Last week was intense. I'm so grateful to Benjamín Muñiz and professors Aileen Estrada and Lilia Planell for their amazing efforts at organizing and publicizing our Reggaeton book event held last Thursday, April 29th at El Patio de las Artes in Universidad del Sagrado Corazón.
The place was packed! And I can't be more pleased with the amazing lineup of book discussants.
From left to right: master of ceremonies Benjamín Muñiz (at the podium), University of Puerto Rico anthropologist Jorge Duany, Director of the Popular Music Program at the Universidad Interamericana Miguel Cubano, videographer and anthropologist Melisa Riviere, dancer and independent scholar Awilda Sterling, Universidad Interamericana professor of Criminal Justice Gary Gutiérrez, and Sagrado Corazón professor and radio producer/host Elmer González.
I was also honored by the presence of VIP guests like renowned pianist Brenda Hopkins Miranda, ex-senator Velda González (yup, the same senator who spearheaded the 2002 perreo-focused public hearings), sociologist and one of my dearest mentors Angel Quintero Rivera, literary critic Carmen Dolores Hernández, journalist and media producer Luis Fernando "Peri" Coss, scholar and performer Larry La Fountain, hip-hop artists Welmo Romero Joseph and Velcro (Andrés Ramos), among many, many more.
Among the event's highlights: the audience's enthusiastic response to Elmer González's remarks on our book's reggae/reggaeton in Panama section, Brenda Hopkins' incisive statements on recent legislation regarding Puerto Rican "autochthonous music," and the heated exchange between ex-senator Velda González and book discussant Awilda Sterling regarding the virtues of the perreo dance style.
I had a blast: partly because the event was wonderful, partly because it was also my birthday and my family and dearest friends surprised me with a cake. Great way to start a new year!
(Photos by Anabellie Rivera.)