Latin

Gerardo Ortiz's 'Fuiste Mía' Video Crosses a Line: How Protests are About More Than Political Correctness

Gerardo-Ortiz-Fuiste-Mia-video-2016
Courtesy of Vevo

A still from Gerardo Ortiz's 2016 "Fuiste Mía" music video.

A chorus of protests from north and south of the border are decrying the video and what they call an incitement of violence against women.

At first listen, Gerardo Ortiz’s “Fuiste Mía” (You Were Mine) is innocuous. If anything, the lyrics are a rather beautiful, nostalgic ode to a lost love: “You arrive, elevate me to the sky and fill me with kisses and tell me, ‘I love you my darling.’ Please stop these lies that sweeten my life, you’re my happiness,” says the chorus.

And then, there’s the video.

In just two and a half minutes, it shows in graphic detail a relationship gone horribly, horribly wrong. The clip begins with what could be described as a soft porn scene inside the shower and goes on to show a lover shot dead between the eyes and the straying mistress fondled while bound and gagged, then tossed inside a car trunk. In the last scene, a smiling Ortiz lights a cigarette, sets the car on fire and walks away.

Petition Asks Vevo to Remove Gerardo Ortiz's 'Fuiste Mía' Video for Allegedly Promoting Violence Against Women

The video has generated over 20 million views on Vevo. And finally, it seems, viewers have had enough.

This week, a chorus of protests from north and south of the border are decrying the video and what they call an incitement of violence against women.

A petition asking Vevo to pull the video down is now circulating on Change.org, with more than 5,000 signatures. And on March 29, Mexico’s government secretary (secretaría de gobernación), responsible for the country’s political development and well-being, issued a statement condemning the video in particular and asking other media to stop fostering and promoting content that promotes violence against women.

“Women tend to be portrayed in campaigns, shows and music videos, ads and other forms of communication under stereotypes that foster violence against them,” read the statement. “The Government Secretary expresses its deep rejection of this content, and particularly the video by Gerardo Ortiz that clearly invites to violence against women in addition to minimizing and normalizing this social ill.” 

“We’re having a serious discussion about your video in Mexico,” wrote Mexican producer and music supervisor Lynn Fainchtein (“The Revenant,” “Birdman”) in an open letter to Ortiz. “Torture isn’t cool, drug dealers aren’t cool.”

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Even Ortiz’s fellow singers seem uncomfortable.

“I think we set an example, and what we say or do is perceived as real by people,” singer El Dasa told Billboard when asked about his thoughts on the video. “So, we have to be careful of what we do and say, because it can be heard by a child, and that child wants to be like you.”

Ortiz, the top-selling regional Mexican act in the market, has not yet commented but he is planning a press conference on Friday to address the issue. His label Del Records had no comment. 

Mexico has been battered by drug-related violence over the years and violence against women in particular is pervasive and highly publicized. Most visibly, the border city of Ciudad Juarez has gained international notoriety as the place where women are tortured and murdered with impunity. Moreover, the problem of violence against women in Mexico goes deeper.

According to Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography, between 2013 and 2014 seven women were murdered every day in the country. And while the majority of male murders -- 65 percent -- are by gunfire, women are tortured. In 2013, of those women murdered, 32 percent were strangled, drowned, beaten or stabbed to death.

While this goes on, steamy, violent videos have become every day stuff for many regional Mexican acts, particularly those who perform corridos that reflect society and its ills. It has become perfectly normal to feature narcos -- or drug dealers -- in corridos, most often living the high life, boozing it up and surrounded by beautiful women. The love of all things narco is not limited to music.

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In Latin America and the U.S. Latin market, series and soap operas based on drug dealing exploits have become the top rated programs in the region. Now, it’s seeping into mainstream, English-language television, with series like NarcosBreaking Bad and the upcoming USA network show Queen of the South (ironically based on the novel La Reina del Sur, which is loosely-based on a narcocorrido by Los Tigres del Norte). At a recent panel in NATPE in Miami, Luis Balaguer, the CEO of Latin World Entertainment, called narconovelas “the Westerns of today.”

But the video for “Fuiste Mía” breaks rank. Ortiz, an extremely gifted songwriter with a great voice, started his career as a writer and singer of narcocorridos.

“We simply sing the news,” Ortiz told Billboard a few years ago. “Now people get their news via a corrido and we’re the performers.”

But Ortiz sought to diversify a few years back and also started singing very romantic fare with huge success. “Fuiste Mía,” is a love song. And while one might expect the video to the song to reflect the romance of the lyrics -- as other of Ortiz’s videos have done -- that was obviously not the case here. The reasons why Ortiz chose this route will hopefully be known when he speaks up. 

Equally troubling, perhaps, is the fact that the video to “Fuiste Mía” has been up on Vevo since Jan. 28 and has tallied over 20 million views. Not a peep was uttered, perhaps because those who’d watched the video are so inured against the violence it depicts that no one thought to speak.

That’s no longer the case.

“You, Gerardo, are not like the rest of us,” wrote Fainchtein in her letter. “You stand out for your musical talent and millions of young people in our country dream of being like you. I’m one of those who insist that artists like you, today, in this country, have a social responsibility […] You’re an example to follow. I hope you reconsider and will prefer to be someone to admire and not someone to fear. Musicians are made to heal, not kill.”

At press time, the video to "Fuiste Mia" was still up on Vevo. It should come down. 

Vevo did not answer two emails from Billboard requesting comment.