Latinidad in Popular Culture: Representation, Resistance, and Identity in Music and Television

Sponsor: Latina/o Communication Studies Division
Sat, 11/19: 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM CST
Room: Napoleon Ballroom B1 - 3rd Floor 
This panel explores representations of Latina/o/x identity in popular culture with a particular emphasis on music videos and television. Panelists will engage with topics such as critical race theory, decoloniality, rhetorical agency, and resistance.


Carlos Benjamin Pelayo, University of Utah  - Contact Me


Stephanie L. Gomez, Western Washington University  - Contact Me


La Raza Caucus
Latina/o Communication Studies Division


Artista Feminista? Exploring Bad Bunny’s Yo Perreo Sola Vernacular Use of Ni Una Menos

On March 27, 2020, Bad Bunny (Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio) released the official music video for Yo Perreo Sola (I twerk/grind/dance alone). Since then, it has been deemed as a music video empowering womxn by popular publishing platforms. Many artists have included an activist identity within their music and music videos, which only seems to be increasing. With the increase of social movement interest, one must wonder at what point are celebrities exploiting social movement language/identity to sell their music, products, and/or image? The paper will explore to what extent and in what ways does Bad Bunny's Yo Perreo Sola use rhetorical strategies, particularly the use of the vernacular, to support or co-opt the social movement Ni Una Menos. What impact has the music video had on the social movement and how does that compare/contrast to its intent. Analyzing Yo Perreo Sola's use of feminista language (Ni Una Menos chants) in comparison to Ni Una Menos website and social media accounts and other feminist blogs/websites will provide further insight into celebrities' use of rhetorical strategies, particularly the juxtaposition between co-opting a social movement identity for profit and advocating for the movement. This paper hopes to incite future studies on the performativity and/ or authenticity of celebrities' social activist identities. 


Ariana Arely Cano, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign  - Contact Me

Challenging the Social Imaginary of Chicano Rap: An Analysis of Snow Tha Product's 'How I Do It'

Examining Mexican American rapper Snow Tha Product's "How I Do It," this essay argues that Snow enacts a decolonial rhetorical agency that allows her to reconstruct the Chicana identity by reframing the social imaginary of Chicanas. Integrating the frameworks of rhetorical agency and decoloniality, this essay develops the framework of decolonial rhetorical agency to explicate how Snow contributes to such social imaginary. As shown through themes of class, gender, and authenticity, Snow's lyrical and stylistic conventions of the song are indicative of the broader decolonial project. Operationalizing the concept of social imaginaries, this essay demonstrates how Snow Tha Product contributes to a new space of Chicano rap by challenging the commonplace machista ideals representative in the Chicano rap genre. 


Arely Herrera, Texas A&M University  - Contact Me

Mi Gente: Representations of Latinx on Netflix’s Gentefied

With the increased popularity of over-the-top media services and niche-targeting content, critics and academics suggest improvements in representations of Latinx in entertainment media. Yet, despite changes, Latinx continue to be underrepresented and misrepresented under stereotypical portrayals. This paper analyzes contemporary trends in media representations of Latinx identities and experiences in streaming television content. Through a textual analysis of the first season of Gentefied, a Netflix original show critically acclaimed for its representation of a Mexican American family in Los Angeles, we examine which meanings around Latinx identities and experiences are articulated on screen. Based on the tenets of Latina/o Critical Communication theory and the contributions from Latino Media Studies, we discuss how Gentefied centralizes Latinx characters and stories under a framework of resistance, complexity, and hybridity that both reinforces and challenges previous representations of Latinx in entertainment media. Specifically, our analysis suggests that Latinx experiences are depicted as marked by dialectics of oppression and resistance, where characters are represented as negotiating different resistant strategies while navigating issues of community exploitation, cultural appropriation, racism, and socioeconomic struggles. The analysis also suggests that stereotypes associated with Mexicannes and Latinx communities are negotiated, reinforced, and disrupted, especially in relation to gender and sexuality. We conclude with a discussion about the potentialities and constraints of this streaming television content for media representations of Latinx. 


Raiana de Carvalho, Syracuse University  - Contact Me


Kandice N. Green, Syracuse University  - Contact Me

Modeling Media Literacies in the Classroom: A Latina/o/x-Centered Critical Race Communication Theory Analysis of Party of Five Reboot

To aid in teaching others about the importance of race, we illustrate the utility of Latina/o/x Critical Communication Theory in conceptualizing Latina/o/s critical race media literacies by applying its five tenets to develop a lens with which to engage representations of Latina/o/xs in the media. To do so, in this paper, we begin by discussing how Latina/o Critical Communication Theory can centralize Latina/o/x perspective into the communication discipline in an empowering, liberatory manner that fosters critical media literacies (Alemán et al., 2019). We then explain how to operationalize these critical interpretations of race within media messages by fleshing out the literacy skills possible by applying this theory to one season of the Freeform reboot of the television series Party of Five. 


Claudia Alejandra Anguiano, California State University Fullerton  - Contact Me


Sonya M. Alemán, University of Texas, San Antonio  - Contact Me
Mari Castañeda, University of Massachusetts, Amherst  - Contact Me