Bad Bunny Opens 2023 Grammy Awards With a Proud Ode to Puerto Rico
Bad Bunny already made history at this year’s Grammys with Un Verano Sin Ti, which became the first Spanish-language LP to be nominated for Album of the Year. Still, because he’s Bad Bunny, he took his impact even further by opening the 65th Annual Grammy Awards with a vibrant ode to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, putting Caribbean culture centerstage during the music industry’s venerated event.
The Puerto Rican superstar started offstage, moving through the audience while singing a few lines of “El Apagón,” or “The Blackout,” the anthemic track that celebrates the strength of his homeland amid constant power outages that have affected the archipelago for years. He seamlessly mingled with the crowd, dapping up LL Cool J on his way to the main stage. Then, he dove into “Despues De La Playa,” the mambo/merenegue-fused standout from Un Verano Sin Ti, that gave him an opportunity to offer a full-on tribute to the Caribbean.
He performed alongside eight plena dancers, who showed off the traditional Puerto Rican folk art, and seven plena musicians. Meanwhile, several cabezudos, characters with giant heads common at festivals and processionals in Puerto Rico, represented some of the island’s most beloved icons: baseball legend Roberto Clemente, reggaeton pioneer Tego Calderón, poet Julia de Burgos, songwriter Andy Montañez, and revered composer Ismael Rivera, among others.
Meanwhile, the Dominican band of Dahian el Apechao, who composed sections of “Despues De La Playa” performed live while about 40 dancers pulled off stunning merengue moves. The performance got Taylor Swift grooving and got Jack Harlow on his feet.
In addition to the Album of the Year nod, Un Verano Sin Ti was also nominated for Best Música Urbana Album, and the song “Moscow Mule” was nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance. Bad Bunny now has received nine Grammy nominations throughout his career and won twice: El Último Tour Del Mundo won for Best Música Urbana Album in 2022, and YHLQMDLG for Best Latin Pop or Urban Album.
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