Remixing Reggaetón: The Cultural Politics of Race in Puerto Rico
Fingernails con Feeling
This chapter focuses on the music and performance of Ivy Queen, arguably the most visible woman rapper in reggaetón. In particular, the chapter examines two aspects of Ivy Queen’s persona—the shift in her physical appearance from “tomboy” to “diva,” and her lyrics on suffering and vengeance. Although critics have described Ivy Queen’s shift in her appearance as an attempt at “whitening,” the chapter demonstrates that an alternative reading is possible that shows how Ivy Queen’s look exposes the constructedness of racial hierarchies that privilege whiteness. Similarly, an analysis of her lyrics on suffering and vengeance emphasizes the ways she reverts gender norms within reggaetón to carve a space for the figure of the reggaetón woman who has been demonized as hypersexual and deviant. In the process, Ivy Queen troubles many of the fundamental tenets of dominant discourses of racial democracy and produces new, more inclusive visions of Puerto Ricanness.