Prestigious award for Residente

As Puerto Rico’s National Foundation for Popular Culture (Fundación Nacional para la Cultura Popular; prpop) points out, René (Residente) Pérez Joglar’s music video “This is Not America” won a grand prize at Cannes Lion, making him the first urban artist to deserve such a distinction. The video was directed by French filmmaker Gregory Ohrel and it features the French-Cuban duo Ibeyi. Here are translated excerpts from prpop. [Also see our previous post “This is not America” wins Entertainment Lion d’Or.]

Listen to “This is Not America” here:

Award-winning urban singer, composer, producer, cinematographer, visionary and activist, René Pérez—better known in the musical scene as Residente—won the “Grand Prix for Entertainment Lions for Music” for his musical video “This is not America” in Cannes Lion. This victory makes the Puerto Rican artist an important winner as one of the most prominent artists to win in the urban genre at Cannes Lion and as the first artist of Sony Music Latin to achieve this.

“This is not America” is a bold, political, and graphic work, co-produced by Doomsday Entertainment and Sony Music Latin in collaboration with Residente’s production company, 1868 Studios. The music video was also recognized for “Best Director,” “Best Music Video,” and “Best Video Effects” at the Berlin MVA and “Best Video” at the AICP Awards.

Directed by French director Gregory Ohrel and creatively directed by Residente, the music video for “This is not America” mixes symbolism from different cultures, portraying indigenous children sitting on the disposable objects of global capitalism, and placing pre-Columbian monuments in the middle of first-world scenes. Highlighting the similarities between the steps of a dance and a police attack, the images invite the audience to reflect.

Accompanying Residente, Ibeyi joins the production. Ibeyi is a duo consisting of Naomi Díaz, who brings her powerful percussions to this song, and her twin sister Lisa-Kaindé, who sings in the chorus: “aquí estamos, siempre estamos, no nos fuimos, no nos vamos. Aquí estamos para que te recuerdes, si quieres, mi machete te muerde” [Here we are, we are always here, we didn’t leave, we won’t go. We are here to remind you that, if you want, my machete will bite you].

“This is not America” is the brainchild of Residente’s recent work with professors from Yale and New York University, where they studied the artist’s brain waves along with the brain patterns of worms, mice, monkeys, flies, and other creatures to create musical frequencies that would then become rhythms. Residente’s work with universities began with the creation of his second solo album. For this song, Residente used his own brainwaves and the brainwaves of worms to develop emphatic waves of electronic music mixed with his rapping, Ibeyi’s vocals, and Puerto Rican percussion.

Starting in late 2020, Sony Music Entertainment announced a multi-year partnership with René Pérez Joglar (known as “Residente”) to launch 1868 Studios. Under this new company, Residente and Sony Music Latin/Iberia create, produce, and globally distribute original content projects in different formats. Residente writes and directs television shows, films, and all kinds of production.

The Puerto Rican artist, who heads all creative aspects of the association, is focused on adequately representing cultural narratives on screen, including Latinx stories, and what is more important to him, being behind the camera. As part of this effort, 1868 Studios and Residente have worked with an international creative consortium of writers, directors, musical and visual artists to provide creative services for a robust slate of new projects, including television series, films, documentaries, and exclusive content. [. . .]

Translated by Ivette Romero. For full article (in Spanish), see

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