Ivy Queen stands alone in the pantheon of reggaeton. The Puerto Rican icon growled her way to the top of the genre first as a member of a pioneering collective that set the tone for the movement’s brash underground days. She later broke out as a solo act, deploying blade-sharp rhymes that were incisive, bombastic, and always piercingly smart. Her thundering voice declared autonomy for women on the dance floor in a scene that was dominated by men, and her powerful messages provided the foundation for feminist discourse in the genre. La Reina’s 2003 anthem, “Yo Quiero Bailar” remains to this day one of the most enduring portraits of female strength and empowerment across all styles of music. Given all that she’s done for the genre, an illustrator drew up a concert poster capturing what makes La Caballota so important to reggaeton.
For Miller Lite’s Conciertos Originales – a series of free concerts the beer brand has hosted for the past seven years to celebrate the cultural impact of Latin music – reggaeton DJ and illustrator Gabriela Riveros was inspired by Ivy’s endless contributions to reggaeton when she designed a poster for La Potra. Before the performance, Riveros had a chance to meet La Reina face-to-face and share the artwork she’d created for her concert.
In the video, Riveros explains that she wanted to capture the electric and dangerous quality that early reggaeton releases carried in their covers and visual aesthetic. She included motifs of wild lightning storms, which are a force of nature, much like Ivy herself.
What immediately caught Ivy’s eye about the poster, however, are the torn chains. They represent how the reggaetonera has inspired women around her to shatter gender barriers. “What I like about reggaeton, especially women in reggaeton, [is] how they’re able to reclaim agency over their bodies,” Riveros told Ivy Queen. “So I have a chain breaking right here, and that symbolizes breaking the cycle and fighting against sexism.”
Ivy Queen congratulated Riveros on her work and also shared a piece of advice that, in many ways, reflects her own path as an artist: Do your work with integrity.
“Don’t sell out,” she told Riveros. “Draw things that connect with the people who see them.”
Check out the full video below.
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