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Philadelphia’s Made in America Festival: A Sense of Latinx Culture

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at IUP chapter.

As Latin artists and hits have flooded the charts increasingly in recent years, Bad Bunny has become a popular name far beyond the Latinx community. Originally born Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, the Puerto Rican reggaetonero has made headlines for breaking international records as a Spanish speaking artist as well as societal expectations within the community. His most recent album, Un Verano Sin Ti, features several popular Latinx artists including Rauw Alejandro, Chencho Corleone, Jay Cortez, Tainy, The Marías, and more.

As a Latina who loves to sing and dance, I have been a Bad Bunny fan since his early collaboration on “Solita.” My love for his music has only grown as he has become an icon for advocacy for gender fluidity and expression, breaking rigid expectations that I learned were a part of my culture growing up. 

This Labor Day weekend, I had the opportunity of attending the annual music festival Made in America in Philadelphia. Having previously attended two festivals as a teenager, I caught my eye on the second night’s headliner, who suddenly made the trip back home worth it: Bad Bunny. After viewing the lineup, I quickly realized the entire second day was full of Latinx artists, such as Fuerza Regida, Toro y Moi, Rels B, Chimbala, and Ryan Castro. With Hispanics being an increasingly present minority group in the United States, it made sense to me that a culturally diverse city like Philadelphia would represent the growing popularity of Spanish music in mainstream media. 

My mejor amiga Latina, Mirna, instantly messaged me. We had tried to go to a Bad Bunny concert together before, but tickets were more expensive than what it would cost to go to the entire music festival Labor Day weekend. Being the college students we are, we quickly had a plan.

We were joined by my friend Hannah, who can relate to having white privilege mask her ethnic background. Although Hannah is not Latina, she reveled in the ability to appreciate and celebrate the culture the second day of the festival. We discussed the strong sense of culture, especially through the Spanish language and dance, that was present among the interactions we had. 

Staking out during two prior concerts, we were deep in the growing crowd at the base of the art museum. It was dark by the time Bad Bunny walked onto the stage nonchalantly, sitting down in a beach chair to sip a drink. Un Verano Sin Ti translates to “a summer without you,” and summer was most definitely the vibe of this album. As fans screamed and cheered, I realized it wasn’t Bad Bunny alone that made me feel so proud of my identity at that moment.

I had been looking forward to the second day of the festival to see one of my favorite Latin artists, but I had gained a sense of culture throughout the experience through the friends I made. The day prior, Hannah, Mirna, and I got to know another group that had the same idea as us: see Bad Bunny, all while enjoying a music festival. Among them, there were roots to Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Uruguay. 

Not only did we speak comfortably in Spanglish, we all used a mix of slang from our home countries. “Que lo que, Tati?” “Pura vida!” As a proud Tica, I loved using my lingo and getting accustomed to the different accents of Latin America. We discussed our experiences as immigrants or children of immigrants and first generation college students. We found a sense of unity in being Latinx, while also appreciating the unique aspects of our own countries. 

As Bad Bunny’s lyrics “tú no eres bebecita, tú eres bebesota” blared in my ears, I threw my hands up and danced. There was power in being able to attend a popular music festival in my city and hear artists that spoke my second language, interact with people of my cultural background, and feel openly proud of my roots. There is much truth behind the two words representation matters. As Benito said at the end of the night: “Made in America? We are America.”

Tatiana Cleffi is a writer for the Her Campus chapter at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP,) who enjoys writing about her personal experiences, particularly in regards to her Latin culture. She is a senior nursing student who is eager to graduate in December 2023. Tatiana is passionate about bridging the language gap in the healthcare setting. She studied medical Spanish abroad to become better equipped to provide nursing care to a diverse range of patients. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys visiting her husband in Costa Rica, going to the beach, singing on the worship team at her church, and eating pumpkin pie.