Puerto Rican reggaeton artist Pusho was arrested early this week for unlicensed carry and the internet has responded in a very familiar way starting a #FreePusho hashtag reminiscent of Anuel AA. Apart from words of encouragement from fans and fellow urban artists, some interesting points were made in terms of the perception of these artists.
The way traditional media portrayed this story is our first indication of falling into stereotypes and misconceptions. Primera Hora, one of the bigger national newspapers of Puerto Rico ran this headline on their Twitter account.
‘Reggaeton artist falls for drugs’ reads the translation. This isn’t true at all. The linked article says that he was arrested by agents of the Drug Division of San Juan for possession of unlicensed weapons. Apart from the gun about a thousand dollars and the Mercedez Benz they were driving the agents found nothing else on Pusho and his friend who were both arrested and recently released on a $25,000 fine.
Fellow reggaeton artist Maximan, of J-King & Maximan posted a video on his Instagram account calling out society’s double standard.
A la verdad q a la gente les gusta ver a los demas mal o peor q ellos! No estoy justificando ni nada por el estilo , pero no pueden darse de golpes en el pecho de q son mejor persona cuando se alegran del mal ajeno y celebran de las derrota y herrores de los demas. #AsiNoSePuede lo q esta mal esta mal , pero no por eso nos da el derecho a desearle lo peor a alguien. #DiosNosBendigaATodos🙏 #Reggaeton #Desahogo
He says that “because he’s a reggaetonero everyone comes with ill intentions saying to throw away the key, that he’s a delinquent, he’s a reggaetonero that it’s to be expected. But if they arrest the manager of Foot Locker, of the supermarket, or the local bakery, or the 25-year-old son and he says it to defend himself then people say that things are bad in Puerto Rico he’s trying to defend himself and perhaps he hasn’t had time to fill in the paperwork.”
Puerto Rican comedian Chente Ydrach also tweeted his frustrations the way media represents urban artists.
‘Local television NEVER talks about our rappers. Until they get arrested. That’s also f**cked up’ states Ydrach. It seems ridiculous that such a profitable and recognized industry of the island is not acknowledged in the media, and when it is it’s slanted in a negative way.
Pusho himself is aware of the scrutiny he is under illustrated by a recent release of his El Precio De La Fama (The Price Of Fame). Some of the verses state: “Dealing with meager people, the radio the press/ That invent negative things without shame / Get carried away by the demon / destroying homes, families friendships, marriages”.
At the end of the day these artists are part of the community, a lot of them stay on the island which is incredibly significant when every year Puerto Ricans, especially the youth, are leaving in massive numbers. These artists chose to stay here, have their families here, make their music here, keep their profits here and the community shuns them at any available opportunity.