As I’m sure many know, Bad Bunny was recently announced as the main character in the upcoming Sony Marvel movie “El Muerto.” Benito will be starring in the first Latine-led hero action movie, which is incredibly fucking cool. It’s also a bit sad we’re just now seeing the first Latine-led hero action movie, but I’m also not surprised. Benito who is Puertorriqueno, will be portraying the Mexican antihero “El Muerto” which is interesting.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I love Bad Bunny, his music, his public persona and how he uses his platform, but I feel like the casting choice on this was a bit off the mark. It’s cool to see Bad Bunny branching out apart from his music but, it feels like Sony chose Bad Bunny because they know the Latine community loves him. There are plenty of Latine actors out there who have been in the industry, and they chose to cast Bad Bunny as the lead. Again, I don’t mean to discredit his acting and it is cool that a reggaetón artist is going to lead a Marvel movie but, I think it completely discredits all the other Latine actors who have been in the industry for years.
In this situation, I really think Sony is to blame. I feel like when casting the lead for the movie, they were trying to appeal to the Latine community. Considering how popular Bad Bunny is in general but especially in the Latine community, it was a clear choice to them. It’s the same way Beer companies changed their marketing around Cinco de Mayo in the 80’s; they only care about profiting off something. In the 80’s, beer companies spent billions of dollars in advertising their products specifically toward the Hispanic and Latine communities. This in turn led to the commercialization of Cinco de Mayo and in this case, not actually making space for Latine actors in the hero action movie world.
The character Bad Bunny is set to play, Juan-Carlos Estrada Sanchez, was born in Mexico. As stated earlier, Benito is Puertorriqueno, not Mexican. While it’s nice to see Latine representation in general, we shouldn’t have to settle for inaccuracies within the representation. Sony choosing a Puertorriqueno to play a Mexican character feels like its playing along in the grouping of all Latine and Hispanic people into being Mexican. Plus, this isn’t the first time Bad Bunny has been casted to portray a Mexican character. He’ll be portraying a Mexican Assassin in another upcoming Sony film, “Bullet Train”.
Again, this is a shortcoming on Sony’s part. This isn’t only resulting in the grouping of Latine and/or Hispanic individuals as Mexicans but, its erasing the many other ethnic identities within Latino America. It’s erasing the existence of other Latine and/or Hispanic ethnic groups and disregarding their experiences and identity. Most of these movies are catered to white audiences, meaning most white people probably see Bad Bunny as a Mexican artist/actor, completely disregarding that he is indeed from Puerto Rico. Sony is not only contributing to the continuation of harmful stereotypes of Latine and/or Hispanic people but it’s also actively erasing Bad Bunny’s own identity as a Puertorriqueno.
Representation is needed within everything. From history books to music to fashion. All communities deserve representation. But they also deserve accurate and intentional representation, not some half ass attempt to gain a specific demographics attention. This is all to say that we need to be more critical of the representation and attempts of companies trying to be “progressive” because not all representation is good representation. I of course think Bad Bunny will still do a great job at representing the Latine community, I just wish entertainment companies were actually sincere and intentional with their “diversity” efforts.