Why Chilean Singer Mon Laferte Went Topless On Latin Grammys Red Carpet

Photo: Instagram
Who Is Mon Laferte? New Details On Statement The Singer Was Making At Latin Grammys By Going Topless

Chilean singer Mon Laferte went topless at the Latin Grammys in protest. While award show red carpets have become a common place for political statements. For example, dozens of celebrities wore black dresses to award shows in 2018 in solidarity with the #MeToo Movement, this was for an entirely different reason.

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This year, the Latin Grammy red carpet played host to a one-woman protest about the state of affairs in Chile. Mon Laferte, a popular Chilean alternative rock musician, stripped down to her bare skin on the red carpet at the event on November 14. She had scrawled a message across her skin that said: "In Chile, they torture, rape, and kill.” The message was a response to how police treated people in her home country who have been protesting against inequality for the past month. 

Who is Mon Laferte? Read on for 6 details about the singer. 

1. Who is Mon Laferte?

Mon Laferte, whose given name is Norma Monserrat Bustamante Laferte, was born in Viña del Mar, Chile in 1983. She got her start in the music business after winning a talent competition. When she was 9 years old she won a guitar in a singing contest.  At 13, she received a scholarship to attend a musical conservatory where she honed her performing skills by playing in bars in Valparaíso and Santiago. She is also the Chilean singer with the most nominations in a single Latin Grammy Awards. In 2017, she was nominated for 5 Latin Grammys. She was nominated for Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Alternative Music Album and Best Alternative Song. She won the Grammy for Best Alternative Song in at the 2017 Latin Grammys for "Amárrame." In 2019, she won the award for Best Alternative Album at the Latin Grammys.

2. What's going on in Chile?

Laferte's home country has been gripped with unrest for mover a month now. Back in October, there was an announcement that transit fares would go up by 30 pesos or about 4 cents. Students objected to the rate hike and started staging protests over the increase in prices. The average income in Chile is the equivalent of $517 per month.

Government officials were unsympathetic; Minister of Economy Juan Andres Fontaine suggested that students get up earlier and use transit before peak prices go into effect during rush hours. Needless to say, that didn't calm the protestors. The students began a mass fare-evading movement, where they jumped barriers to use transit without paying. Police tried to use force to stop the fare evasion and the protests became violent. There were fires and riots, leading the president to declare a state of emergency. 

As the protests continue, the citizens started voicing frustration with more than just metro fares. People have long been angry about the increasing cost of living, low wages, and pensions, a lack of education rights, and a poor public health system for the vast majority of citizens. The rioting over social inequality has raged on for weeks with the police becoming more militant in their efforts to quell the protestors. By some counts, as many as 20 people have died and thousands have been arrested. 

3. Why did she choose to go topless?

Mon Laferte is on the side of the protestors and wanted to draw attention to the police violence that has accompanied the demonstrations in her home country. On November 14, she took to the red carpet at the Latin Grammys in a black jacket over what looked like a high-necked green top. Then she stripped off the jacket, revealing bare skin with the words "In Chile, they torture, rape, and kill,” in Spanish written across her skin. She was referring to police abuses to protestors in the weeks of riots. 

In an Instagram post of one of the red carpet photos, she wrote "My free body for a free country." 

She posed topless to draw attention to the protests in Chile.

4. What are fans saying?

Social media response to Laferte's protest has been mostly positive. One user commented "#MonLaferte is a real one for having these conversations on such a big platform as the #LatinGrammys2019." Another user echoes the sentiment saying "What a great statement by actress Mon Laferte @monlaferte "'Laferte’s message is in protest to the police brutality that’s been happening in her home country over inequality and better social services. For me the underlying message 'Nurturing Counts. #LatinGrammy2019 #MonLaferte."

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5. The president of Chile released a statement.

Over the weekend, the President of Chile Sebastian Pinera announced he will try to make some of the changes the protestors asked for. He called for increases to the minimum wage and a rise in pension payments. He also suggested new taxes on people at upper-income levels. More importantly, he agreed to call for a new constitution. This would be the first constitution drafted under a democratic government in Chile. 

He also acknowledged the police abuses Laferte was referring to, saying, “Despite our firm commitment and precautions...to protect human rights, in some cases protocols were not adhered to, there was excessive use of force and abuses and crimes were committed. There will be no impunity."

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6. What happens now? 

It is not clear if the changes the president has suggested will be enough to satisfy the protestors or if the will demand more far-reaching change. As for Laferte, she has a new album out and will be touring in 2020. 

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.