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The Bad Bunny Symposium: Thinking with Bad Bunny, Beibi

The Bad Bunny Symposium: Thinking with Bad Bunny, Beibi

Location: The Silberman School of Social Work – Auditorium

Event Organizer: Center for Puerto Rican Studies


Hybrid Hybrid Event

May 12, 2023 @ 9:00 am May 13, 2023 @ 7:00 pm EDT

Tití me preguntó: Are you going to the Bad Bunny Symposium?

Join us for the “Thinking with Bad Bunny: Cultural Politics and the Future of Puerto Rico,” symposium on May 12th and 13th at the Silberman School for Social Work in El Barrio.

Whether you’re a fan or not, it is undeniable that Bad Bunny has been making history and headlines since his music hit the scene 🏆🥇🌟. He’s topping charts, winning awards, and redefining what it means to be a Puerto Rican artist 🔥. From Coachella and Billboard to Spotify and the Grammy Awards, Bad Bunny has used his music and platform to address social and political issues, challenge traditional gender roles, and promote acceptance and inclusivity.

But not everyone celebrates him. Many criticize his lyrics, question his fame, condemn his latest romantic interests 🤔🧐, and voice valid concerns around cultural appropriation, racism, and benefitting from a path the LGBTQIA+ community paved long before his success. That’s why this symposium is so important.

We’ll be exploring Bad Bunny’s impact on Puerto Rican society, including the role of reggaetón and trap on Puerto Rican culture and the politics of race, gender, and Latinidad. We’ll have a range of scholars, journalists, artists, cultural workers and critics joining us for this nuanced conversation including Petra Rivera Rideau, Jonathan Rosa, Miguel Zénon, Angélica Negrón, Suzy Expósito, and more.

As Bad Bunny himself said, “el mundo puede criticarme, pero yo siempre puedo criticarlo de vuelta.” In this very spirit, we hope you’ll join us for two days of heated and compelling conversations, community gathering, and celebration! 🎉🥳 RSVP now, start forming your questions for each panel, and we’ll see you in May.

Can’t make it in-person?

No worries- ¡El perreo no para! You can join us virtually –


Day One: Friday, May 12th

From Carolina to Coachella: Bad Bunny and the Global Rise of Reggaetón

10:00am -11:15am | Live & Virtual

Join us for an Opening Keynote with Petra Rivera Rideau, Associate Professor of American Studies at Wellesley College and CENTRO Director of Public Humanities Cristel Jusino Díaz The keynote will serve to situate Bad Bunny within the three decades of history of reggaetón.

Queering Reggaetón

11:30am -12:45pm | Live & Virtual

From dressing in drag for his music videos to expressing support for the trans community in Puerto Rico, Bad Bunny has sometimes been seen as an outlier in the genre of reggaetón—an artist that subverts the machista and homophobic stereotypes common in the genre. However, he is not the first or only artist to do so, and many in the LGBTQ+ community believe more attention should be paid to performers who explicitly identify as queer. Join Verónica Dávila Ellis, Assistant Professor of Spanish at James Madison University and Dozandri Mendoza, PhD Candidate at Department of Linguistics at University of California in Santa Barbara, with moderation by Celiany Rivera, CENTRO Research Associate, to discuss these questions and think about the role reggaetón and perreo can play in imagining queer futures.

Mediating Bad Bunny

2:00pm – 3:15pm | Live & Virtual

Join Katelina Eccleston, Reggaetón con la Gata, Suzy Expósito, Los Angeles Times, and Nina Vázquez, curriculum specialist with moderation by Jillian Baez, Associate Professor of Africana and Puerto Rican/Latino Studies at Hunter College, in speaking about their experiences covering Bad Bunny, reggaetón, and dembow in addition to their experiences using social media to give visibility to the black, female, and queer artists of the genre.

Playlist Loading: Listening to Bad Bunny

3:30pm – 5:00pm | Live & Virtual

Join musicians and composers Miguel ZenónAngélica NegrónGuarionex Morales and Daniel Alejandro Tapia of Orfeón San Juan Bautista, and musicologist Wayne Marshall, Assistant Professor of Liberal Arts and Science- Berklee College of Music, with moderator Sabrina Ortiz-Vázquez, Assistant to the Director of Arts & Culture at CENTRO, to talk about Bad Bunny and reggaetón as a musical genre. While some claim that ¡eso no es música! (This isn’t real music!), our panelists will engage with the rich musical history of reggaetón and the other genres that contribute to it.

From Callaita to El Apagon: The Visual Story of Bad Bunny

5:15pm – 6:15pm

Join CENTRO’s Directora, Yarimar Bonilla, and Latin Grammy Award winning director of “Callaita” and “El Apagón” music videos, Kacho López Mari, for a conversation about developing visual narratives for Bad Bunny’s music and performances and their relationship to emerging cultural politics in Puerto Rico.

Day Two: Saturday, May 13th

Bad Bunny & the Politics of Representation

10:00am -11:15am | Live & Virtual

Fans have been reacting to rumors around Bad Bunny’s personal life. What on the surface is celebrity gossip, underneath exposes important discussions on what it means to be the world’s biggest celebrity and a Puerto Rican man. Join Vanessa Díaz, Assistant Professor of Chicano/a and Latino/a Studies at Loyola Marymount University, Laura G. Pérez Muñoz, PhD Candidate-Harvard University, Luis Figueroa, PhD Candidate at University of Texas in Austin, and Alyssa Maldonado-Estrada, Assistant Professor of Religion at Kalamazoo College, with moderator Daniel Vázquez Sanabria, University of Texas-Austin, in discussing topics such as image construction, race, transnational latinidad, and latine masculinities, among others.

The Political Landscape of P FKN R

11:30am -12:45pm | Live & Virtual

Join José Laguarta, CENTRO Research Associate, writer Carina del Valle Schorske, and Carla Santamaría, Assistant Professor of Latino and Puerto Rican Studies at Brooklyn College, with moderator Cristel M. Jusino Díaz, CENTRO Director of Public Humanities, in discussing how Bad Bunny has used his platform to bring attention to social and political issues in Puerto Rico, as well as how Puerto Ricans in the archipelago and in the diaspora think through some of these issues through the lens of Bad Bunny.

Bad Bunny Caribeño

2:00pm – 3:15pm | Live & Virtual

How can we understand Bad Bunny as a distinctly Caribbean artist vs Latin American one who moves between these cultural frames? Join panelists Jade Power-Sotomayor, Asst. Professor of Theatre and Dance at University of California-San Diego, Jossianna Arroyo, Professor of Latin American and Caribbean Literatures and Cultures at the University of Texas-Austin, Elyse Veloria, PhD student at Duke University, Alexandra Sánchez Rolón, PhD student at University of Pennsylvania, and moderator Sarah Bruno of Rice University in discussing how Caribbean culture and aesthetics are central to Bad Bunny’s music, videos, and performance as well as how it engages with a specifically Caribbean audience.

Bad Bunny, Good PR: Race, Language, and the Politics of Vernacular Celebrity

3:30pm – 5:00pm | Live & Virtual

Join Jonathan Rosa, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education at Stanford University and Yarimar Bonilla, CENTRO Directora, in a closing keynote that will examine how debates on language and racial identity expose the colonial contradictions of Puerto Rico and the modern world.

Closing Reception: Yo Perreo Sola🎉


May 13th at pm – After the closing keynote

The closing keynote on May 13th will be followed by a reception at the Silberman School for Social Work with music curated by AGENT DMZ. Join us for food, beverages, y música! (Closing reception is included in the RSVP for May 13th)

Can’t make it in-person?

No worries- ¡El perreo no para! RSVP here to join us virtually!