The neoperreo, female movement freed from reggaeton

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By John

Ibraided ointment on the side, Barbie pink lip gloss, sexy bodysuit and high heels, chubby face, Argentina’s Ms Nina is now well known in the Spanish-speaking music industry. It is indeed in Spain that this leader of the neoperreo, new undercurrent of reggaeton, officiates since 2015. In her clip Tristechondarecently published, the just thirty-year-old sings the independence of women by claiming an offensive, almost aggressive femininity. “Ya no creo en el amor/Ahora pienso en el money/Y me va mejor” (“I don’t believe in love anymore / now I’m thinking about money / and I’m better”), she chants, as you would hear in the song of any reggaetonero – with the difference that it is a woman who sings it.

Within reggaeton, this musical genre born in the 1990s in Latin America and sung in Spanish, women have long remained in the background. The singers are often confined to the “ay, daddy” and to “papa chulo” launched vocally at the start of the music, and wiggle their hips in scanty clothing. The perreo, a very sensual dance, is perceived as vulgar and macho, whose sole purpose is to satisfy the male gaze. Recently, however, many women have reappropriated it from a feminist perspective: unlike salsa or tango, the man does not direct his partner and the woman can move as she pleases. On a wall, on the floor, against someone… She decides. The neoperreo now makes fun of the sexism of its big brother reggaeton.

Ms Nina is far from being the only one to have embarked on this movement which is exploding everywhere in Latin America. It all started in 2014, when the Chilean Tomasa del Real, a tattoo artist by trade, who was bored in her room, was offered a Macbook by her mother on which she discovered the Photo Booth and GarageBand applications… This aficionada of the 2000s and the punk tests things, has fun and posts it all on YouTube. In Spain, Argentina, Chile, Colombia but also in Sweden, in the United States… the sauce quickly takes hold. The essence of the neoperreo movement is to bring together creators – often female creators and a few queer men – on the same stage for them to emerge.

Make fun of gender stereotypes

The neoperreo, given birth to by social networks, also feeds on the feminist and LGBTQIA + scenes, which are booming in Latin America. It is the fruit of a musical melting-pot called the “global dancefloor”, where reggaeton, techno, cumbia, trap mingle… Slow, smooth rhythms combine with electronic notes, produced from the bedroom of young women who want to party.