I recently read an article that Luis Fonsi, writer and lead vocalist for the song “Despacito,” said that we should cut some Justin some slack for not knowing the words to the song because it’s not his native language. Here’s why I disagree.
1. The song was released in January of 2017.
The song was released to the public in January, so Justin has had well over 6 months to learn the words to a 4-minute song. No one is expecting him to be fluent or have a conversation in Spanish. I barely speak Spanish and it only took me a few days to learn a song in Spanish. In my opinion, this proves that he doesn’t care about his musical reputation to learn something so simple. I think it would take him at most 2 weeks to learn. It makes you wonder if he really thought he only needed to learn enough Spanish to record it once and would never have to sing it again. Why bother even collaborating with a Spanish-speaking artist in the first place?
2. He refuses to sing it live.
I’m not a Justin Bieber fan, but I am an avid concert goer and I’ve seen some older bands refuse to play songs before but never because they couldn’t remember the lyrics or didn’t remember the words. Perhaps if he would make a promise to his fans to learn the lyrics, they might not be so upset with him. Instead, he flat out refuses to sing it at all and this decision was met with boos and a water bottle being thrown at him. This once again proves how little he cares.
3. Borderline Cultural Appropriation?
Katy Perry was recently in the news for apologizing for what the Court of Public Opinion deemed was cultural appropriation. I’m not saying that what Katy Perry did was okay, but I think it’s important to note this because I haven’t seen anyone accuse Justin of doing the same thing. He recorded a song with a Spanish-speaking artist and because it’s a #1 hit he has made a lot of money off this song. I think it’s very disrespectful to the Latinx community to take the royalties from the song and then refuse to sing it live because “he doesn’t know Spanish.” Spanish is not impossible to learn, and I’m shocked that people made a bigger deal about Katy Perry’s wearing cornrows than they did about Justin Bieber refusing to sing in Spanish.
This could have been a great opportunity for Justin to embrace and celebrate the Latinx community, and instead, he is disrespecting the community that pays for his luxurious lifestyle.