As the world descends further into political and social chaos with every passing second, it is increasingly important that our communities find empathy and meaning in our shared struggles. This is the premise at the heart of “Cholonización,” a colorful and poignant collaboration between Latin American hip-hop juggernauts Guanaco and Emicida where petty cultural rivalries are put aside in favor of dismantling colonial ideologies.
Premiering on Remezcla today, the video for “Cholonización” consists of vibrant montages bridging the plethora of cultures, faces, and history housed between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. “It was always clear to me the theme of the song should address Latin American unity and decolonization,” shares Ecuadorian rapper Guanaco via email. “The song speaks of Latino pride, of cholo pride, and reclaims many Latino symbols from a perspective of cultural decoding and relearning.”
“Cholonización” is the title track from Guanaco’s forthcoming 2019 album, which emerged after he was invited to perform a freestyle at Emicida’s show at Ecuador’s Teatro Sucre, the country’s foremost opera house. It was a landmark performance and the first time the theater opened its doors to the hip-hop community. Emicida has had a similarly transformative impact in his native Brazil, frequently cited as one of the driving forces leading the mainstream surge of rap in South America’s most populous nation.
The song’s title aims to reclaim the derogatory term “cholo,” which is often used to describe indigenous people and their descendants in Ecuador and other countries in Latin America. “With this video we want to be seen as Latin American, reclaiming the word ‘cholo,’ which in this region is synonymous with discrimination,” comments video director Javier Salazar. “We seek to recognize cholos and to take back our identity by showcasing it in images that convey diversity, strength, and pride.”
The video for “Cholonización” was shot in Quito and directed by Salazar of Nación Films, with assistance from visual artist Fidel Eljúri. “For a while now, Fidel has been working with the reinterpretation of ancestral rituals,” writes Guanaco. “Another invaluable collaboration came with Salasca’s indigenous community, of the Tungurahua region, who appear in the video wearing traditional dress and showcasing local folk crafts.”
Watch our premiere of “Cholonización” below: