What started out as just wanting to share a mini documentary called “San Juditas…Power!” (2008),  above, turned into an encounter with fan sites, and forums, focused on big-time hate for reggaeton.

*add (5/20): According to the video, the San Judas “cult” is a transnational phenomenon that started in Chicago,  and later made its way to Mexico. As the director tells me, “Es el santo para los ladrones.” He’s the thief’s saint.

I haven’t paid too much attention to the San Judas followers, since moving to Mexico City. But it’s obvious that most of the young people you see on the train, toting their horned Jude statues, and heading for Templo de San Hipólito every 28th day of month, are from the outskirts, and some of the roughest areas of the D.F. metro area.

According to Catholic.org, San Judas Tadeo, or Saint Jude Thaddeus

…is invoked in desperate situations because his New Testament letter stresses that the faithful should persevere in the environment of harsh, difficult circumstances, just as their forefathers had done before them. Therefore, he is the patron saint of desperate cases and his feast day is October 28.

The anti-reggaeton sentiment, I think, is more classist than anything. The reggaetoneros are viewed as thugs and neardowells, when in fact, most are just young kids among the desperate and needy whom San Judas is supposed to protect. Albeit with airbrushed and rhinestone caps.

One Facebook fan site, is filled with pictures tagged with racist and mean captions and comments.  Odiamos a todos los reggaetoneros ke van a la iglesia de San Judas los 28’s (We hate the reggaeton fans who go to the San Judas church on the 28ths) has over 4,000 fans.

You can see a few of its mocking portraits below, and after the jump. There tends to be special distaste for reggaeton’s doggy dance or perreo that the kids do.


There’s a last.fm group called “Anti-Reggaeton”.

Below, an undated, partial newspaper clip about the subgroup that makes up so many San Judas followers.


8 thoughts on “San Judas and Reggaeton

  1. Wow. I’m fascinated… I’ve seen the urban-looking dudes near the Hidalgo church, but had no idea there was so much divisiveness going on. Thanks for sharing this! Also: love what you’re doing with the blog.

  2. Thanks for stopping by! Glad you liked it, Lesley. The cult of reggaeton and San Judas is a trip. I’d like to read more about that. let me know if you come across anything.
    I first noticed the anti-reggaeton sentiment going to rap shows in D.F. Two groups that always get dissed at one point or another are reggaetoneros and gringos.

  3. yeah, thanks for putting this together, camilo. another good piece in the puzzle of reggaeton as resonant and repellent, & an amazing story of transnationalism, class, and religion.

    i can’t tell how much the anti-reggaeton sentiment is actually bound up with an anti-gringo sentiment. in other words, to what extent is daddy yankee anathema b/c he’s yanqui? or is it much more often framed in terms of taste (“bad music”)?

    1. Thanks for stopping by Wayne. I went to a Tony Dize show some months back at Centro De Convenciones Tlalnepantla. The crowd was mostly very, very (poorer) young teens from the area, who paid about $20 dollars for the show. I don´t think they cared that Tony is from Puerto Rico and lives in Boston. Non-reggaeton heads have no problem getting into the Ramones, the Cure or Kanye West. People love gringo music. There´s a perpetual 80s new wave flashback over cabby radios and over the speakers in the subway stations.
      I think the major reason for the negative reaction to reggaeton is that it´s considered naco, or trashy (see class). I think cumbia had the same response many decades ago (same reason). Now it´s on NPR. I think people have a problem with reggaeton being any sort of definitive musica en español. With that said, I have a feeling ideas about this are way different in D.R. and Panama.
      From talking to some folk here in their late 20s and early 30s, reggaeton is a turn-off because of its recycled themes, production, and super sexual ¨doggy style¨ dancing <>>
      The thing I can´t seem to grasp is the who anti-reggaeton sentiment among hip-hop and rap heads out here. Any thoughts on that one?

  4. What’s racist about hating certain music? And no, we don’t hate Daddy Yankee because we think he’s “gringo”. We hate him because he makes shitty music. It’s not about class… There’s good and bad taste of music in all socio-economic levels. Just like in America you see the naco white guy in his yellow Hummer trying to be “gangsta”. You are born with class… You can’t buy it!

    Cheers from Cuernavaca.

  5. Well i think when peopLe have to focus in make their music better and stop hating other stiles of music ..stop atackin regueton because is a waist of time . .wy nobody say nothing about corridos that promote drug traffic and assassins . Glorifyin mafias or mexican cartels . That are destroyin mexican society and i dont think a saint suport hate

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