Entertainment

7 Crucial Lessons On Self-Love, As Taught By Body Positive Trapero Bad Bunny

Bad Bunny has so much more to offer than club bangers and flashy ensembles. The king of trap en español is also your go-to maestro espiritual, using social media to encourage his millions of followers, particularly women, to practice radical self-love.

On Tuesday, the misbehaved conejo made a series of pro-body hair, sex-positive, fat-appreciating, queer-inclusive, self-acceptance tweets that serve as important reminders for all of us to adore our chubby, prickly bodies and not take shit for it from anyone — especially fuck boys.

Here, self-love gems dropped by the Bori trap papi himself.

1. In life, you have to make time to do the things you love.

“Drop what you’re doing right now and go do what you really want to do. At least for today,” Bad Bunny tweeted, encouraging me to watch Netflix instead of going to the gym tonight.

2. Instead of being envious, be motivated by others’ success.

“An envious person looks so ugly. I know what it’s like to be down and I know it’s not cute, but it’s never a reason to envy. On the contrary, let the success of others motivate you to work harder. That’s why we are where we are,” he said, prompting a slow clap from all the lady hustlers and mami bosses on the Internet.

3. Body hair, don’t care! Don’t believe capitalistic beauty standards that tell you to shave your hairy cuerpo in order to be beautiful.

“Look, I’m not going to shave my legs. I already told you! If you don’t like it, go to hell,” Bad Bunny, born Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, wrote, while fans across the globe tossed their razors in the trash.

4. Be yourself, love yourself and get rid of anyone who doesn’t eff with you as you are.

“Love yourself as you are. The person who doesn’t want you as you are doesn’t belong in your life. Let them go,” the Puerto Rican hitmaker tweeted, inducing a hundred breakups.

5. Don’t fuck men or women who won’t go down on you if your vag ain’t bare.

“WOMEN!! As an experiment, leave your pubic area with hair (leave your cootchie hairy) for a while. He or she who does not want it like that or gets picky can get pushed to the side. Whoever wants to eat you will eat you however you are. This doesn’t bother an alpha male like me,” he said, as we all canceled our Brazilian wax appointments.

6. There’s nothing gross about your genitals.

“How do you not kiss your sexual partner after oral sex? What’s the matter, moron,” he asked, giving us the perfect response to the next person who tries to shame us.

7. Fat women are bomb af.

“I prefer fat women over women who are fake,” Bad Bunny said, motivating all of us to end our diets and eat the mf flan.

Read: How The Art Of Burlesque Helped This Body Positive Afro-Latina Find Freedom And Self-Love

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Let Us Recognize How Bad Bunny Is Celebrating Gender Fluidity And Self-Acceptance In All Of His Trapness

Entertainment

Let Us Recognize How Bad Bunny Is Celebrating Gender Fluidity And Self-Acceptance In All Of His Trapness

The poster boy of Latin Trap Bad Bunny is also the biggest mainstream rebel against the genre’s hypermasculinity. With his flamboyant, floral button-downs, cat-eye glasses and vibrant nail art, he’s reshaping society’s, and the urbano music industry’s, outdated gender rules. With his self-love messages to women, encouraging them to cut off lovers who have problems with their body hair or pants size, he’s calling out machismo and helping to weaken its power. While steadily rising up the charts with hard-thumping Spanish-language bangers on sex, drugs and street toughness, El Conejo Malo, born Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, has also consistently used his platform and art to challenge misogyny and embrace femininity.

credit: instagram @badbunnypr


In his long-anticipated debut album X100PRE, which he unexpectedly released on Nochebuena 2018, the 24-year-old Puerto Rican singer-rapper continues to defy toxic masculinity. The 15-track fire LP includes trap, reggaeton and even pop-punk jams that encourage people to embrace themselves as they are. The four music videos that Bad Bunny has released from the album also spotlight critical intersectional feminist issues, from gender violence to gender nonconformity. The project, a musical treat that combines Bad Bunny’s lyrical aptitude with Tainy’s, the veteran urbano producer behind most of the album, commanding beats, also bears gifts for people who have a just, equitable and liberated vision for the world.

Here, five ways trapero Bad Bunny challenges machismo on X100PRE.

1. Celebrating Gender Fluidity And Self-Acceptance

In El Conjeo Malo’s latest single “Caro,” the supermarket bagger-turned-millionaire rapper recognizes his self-worth, acknowledging the value in his talent and character regardless of the amount of bread stacked in his bank account. “Yo sé cuanto valgo / yo sé que soy caro,” he raps. The music video pushes this idea of self-acceptance further, with Bad Bunny kissing himself — actually smooching look-alike Puerto Rican model Jazmyne Joy — to express that self-love. But the video also celebrates gender fluidity, opening up with a scene of Bunny in a white-and-pink room getting his nails painted before the camera jumps to Joy, a female-identifying actress who dresses up as the rapper throughout the video. During Ricky Martin’s hidden interlude in the song, Bunny is even kissed on the cheek by both a woman and a man, an additional jab to the genre’s long-rooted homophobia.

2. Spotlighting Gender Violence 

“Solo de Mí” is a solemn ballad about survivors of intimate partner violence reclaiming their identity and learning to love themselves after leaving an abusive relationship. “Yo no soy tuyo ni de nadie, yo soy sólo de mí,” Benito sings. The music video uses powerful imagery to send his message against gender violence forward, including showing a woman lip-syncing his lyrics while suffering invisible hits to her face. When Bad Bunny debut the song on Instagram, he was explicit about its message, writing: “NO QUEREMOS NI UNA MUERTE MAS! Respeta la mujer, respeta al hombre, respeta al prójimo, respeta la vida! MENOS VIOLENCIA, MAS PERREO! (Y SI ELLA LO QUIERE, SI NO DÉJALA QUE PERREE SOLA Y NO LA JODAS).”

3. Resisting Hypermasculine Sexual Fantasies

In the ‘80s synth-pop track “Otra Noche en Miami,” Bad Bunny opens up about the less-glamorous parts of his rapid rise to fame, expressing feelings of melancholy over the fake and harmful interests of the growing crowd around him, from industry execs to groupies. He even raps that he’s tired of threesomes and orgies, sexual fantasies that many traperos brag about, and prefers real love instead. “Ya me cansan los threesome’ y las orgías / Ya me cansa que mi vida siga vacía,” he raps, breaking free from hypersexualized stereotypes of men, especially Caribbean Latinx men.

4. Getting Sentimental

The singer-rapper gets even more sentimental in “Si Estuviésemos Juntos.” Throughout the reggaeton ballad, El Conejo Malo bares his soul to an ex lover, telling her, and the world, that he still misses and longs for her, that he still wonders what could have been if he would have gotten his act together sooner. “A otra persona no he podido amar / Y te juro que lo he tratado / Pero es que ninguna se te para al la’o / Desde que te fuiste sigo trastorna’o / Escuchando Masterpiece, baby me siento down.” In an increasingly eff-your-ex, live-your-best-life-heartless youth culture, vulnerability in music is becoming rare, especially for men in hip-hop, but Bad Bunny doesn’t shy away from showing his emotions.

5. Taking Care Of Your Mental Health, Bromances And Your Nails

Bad Bunny’s first single off of X100PRE “Estamos Bien” is many things. In Puerto Rico, it’s a statement of resiliency, a message to Washington that the people of La Isla del Encanto are good despite shoddy recovery efforts after Hurricane Maria, because survival, community and joy run through their veins. But before the devastating storm hit the island, this was a song about Benito’s own individual perseverance; more specifically, overcoming depression that followed his meteoric stardom. Bad Bunny, who has talked about his mental health struggle — uncommon among men in Latinx countries — through his music and in interviews, found healing after returning home, to his family and his lifelong friends. The music video is all about self-care, including manicures and spending time with your best pals, and offers an unapologetic display of a loving bromance between Bad Bunny and his best homeboys.

Read: 7 Crucial Lessons On Self-Love, As Taught By Body Positive Trapero Bad Bunny

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Meet Mona Marie, The Caribeña Helping Women Find Their Strength And Freedom Through Pole Dancing

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Meet Mona Marie, The Caribeña Helping Women Find Their Strength And Freedom Through Pole Dancing

Ask Mona Marie about her greatest relationship, and she will tell you it’s the one she has with her pole. Through erotic dance, the entertainer has found beauty, confidence and freedom, and she hopes to impart these treasures to other women through her dance and fitness studio Poletic Justice.

At the Bronx, New York pole lounge and arts studio, beginners and skilled dancers can take a series of intimate classes on the art of pole, climbing, spins, inversions, floorwork, headstands and handstands as well as non-pole sessions on twerking, burlesque, dance aerobics and yoga.

For Marie, who grew up in the Morris Park neighborhood of the Bronx, it was crucial to create a space for women and femmes in her borough to come together, strengthen community and build confidence.

“There’s other pole fitness studios in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and I felt like I wanted to open a space where I’m able to give back to my community, and Bronx women are my community,” the 32-year-old businesswoman told FIERCE. “There’s nothing around here for us, just co-ed gyms, boxing gyms, nothing for women, and I wanted to help change that.”

At about five-to-ten people, predominantly women, though Marie stresses everyone is invited, to a class, clients get one-on-one attention but are still able to find the community many of them are looking for. With children, who are encouraged to accompany their mothers at the studio, working on homework or participating in strength-building activities, Marie starts every class by lighting sage and “speaking the good.”

“I have the women tell me something positive that happened in their day, even if it’s something as small as getting the wing on your right eye on point,” Marie, who is of Puerto Rican, Cuban and Jamaican descent, says. “It’s very important, especially as women. We are so busy trying to conquer the world and being a superhero in our everyday lives that it’s easy to forget the little things that make us smile.”

That’s the vibe at Poletic Justice: energizing and empowering. It’s not the type of studio that encourages counting calories or participating in squat challenges. Instead, it’s where women, often for the first time, recognize the beauty, wonder and power of their bodies as they are.

“I want them to feel empowered. That’s the only thing I want. I’m about self-love and building confidence. A lot of women want to know what it means to be sexy or confident. We all have our struggles. I want my clients to leave feeling good, that you released that negativity and allowed yourself to let it go and clear your mind. That’s what I want,” she said.

In order to get there, Marie says women need to be patient with themselves. While she stresses that you don’t need to have upper body strength or be a size 4 or below to do pole, she doesn’t bullshit clients, either. It takes time, practice and dedication to build the might and skill to master the art.

Another requirement: make sure you’re doing this for yourself.

“Women often have this idea that they need to be sexy for someone else and not for themselves. I’m changing that in my studio. Love and be sexy for yourself, and then let that confidence you gain and strength you are building for yourself be a plus for someone else, but it’s not for them,” she says.

Like many of her clients, Marie struggled with self-esteem and body image issues before discovering pole. With an athletic built, she didn’t see the beauty and sensuality of her brawny figure until she entered a gentleman’s club at the age of 20. There, strong women, who’d soon become her closest friends, captivated her attention with their impressive flips and stands. She wanted in. The next week, she applied and was hired. For three months, she observed the dancers from the backroom and practiced moves she’d watch on YouTube, finally gaining the know-how and courage to take to the stage herself.

Marie, a college student at the time, fell in love with the art, and realized quickly that she wanted to turn her new hobby into a full-time gig. Putting on solo club shows — one she even did especially for her mother, grandmother and aunt, who needed some reassuring after learning about her new erotic dance interests — appearing in music videos for acts like Mary J. Blige, Mya and Ja Rule, and eventually landing a “lifetime opportunity” as Madonna’s official pole choreographer and pole trainer during her 2015 Rebel Heart Tour all paved the way for her opening her own pole studio in 2016.

Poletic Justice, whose name plays on the Kendrick Lamar banger to reflect the poetic ease of Marie’s own stage lines, is more than a place for dance, aerobics and community, though. In 2017, when the organizers of New York City’s “Stripper Strike,” Gizelle Marie and Panama Pink, needed a place to convene, they called on Marie, turning Poletic Justice into the movement’s headquarters.

“It was nice to watch people express themselves in a safe space and try to see how changes can be made. I commend Panama and Gizelle for doing what they need to do. The battle they took on is necessary but difficult. This industry needs change. I understand it’s the sex industry, but it’s just like every other industry. It needs professionalism,” said Marie, who’s also calling for more rules and regulations that protect dancers against violence, exploitation and discrimination.

With clients who are mothers, career women, college students and high school dropouts, Marie hopes to retire the racialized sexist myth that dancers are promiscuous, and wants folk to know that pole is for everyone and has the capability of improving people’s lives.

“Pole and I have a very beautiful and loving relationship, perhaps the best relationship I had my whole life. It allowed me to find myself, my confidence and my freedom,” she said. “And if you let me, through pole, I will make you so confident and badass that you also won’t question going after the career you want or telling your partner to get out of your face.”

Read: Meet Mela Murder, The Puerto Rican Dancer-Actress In An Indie Film Drake Is “Obsessed” With

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