It’s been about eight months since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, and even after all this time, there’s still plenty of recovering to do. Over 16,000 people are currently without electricity, and we remain uncertain about what the actual death count is. It’s a rough situation, and it’s likely that few people in music understand that more than Hurray For The Riff Raff’s Alynda Segarra, who is of Puerto Rican descent. The group has decided to honor the island with their new video for “Pa’lante,” a track that originally appeared on the band’s 2017 album The Navigator.
The eight-minute clip features footage of the island and its people after the tragedy, and while there are tears, there’s also dancing, rebuilding, and optimism. The video was personal for director Kristian Mercado Figueroa, whose family was displaced by the hurricane and whose grandfather passed away during its aftermath. He says that working on the video in Puerto Rico and seeing first-hand how the people there respond to adversity was an eye-opening experience:
“We really wanted to showcase talent of color, stories by people of color — it was important to me to make sure this was a diverse production that had Puerto Ricans working on it. The conditions on the island are still very poor. During the production, we could all feel how painful it all was, how it’s been so long without enough help. The island is still strong, the people always positive, but you can’t help but feel the desperation and pain of the colonial condition, the sense of abandonment. Pa’lante is a very Puerto Rican mindset — be it a family struggling to stay together, or recovering from the hurricane, the Puerto Rican people are strong and they will always stand and move forward. And there is a beauty to that.”
Watch the “Pa’lante’ video above.
The Navigator is out now via ATO Records. Get it here.