Despacito's Role In Unifying The World

Despacito's Role In Unifying The World

Creating a community, music is the key to international understanding.

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.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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