The storied Premios Soberano took over Santo Domingo’s Teatro Nacional last night, this time for its 2019 edition. As we’ve come to expect from the Dominican Republic’s most prestigious music awards ceremony, Dominican Instagram and Twitter overflowed with memes parodying the red carpet’s wildest outfits. And with Bad Bunny and Cardi B joining in on the fun, the ceremony produced plenty of noteworthy highlights, bringing the Premios to a new audience. Plus, it gave a handful of Quisqueya’s brightest indie artists the rare opportunity to shine on a mainstream platform.
Check out some of our favorite moments from the night below:
La Marimba, Riccie Oriach, Andre Veloz and Gran Poder de Diosa paid tribute to Joseito Mateo.
Joseito Mateo tragically died at the age of 98 in 2018, and the Premios Soberano aptly paid homage to the celebrated merengue pioneer during this year’s ceremony. Dominican indie stars Andre Veloz, La Marimba, Riccie Oriach, and Gran Poder de Diosa joined forces for a special performance.
Xiomara Fortuna won the Best Alternative award.
Afro-dominicana legend Xiomara Fortuna took home the statue for Best Alternative Artist. With indie favorites like Mula and Riccie Oriach as her fellow nominees, it was definitely one of the toughest categories of the night. Xiomara’s impact on Dominican music is unprecedented, and the award is well-deserved.
Cardi B shouted out Fefita la Grande on Instagram.
Like the rest of us, Cardi B watched the ceremony on her couch at home. The Bronx-born rapper shouted out Fefita La Grande on Instagram when she appeared on the red carpet during last night’s ceremony. La Mayimba said she could win again and honor her home of El Cibao even though she isn’t nominated. Naturally, Cardi replied, “Eso!” Here’s hoping that potential collab comes to life soon.
El Alfa performed "Pa Jamaica" and "Suave."
Dominican dembow king El Alfa stormed the stage at Premios Soberano, performing bangers like “Suave” and “Pa’ Jamaica.” No doubt that dembow is poised for an international breakout moment.
Bad Bunny wore a "Free la Hookah" shirt.
Benito posted a photo sporting a “Free La Hookah” shirt following his Soberano win for Best International Artist, and even gifted one to Santiago Matias Garcia, the host of Alofoke Radio. The statement should come as no surprise for anyone who’s listened to Benito’s now ubiquitous El Alfa collab “La Romana,” which includes the refrain, “Pasame la hookah.” The shirt is sure to raise eyebrows in the Dominican Republic; the government recently banned hookah for both public and private consumption.
Of course, Premios Soberano wouldn’t be what it is without a proper torrent of memes. Check out some of our favorite spoofs of celebrity outfits above, courtesy of Dominican comedian David Melazound.