'Despacito' singer: Puerto Rico needs your help

CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 9/25/2017, 2:46 p.m.
Musician Daddy Yankee, who guest stars on the smash international hit "Despacito," is appealing for help for his native Puerto ...
Daddy Yankee

By Melissa Mahtani, CNN

(CNN) -- Musician Daddy Yankee, who guest stars on the smash international hit "Despacito," is appealing for help for his native Puerto Rico after the island was battered by Hurricane Maria.

"A lot of people don't know I'm from Puerto Rico," he told CNN Monday. "I have my family there, I have my wife, my daughter, and I live there still ... and we really need your help."

The singer-rapper told CNN the devastation has been catastrophic and urged everyone, including the US government, to do more.

"A lot of people don't know Puerto Ricans are American citizens ... we need the federal money for the citizens and for the government to help the locals."

Appearing CNN's "New Day" and while hosting a CNN Instagram live, Daddy Yankee emphasized the scale of the destruction by telling people to contrast the scenes in the "Despacito" music video to images of hurricane damage they're seeing now.

The video, which has more than 3.8 billion views on YouTube, was filmed in the San Juan neighborhood of La Perla. It features Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee singing against a colorful backdrop of Puerto Rican street performers.

"Watching the images of the video and comparing it to the images I've seen so far -- it's devastated," said the singer, whose real name is Ramón Luis Ayala Rodríguez.

"I know a lot of people are struggling. There's no communication, no power on the island, the hospitals are not working," he added. "We need the government to be more proactive."

'Despacito' made this neighborhood famous. Hurricane Maria left it in ruins

Yankee said he has personally donated $1 million to Feed America and another $1 million to the Red Cross, as well as encouraging his fans to donate items such as water, insect repellent and batteries that plans to personally bring to the island this weekend.

"We're doing the best we can, but we can't do it alone. We need everyone to get involved" he said.

To find out how you can help head to CNN's Impact your World page for a list of organizations working on the ground.