There are a couple of things you can find all over the world, things that transcend cultural boundaries and country borders to just truly be universal--a smile, good food and music. Yes, every culture on our planet has some form of music made with some form of instrument, an expression of the soul that reflects life and culture. And now, more than ever, this is essential.
Because, while music allows for personal expression of identity and struggles that are definitely identifiable across cultures, one specific song or artist can sometimes transcend the divides between us. Worldwide pop stars, like Taylor Swift or Shakira, are recognizable everywhere and tour internationally, sometimes playing in their native language and sometimes translating. As Americans, we are used to everything being in our language--after all, our Hollywood sends movies around the world, and the majority of contemporary music is sung in our language. Many foreign songs, like "Bailando" (Enrique Iglesias), are largely translated into English for us.
Yet, finally, we are starting to see it going the other way. The current top-charting song is called "Despacito" ("Slowly") by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, although the charts feature a remix with Justin Bieber singing an English hook. This song is almost entirely in Spanish, even many of Bieber's parts, making it the first time that a mainly-Spanish song has charted in America since the Macarena. In 2012, PSY's song Gangnam Style also topped the American charts although it was entirely in Korean.
This is a good thing--while it is true that some racism and cultural insensitivity can arise, including the "hilarious" videos of people singing Despacito as "I don't know the words, so I just say 'burrito'", it is mainly a way of bridging misunderstandings between people. This world is becoming increasingly international, especially as America heads towards a "minority majority", so greater acceptance of languages other than English is quickly becoming a necessity. But above all, it brings the world together as a community.
As terrorism seeks to target that community, the latest of which being the Manchester attack on Ariana Grande's concert, it is more important than ever that we protect it. Music is meant to be the unifying force, the bridge across oceans and years of struggles to create an escape from the present. It is meant to create friends, start conversations and let strangers dance with one another. It is the key to bringing the world together and ending our stereotypes of other cultures because it lets us learn about each other and grow. Protect it. Cherish it. And, as violence leaks in, turn the bass up just a bit louder.