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Residente performing at the Vive Latino 2022, in Mexico City
Residente performing at the Vive Latino 2022, in Mexico City. Photo: Getty Images

Residente’s 'This is not America' wins an award at the Cannes Lions Festival

The Latin artist became the first member of Sony Music Latin to win.

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Last week ended with a prestigious award for Latin music. Rapper René Pérez Joglar, known worldwide as Residente, won the prestigious Grand Prix for Music Video Excellence at the Cannes Lions Festival on Friday, June 24. The Puerto Rican received the award for the music video for the song "This is not America," a collaboration with the Franco-Cuban duo Ibeyi.

The Latin artist became the first member of Sony Music Latin to receive the honor. In the powerful four-minute single, the rapper “shoots” against politicians, police, imperialism and the countless injustices suffered by the peoples of Latin America for decades. The final message he claims is clear: America is much more than the United States.

"If you don't understand the data, then I'll throw it at you in cumbia, bossanova, tango or ballenato," he says in the song, claiming the great Latin musical richness that he combines with his most aggressive rap. In a single video, Residente makes eminent visual references to harsh episodes of the past — Lolita Lebrón's fight, the Aztec sacrifice, Mexican children caged on the U.S. border, the shoe shine revolution in Bolivia, the 43 Mexican students disappeared and murdered in Ayotzinapa, Bolsonaro, and the deforestation of the Amazon and disappearance of Indigenous tribes.

"This is not America" ​​also won the categories of Best Director, Best Music Video, and Best Effects at the Berlin MVA and Best Video at the AICP Awards. The music video was directed by Greg Ohrel, and after its release, Rolling Stone magazine highlighted Residente's commitment to promoting causes without worrying about economic payoff.

The song was produced by Doomsday Entertainment, Sony Music Latin, and Residente's production company, 1868 Studios. The video is inspired by the work of Chilean conceptual artist Alfredo Jaar.

“We award the Grand Prize to this work for its undeniably stunning visuals and incredible production quality,” said Amani Duncan, president of the Competition Jury. Since its foundation in 1954, the festival has recognized excellence in advertising and creative communication.

Duncan added that “although the video has a very unique point of view that may not be shared by everyone, it is an extremely powerful statement on the economy and culture from a less privileged community. Music has always been a key platform for protest songs throughout history and it's something we all want to continue to see in the years to come."

For Residente, his work “has very powerful images, for me the video is very strong and obviously the song and the video complement each other perfectly.”

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