[Writing in English]

Cynthia Gonzalez, Assistant Editor

During the Grammys performance and acceptance speech of Apple Music’s number one artist in the world, Bad Bunny, the closed captioning read “[singing in non english].” Understandably, this quickly became a trending topic on social media and news sites, and was not taken well by much of the spanish-speaking or Latino community. 

Bad Bunny’s Grammys performance was the first all-Spanish performance and featured bomba and plena dancers in classic Puerto Rican clothing, as well as “cabezudos,” or people dressed up as Puerto Rican icons throughout the audience. The Boricua singer opened with a song called “El Apagón,” (or “The Blackout”) referring to the frequent blackouts that Puerto Rico experiences. 

The song has become an anthem for Puerto Ricans and Latinos all over the world primarily since the song talks directly about the island and the pride that the people from it feel about not only their roots but their music, culture and land. In addition, he played “Después De La Playa,” (or “After the Beach”), which is another one of his more traditionally-sounding songs due to its mambo and merengue rhythm. 

His performance was a moment of representation for not only Puerto Ricans, but also Latinos all over the world. That said, the message of his performance was missed by anyone who doesn’t speak Spanish due to the four-word captions that were on screen the entire time. Not only did it diminish his performance, but the lack of attention to detail also gave the impression that the network didn’t place much importance on making sure the audience got to experience it the same way they did every other performance.

On the CBS Grammys show, closed captions were provided for every artist’s performance and speech, that is with the exception of Bad Bunny’s. During his performance and speech, the captions read “[singing in non-english],” and “[speaking in non-english].” It was disappointing to see the channel fail to provide captions during his performance of some of his billboard-topping songs as well as Grammy acceptance speech even though he is one of the largest artists in the world, arguably the largest Latin pop artist, received three Grammy nominations, and had the first Latin album nominated for Album of the Year. As part of an instagram post that Bad Bunny made after the grammys, he also included a shot of the captions under his performance.

If they were going to have such an important figure who is currently breaking all sorts of records and boundaries—especially being the first Latino artist to break those records and boundaries— they should have done it right, and given his performance the same respect that all of the English performances received. Although they did update the captions for the on-demand stream after they received backlash, they need to do better in the future.