That Is Why I Teach: It Is My Duty to Be Critical


Felix Padilla

Document Id: OC-32

Willie Colón is a famous, world renowned Puerto Rican salsa singer from New York City who has maintained a never-compromising, radical, oppositional voice for 30 years. In Por Eso Canto (That's Why I Sing), a 1993 recording, Willie Colón provides his most powerful and explicit explanation of how he has come to accept his political responsibilities as a singer. In general, Por Eso Canto can be seen as Willie Colón's critique of those who do not or cannot recognize the transformative, emancipatory possibilities of their work and of their cultural practices. Since the late 1960's, Willie Colón has been an ardent critic of musicians who define and perform Salsa music as just another form of individual or social entertainment, rather than as a political, or cultural project. When you listen to his music and when you read his interviews in magazines and newspapers, you are most likely to find Willie Colón exposing the hypocrisy embedded in music, which detaches music from the most important political issues and conditions facing Puerto Ricans and other Latina/o people in the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

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