Entertainment

AB Soto Creates Music Celebrating His Mexican Heritage And Sexuality After Not Seeing Representation In Hollywood

AB Soto took the music scene by storm when he released the wildly successful “Cha Cha Bitch” in 2015. The pink debazzled quebradita outfit instantly made AB Soto a fashion icon and a musical phenomenon. His goal was always to blend his Latino culture with his gay identity and turn it all into art. Disappointed with the lack of representation of his community in Hollywood, he made it happen himself and the results speak for themselves. Here’s what AB Soto had to say about his career so far.

Mitú (M): How did you get started in music? When did you break into the scene?

Credit: absoto / Instagram

AB Soto (AB): Many people may not know but I studied Fashion Design first and after graduating I worked as a designer for many years. I remember also having a passion for dance, so I started taking professional dance classes in the evenings and weekends. A few months later I signed to a dance agency and booked my first job dancing in a Coca Cola commercial. My agency would send me out for any auditions that were dance related from film to live tours. I remember audition for every major recording artist you could think of, but I never really fit in. I never saw myself represented in Hollywood or in the media. After being frustrated and bored with the industry, I wrote my first song during the Christmas break of 2008. I had so much to say, and I couldn’t wait around for Hollywood to understand my story. I had to tell my own story myself and bring my ideas to life. I immediately went into the studio and recorded my first song, and then filmed my first viral music video shortly after. I started performing in nightclubs that year and started independently touring in 2010. I was able to combine everything I learned as a designer, dancer, choreographer, and performer to tell my own story. I still write, style, direct and produce all my work. 

M: You are very active and fun on Instagram. What is it about that social media platform that appealed to you when it comes to sharing your music and sharing things with fans?

AB: Instagram is a fun platform to interact with my audience. It’s a quick way to post and share your work with fans. Although I really wish Instagram would stop censoring artists. With Instagram culture being so “fake” at times, my page is more raw and honest. 

M: Who did you look up to and who influenced you when you first started to create your music? 

Credit: absoto / Instagram

AB: I’ve always been inspired by ’90s music and gay history. Dance music is definitely my favorite genre, especially House music. When I was a kid, my mind would visualize huge dance productions and elaborate costumes/set designs. I grew up listening to Gangsta Rap and Banda music around the house and in my neighborhood. All of these sounds have had a major influence on my upbringing and music style. I’ve always wanted to see more openly gay and Latino artists in all of these genres. 

M: What was the hardest social medial lesson you have learned and what did it teach you?

AB: Social media can be fun but I’ve learned not to take things personally. Negative comments say more about the ignorant people posting them than anything else. I like to inspire dialogue with my work but my art is not up for negotiation. I also like to turn the comments section off sometimes, because I’m not really interested in what narrow minds have to say. I create because this is my passion, not for the praise. I also believe that artists and influencers should be a lot more honest as possible. You never know who your truth may inspire. 

M: What purpose do you think social media plays in the LGBTQ+ community in terms of building online communities? What do you want your music to do for the listeners and the Latinx LGBTQ+ community?

AB: Visibility is important online but it’s also important to protect our queerness and our community. Being authentic and visible online can inspire others to live their truth. Censorship can make it hard to preserve positive spaces for queerness and those wanting to explore. It’s up to us to maintain and create communities that inspire us to thrive and promote diversity. I hope my music and presence can inspire others to create their own path, to break all the rules, and to follow the road less traveled. Create something new. 

M: What is something you wish you could have told your younger self about being gay and coming out?

AB: Be patient. Everything will happen when it’s supposed to happen. Embrace your uniqueness and what makes you different. Remember that we are all looking for acceptance and to be heard. Be kind to yourself, allow yourself time and space to grow. 

M: Where do you get inspiration for your music?

AB: I get inspiration from art, personal life experiences, and pop culture. I’ve noticed that I still approach everything like I’m designing a clothing collection. It all just depends on the mood and the overall story. Often times it starts with a lyric and a melody inspired by what is going on around me. Sometimes an item of clothing can inspire a song, or a scene in a movie can also inspire a mood. I’m a visual artist so sometimes the music is just created as a soundtrack for the music video treatment. Each album is a concept and is inspired by a specific mood. I love to dance so the beats are extremely important.

M: How have you grown as a person since coming out and starting your musical career?

AB: I’ve always been an openly gay artist from day one. It was important for me to be unapologetically me since I never saw myself represented in the music industry. As an independent artist, I have learned a lot about the industry and have also developed a thick skin. Being signed to a major record label is not always the best decision for every artist. The music industry only puts us in a box, or a spreadsheet template designed to make dollars. I won’t compromise my vision for the sake of someone else’s profit. How many artists are even happy with their contracts these days? Not many. 

M: What has been the most rewarding moment in your musical career? 

AB: Touring overseas as an independent artist and meeting so many fans has been the most rewarding. Accomplishing 4 albums and over 27 music videos without the support of a label is something to be proud of. Now can you imagine what I could do with proper funding though? Lol 

M: What is something you want your fans to know about how their support has impacted you and your career? 

AB: Supporting queer artists is important for our stories to be heard. The appropriation of queerness by record labels sends the wrong message to our queer youth. Supporting authentic queerness creates more opportunities for visibility for our community and future generations. What we choose to support today can leave a huge impact on queer culture. 

M: Some people might think that you are being too much or doing the most in celebrating your sexuality through your music. What do you say to people who just don’t understand or approve your unapologetic persona? 

AB: My only responsibility as an artist is to be 1000 percent honest. How people view my work is not my problem, I’m only presenting my experiences as raw as possible. Some will be entertained, some will relate, and some will feel uncomfortable, but isn’t that what art is supposed to do? 

M: Is there anything you wanted to add about social media or your music that we haven’t discussed?

AB: Each album is a new window into my evolution as a person and artist. I want to invite others to evolve and grow with me, individually and as a community. Let go, expand your mind, feel something new, and just get up and dance sis!

READ: AB Soto Is The Queer God With Absolutely No Time For You Machismo On His Schedule

Students Staged A Walkout At A Catholic High School After A Student Claimed School Officials Threatened To Out Her

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Students Staged A Walkout At A Catholic High School After A Student Claimed School Officials Threatened To Out Her

Buzzfeed Twitter

Students at a Catholic high school in Los Angles staged last week in unity with a gay classmate who says shows harassed by the school for her sexuality. 

According to a recent report published by Buzzfeed, officials at the school threatened to out high school senior Magali Rodriguez. Following Buzzfeed’s report, which was published last Thursday, students at Bishop Amat Memorial High School, staged a walkout on Friday.

Bishop Amat students organized a walkout protesting the alleged actions of officials at their school on Friday.

According to Buzzfeed, Rodriguez attended Bishop Amat, for three years. The high school senior said that the incidents began to occur during her freshman year when she first began dating her girlfriend when the school’s dean confronted the couple and claimed that students had “complained about their relationship.”

 During her time at the school, Rodriguez claimed that she had been subjected to various disciplinary meetings and counseling sessions. She was also kept from sitting beside her girlfriend during lunch hours. In the report by Buzzfeed, Rodriguez claimed that school officials had threatened to out her to her parents if she refused to comply with their rules, which were not forced onto the straight students in relationships at the school. Rodriguez claims that though she was never publicly affectionate with her girlfriend at school, she felt constantly monitored by officials at the school. In one incident, Rodriguez said that a staff member approached the two teenagers during summer school and told them that they would both go to hell and that “she was trying to get them expelled.”

At the time, Rodriguez had come out to her peers but had not yet come out to her parents. 

Ultimately, Rodriguez’s grades and mental health took a toll until she decided to write her parents a letter and come out.

“Rodriguez, a high school senior, tried to stay positive and get through it, but after more than three years, she was at breaking point,” reported Buzzfeed. “She was crying every day before school, her grades suffered, and spending time on campus brought intense waves of anxiety. So she decided to speak up — first to her parents and now publicly.”

Ultimately Rodriguez’s parents withdrew her from the Catholic school. Speaking to Buzzfeed Rodriguez’s mother  Martha Tapia-Rodriguez condemned the school for how they treated her daughter saying, “They took it upon themselves to parent our daughter, to counsel her, to lecture her.”

When news of the way the school had treated Rodriguez went public, her former peers decided to stage a walkout.

The walkout took place during the student’s seventh period on Friday and lasted for an hour and a half until the school day ended. 

Several students BuzzFeed News spoke to Saturday said they hadn’t heard about Rodriguez’s experience prior to the article, and were shocked to learn how she was treated. One anonymous student who took part in the walkout spoke to Buzzfeed about the incident saying, “I never would’ve imagined Amat to be an environment like this… Once I started to read about the article I was in full shock. I decided to walk out to stand up for her.” This same student claimed that while teachers had commented on the situation saying that there were “two sides to every story” none attempted to put a stop to the protest.

According to the unnamed student, the school’s principal made an announcement before the school lunch bell that they were aware of the Buzzfeed report and had offered counseling services to students who had concerns. 

Two hundred students took part in the walkout, and according to the student interviewed by Buzzfeed, students chanted prayers for Rodriguez. Some called her via FaceTime to show what was being done. 

“I decided to walk out because I wanted to take a stand,” another student told Buzzfeed. “I didn’t agree with what the administration did with the situation and I feel like it was a good idea for the student body to stand as one to show our support for Magali.”

According to a tweet shared in response to BuzzFeed News’ original report, the school has said that it is not intolerant of LGBTQ students.

“Bishop Amat High School is committed to providing a supportive and inclusive learning environment for all students, irrespective of their sexual orientation,”  Bishop Amat said in a statement.

According to a tweet shared in response to BuzzFeed News’ original report, the school has said that it is not intolerant of LGBTQ students.

“Bishop Amat High School is committed to providing a supportive and inclusive learning environment for all students, irrespective of their sexual orientation,”  Bishop Amat said in a statement.

According to a tweet shared in response to BuzzFeed News’ original report, the school has said that it is not intolerant of LGBTQ students.

“Bishop Amat High School is committed to providing a supportive and inclusive learning environment for all students, irrespective of their sexual orientation,”  Bishop Amat said in a statement.

FOMO Alert: Ugly Primo’s Party In Los Angeles Showcasing His Art Gave Everyone A Chance To Celebrate Him

Entertainment

FOMO Alert: Ugly Primo’s Party In Los Angeles Showcasing His Art Gave Everyone A Chance To Celebrate Him

uglyprimo / Instagram

Ugly Primo has been capturing Latino pop culture moments in his vivid illustrations since early 2018, illustrating the “Suavamente” Elvis Crespo into fabric softener and Cardi B as a “Farti B cushion.” While we have no idea what Ugly Primo looks like, since he hides behind an actual cholo puppet, we know that, for the first time ever, Ugly Primo showcased his work.

Ugly Primo invited everyone to the Primos Playhouse to, well, party. Ugly Primo’s Instagram bio has long advertised himself as a “retired quinceañera DJ,” and people finally got to hear him spin. After DJ sets by J Valentino, 2DEEP, Mija Doris, and Brü, the puppet, or the man behind the puppet, took to the stage. Best of all: it was free.

Of course, Ugly Primo’s version of a gallery was called a Playhouse, so you know it was fun.

Credit: @uglyprimo / Twitter

Held in downtown Los Angeles, a free DJ event with dope art is my kind of night. Our favorite primo tweeted that, “There will be exclusive merch, art installations, music by some friends, and drinks for my 21+ borrachos. Hope to see you there!”

Ugly Primo is kind of *excellent* at creating unique merch.

Credit: @uglyprimo / Twitter

It seems like the world’s coolest puppet is pretty close with San Benito, and worked with the trapetero to create on-brand chanclas for Bad Bunny fans. They’re reportedly too holy to be weaponized for the chanclazo. You may have seen Ugly Primo’s art on up-and-coming artist Cuco Puffs’s most recent album cover, too. It’s weird how Ugly Primo is everywhere, but nobody has seen him.

Ugly Primo might just be our favorite primo after the artwork he’s gifted us this last year alone.

Credit: @uglyprimo / Instagram

During the height of Nio Garcia, Ozuna, Darrel, Nicky Jam, Casper Magico and Bad Bunny’s “Te Bote” classic, Ugly Primo blessed America with an auspicious illustration. In an effort to motivate his fans to get out and vote, he released an image of a very orange Donald Trump at a podium stickered with “Yo voté,” followed by a “Te bote” stamp of disapproval. His blessing on the midterms did give us Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. We need more illustrations, Primo.

If only a Mercado de mucho, mucho amor existed.

Credit: @uglyprimo / Instagram

Internationally-acclaimed astrologer Walter Mercado may have passed earlier this week, but he’s been long honored by Ugly Primo. For Mercado’s haters, they love the idea that his predictions and, “sobre todo, mucho, mucho amor” was up for sale. For everyone else, we loved what Mercado was selling – his genderless fashion sense and exuberant love for his fans.

When Cumbia legend Celso Piña passed, he was immortalized in vibrant colors as well.

Credit: @uglyprimo / Instagram

The cumbia artist, known as El Rebelde del acordeón, passed on August 21 at just 66 years old from a heart attack. The Mexican accordionist pioneered a fusion of tropical salsa sounds with cumbia and regional mexicano.

When Cardi B was freely expressing her flatulence on the ‘gram, Ugly Primo immortalized the pop culture moment.

Credit: @uglyprimo / Instagram

“Farti B is steaming hot. Swipe for some 💨💨💨,” Ugly Primo captioned his June edition to his works, alongside a hilarious anthology of Cardi B’s most recent fart sprees. “Damn, I farted but that was a very low fart, so y’all can’t hear it. It’s one of those farts that like, they don’t really stink, it’s just air,” Cardi told her Instagram fans back in June 2019. “I gotta fart so bad. I’m about to air it out. I farted, I farted, I farted, I farted,” Cardi said. “Oh it STANK. You smell it, Ashley? It’s gonna hit you though. You smell it?” she asked, cackling.

Ugly Primo has helped us envision a world made for Latinos, here in America.

@uglyprimo / Instagram

Ugly Primo’s artistry is embedded in Latinizing mainstream items, like slapping “Tigers of the North” on a box of frosted flakes, with a guitar playing tiger and more. We get to imagine what a Trader Jose’s might look like, and even though Los Angeles is plentiful with Hispanic grocer’s, Ugly Primo uses the brand recall of a national chain to make that experience feel like the true cornerstone of American identity that it is. We belong here. We’re not going anywhere.

LA, if you’re looking for a party, it’s at the Primo Playhouse.

@uglyprimo / Instagram

Let’s show Ugly Primo all our support, hope we meet Ugly Primo in the felt (or flesh, let’s be real) and see what “exclusive merch” he’s drawn up for us.

READ: Ugly Primo Is One Latino Artist Everyone Who Loves Pop Culture Should Know About