The PC Thug: A Puerto Rican Day Parade Movie Recommendation


June 12th, 2016 brings forth another year of the Puerto Rican Day Parade, and if you’re in the Bronx, you’re preparing for the onslaught of traffic and swell of parade goers coming out to celebrate Boricua heritage. For me it’s been a consistently interesting and entertaining event since I was a child. It’s an event that’s almost stopped New York and the Bronx in its tracks and helped a lot of members of the Puerto Rican community come out and celebrate who they are. Alongside the Gay Pride parade, the Puerto Rican Day Parade is a source of great pride and festivities with a lot of what Puerto Ricans are known for: Food, Dancing, and Music.

This year whether you plan to take on the Puerto Rican Day parade in to the beaming sun of the Manhattan streets, or the comfort of the front of your television, it’s a good time to celebrate the heritage with a follow up viewing of Rosie Perez’s charming and entertaining 2006 documentary “Yo soy Boricua, pa’que tu lo sepas!” Rosie Perez’s ambitious documentary begins right at the start of the yearly Puerto Rican day parade. The parade, which is also quite an occasion for me, a lifelong resident of the Bronx, is chronicled quite well as the epicenter of the celebration of Puerto Rican culture, and Perez details it with enormous passion.

There’s an obvious swell of pride behind this production and in Perez’ study of the culture, and her excitement in learning about her family, her long lifeline, and in the many struggles of the race from the forced sterilization of women, down to being test subjects of napalm during Vietnam, will create a ripple in those eager to learn about the history of Puerto Ricans and Puerto Rican Americans. Although Perez was raised in Brooklyn, the film doesn’t solely focus on the whole of Puerto Rican heritage, studying the sub-set of Nuyoricans, the groups of Puerto Ricans that immigrated to the US and were forced to live in the ghettos of the Bronx, Brooklyn, and New Jersey.

Oddly enough, these sections of the East Coast would become places where culture and the economy would flourish. Perez touches upon the little known tidbits of the culture’s history in an attempt to show how little documented these significant moments have been. She sheds light on many events such as The Young Bloods and their fight to give equality to their people. Perez touches upon the root of what connects the Puerto Rican community, though, touching the sentiment and sheer importance of family. Perez brings the audience in closer with a peek at many terms and misconceptions of Puerto Ricans, many of which hit home.

Perez discusses the common notion of American raised Puerto Ricans being confused as immigrants, dissects the word Nuyorican, and explores the rich origins behind our national anthem “La Borinqueña”. Although “Yo Soy Boricua” mostly centers on Rosie Perez’ family, their struggle to survive in America, and her grasp with her heritage, “Yo Soy Boricua” keeps true to its goal of reminding Puerto Ricans of pride and the joy of the culture. “Yo soy Boricua, pa’que tu lo sepas!” is a fine and worthwhile history lesson, with Rosie Perez leading the charge in conveying how special the culture is.