For as impactful and invigorating the recent Latin-music resurgence has been on the mainstream scene, the fact remains that its gender representation has been somewhat lopsided. While there are promising signs of female Latinx talent gaining greater prominence, the most well-known songs, collaborations and perspectives have been largely told by men. This makes a song like Lindo, pero bruto, a playful-yet-powerful reggaeton throbber by Thalía and Lali, all the more important.
Revealed originally as a standout track on Thalía’s Valiente album in November, Lindo, pero bruto gained a wave of new interest thanks to its official music release starring the Latina legend and her Argentinian singer-actress collaborator as mad scientists who turn plastic, Ken-esque dolls into superhunks that are, as their song title indicates, pretty but dumb. The candy-colored visual has garnered more than 25 million views since its reveal, but all its response has not been positive as some found the release man-bashing. But according to Thalía, any negativity comes as a result as how people-namely men-see the world, not from their message.
“I think everybody reacts to this song the way they see life and the way they portray themselves”, the songstress explains during a press junket with Lali in New York. “To us, it’s having fun. To us, it’s talking about something every girl talks about. It’s a little bit of the opposite of years and years and years of the men talking down to women. Right now, it’s 100% clear that women are stronger, women are raising voices it’s a global mobilization of a feminine world taking over.”
Lali echoes that sentiment, saying that songs and visuals like these are important for all fans, regardless of gender. “I think Thalía and I we both agree we need to be responsible, we both have huge audiences, little girls, women, men, and it’s important to speak to all of them”, she says. “For me that’s very important. What do you wanna say? What do you wanna show? What’s the power behind your message and your image? This pop music we have in our hearts opens up a space for that, for a sound that’s for everyone. I love to be able to pass that on.”
Laughing the entire time together while surrounded by pink balloons and cupcakes in champagne bottles during their junket, the women expanded on their thoughts to Forbes sharing their excitement for all reactions to the video, what they feel their team-up represents for women and Latin music at large, and how the scene can keep growing in 2019. All throughout, the superstars delivered each thought-out answer with poise, confidence and smiles-purposeful details that the women further expanded on later in our chat.
FORBES – Congratulations on the video, it earned more than three million views in its first 24 hours and continues to gain interest. First off, how does that feel?
THALIA – Oh my God, how does that feel? Like a dream come true. Every time that you put out a song or video, you put your heart in there. All the illusions, all the stars in your eyes, all your dreams and then you find a positive response? It’s phenomenal. And it’s been so quick!
FORBES – I heard you were very involved in the visual and had this vision for awhile.
THALIA – I had it for a long time and I always wanted to do a video inspired by the 80s movie Weird Science and I always wanted to create my own doll. [Laughs] And bring it to a plastic-fantastic, neon-pink-blue-world candyland. When I heard this song, I thought ‘boom’ the idea for so many years has landed! And I asked Lali, she said yes, and that completed the circle… it had to be playful and it had to be done in a way where you’re laughing in this plastic world. No matter if people take it seriously or not, or intention is to say it and then we’ll have fun. Even the hashtags have been crazy, cute but stupid, and they put their ‘lindo, pero bruto’ friends or their handles. It’s so cute and it’s been happening since Day 1.
FORBES – Who chose who wore what wigs?
LALI – She told me. [Laughs] She told me everything, like “This and this and this and this” and I said, “Great!”
THALIA – And she said yes! That’s the best thing. Other people would say, “You know what…is this really a good look for me?”
LALI – No! I was happy! Happy, happy, happy.
FORBES – Were you at all worried about the response the video and its message would get?
THALIA – Never. I thought the market needed something colorful and fun. Everything is kind of similar, to me, the videos look the same right now. I just wanted to have fun.
FORBES – I was kind of surprised you needed to respond to negative responses. Why do you think that male response speaks to?
THALIA – I think this is a moment in time that is historical. All these platforms, phones, YouTube, social media, it’s been exposing the way women have been feeling for so many years and those voices are finding their own echo, their own tribe, their own plan. One girl talks about religion and ‘boom’ one audience finds that and talk to each other and we protect each other. Politically, the same way. Musically, the same way too. Right now, Latin music is in its best moment, it’s global. It doesn’t have to be, well, I remember the last Latin explosion with Shakira, Marc Anthony, Ricky [Martin], Enrique [Iglesias]…
LALI – You!
THALIA – [Laughs] Yes, but we had to sing in English. We had to sing in English with a Latin flavor. Now, everything is sung in Spanish and some collabs are in English and Spanish too. I think it’s a very important moment right now.
LALI – In my country, 70 years ago women were not able to vote. That’s not a tiny detail, it was not a long time ago… the evolution, and how today we’re able to talk, how we can say what we want, and I just go and confront you whenever I want. My mom always told me, “You can say anything you want to anyone. The president, anyone, as long as you’re respectful.” As long as we say it with integrity, with strength and with respect. And that drives people crazy! Being able to say something with respect.
THALIA – … and with intelligence!
LALI – They’re like… “What did she say? What did she say?” And I’m like, “Yes I said that right.”
FORBES – Lali, I loved a moment for you last year where you, Becky G and Leslie Grace all jumped on the remix to Mau y Ricky and Karol G’s “Mi mala”. It felt really important that four women came together to make the song a bigger hit.
LALI – Right now, women’s presence is important. It’s not the same if we don’t have an opinion and add female strength to the mix . It’s always been like that to be honest, but there was no place or space for it in the past.
THALIA – It has a place now, it has a platform. Girls express themselves now. Like Cardi B, whatever she says she just says that. She just says it! Same as Natti Natasha, Karol [G], Becky G, us. I think it’s a moment where everybody has to just be themselves.
FORBES – How does Latin music keep growing in 2019?
THALIA – I think it’s here to stay. I think it’s a really strong movement, musically, and the rhythm is very contagious. You hear urban sounds, you feel good, and then mixed with other genres like our pop world or salsa, it’s fun and cool….I think it’s a moment of union. Like how Beyoncé jumped on J Balvin’s song, and it was so cool, right? What’s happening right now is about fusion between different cultures, different languages, different mentalities. And it’s OK! Everyone’s so open to change, to listen to new things and learn from that.
LALI – And this right here, Well-known artists with great careers are listening and watching to the newest artists and saying, “I wanna work together.” And then the possibility of actually working together comes up. And people sees us together and think, “This actually works, this is good.”