Now that the 103854th Grammy Awards are over, I’m loving all the annual outrage that shows up on my social media feed.
It’s the same tune every year: “My favorite artist was robbed of his or her long overdue recognition by olds, racists, or misogynists (the Grammy voters), so RAGE.” And if you’re Latino, there’s the extra I-can’t-believe-these-people-don’t-get-my-culture rant.
But why would they? Especially if the people who supposedly get Latino culture are just as clueless and embarrassing.
Yesterday I saw a column or two lamenting the tragic losses of “Despacito,” a song that was stupidly popular during 2017, but is also watered down, expertly sanitized reggaeton meant for mass consumption.
The fact that some journalists still believe the Grammys are a true barometer of creativity is so laughable that it’s almost endearing.
To remind everyone that the show exists for entertainment purposes only — and not to recognize true talent — Rob Sheffield wrote a great piece about how the Recording Academy historically gets everything wrong:
“Grammy voters are old. There’s no possible way this couldn’t be the case, since Academy Members are people with long careers in the music biz. Lifers. Fans who cherish their memories of Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra, but can’t recall their Netflix password. If you want the Grammys to reflect a younger demo, it’d be easier to start a whole new award than to magically change all the Academy members’ birth certificates.
The Grammys have never not been this way. The biggest-selling album of 1968 was Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced. Jimi not only failed to win Album of the Year (it went to Glen Campbell), he didn’t get Best New Artist, which that year went to José Feliciano. Jimi didn’t get a single Grammy nomination in his lifetime. He had more commercial success than Glen or José.”
You good and sober now? Because there’s plenty of examples of how the Grammys have always been out of touch, in case your “Despacito” beef stew is still simmering:
“Flash back even earlier to 1966, the year rock albums exploded as an art form, with classics like Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde and Otis Redding’s Dictionary of Soul and the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and the Beatles’ Revolver. So who won Album of the Year? Frank Sinatra, for A Man and His Music.”
So even if “Despacito” didn’t win shit — and, frankly, I’m alright with that, because it’s a song that veers into Latino coonery — others did.
There’s Calle 13’s René Pérez, for example, who won a Grammy for Residente, his solo debut. Mr. Sandwich de Salchicha told the audience the same thing he told Bad Bunny and other reggaetoneros: People’s obsession with views, plays, streams, etc, is making music worse.
I don’t always agree with René, but he’s absolutely right: Faced with the pressure to only write music that will produce billions of streams/views/likes, artists are confining their creativity within a very limited scope of sound.
Yes, Luis Fonsi’s megahit is a masterclass in catchiness, but any song off Residente is conceptually more challenging and inventive than “Despacito.”
Being pissed at a bunch of old, probably white and conservative people — the same ones who wouldn’t give Jimi Hendrix the time of the day — for not liking what you like is silly. It’s their damn show. But if you’re still mad about no-Grammy-cito, be happy that at least one genuinely creative Latino recording was recognized by these clueless people in 2018. (Shakira also won Grammy for El Dorado, but she’s another topic altogether.)
Also, stop seeking cultural validation through bullshit award ceremonies. If you need others to validate your opinion, then you’re the problem, not them.
María Rubio was so good as Catalina Creel, an iconic telenovela villain, the role ruined her career
According to sources on Twitter, and also TvNotas, the holy bible of Mexican gossip, María Rubio, the legendary actress best known for her role as Catalina Creel de Larios in Cuna de lobos, has passed away. She was 83 years old.
Thanks to her role as Soraya Montenegro in María la del Barrio, Itati Cantoral has been dominating the internet with an insane amount of memes, gifs, and even a House of Cards promo special. Itati blew up in the mid ’90s, when older millennials were still teens, and she’s that generation’s go-to character when it comes to Mexican telenovela villains.
Yes, Cantoral was great as Soraya, but the top dog in the telenovela villain game was — and has always been — María Rubio. The Tijuana-born actress was so good in Cuna de lobos that, according to an interview she did with Cristina Saralegui, the role ruined her career:
“[Catalina Creel] was a difficult, beloved character. I enjoyed playing her, but she also hurt me a lot. People completely forgot about María Rubio and now it seems that, after 40 years of being an actress, I’ve only done Catalina Creel.”
Catalina, a murderous matriarch, was known for having some of the best one-liners in telenovela history. But in the same interview with Saralegui, which was filmed over 20 years ago, María proved to be just as cunning and smart as her infamous character, but also incredibly funny:
“[Although I played a villain], I’ve received nothing but compliments, love, and admiration. Never aggression. I think viewers do attack the bad ones — bad actresses, that is.”
If you understand Spanish, check out the hilarious interview below. Watch María viciously own everyone in a panel of full of young telenovela villains:
Traumatic advice from aunt Rosa: “Don’t torture your Care Bear, Mijo. Or else.”
I was 6 years old when I yelled at Tugs, my Care Bear. I put him in time-out for not agreeing to the rules of an imaginary game I had just created.
I built a little time-out fortress for him to stay in while I played with my other toys. Coincidentally my tía Rosa was visiting that day. I urged her to see all my toys when she came into the house. I also explained to her that Tugs was in time-out, to which she replied in shock, “Mijo, mira, You have to be nice to your toys.”
I replied, “Tía, I am nice to my toys, but I’m teaching him a lesson.”
She contested nervously, “No, Mijo, you have to be nice to your toys or they might not be nice to you.”
I wasn’t following her logic.
“Mijo, if you’re not nice to your toys, then at night time they might wake up and crawl into your bed to cut your toes with tiny razors,” she said slowly while staring at my imprisoned Care Bear.
“What?!” I whispered to her while looking at Tugs from the corner of my eye.
“Yes, your toys might do very bad things to you if you don’t treat them good.”
I stared at her in disbelief.
She stood up and walked towards the doorway.
“Mijo, I brought you some tortillas. Come in the kitchen and let’s warm them up,” Rosa said casually.
From then on, Tugs sat on a tufted pillow on my dresser while I slept in velcro shoes for the next year. Growing up in my Mexican-American family meant that everything was possibly alive and watching you.