Tijuana’s own María y José (Tony Gallardo) tends to extract a lot of darkness from his tribal-synth iterations. The music is always fun as hell, but there’s an instability coursing through his music that strives to make us uneasy. This darkness mirrors his beloved city Tijuana, a border city famously rife with both beauty and violence.
In his just-premiered video for “Club Negro,” directed by Joey Muñoz, Gallardo finds himself leader of a masked posse, as they kidnap a woman and keep her hostage. Objectifying women and acting like gangstas is, in fact, the “thug” (i.e. cool) thing to do in videos, and Gallardo and Muñoz are not oblivious to this long-standing trend or to the violent state of things in their country. They overtly exoticize the violence against women to reflect upon their own country’s/world’s indiscretions (and maybe even their own as artists).
Do I wish the video made the case more strongly? Yes, considering the song does such a great job of creating a narrative of seediness (“En nombre de Satán ustedes morirán”). Do I think there needed to be more abstraction in the video to add multiple layers to the meaning? Yes, because showing (or not showing) women being murdered is still using the image for the purpose of entertainment. Could it have been interesting to reverse the male gaze in this scenario? Sure. But I think it’s heading in the right direction, considering awareness is half the battle. “Club Negro” stands as an intriguing video worth a debate.
Watch María y José’s provocative video for “Club Negro,” directed by Joey Muñoz.