sexual agency. The event itself featured passionate performances by Reggaetón artists The Noise and Ivy Queen which made for an electric tribute event. Ivy Queen in particular has become a legend in her own domain, unafraid to represent what it means to possess freedom of sexual expression.
When asked about female sexual expression and how Reggaetòn is Jazmin Garcia stated the following: The director states, "It's always been important for me to produce work through an intersectional feminist lens. For me that has meant focusing on stories and uplifting the perspectives of women of color from different cultural and economic backgrounds. So when exploring the feminine in reggaeton it was pretty clear that conversations around class and race needed to happen, especially since historically the genre has been criminalized due to it’s afro-latinx roots, but more recently gained widespread acceptance with the music’s “blanqueamiento” or white-washing. "
Where do you see Reggaetòn going with its new found movement of female empowerment?
Although Reggaetón was a male-dominated genre for much of it's history, powerful female singers like Ivy Queen have claimed their space in the current movement. These impactful artists have given women listeners music that they can identify with and apply to their own lives. With songs inspired by the female experience, it's all about being in command of your choices, sexuality and womanhood.
What does womanhood mean to you, being a person of color?
I had a really great pre-interview with Dr. Omaris Z. Zamora, a transnational Black Dominican Studies scholar and she really provided great insight into the way race, class, gender, and sexuality operates within popular culture and how the growing mainstream appeal of reggaeton allows us to really challenge perceived notions of blackness, marginalized groups, and women’s sexual freedom. If I had more time, and money, I would have loved to take this doc to a more critical level, but am still happy with the way the women included open up the possibility for these deeper conversations.
I can tell you that it was definitely important to hear about the music and what it means to women from their point of view because of the lack of inclusion or agency given to women in the genre. That’s changing a lot now, as you can see with shows like the one Red Bull put on which was dominated by bad ass women.
Written by Louisa Solarz
Photos Courtesy of Kofi Carson