Puerto Rican Culture

Asynchronous Assignment on I’m Boricua, Just So You Know!

Yo soy Boricua Pa’ Que Tu Lo Sepas! I’m Boricua, Just So You Know! (Rosie Pérez, 2006)

Rosie Perez is a Nuyorican actress, community activist, talk show host, author, dancer, and choreographer.

What is the context in which the documentary was written and produced?

Using the Puerto Rican Day Parade as a backdrop and questions about the roots of Puerto Rican pride, Nuyorican artist, Rosie Perez, her sister, and cousin embark on personal research about the history of Puerto Rico and its colonial dependency with the United States. The processes of Puerto Rican migration and community building in the U.S. are also discussed in the film.

What is the documentary’s central argument?

Rosie Pérez and her family, argue that to understand Puerto Rican migration to the United States, one has to discuss the history of imperialism and colonialism in the island and comprehend how the United States has benefitted from Puerto Rican land, resources, and people.

Pérez also argues that Puerto Rican pride comes from ongoing cultural and political resistance both on the archipelago and in the diaspora.




In the comment section down below, write a 225-word response based on ONE of the following prompts (due on 2/8 before class):


What are some specific effects of Spanish and US colonialism in Puerto Rico? Expand on at least one case presented in the documentary.


Beyond the parade, how Puerto Ricans defend their cultural legacy and community in the US? Expand on at least one example presented in the documentary.


Making references to the history and ideas presented in the documentary write a poem in which you identify the struggles of being a colony but also the cultural vibrancy of Puerto Ricans.

Pa’lante- Hurray for the Riff Raff

Hurray for the Riff Raff is a band from New Orleans. It was formed by Alynda Segarra, a Puerto Rican singer-songwriter from the Bronx, New York after she had moved to New Orleans in 2007. As Segarra’s project, the group originally performed different styles of US folk music while releasing several albums independently.

by Alynda Segarra and Pedro Pietri
Oh I just wanna go to work
And get back home, and be something
I just wanna fall and lie
And do my time, and be something
Well I just wanna prove my worth
On the planet Earth, and be something
I just wanna fall in love
Not fuck it up, and feel something
Well lately, don’t understand what I am
Treated as a fool
Not quite a woman or a man
Well I don’t know
I guess I don’t understand the plan
Colonized, and hypnotized, be something
Sterilized, dehumanized, be something
Well take your pay
And stay out the way, be something
Ah, do your best
But fuck the rest, be something
Well lately, it’s been mighty hard to see
Just searching for my lost humanity
I look for you, my friend
But do you look for me?
Lately, I’m not too afraid, to die
I wanna leave it all behind
I think about it sometimes
Lately, all my time’s been movin’ slow
I don’t know where I’m gonna go
Just give me time, I’ll know
Oh, any day now
Oh, any day now
I will come along
Oh, any day now
Oh, any day now
I will come along
I will come along
Dead Puerto Ricans, who never knew they were Puerto Ricans
Who never took a coffee break from the 10th commandment
To kill, kill, kill
The landlords of their cracked skulls
And communicate with their Latin souls
Juan, Miguel, Milagros, Olga, Manuel
From the nervous breakdown streets where the mice live like millionaires
And the people do not live at all
From el barrio to Arecibo, ¡Pa’lante!
From Marble Hill to the ghost of Emmett Till, ¡Pa’lante!
To Juan, Miguel, Milagros, Manuel, ¡Pa’lante!
To all who came before, we say, ¡Pa’lante!
To my mother and my father, I say, ¡Pa’lante!
To Julia, and Sylvia, ¡Pa’lante!
To all who had to hide, I say, ¡Pa’lante!
To all who lost their pride, I say, ¡Pa’lante!
To all who had to survive, I say, ¡Pa’lante!
To my brothers and my sisters, I say, ¡Pa’lante!
To all came before, we say, ¡Pa’lante!


Group Discussion

How the lyrics examine some psychological effects of the colonized?
How the music video shows the integration and tensions between Puerto Ricans in the archipelago and in the diaspora?