Yahritza y Su Esencia apologize amid backlash over comments about Mexico

‘What motivates us every day to write songs and music is the great pride of having Mexican blood in our veins.’

Photos of Yahritza y Su Esencia
(Diana Ramirez / De Los; Photos by Adali Schell / For The Times , Getty Images
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Members of the sibling trio Yahritza y Su Esencia have apologized for recent comments they made about Mexico and its food amid backlash from Mexicans who found their statements disrespectful.

“What motivates us every day to write songs and music is the great pride of having Mexican blood in our veins,” said Yahritza Martinez in a TikTok video on Thursday. Martinez addressed fans in Spanish.

“It doesn’t matter where we were born. We are proudly Mexican and we greatly appreciate the love of the public and especially in Mexico,” she added.

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The controversy comes from an interview held in Mexico City, where the group — Yahritza, Jairo and Armando Martinez — will be performing in September at Festival Arre.


Responding to a question of how Mexico City was treating the siblings, Yahritza said she liked the city, “but I don’t like it when I get up, when I’m sleeping, because you can hear the cars, the police sirens and everything, but I do like it, it’s nice.”

Three people with guitars in a car
Mando, Yahritza and Jairo Martinez hanging out at SoHo Warehouse in Downtown, Los Angeles.
(Adali Schell/For The Times)

Regarding Mexican food, Armando said he liked it better back home in the state of Washington, “where they really give it a seasoning that is spicy and tastes good,” he said.

Jairo said he’s a bit more delicate when it comes to food, and said he prefers chicken and wings without spice. He said the soda was also different in Mexico than in the U.S.

These comments unleashed a surge of backlash against the siblings who are from Yakima, Wash., an area known for its vineyards and agriculture and where they helped their father pick fruit. Some of the reaction against the group has also been racist, attacking the color of their skin. In one photo of Yahritza, an image of a nopal was placed on her forehead.

“A tutorial on how to ruin your career in 30 minutes,” someone said in Spanish on Instagram.


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“Sing in English in the U.S. and see if ‘gringos’ like your music because here no more,” another Instagram user said in Spanish.

”... I have always said that the Pochos are the most nefarious people that can exist, they have very Mexican faces but they feel blonder than the Aryan gringos themselves,” one Twitter user said.

Another person on Twitter noted the nationalistic tone of the backlash toward the siblings in their critiques of the food, and also pointed to the internalized racism of people “mocking their features and skin color.”

As writer Jeanette Hernandez noted in Remezcla: “Are people less Latine if they don’t eat spicy foods or aren’t used to the Mexican way of living?”

“Instead of judging the bicultural lifestyle of being a Mexican-American, people should instead celebrate the ways they are inspired by each culture,” she said.

Yahritza added: “We didn’t know how to correctly express ourselves, and instead of talking about how much we like the country, especially Mexico City, we talked about some details that were out of place and we understand that ... We offer you a sincere apology.”