Shedding Light Through “El Apagón” (“The Blackout”)

El Apagón is featured on Bad Bunnys fourth studio album, Un Verano Sin Ti (A Summer Without You in English.) The album was released on May 6, 2022.

“El Apagón” is featured on Bad Bunny’s fourth studio album, “Un Verano Sin Ti” (“A Summer Without You” in English.) The album was released on May 6, 2022.

Popular Puerto Rican reggaeton artist, Bad Bunny, released a music video for his song “El Apagón” (“The Blackout” in English) on Sept, 16. In his music video, only the first three minutes were of his song, the rest was a short documentary about the injustices occurring in Puerto Rico.

Bad Bunny has been known for advocating for the Puerto Rican people and raising awareness about issues occurring on the island through his music and platform. In El Apagón he touches on the issue of non-Puerto Ricans moving to the island and how that has been displacing native Puerto Ricans from their own homes.

Many people are moving to Puerto Rico to receive tax benefits under the Individual Investors Act, often referred to Act 22. This act was originally created to attract people to move to Puerto Rico by exempting them from passive income taxes in hopes of it stimulating the local economy. The act was unsuccessful, it led to thousands of Puerto Ricans being kicked out from their own homes.

In the “El Apagón – Aquí Vive Gente” (“The Blackout – People Live Here” in English) documentary music video, independent journalist Bianca Graulau interviewed many displaced natives. Many of which were evicted from their homes, later finding out that the apartments they lived in would be turned into apartment buildings being sold for millions of dollars. Not only has Act 22 caused the evictions of Puerto Ricans, but schools have also been turned into million dollar apartments as well. 

With schools being turned into apartment complexes for the rich, other issues occurred too. Legally all beaches in Puerto Rico are public, requiring for there to be several entrances to access each beach. With all of the new development in Puerto Rico, this law has not been respected. Many beaches have been blocked off from the public by construction or by private companies, the only way residents can access some beaches is by walking along the beach, posing danger as many beaches contain large sharp rocks that are hard to cross. 

Protests of the gentrification and displacement have been occurring for years, and with Bad Bunny garnering more attention to these issues the support continues to grow. At these protests, lots of Puerto Ricans have used “El Apagón” as a representation of how they feel about people uprooting them from their homes and taking advantage of their island for tax benefits. In the song, Bad Bunny’s girlfriend, Gabriela Berlingeri, sings at the end in Spanish, “What belongs to me, they’ll keep it to themselves… Let them go… This is my beach, this is my sun… This is my land, this is me.”