Despite the assurances of many political talking heads on American television, “Latino” is not a one-stop signifier. Similarly, not every “political” song has to sound like bombs exploding in the streets (Julieta Venegas’s latest single should make that clear). Tying these concepts together, it makes sense that Helado Negro should release a song called “Young, Latin & Proud” and not have to answer why it’s not an outright banger.
“Young, Latin & Proud” is a motivational song that doesn’t see the need to kick you in the ass. But do not mistake its slow, seductive beat for indifference. This song is about waking up every day with complete self-recognition and realization, while knowing that there is a community of millions ready to stand with you at any given moment. That’s not to say that it’s about revolution—pride does not equate with unrest. It’s not even about age—youth is a relative concept. And it’s not necessarily about being Latin, because there is no exact cultural definition. Indeed, it’s about simultaneously being young, Latino, and proud, and never being afraid of exhibiting all three at once. The message may be a spark, but it’s incendiary nonetheless, and Robert Lange is letting you hold the matches.