MTV’s Video Music Awards snubbed the Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee hit in every single category when it released its nomination list back in July. At the time, the network told The Associated Press that the Spanish-language video had not been “submitted for consideration” and did not comment on why the video had never been aired on MTV or MTV2.
After excluding “Despacito” from its nominations, MTV said it would include it as a contender for the VMA’s Song of the Summer award.
Two weeks after the VMA nominations were first released, and after AP’s story was published, MTV reportedly solicited Universal Music Latin Entertainment to submit the video for consideration. MTV attributing the “Despacito” snub to a technicality prompts two big questions: Why has the network not aired the record-breaking “Despacito” video on its main channels and why didn’t it solicit the video to be submitted sooner if they truly understood the song’s magnitude?
Latin Billboard’s Executive Director Leila Cobo explained in her piece “VMAs’ ‘Despacito’ Snub Shows Media’s Latin Blind Spot” that it all comes down to the fact that Latinos and Latino culture are continually ignored by the mainstream, regardless of how much they achieve:
Spanish-language videos rarely air on MTV. But the fact that MTV didn’t request the most-watched of all time on YouTube seems like an extraordinary miss, notwithstanding language or policies.
To many in the mainstream, Latins are invisible. So perhaps it’s no wonder the Spanish-dominant “Despacito” isn’t up for a VMA: despite its ubiquity, it simply didn’t even register.
To Cobo’s point, “Despacito” was barely acknowledged at Sunday night’s VMAs. The single’s only chance at a Moonperson had passed before the main ceremony even began, when the fan-voted Song of the Summer award went to Lil Uzi Vert’s XO TOUR Llif3 during the pre-show.
The rapper’s single not only beat out Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s global phenomenon but also Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” Shawn Mendes’ “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back,” Fifth Harmony’s “Down,” feat. Gucci Mane, Camila Cabello’s “OMG” feat. Quavo, DJ Khaled’s “Wild Thoughts,” feat. Rihanna and Bryson Tiller and Demi Lovato’s “Sorry Not Sorry.”
Twitter reacted to the outcome with some justified confusion.
For the record: “Despacito” is the song of the summer. In fact, here are 9 reasons why there should be no doubt it is the reigning tune of the summer year decade.
1. It’s the first Spanish-language single hit No. 1 in the U.S. since the Macarena
“Despacito” became a global hit when it was first released in January, but it wasn’t until Justin Bieber joined forces with Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee for a remix that the song became a force to be reckoned with in the U.S. The remix, released in April, quickly became the first mostly Spanish-language No. 1 single in the country since the “Macarena” in 1996.
2. It’s the second song to ever lead Billboard’s Hot 100 for at least 15 consecutive weeks
On Aug. 21 the “Despacito” remix became the second song to ever hold the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 for at least 15 weeks. The song is only bested by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s “One Sweet Day,” which spent 16 weeks at the top of the charts in the mid-90s. That means that “Despacito” is the longest-leading Hot 100 No. 1 of the 21st century.
3. Its music video became the most viewed video in the history of YouTube
Despite what MTV’s Music Video Awards’ snub may indicate, the original “Despacito” music video is actually one for the history books. At the beginning of August the video became the most viewed video in the history of YouTube ― dethroning “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa (ft. Charlie Puth). What’s more is that the video achieved the feat much quicker than any other top video in YouTube’s history.
4. The video is also the first to ever reach 3 billion views on YouTube
No other video on YouTube has reached and surpassed the 3 billion mark. As of Aug. 28, the video was well on its way to reaching 3.5 billion views.
5. It is the most streamed song of all time worldwide
“Despacito” became the most streamed song of all time worldwide in July. Universal Music Latin Entertainment announced that the original single and its remix, combined, had achieved the feat with more than 4.6 billion plays in the first 6 months.
6. Its music video literally made everyone want to go visit Puerto Rico
The “Despacito” music video prominently featured the beauty of Puerto Rico and its people, and it seems that billions of views translated into some real-life interest in visiting the island. Several travel sites have reported an increase in searches for travel to Puerto Rico in the months after the remix was released.
7. It helped Daddy Yankee become the first Latino artist to reach No. 1 on Spotify worldwide
Both Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee were well-established artists before “Despacito” took over the airwaves, but the hit’s incredible success gave the two Puerto Rican stars an extra bump. For DY that meant becoming the first Latino artist to reach No. 1 on Spotify worldwide in July.
8. It’s so infectious it has inspired numerous parodies
Any true song of the summer becomes a well of inspiration for musical parodies and covers, and “Despacito” has certainly delivered. From “Sesame Street” turning the song into an ode to rubber ducks to this woman who recorded her husband snoring for four years and turned his sounds into a “Despacito” remix. Also this, this and this (times infinity).
9. Artists chose it as their song of the summer
During August’s Billboard’s Hot 100 Fest, the outlet asked 19 artists to choose the song of the summer between “Despacito” and The Chainsmokers’ “Closer” with Halsey. “Despacito” took the win with support from Camila Cabello, Tinashe, Capital Cities’ Ryan Merchant and more.
“It just broke so many cultural boundaries, nobody expected that,” Cabello said.
Singer Phoebe Ryan’s reasoning was also spot-on: “I love The Chainsmokers, I love you guys ― but I very much prefer ‘Despacito’ because I think having Latin music be in the foreground of American pop music is really important.”
You got it.