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Downtown Boys Lash Out At Immigration Policy And 'Pendejas' With Punk

Downtown Boys' latest album <em>Cost Of Living </em>was released in August.
Farrah Skeiky
Courtesy of the artist
Downtown Boys' latest album Cost Of Living was released in August.

Pendejois one of my favorite words. In the Spanish-speaking world, it's usually used in the context of pointing out someone's challenges to grasp the obvious or is used to just express supreme knucklehead tendencies. The somewhat vulgar word been largely claimed by Mexicans, some of whom can make high art out of applying it to any number of circumstances.

The punk band Downtown Boys put the word to perfect use in their new video for "Somos Chulas (No Somos Pendejas)" — self-identifying with the former but not the latter. The band defines "chula" like this:

Chulas are people who believe in the mergence of our past experiences and what we want the future to be. This mergence becomes our reality, and right now that includes a lot of pain and healing in our community at so many levels.

Downtown Boys is a band on a mission. On "Somos Chulas," they set their sights on what they feel is unjust immigration policy espoused by the Trump administration — specifically, the termination of the DACA program — that breaks up families and robs this country of people who can contribute to moving us all forward.

The band lifts its viewpoint to the level of community action through classic jangly, dangerous punk. And just like the best protest music from Latin America's nuevo canto movement of the 1960s, this music can move and inspire.

Plus, how could you resist the old-fashioned food fight at the end of the video?

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.