While most of us can say we’ve enjoyed the occasional perreo, you can bet Aleks Syntek is no fan of reggaeton.
In mid-May, the Mexican pop singer made headlines when he called the genre “pornographic” upon hearing J Balvin and Jowell & Randy’s song “Bonita” in the Mexico City airport at 10 a.m. He subsequently drew the wrath of urbano’s top stars, including Arcángel, Bad Bunny, and Balvin himself, who took to Instagram to criticize the singer’s comments and defend the music as a source of pride for many artists who come from working-class roots.
But it wasn’t even the first time Syntek expressed his concern over the genre. In fact, his anti-reggaeton crusade began last summer when he went off against the genre’s sexual lyrics and ubiquity on mainstream radio. In August, he faced criticism after he claimed the genre “comes from apes” in a TV interview. Many fans pointed out the racist connotation of his remarks, given reggaeton’s long history as a site of resistance for black and poor Puerto Ricans and Panamanians, and several media outlets publicly criticized Syntek’s views.
The singer has been facing swift backlash online since then, but it hasn’t stopped there. In Mexico City, the Internet is plotting a massive perreo function outside of Syntek’s upcoming concert at the Auditorio Nacional on Friday, June 15. Organized by Chema Solari, the event description reads, “We’re going to perrear peacefully, without insulting anyone and by respecting civil laws [in front of] the Auditorio Nacional as a tribute to one of the great songwriters of our time, the legend Aleks Syntek. Let’s have a good time and prove that restricting freedom of artistic expression isn’t anything but fascism.” As one of the most important venues in Mexico City, consider this perreo takeover at the Auditorio Nacional the ultimate troll.
In an email to Remezcla, Solari says he was frustrated when he first saw Syntek’s comments. “It bothered me a lot. A few months ago, I tried to reason with him in an eloquent and educated manner [on Twitter], without resorting to insults, and he never responded,” Solari told Remezcla via email. He says he was inspired to organize the event thanks to Stephen Colbert. “I’m definitely not comparing myself to him, but I wondered how he’d react to a situation like this and I understood that the only way to do it would be with comedy.” He also said he was inspired by the folks that sent mariachis to Aaron Schlossberg, the New York lawyer who went viral after making racist and xenophobic comments in a Midtown salad bar.
Solari says the perreo takeover of Syntek’s concert has a clear purpose. “If Aleks has the right to express his moralizing, racist and classist opinions in interviews and on social media, we also have the right to respond. What’s better than a party and one that’s fun?” he says. Solari is also working with Mexico City reggaeton crews like Perreo Millenial and a few feminist groups to join forces at the party. “We’re not trying to insult or fight with anyone. We want to have a good time while we express how absurd and ignorant this man’s position is.”
Solari says an official announcement with more details on how to join the group is coming soon. While you wait for June 15 to roll around, just remember: don’t be a racist and the internet won’t come for you.
Check out more info on the event via Facebook.
Update, 5/31/2018 at 6:50 p.m. ET: This post has been updated to include comment from organizer Chema Solari.
The email interview was conducted in Spanish by Isabelia Herrera and translated for Remezcla by the author.