The holiday season was supposed to be all about taking a well-deserved break for Puerto Rican singers Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, a time when they could get away from their tight work schedules to celebrate the worldwide success of their hit song “Despacito” and being named The Stars of the Year of 2017 by People en Español.
But Maria – the hurricane that devastated Puerto Rico in September – changed all their plans. Today, Fonsi, 39, and Yankee, 40, are waiting for the New Year counting their blessings but also aware that their work to help rebuild their homeland is a priority. “If there is something positive in all this it’s that I’ve felt an impressive union,” says Fonsi of the relief efforts by artists and athletes who, like him, have traveled multiple times to Puerto Rico with planes loaded with supplies. “We’ve all grabbed that phone and we’ve called each other, no one is saying no to anyone, there are no egos here.” Daddy Yankee, who donated more than $1 million for reconstruction efforts and aims to raise another $1.5 million to rebuild homes on the island, adds: “You have to keep working. I continue working, aside from what I can contribute, so that many people continue to join the cause and [thus] be able to help many people who lost their homes and have nowhere to live at the moment.”
With much of the island still without electricity and drinking water and damages estimated in the billions of dollars, all help is welcome, they add. This is true especially during the upcoming holiday season when families across the country will gather with their loved ones to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. “We’re known for being cheerful and maybe this Christmas will be the one we’ll remember for a lifetime because the hurricane hurt us but united us more than ever,” says Yankee. “Help has to keep flowing because this is not like you throwing 25 cents in a basket and keep walking, I’ve done my part. This is a very long process and we need everyone to get involved in some way. Restoring and rebuilding the country will take a long time.”
To read the rest of the interviews with Fonsi and Yankee get the People en Español Dec 2017/Jan 2018 issue on newsstands now featuring The Stars of the Year of 2017on the cover.