Isn’t it interesting that we are enjoying the wave of Gangnam style parodies, that stretch from wedding videos to “Mitt Romney Style.” (I wrote my amazing interpretation of the original song here if you would like to read it!) Has there ever been such a huge wave of parodies for one video before? One that I recently saw that particularly caught my attention, is Gangnam style parody about the low income Latino population. This parody is called, “Ganga Style” meaning “Gang style,” made by a Mexican comedian called Don Cheto. This new parody makes fun of Latino gang member’s way of life in Los Angeles. This video has gone viral reaching over 15 million views. While I did find the music video funny, and was impressed to see that it was an actual production with dancers, and the whole shabang rather than being a simple home made video…It also tore me apart as while it was nice to see my own people coming to the light, it was disappointing to see them once again being portrayed as criminals and gangsters. Latinos are part of all facets of life here in the United States, we are not only gangsters and criminals, or “illegals” as we often hear in the media. I would love to see a video that encapsulates all the areas that Latinos are a part of… or critiques Latinos that put a front of wanting to be “white and wealthy” and reject their roots while inside are feeling abandoned and empty, paralleling Psy critique of Koreans wanting to chase the capitalist promise of luxurious unattainable things while forgetting their traditional ways of life. Another theme regarding Latinos would have been about the hard reality that Latinos quickly face when they come to the United States: that the American Dream is not real, and no matter how hard they work, Latinos will most likely never move up in the working world. One thing is making fun of ourselves, but simply because it is a joke, does not mean that everyone else will understand the intended message. I found it funny… but with 15 million views… I wonder how other people interpreted the video.
One other interesting part about the video is how it portrays policemen with very tight leather jeans dancing provocatively, as if demasculating the police force. Kind of like a rebellion against the abuse and created criminality towards Latinos. Also, in one of the lyrics, Don Cheto starts complaining about Maruchan, top ramen soups, and ground potato, because cup noodle soups are becoming so popular in Mexico, that more people are eating noodles than the traditional rice and beans. This is raising concerns as cup noodle soups do not have vitamins, but are filled with fillers and chemicals. Lastly, Don Cheto also takes away some of the fear for gangsters as he explains in the lyrics that the threatening outward appearance is simply meant to impress the opposite sex, as seeing guns being pulled out is not very common. More, that it is a way that young people want to feel a sense of belonging. I do agree that it is a way that young people want to feel part of something, but walking down my street and seeing tiny memorials of young men and women who have been killed due to gang warfare, I am not so sure that gangs is just about pleasing the opposite sex.