We Need to Chill About What Yahritza Y Su Esencia Said About Mexico

Lead Photo: Courtesy of Imagine It Media.
Courtesy of Imagine It Media.
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Sometimes the worst type of negativity comes within our own Latine communities. In a recent interview with Yahritza y su Esencia, the sibling trio expressed their personal opinions about Mexican culture and food, and social media users blew it out of proportion. But have we forgotten that most of us, at their age, slept until past noon and had a chicken wing phase too?

During a press conference in Mexico, the trio was asked if they liked Mexico. Yahritza responded by saying she does, but she doesn’t enjoy being woken up by loud noises or sirens, a common occurrence heard throughout the mornings in the city. “I do like it, but I don’t like it when I wake up from sleep because I can hear the cars, the police sirens and everything, but I do like it, it’s nice,” she told the press.

“I’ve been here for longer, but I don’t really like the food here, I like it better where we live, in Washington, the truth is they give it a seasoning that tastes spicy and is good,” the oldest sibling, Armando, said. 

“For me, it’s also the food because I’m delicate, and I eat almost nothing but chicken, just wings, without chile. I don’t like any of that,” Jairo added. He also pointed out the differences in soda from Mexico and the U.S.

Their opinions spread like wildfire, and they’re being misinterpreted by many. People are now saying that the trio doesn’t like Mexican culture or the food, which is clearly not what they actually stated. One of the members said they didn’t like to wake up from loud noises. Another said they preferred the food at home, and another said he doesn’t like spicy food. And yet, online users are chiming in and showing colorism and racism within their own Mexican community.

“I have just learned who Yahritza is and what they are all about. And the only thing I can say is that I have always said that the Pochos are the most nefarious people that can exist, they have very Mexican faces but they feel they are blonder than the Aryan gringos themselves,” a social media user wrote. “Anyway, those [type of] people are shit.” What “blonde” and “Aryan gringos” have to do with food and sleep preferences remains unclear.

Another social media user published a photo of Yahritza’s face with a “nopal” Lotería card on it. The photo resembles a reference to “nopal en la frente,” a phrase commonly used to describe (and even more commonly used in criticizing) people with strong Mexican indigenous features. Even their hairstyles have been criticized and compared to Tizoc, a character played by Pedro Infante in the 1957 film of the same name.

Moreover, this brings up issues within the larger Latine community. Why are people shaming others for having their own preferences? Are people less Latine if they don’t eat spicy foods or aren’t used to the Mexican way of living? Latine stars are routinely criticized for not being Latine enough. Jenna Ortega has been judged for not speaking Spanish. Anya Taylor-Joy for not looking “Latina enough.” Now, we have the three young musicians of Yahritza y Su Esencia who speak Spanish and “look” Latine, but they are still getting judged for not fitting their ideologies.

Today (Aug. 3), the blowback resulted in Yahritza y Su Esencia apologizing to fans and the Mexican public for the misinterpreted comments about Mexico’s culture by expressing their love for the country. “What motivates us every day to write songs and music is the great pride of having Mexican blood in our veins. No matter where we were born we are proudly Mexican, and we appreciate the love of the public–especially in Mexico,” Yahritza said.

It’s unfortunate that the public and the media bullied two teenagers into apologizing for their food preferences. Instead of judging the bicultural lifestyle of being a Mexican-American, people should instead celebrate the ways they are inspired by each culture. It’s also about time we retire insulting people for their indigenous features, but that’s a larger conversation on racism that Mexico is still not ready for.