We seek to educate the public on Bad Bunny's global impact & how it reflects political, artistic, and cultural triumphs and struggles within Puerto Rico.
Teaching el Conejo Malo
Centering the Cultural Significance of Bad Bunny
The Bad Bunny Syllabus explores the cultural significance of Bad Bunny as a way to draw folks in to the complex, dynamic historical and contemporary realities of Puerto Rico. Bad Bunny’s rise as a global star, breaking innumerable records for streaming, tour ticket sales, and more, has coincided with his increased attention to Puerto Rican politics. His dedication to centering Puerto Rico in his lyrics and music videos, his crossover success while singing only in Spanish, and his engagement with social issues in Puerto Rico like gentrification and LGBTQ rights make him a unique artistic focus for analyzing these matters. Bad Bunny and his music have also become part of the voice of the generation of Puerto Ricans who have been acutely impacted by recent environmental and economic crises on the island, which are directly related to Puerto Rico’s colonial status.
Thirty years ago, we could have never imagined reggaetón as the sound of global popular music. While Bad Bunny may have created many new fans of reggaetón, we can use the interest from this new audience as an opportunity to look at the history of reggaetón and the origins and circulation of this music with transnational Caribbean ties and complex racial politics. We hope that this project can be a resource for anyone wanting to educate or become educated about the most pressing issues in Puerto Rico, using Bad Bunny’s artistry as a way to begin to understand these topics.
As professors, we often use popular culture to teach our students about larger social issues like race and gender. Our syllabus builds off of that work, especially the courses we currently teach at our respective institutions. Dr. Rivera-Rideau is the pioneer of the Bad Bunny course, “Bad Bunny: Race, Gender, and Empire in Reggaetón”, which she has taught in the American Studies department at Wellesley College since Spring 2022 (check out this news story about her class, or watch the video below.). Dr. Díaz began teaching “Bad Bunny and Resistance in Puerto Rico” at Loyola Marymount University in Jan. 2023, where she is faculty in Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies; the course is cross-listed with LMU’s School of Film and Television.
Dr. Vanessa Diaz
Vanessa Díaz is an interdisciplinary ethnographer, journalist, and documentary filmmaker. She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles. She earned a PhD in Anthropology at the University of Michigan. Her first book Manufacturing Celebrity: Latino Paparazzi and Women Reporters in Hollywood was published and 2020 and is the recipient of several book awards. Grounded in her experience as a red carpet reporter for People magazine, Díaz’s book focuses on hierarchies of labor as well as racial and gender politics in the production of celebrity-focused media. She is also currently producing a documentary and podcast about paparazzi work. She is a co-author of UCLA’s 2017 Hollywood Diversity Report. In addition to her research on celebrity culture and media in the US, she has also done extensive research on media and popular culture in Cuba. In 2006, she completed her independent feature-length documentary Cuban HipHop: Desde el Principio, which recounts the history of the Cuban HipHop movement while exploring how Afro-Cuban youth use HipHop to defy misconceptions about censorship in Cuba by delivering social critiques of racism and poverty on the island.
Dr. Petra Rivera-Rideau
Petra Rivera-Rideau is Associate Professor of American Studies at Wellesley College. She is the author of Remixing Reggaeton: The Cultural Politics of Race in Puerto Rico (Duke, 2015) and co-editor of Afro-Latin@s in Movement: Critical Approaches to Blackness and Transnationalism in the Americas. Petra has published articles in journals such as Latino Studies, Identities, and Journal of Popular Music Studies. Her article “If I Were You: Tego Calderon’s Diasporic Interventions” published in Small Axe in 2018 won the inaugural Blanca Sivlestrini Prize for Best Article in Puerto Rican Studies from the Latin American Studies Association. Petra frequently appears in popular media such as NPR, Al Jazeera +, and The Atlantic, among others, and she has written for The Washington Post and PBS’s American Experience. She is currently working completing her second book, Fun, Fitness, Fiesta, about the commodification of Latin music and dance in the Zumba Fitness program.
Loyola Marymount University '24
Wellesley College '26
Wellesley College '23
Loyola Marymount University '23
Loyola Marymount University '24