PC: Katelyn Skye Bennett

“Despacito” is taking over my life

Despacito.” I hear it on the radio, in the office halls, and through the walls at night before I sleep. “Despacito.”

Firstly, I would like to say that my old housemate Abby and I listened to the Fonsi hit while it was on the way to the top but before it became uber popular. Yes, we have good taste in music, thank you. We would cruise around town listening to the local Spanish variety station on our way to Aldi, and she would practice her Spanish by translating for me.

But folks, a few months have passed, and the song is on fire now.

In the five weeks since I moved to Denver, “Despacito” has played everywhere. The Bieber version played on the car radio on the way to prayer. Two days later I was visiting a family from church and the six year old started to sing it. Then my roommate and I had a dance party to the hit and a number of other Spanish-language songs.

Actually, my whole house knows “Despacito” well. One of my housemates loves the song, and half the house hates him for it. But he is fluent in Spanish, so he can actually sing the words, and I liked the tune already, so I don’t mind.

I’ve even heard it sung by the Division Director at the refugee resettlement agency where I volunteer. I started to laugh in surprise as I passed him in the hall and asked him, “You’re singing Despacito?”

He replied, “Everyone seems to be these days.”

True that.

“Despacito” has officially infiltrated all the main facets of my life: church, home, and work. Today a woman at my internship played it for a mini dance break when we were feeling tired. And you know what? After hearing it everywhere I go, I still don’t mind.

About a month ago, one of my friends shared a link on Facebook that noted how “Despacito” was the first (mostly) Spanish song to top the American Billboard since “Macarena” in 1996, over 20 years ago. That’s huge. I wish it happened more often; there are certainly enough sweet Spanish-language hits, and the United States boasts so many Spanish speakers that it’s ridiculous not to have more Spanish songs in the mainstream.

The same friend then shared a post about Bieber’s utter disrespect for the Spanish language. I had already preferred the original because why water down a Spanish song with English? Again, we have enough English-language songs out there already. But especially after listening to the way Bieber glibly subbed in “burrito” and “Dorito” on multiple occasions when he did not remember the words, I only choose the original if I have an option.

Don’t disrespect the Spanish language. Don’t disrespect the people who speak it. Honestly, be more mature and honoring.

Even though I don’t think highly of Bieber, I’m glad the song itself is so popular. Props to the Latinx artists such as Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee for producing such catchy, high quality music.

Here’s to hoping more Spanish-language hits will top the American charts soon!

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Realization

Earlier this week I wrote a short song about Africa titled “Realization.” The lyrics begin, “You’re calling me to Africa/ You’re calling me to Africa/ You’re calling me to feel their hurt/ and I already do/ and I’ll gladly go/ leaning on Your strength.” These lyrics introduce the urge God has placed in me to be a missionary in Africa, something I have desired since I was a child.

The song continues with a realization that I’ve had recently: “But I’m missing the hope that pierces the darkness/ I’m missing Your life/ You are already there/ I’m missing Your hope/ ignoring Your healing/ I’m forgetting Your joy/ You are good everywhere/ But I want to be the one to say I fixed it.” I had been struggling to understand my feelings, not having words to express them, and God encouraged me to stay in the prayer chapel to write this song. Only when writing it did I realize that my pride has been obscuring the hope and beauty of what God is already doing around the world and at home.

After I realized that “I want to be the one to say I fixed it,” my realization continued, “And I can’t/ And I don’t wanna be the one in the end/ Lord, use me/ I am honored to be Your friend.” This struck me, and I pray that it will continue to humble me. I cannot fix Africa. If I cannot even understand myself, how can I single-handedly solve the world’s problems? When I wrote these lyrics and realized that I cannot solve the social problems of the world, I was filled with joy. I cannot fix this world, but Jesus will make all things new someday!

I finished the song with an open heart and some Spirit-led improv that is not included in these lyrics: “You’re calling me to Africa/ You’re calling me to Africa/ You’re calling me to trust You, Lord/ So I’ll gladly follow You/ resting in Your hope.”

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John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.  You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’  He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full.  [Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease.

-John 3: 27-30, NASB, the Word of the Lord, thanks be to God.