In early February 2023, model and cucumber-cutting novice Kendall Jenner and Puerto Rican Grammy winner Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio (or, as he’s more commonly known, Bad Bunny) were spotted out and about together. As is customary in this day and age, rumours of a love match between the two began to quickly gain traction online.
Fast forward to mid-March, and we’re beginning to learn more and more about this potential romance. A quick sushi date here, a concealed smooch there—it seems as though these two have definitely struck up a pretty intimate connection.
Now comes the problems. Anyone familiar with Bad Bunny’s background and ethos knows that the rapper has made incredible strides for Latino music, and has been persistently dedicated to championing Spanish culture within the mainstream—something his fans hold very dearly.
So, it’s safe to say that the Bad Bunny base were not best pleased to see the rapper canoodling with a celebrity who’s gone out of her way to appropriate Mexican culture for her own financial benefits.
In 2021, the 27-year-old model announced that she’d be launching her very own tequila brand 818 Tequila. And while this fact in and of itself is highly problematic—primarily because it shouldn’t be that easy to name five white celebrities who all own tequila brands—it was the campaign shoot that followed that really upset people.
As reported by Sky News, the promotional images, which were uploaded onto Instagram and then shortly after deleted, depicted Jenner riding a horse in an agave field, dressed in jeans and an oversized shirt with her hair in braids and a cowboy hat slung around her neck. Other photos also included tequila farmers in the field, Jenner sipping a shot of tequila and a video of the model watching a farmer distilling tequila from a distance.
Understandably, people were incredibly offended by the campaign. Notably, because of the fact Jenner spent a lot of time romanticising tequila production and cherry-picking facets of Mexican culture that she felt suited her brand. Moreover, the pictures completely erased the fact that Jenner comes from a highly affluent family and location in California, and will be simply profiting off of the work of labourers.
One particular Twitter thread addressed all of these issues, pointing out the whitewashed nature of the ad campaign and the fact that it was tiring to see so many elite public figures culturally appropriating Mexican traditions.
So, with this in mind, it makes sense that fans would be dismayed to see Bad Bunny interacting so closely with Jenner. Of course, it being the internet, some netizens took the serious route in addressing the legitimate issues concerning this duo, while others favoured a more juvenile approach, mocking Jenner and her previous pronunciation of Spanish words.
So, will Bad Bunny’s association with Jenner negatively impact his career trajectory or dismantle his fiercely loyal fanbase? It’s all yet to be discovered. What’s a sure thing, however, is that it’s unlikely we’ll ever see high-ranking celebrities take full ownership for their big budget mistakes. Is anyone surprised?