iLe and Ivy Queen: Two Puerto Rican Powerhouses Unite on ‘Algo Bonito’
Ileana Cabra, known as iLe, was at home in Puerto Rico during lockdown, working on a song teeming with rage. “It was coming from a place of frustration, when frustration and anger mix,” she explains. “When we as women fight and work as collectives to destroy the patriarchy, to end femicides, to stop violence against women, and there’s always something that tries to minimize or devalue our struggle.”
The track became “Algo Bonito,” a defiant highlight from her 2022 album Nacarile. Around the time she was writing the song, one of her brothers had suggested she collaborate with the reggaeton icon Ivy Queen. As “Algo Bonito” took shape, iLe looked at it with fresh eyes and thought Queen would fit into its empowered message perfectly. “I felt like she’d be great on it — she has this furious, feminist energy,” iLe says. She reached out to Queen, who loved the idea and sent back her formidable verses.
The two met earlier this year when they recorded the video for the song. Rolling Stone was on set as the two Puerto Rican powerhouses united in person for the first time. “I’m super excited to have worked on this with Ivy. To get to know her was so special, and it was such an amazing moment,” iLe says. She adds, “We’re on our way to dismantle the patriarchy.”
Two Forces Collide
It was iLe’s brother Gabriel who originally suggested she collaborate with Queen. iLe reached out and was thrilled when the reggaeton icon quickly jumped on the song.
Ring of Fire
Given the song’s forceful message, iLe wanted the video to communicate power in a more subtle way. Some scenes are surreal, borrowing symbolism from old Westerns and samurai films. Toward the end, Queen and iLe unite over a circle of flames. “That fire represents the collective union, the defiance, the rage we feel inside,” iLe says.
“Talking about feminism is complicated,” says iLe, who has been vocal about violence against women and gender inequality in her music. “It’s amazing when you feel like someone understands you and you have a comon starting point to express your feelings.
“Algo Bonito” is a standout on iLe’s 2022 album Nacarile, which tackles politics in Puerto Rico and gender dynamics. In addition to the fierce collaboration with Queen, the album also features Mon Laferte, Natalia Lafourcade, and more.
A Women-Led Set
The video was directed by Puerto Rican filmmaker Claudia Calderón, and the set was led by women. “At least for me, there are certain things where you just feel more comfortable knowing you get each other and you don’t have to explain as much,” iLe says. “It was beautiful. Ivy was like, ‘Ay, this is so great.’”
Staying In The Fight
“Algo Bonito” is about a refusal to stay quiet. “This was made from a place of not permitting roadblocks to silence us or minimize us. Instead, it’s the contrary: to stay in the fight, stay in the movement, because this is for the good of society, to let us live in the freedom we deserve,” iLe explains.
A Visual Lens
iLe has always had a striking approach to visuals. Her past videos include “Odio,” in which she recreates the death of two Puerto Ricans in the 1978 Cerro Maravilla, and “Temes,” directed by her sister to show the aftermath of violence against women.
A New Sisterhood
“I’m super excited to have worked on this with Ivy,” iLe says. “To get to know her was so special, and it was such an amazing moment. Beyond work, it’s always important to have that human connection. That’s what makes everything flow better.”