Among the most famous songs dedicated to Puerto Rico, “Preciosa” is definitely one of my favorites. It was originally composed by Rafael Hernandez, who is arguably the greatest composer to come from the island, but this version is sang by Marc Anthony with a salsa twist. Not only do I love this song so much because I grew up listening to it, but I love it because I can relate to it without a doubt. “Aunque pase lo que pase, yo seré puertorriqueño,” meaning “no matter what happens, I’ll be Puerto Rican” is one of the strongest lines, in my opinion. I was born in Puerto Rico, my parents are Puerto Rican, and my family is Puerto Rican. That’s where my roots are and that’s where I’m from no matter what.
In my opinion, one of the hardest things I’ve had to do is remain connected to my Puerto Rican heritage while living in the U.S. The society around you doesn’t remind you about your culture, so you have to remind yourself and that is one thing I take great pride in. I’m proud that I can cook “comida criolla,” I’m a good salsa dancer, know how to speak Spanish fluently, and know where I came from. Every time I go back to Puerto Rico I get complimented on my Spanish despite my living in the states. When I’m around my Hispanic students and co-workers, they talk about how undeniably Puerto Rican I am (whatever that means), but it just lets me know that I haven’t forgotten about my heritage. Despite the ridiculous amount of violence and financial struggle, my island is always going to have a place in my heart and just like my mother never let me forget about my small town of Sabana Grande, I’ll never let my kids forget about their little island of Puerto Rico.
Here is Marc Anthony with his rendition of “Preciosa” live in Madison Square Garden.