On April 6 and 7, Universidad de Puerto Rico professors Dorsía Smith and Virgimaris Nadal-Ramos will host a reggaeton symposium to highlight and explore the genre’s sociocultural politics. On top of looking at the commercial success artists have gained, the conference will also discuss sexism and the explicit language that characterizes the genre. At the same time, it will acknowledge women’s place in reggaeton history by taking a deep dive into Ivy Queen’s career, according to Variety Latino.
Smith, who has lived in PR for 16 years, first became enthralled by reggaeton when she heard Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina.” She then went to Toronto and heard the song again, much to her surprise. “I began asking people if they knew what he was saying and they told me no, but that they liked the rhythm,” she said. “That’s when I realized the global impact reggaeton had.”
The symposium, sponsored by the English Department of General Studies, will chart how reggaeton has changed from its inception – both stylistically and thematically. Though it’s definitely not the first symposium dedicated to the genre worldwide, it will be a first for Puerto Rico’s biggest university system.