Summer Centered: Lyali Pereda Figueroa ’26 Finds Her Rhythm In Reggaetón’s History
Lyali Pereda Figueroa ’26, a Puerto Rican with a passion for reggaetón music, has found the perfect summer internship. At the Hasta ’Bajo Project in San Juan, Puerto Rico, she’s researching and spreading the word about the history and culture of reggaetón, a genre of dance music popularized in Puerto Rico in the 1990s that quickly reached the international stage.
Pereda Figueroa is working with the nonprofit’s social media manager to help carry out its mission of creating a historical archive of reggaetón and connecting that history to the present day. Her internship is supported by the Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities.
“I’ve been learning how to approach music as a reflection of cultural history, rather than just a media of entertainment, which has offered me a very interesting perspective,” Pereda Figueroa said.
Pereda Figueroa first learned about the organization while conducting research for a class on the history of Latin America. She’d considered in the past the possibility of working with or creating a nonprofit in Puerto Rico, particularly one with an emphasis on education. At Hasta ’Bajo, she’s been able to witness the possibilities of such a vision—and how to carry it out in practice.
The internship has given her the opportunity to develop her skills in both design and historical research, as she applies research methods she’s learned in the classroom at Haverford to create infographics that can carry the project’s message across social media. Hasta ’Bajo’s aim is to safeguard the history of reggaetón and educate people about the music’s value in contemporary culture. This fall, she’ll use what she’s learned for an exhibition at Haverford’s Visual Culture, Arts, and Media facility, featuring a timeline of reggaetón and its importance to Latin American culture.
As Pereda Figueroa has put in the effort to perfect her posts during the internship, she’s learned to be more flexible and open to the creative approaches of the people around her, who include an intern from Mexico. Along the way, she’s had plenty of time to think about the way that music responds to the historical context in which it’s made. After years of listening to reggaetón, the internship has allowed her to develop a deeper understanding of its significance in Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries.
“Reggaetón is not just sloppy music filled with bad words and suggestive lyrics,” Pereda Figueroa said. “It is a reflection of culture and collective experiences.”