MUSIC

"How Do Mexicans Talk" Trends on Twitter Because of Becky G's Accent in "Chicken Noodle Soup"

The J-Hope and Becky G remake turns out to be a breeding ground of cultural debate, both valid and troll-bait.

"How Do Mexicans Talk?"

Over 6,000 Twitter users have caused that rhetorical question to trend as part of a contentious back-and-forth about Becky G's and J-Hope's trilingual song, "Chicken Noodle Soup." Namely, one outspoken account about black Latinx cultural issues, "la mala" or @rudeboiluna, called the song "anti-black" and accused Latinx singer Becky G of using a "Caribbean blaccent." Soon commenters disagreed with the claim and asked what the Mexican singer was supposed to sound like when she sang Spanish lyrics, to which la mala replied, "like a Mexican tf."

Thus a fiery debate commenced about the hypocrisy of accusing a piece of art of being "anti-black" while stereotyping a wide group of people. La mala was asked, "How do you think Mexicans sound? Do you think we [go] buRRito and tAcO all the time?" She replied—perhaps in a joke of poor taste, perhaps making light of her own ignorance, perhaps just trolling Twitter about culturally sensitive issues—"yea lol."

As one user clarified, "#HowDoMexicansTalk was created bcoz a black Latinx acc was BLATANTLY racist to Mexicans (keep in mind she's not Mexican) so we made this tag to show that our accents ARE diverse and that Beck* was NOT trying to imitate a [Caribbean blaccent] according to OP."

Thousands of Latinx commenters expressed the same sentiment, which was generally: "How am I supposed to sound in order for you to legitimize me as a Mexican-American?" Thousands more affirmed the fact that no one's ethnic identity needs to be legitimized by others, while at the same time, no one has the right to invalidate others' cultural identity or expressions thereof. That, of course, includes other people of color who want to speak out against erasure—it's simply myopic, insensitive, and ignorant to push the agenda of one cause by jumping to conclusions about an entire culture. Again, it's not advocacy or support to claim there's prejudice against one community when the claim is based purely on ignorance about another community.


The song, which heavily samples the 2006 track of the same name, was already the site of cultural debate, with the South Korean boy band BTS and Becky G releasing their version seemingly without paying homage to the song's origin. Bianca Bonnie's (Young B) and DJ Webstar's original "Chicken Noodle Soup" was a catchy, light-hearted anthem to Harlem, the hometown of both artists. While they've both voiced approval for the cover, many young fans go unaware that the Becky G and J-Hope collaboration is a remake.

For instance, when Becky G shared the song with her 2.3 million followers on Twitter, she made no mention of the original creators. She posted, "#ChickenNoodleSoup ya salió!! Korean, Spanish, English... we brought cultures together & made a trilingual song! Music really is universal." She continued, "I hope everyone enjoys this! Shoutout to my friend J-HOPE! We did that!"

Obviously, that oversight doesn't justify any accusation that Becky G doesn't "sound Mexican." Because, as any simple Google search will reveal, at least 68 national languages are spoken in Mexico, including at least 350 dialects of those languages. Becky G joins a bevy of Latinx artists who have been criticized for not "looking" or "sounding" Latinx. She's candidly addressed the claims in the past: "'You don't look Latina' or 'You don't even speak Spanish.' These are the remarks that us second- and third-generation-born American Latinos often hear. The truth is, the lack of language knowledge does not lessen the Latin blood running through our veins or the stories our last names carry." She added, "Although my Spanish is flawed and I didn't grow up in Mexico, I take pride in my roots. My family's history and the fact that all the traditions and morals passed down have shaped me to be who I am today is what it means to be a second-generation-born Mexican-American for me."

@rudeboiluna has since suspended their account.