Bad Bunny is once again making music history. The music video for his hit song “El Apagón” has been shortlisted in the Excellence in Music Video category at the 2023 Cannes Lions Awards (June 20).
The visual’s director, Kacho Lopez Mari, announced the prestigious recognition. “Bad Bunny, thank you for your vision, your ideas, and for counting on us to help you put these ideas in front of the world,” wrote Mari on Instagram. Since its release in September 2022, the nearly 23-minute video has racked up over 14 million views on YouTube.
Benito is the sole Latine artist to earn a spot on the shortlist this year. Other notable nominees include Rosalia’s Motomami Live Experience on TikTok, “Disco Maghreb” by DJ Snake, and “Cash In Cash Out” by Pharell Williams featuring 21 Savage and Tyler, The Creator.
Although Benito has yet to respond to the nomination, he addressed the controversy that came with being misinterpreted from his TIME Magazine interview. “When I saw [people saying] that I had regretted writing ‘El Apagón,’ it shocked me, like when did I ever say that in the interview? I would never say that in my fucking life,” he said in a conversation with Rolling Stone. “I always say that’s the life of people in Puerto Rico: We’re proud of being Puerto Rican, we love to celebrate and act like nothing matters, and then we clash against a reality that is often very painful.” Bad Bunny opted not to indulge when asked who the “Ahora todos quieren ser Latino” line was written about.
Combining elements of a documentary and a music video, “El Apagón” celebrates Puerto Rican culture while shedding light on the power outages and other significant challenges residents have faced post-Hurricane Maria. The accompanying documentary “Aquí Vive Gente” by journalist Bianca Graulau also focuses on the issue of modern colonialism by wealthy Americans relocating to the island for tax incentives. According to Graulau, the documentary took “months of investigative journalism” alongside a dedicated team to bring it to fruition.
The music video inspired an influx of dialogue about laws such as Act 20 and 22 and the further gentrification of Puerto Rico. Influencer Logan Paul weighed in on the matter, calling Benito a “hypocrite.” Regardless of the call out, Benito continued to use his platform to share resources on how to help those in need in Puerto Rico.