Fourteen seconds. That was all it took for Jenny 69 to go viral.
On September 29, the beauty influence – real name Jennifer Ruiz – uploaded a clip to her Instagram page teasing “La 69”, her upcoming debut corridor. Within a few days, the 14-second fragment of the music video began to get serious views.
It also spread to other social media platforms, where “Soy la 69, soy la chingona que salió de Riverside”, the opening ointment for what is now the latest certified banger in the corrido kitsch subgenre, instantly became the feed of much of Paisa Internet and other subgroups of the wider Latin Internet.
“La 69” became a meme. It also became a hit after it was released on Friday. I contacted Ruiz for an interview, but she did not respond.
On TikTok, the audio from the original clip served as the audio background for hundreds of videos. Some of them have since received millions of views, including this one from a donut shop in Riverside. (A special shout out to Tomás Mier, an author at People magazine, a former Times intern and my go-to TikTok trend guide, for giving me heads-up about the song’s spread on the app.)
On Twitter, where I first saw it, it spawned discourse. Mexican Americans in Texas used meme to take shots at Mexican Americans in California. Angelenos used it to play with their cousins next door. People from Riverside condemned either Jenny 69 or the city itself, while others embraced it and got into the fun.
Meme even took his way east to another Jenny que salió de Riversai.
By her own admission, Jennifer Medina is not “a very online person” who mostly tweets about topics related to her job as a national political reporter for the New York Times. But even she caught the “La 69” earworm after trying to figure out why “Riverside” was popular on Twitter.
“It’s as simple as the hometown pride and excitement of it,” Medina told me when I asked her why she liked the song, adding that she was not a musician either. What she knew was that “La 69” was stuck in her head.
“I wanted to, ‘Oh! This should be my anthem! ‘”
Is “La 69” a good song? The overwhelming majority of YouTube commenters who chimed in would laugh at you for suggesting it. Then the good is not always popular, and what is popular is not always good.
Make no mistake, “La 69” is very popular. It has been the most popular music video on YouTube for much of this week, garnering more than 3 million views as of this writing. “La 69” was also among the 25 most played songs in Los Angeles on Apple Music in the same period. On Spotify, it closes up to 300,000 plays.
I asked Pablo Valdivia, a senior editor at Buzzfeed’s Latinx vertical, “Pero Like” (and an experienced meme expert, in my opinion), to explain the Jenny 69 phenomenon.
“Remember when Rebecca Black released‘ Friday ’in 2011 and everyone loved to hate it,” he said, “until the time they started listening to it unironically?
“Jenny has taken up that cloak in the Latinx community. Of all the things that create division between us, clowns on this corridor are not one of them. ”
In a short period of time, “La 69” has become an internet cultural moment. And it’s completely ours.
Medina said she struggled to explain the earworm to monolingual English speakers. “It’s not on their radar at all.”
Not that she minded.
“I do not usually participate in Internet jokes, so it’s fun to participate in it for once.”
For better or worse, “La 69” has become part of our online language, part of a secret language only the culturally fluent can understand. It’s la caida de Edgar. Son Reebok or son Nike. In the words of Pusha Ts, if you know, you know.
As for Ruiz, the online ridicule does not seem to have affected her much. The Instagram influencer has been busy basking in his infamous glory and boasting of his newly acquired troca mamalona.
We may think she’s not in on the joke, but it may very well be that the joke is on us.
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Random thoughts and questions I had when I saw the ‘La 69’ music video for the first time
00:07 – A vintage Processo magazine. Didn’t know Jenny 69 was up to date on Mexican politics.
00:26 – Who is paisa responsible for making Buchanan’s blended scotch whiskey the chosen liquid in large parts of the Mexican-American diaspora? I would like to have a word and tell him that there are better spirits.
00:50 – A Death Row Records T-shirt. What is similar in the genre? Maybe Rancho Humilde?
01:35 – Say what you will about this song, but the announced line “From a pobrecita to a bad b—!” would make a top-level tagline in the opening credits for “Real Housewives of Riversai.”
02:48 – Jenny’s mom, who’s that? How much mileage do you also think that truck gets? 15 mpg?
Things we’re reading this week that we think you should read
– The last episode of “Loud: The History of Reggaeton” was released this week. Cultural author Daniel Hernandez wrote about how the groundbreaking Spotify podcast got it right.
– Back in June, Tina Vazquez wrote about becoming her father’s retirement plan for Lily, a reality that many children of immigrants (myself included) have no doubt entertained or accepted. Last Thursday, she made emotionally open and vulnerable essay online rounds after Vazquez posted a video of her father who walked out of the hospital he was working at after completing his last shift.
– Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times released a digital version of “Black LA: Looking at Diversity. The 1982 series – written, reported and photographed by black employees – was not presented at the Pulitzer Prize, although its impact is no less important. Not only did it provide a more accurate picture of black life in LA, but it also served as inspiration for The Times’ “Latinos” series that won Pulitzer for public service.
– Ahead of tonight’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, Roberto José Andrade Franco profiled Ricardo Pepi, the teenage football phenomenon that broke many hearts, my inclusive when he decided to play for the American men’s national team instead of Mexico. I’m biased here – Roberto is my dear friend – but this feature is more than just a football story. It’s some of the most beautiful writing on the border I’ve read in a while.
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And now to something completely different….
Jonathan Funes is a Salvadoran American illustrator and graphic designer born and raised in Los Angeles. His illustration work is inspired by the overlooked sights and seemingly everyday activities of daily living, such as getting a haircut or wearing a new pair of trousers.
“My focus for this piece is the staple in most neighborhoods in LA: paletero,” Funes says. “Because in addition to ice, our paleteros bring a sense of community to our neighborhoods and local gatherings. They give us the excitement of childhood by hearing the bells of their carriages and bolted down the block to get an ice cream or raspado. In the end, I would represent the palette as the joy-spreading, hard-working individuals they are. ”
Are you a Latinx artist? We want your help to tell our stories. Send us your spaces for illustrations, comics, GIFs and more! Send an email to our art director at email@example.com.