“This new generation of entertainers focuses more on taking action,” says the creator of a star-studded campaign calling for Boricuas to vote.
SAN JUAN — Puerto Rican celebrities have traditionally avoided becoming involved in politics. But the tide started changing during the so-called “Verano del 19,” when famous performers such as Bad Bunny, Ricky Martin, Residente and Tommy Torres led a movement against former Governor Ricardo Rosselló, demanding his resignation after a chat scandal.
Entertainment lawyer Edwin Prado, who founded the recent campaign “¡Ahora Es… Vota!“, says the fear of rejection kept entertainers from getting involved in controversial issues like politics for decades.
“Entertainers want to be accepted by the public,” Prado told The Americano. “They are not used to rejection. In politics, people assume one position or another. Some sort of rejection will inevitably happen, because there is always opposition. Entertainers are not used to dealing with that.”
The lawyer explains that the generational aspect is a big part of this change, because millennials are more open to saying what they think.
“Millennials will not stay put,” Prado says. “They take a stand with more courage, and that has made a big difference. This new generation of entertainers focuses more on taking action without caring about the consequences.”
Residente and Bad Bunny, the first Puerto Rican celebrities who demanded Rossello’s resignation, recently registered to vote in Puerto Rico and are encouraging young people to do the same.
Prado says his main motivation for launching “¡Ahora Es… Vota!” was learning that Puerto Ricans who emigrated to Florida after Hurricane Maria were not connecting with local politics.
“In Puerto Rico, voter turnout is 80%,” he says. “How could it be that only 20% of Puerto Ricans living in Florida vote in the local elections?”
His ambition is twofold: educating voters, and encouraging them to register and vote. Many constituents do not realize that they can elect judges, sheriffs, and school board members, Prado says.
His ties in the entertainment industry helped the attorney to get many celebrities on board, including Miss Universe Zuleyka Rivera, TV host María Celeste Arrarás, actor Julián Gil, and singers Wilkins, Olga Tañón, Baby Rasta y Gringo, and Abraham Velázquez.
“Although we are an apolitical organization, celebrities still exercise caution,” Prado says. “They have participated and recorded videos in support of the initiative because of the trust they have in me. I explained to them that we are not going to endorse anyone.”
“¡Ahora es… vota!” focuses on specific topics like climate change, gun control, and the unfair treatment of Puerto Rico by the United States through videos featuring Latino celebrities.
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Prado will continue promoting the initiative with a tour through Florida’s main cities until October 5, the deadline to register for the upcoming elections.