Entertainment

Bad Bunny Is The Modern Icon The Queer Latino Community Needs And Deserves Right Now. Here’s Why

Bad Bunny has been a champion for the LGBTQ community since he hit the music scene. He is always showing off his gender-bending fashion and take on life. He has become an icon for the Latino LGBTQ community and there is a good reason for it. He called out Don Omar when he made a very inappropriate joke at the expense of the LGBTQ community. He shows gender-bending people that they have the right to exist as they see fit because we are all in this together.

Arguably, Bad Bunny is the strongest ally to the queer community today.

Credit: @badbunnypr / Instagram

He’s beloved by all of Puerto Rico, reggaeton, and trap music lovers alike. He’s climbed to the top of one of the most machísmo industries to ever exist, and his unique style is on full display. Bad Bunny is influencing your bro-y primos with his fashion and his words and it is kind of brilliant.

Frida Kahlo, meanwhile, didn’t reach acclaim until well after her work was created in 1950s Mexico.

@GiuseppeTurrisi / Twitter

Kahlo is proof that there is no “time” or trend to be ahead of in queer culture. For millennia, we have existed. Kahlo was courageous enough to be freely bisexual and gender fluid. Today, Kahlo is a venerated icon of queerness and bravery. She will always be an icon in the LGBTQ community.

Sylvia Rivera is one of the lesser known pioneers of the 1969 Stonewall Riots that initiated the LGBTQ revolution in America.

@nypl / Twitter

Rivera, a Nuyorican through and through, lived in her trans experience and was marginalized from society for it. She’s best known for allegedly being the first person to throw a rock at the police officers seeking to arrest the crowd simply for being at a gay bar. Along with Marsha P. Johnson, Rivera is remembered today as someone who helped start the modern LGBTQ Rights movement and it all started in New York City.

The 1995 installment of Rickie Vasquez in “My So-Called Life” gave us the first gay Latino on screen.

@audiohelkuik / Twitter

Sure, Rickie was the GBF trope that Netflix is continuing to revel in, but he was the first of our kind, and he was real. His tío was his guardian and tried to beat the gay out of him. Eventually, one of his teachers, who is also gay, takes him in and raises him. This is what our community looks like.

All the while, we were smack in the middle of a 20-year long era of loving Ricky Martin while he was in the closet.

@Spain_RM / Twitter

In a 2000 interview, Barbara Walters pressured the Puerto Rican star to disclose his sexuality. His reply, “I don’t think I should have to tell anyone if I am gay or not, or who I’ve slept with or not,” got all our moms in an uproar. It wasn’t until ten years later that he publicly came out in a post on his website.

“I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am,” he wrote. “These years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn’t even know existed.”

During Martin’s closeted era, we got Oscar Martinez in “The Office.”

Netflix

Actor Oscar Núñez is a straight Cuban-American actor who didn’t know he was signing up to play a character who would, three seasons later, be outed as gay by his boss, Michael. While its problematic that a straight person played this role, for the 2006-7 season, he was the only LGBT person of color character on a regular series.

In the 2009 season of “Grey’s Anatomy,” character Callie Torres comes out as bisexual.

@68BEARS / Twitter

Played by Mexican-American dreamboat Sara Ramirez, Callie Torres arguably became the first bisexual character to star in a show. She wasn’t the queer BFF. Her story was whole, and included the same conversations many of us have had with our Roman Catholic, homophobic fathers.

Then there’s the murder of Kevin Fret, the first openly gay trapero.

@billboard / Twitter

The Puerto Rican trap artist is just one example of the obvious, rampant violence LGBTQ Latinos continue to face. Authorities are in their third month of investigating his death but have stated that Ozuna is not a suspect.

The next day, Bad Bunny and Residente marched all night long to Governor Ricardo Rosselo’s mansion to protest the rising violence on la isla.

@badbunnypr / Instagram

In an Instagram live at 2 a.m., the two broadcasted their message: “We’re here to talk to Ricky about crime in Puerto Rico.” They stood outside the mansion all night until the sun came up and the Governor sat down with them. Fret’s death was the 24th homicide on the island in a two-week span.

This wasn’t the last time Bad Bunny stood up for the LGBTQ community.

@fiercebymitu / Instagram

Whew, this was an incident. Don Omar made a homophobic slur in reference to a child pornography video circulating of Ozuna. The mayor of San Juan and Bad Bunny both chimed in on the issue to broaden minds and hearts–because its 2019 and homophobia is gross.

Here’s how Bad Bunny is pushing back against the homophobia so evident in Latin music.

@badbunnypr / Instagram

According to the Human Rights Campaign, queer Latinos are “1.7 times more likely to experience police violence than non-Hispanics … 1.8 times more likely to experience physical violence, 1.5 times more likely to experience discrimination, and 1.5 times more likely to experience hate violence in the workplace.”

In his music video for “Caro,” we see El Conejo Malo getting a smooch from both men and women.

Bad Bunny / YouTube

Ultimately, he ends up making out with a gender queer look a like version of himself–as a testament to self-love, perhaps. Bad Bunny has not come out with any label, nor does he have to. He just is, and, in his own words, “solamente soy feliz.”

His letras for “Otra Noche en Miami” explicitly call out hypermasculine sexual fantasies.

Bad Bunny / YouTube

He sings about how his rise to fame garnered all the things traperos promise–orgies, threesomes and wealth. Bad Bunny counters that fantasy with his reality, “Ya me cansan los threesome’ y las orgías / Ya me cansa que mi vida siga vacía.” He sings about craving intimacy the more time he spends with the groupies and industry executives he once yearned to have access to.

Bad Bunny has also used his platform to speak out against domestic violence.

Bad Bunny / YouTube

It’s widely known that 1 in 3 Latinas have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime. When Bad Bunny initially shared his official video for “Solo de Mi,” he included this caption:

When are we going to prioritize what really matters ??! We always want to blame everyone but the one at fault. IT’S TIME TO TAKE ACTION NOW! I know there will be many opinions, but I just tell them that something starts, and everyone does their part as they think they can. WE DO NOT WANT ONE MORE DEATH! Respect the woman, respect the man, respect the neighbor, respect life! LESS VIOLENCE, MORE PERISH! (AND IF SHE WANTS IT, IF IT DOES NOT LET HER SAVE ONLY AND DO NOT KILL IT) 🖤

Bad Bunny couldn’t give fewer cacas about toxic masculinity.

@kierawallaces / Twitter

He backs up what he says. Back in 2018, Bad Bunny took to Twitter to blast a nail salon in Spain that wouldn’t serve him because he was a man. while most people supported him, a few homophobes started questioning his sexuality.

He’s redefined the meaning of caro with his music video.

Bad Bunny / YouTube

Meaning “expensive” in English, Bad Bunny has turned the meaning of the word to something more like ‘rich in self-worth.’ And no matter how much money he has in the bank, he knows that if he stays himself, he’ll forever be caro.

Let us please acknowledge the ’90s vibes of this manicure.

@badbunnypr / Instagram

In a way, he’s giving all his millenial queer fans the letras we longed to hear when we were growing up. Instead of hearing about gasolina as a metaphor for semen (I said it), we get to hear about knowing you’re different and loving yourself anyway.

Yes, he gave us “Te Boté” but he also gave us a vulnerable honest take on his love life with “Si Estuviésemos Juntos.”

@badbunnypr / Instagram

We are in the era of “Thank You, Next” and “Te Boté” style dismissiveness towards ex loves, no doubt. “Si Estuviésemos Juntos” is Latin trap like we haven’t heard before–his regrets about how he treated someone he learned to love right too late, and how empty his life is without them.

Bad Bunny has given us open, radical honesty–including about his own mental health ups and downs.

@badbunnypr / Instagram

While “Estamos Bien” was dedicated to Puerto Ricans’ resiliency. It’s also a subtle ode to a past when things weren’t as hopeful. Pero “Hoy me levanté contento, hoy me levanté feliz.”

In the fight for LGBTQ rights, we have a long way to go, but we thank all the pioneers who have gotten us where we are today.

@lgbtpr / Instagram

Today, eyes are on Bad Bunny. We hope the young eyes that are on El Conejo Malo feel inspired to keep pushing back against hate. Love is love, mi gente, and love always wins.

READ: Bad Bunny Pushes Back Against Homophobia And Celebrates Gender Fluidity In New Video For ‘Caro’

This Woman’s Viral Poem Explores The Cultural Stigma Attached To LGBTQ Identities

Fierce

This Woman’s Viral Poem Explores The Cultural Stigma Attached To LGBTQ Identities

@2shotsofmely / Twitter

We all know how annoying family can be, nitpicking and offering opinions about how we choose to live our lives. Sometimes, though, our relatives’ perspectives are more than frustrating—they can be hurtful, causing us to question and doubt our place in the world. For many of us, it may be really difficult to address these issues with our loved ones, and we might often need to process these complex situations on our own before we can make any progress within our relationships. For Twitter user Hot Girl Scholar (@2shotsofmely), art was part of this process. She addressed some deep family conflict through poetry, and y’all, Twitter was shook.

According to her pinned tweet, @2shotsofmely and her family emigrated to the US from the Dominican Republic when she was seven years old. In May of this year, she graduated cum laude from Clark University with a BA in English and a minor in Education, ecstatic to dedicate her degree to immigrant and first-generation students. By embracing her role as a “hood girl, educator, and undercover poet,” @2shotsofmely is “living [her] mama’s wildest dreams”—although the poems that have electrified Twitter focus on some hard-to-swallow cultural viewpoints, reiterated by su madre y su abuela.

In poetry, the author of the poem is not always the speaker of the poem, but because of the caption in @2shotsofmely’s post (“Heard it so much I wrote poems about it”), it is clear that these poems—displayed on the walls of Elevated Thought, a Lawrence-based art and social justice organization—are written from her perspective. 

In one poem, “Negra Yo, Pero El No!,” @2shotsofmely acknowledges the hypocrisy (and the shadowy nature of racism and colorism) that defines how her mother reacts to a hypothetical boyfriend: based on the title, we know that @2shotsofmely’s mother is black, yet she proclaims that if @2shotsofmely ever dated a moreno, he must have a thin nose—la nariz fina—green eyes like @2shotsofmely’s grandfather, and “good hair.” In other words, he must not have black features. Why? “Because hay que refinar la raza.”

In the other poem, “LGBTQue?,” @2shotsofmely explores the cultural stigma attached to LGBTQ identities, affirming that her grandmother would “prefer [we] open [our] legs for all the men in the barrio before we walk around with a sister in our arms.”

The original tweet has garnered over 2.3k likes and 900 retweets—people can’t stop gassing @2shotsofmely’s badass display of honesty, the simultaneous pride in and critique of her roots. Several people expressed solidarity, citing events from their own lives that mirrored @2shotsofmely’s poetry.

This Twitter user really related to @2shotsofmely’s experience on the receiving end of her mother’s words.

This Latina responded in Spanish, explaining that her own grandmother married a white man para “mejorar la raza,” but affirmed that it wasn’t her fault—this point of view, according to @ditasea88, is a remnant of colonization.

This Twitter user applauded “LGBTQue?” for its resonance and truth.

Her poems even moved some folks to tears.

Although each of these tweets suggests a common experience which is largely negative, the response to @2shotsofmely’s poetry was rich with compassion—not only for those other Twitter users who share that experience, but for the madres y abuelas whose lives were very different than ours, and who had to make different decisions as a result. History is complex and difficult to synthesize without a broad contextual understanding, and @2shotsofmely’s work draws attention to how cultural patterns from the past can leave a dark impact on the present. However, alongside the criticism and pain at the core of these poems, there is something else: a sense of defiance and hope.

Now, in the midst of the political chaos within our country, it is especially important to celebrate the victories of individuals and groups creating supportive platforms for folks—particularly people of color—to express themselves. It is always exciting to see expressions of Latinidad—from art to poetry to a bomb Insta selfie—spark conversation and communion, even if people are relating about moments that have left them hurt or bruised. In a way, this type of conversation creates a sense of camaraderie, amistad—a feeling of familia.  

And although a lot of Latina familias struggle with antiquated viewpoints (like those presented in @2shotsofmely’s poems), times are changing, and cultural expectations are becoming more inclusive to Latinx people with a range of diverse identities. Often, the more difficult aspects of our upbringing lead us to create meaningful work and connect with others who can relate to us—@2shotsofmely’s poetry is a great example of how intergenerational trauma can produce beauty, connection, and personal growth when you honor yourself and your dreams. @2shotsofmely, you go, girl!

Amid All The Drama Of The Latin Grammys And Urbano Music, Here’s What Happened At Last Night’s Latin Grammys

Entertainment

Amid All The Drama Of The Latin Grammys And Urbano Music, Here’s What Happened At Last Night’s Latin Grammys

NBC Universal / YouTube

The 2019 Latin Grammys hosted by Ricky Martin kicked off yesterday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. There were some big wins for Juan Luis Guerra, Mon Laferte, Christian Nodal, Bad Bunny, Luis Enrique and — much to many Latinxs’ chagrin — Spanish singers Rosalia, who won Album of the Year, and Alejandro Sanz.

However, there were many highlights of the evening as well. Legends Celia Cruz, Juan Gabriel, Joan Sebastian, and Gustavo Cerati received a lavish tribute. Vincente Fernandez made his story when he brought his son Alejandro and grandson Alex Jr. on stage to perform. Bad Bunny gave a disruptive speech about the Latin Grammys snubbing reggaeton artists, and strangely enough, a member of Metallica showed up. These are the 2019 Latin Grammys highlights. 

A tribute to late Latinx legends ushers in a star-studded 2019 Latin Grammys. 

Brazillian singer Anitta was accompanied by merengue veterans Olga Tañon and Milly Quezada to perform a samba and merengue infused version of “La Vida es un Carnaval,” to honor Celia Cruz. Then Mexican crooners Carlos Rivera, Reik, and Leon Garcia came on stage to perform JuanGa’s “Querida.” 

Natalia Jimenez, Calibre 50, and Prince Royce performed Mexican singer-songwriter Joan Sebastian’s “Secreto de Armor.” Ricky Martin was joined by Draco Rosa, Fito Paez, and Beto Cuevas to honor Gustavo Cerati with their rendition of Soda Stereo’s “Musica Ligera.” 

Miguel sang in Spanish and everyone lost their minds.

Miguel performed a Spanglish version of “Show Me Love” with Alicia Keys. After the Mexican heartthrob sang his parts in Spanish, people on Twitter kind of lost it. 

“Miguel singing in Spanish is making me feel some type of waaaay *heart eyes*,” one user wrote. 

“Seeing @Miguel sing during the Latin Grammys with @aliciakeys was something else. Sensual and romantic at the same time,” another Twitter user wrote.

“My parents are watching Latin Grammys and I look up to see Miguel and Alicia Keys performing I was likeajxjdjxj,” a stunned user wrote. 

Mon Laferte bared her chest on the red carpet for Chilean rights.

We can’t exactly show you the full photo, but Chilean musician Mon Laferte, who won Best Alternative Music Album, bravely exposed her breasts to get the public’s attention about human rights in Chile. Written across her decollete in black ink were the words “En Chile Torturan Violan,” which translates to “In Chile They Torture, Rape, And Kill.” 

At least 20 people have been killed during protests in Chile about wealth inequality (the nation is one of Latin America’s wealthiest) and better social services following the government’s announcement of higher subway fares. Tens of thousands of protesters set up fiery barricades and confronted riot police in October. 

Vincente Fernandez showed three generations of Mexican artistry. 

“I’m a grateful man for my family and my music,” Vicente Fernandez said as he was joined on stage by his son Alejandro and grandson Alex. “When you listen to the voice of who has your blood, you feel immortal.” 

Alejandro performed his latest single “Caballero.” Throughout the tear-jerking performance by the trio, family photos were displayed in the background. 

 “I still needed to sing 50 more songs but I owe it to you. All I want to say to God and my public is that you know you are a part of me until the day they bury me. Thank you,” Vincente said after receiving a standing ovation. 

Bad Bunny stood up to the industry while accepting his reward. 

Bad Bunny scored his first Latin Grammy for Best Urban Album for X100Pre. Bunny was one of many artists to join Maluma in defending reggaeton against the industry’s consistent snubbing of musicians of the genre.

 “Reggaeton is part of Latin music,” he said. “To my colleagues, let’s give it our all. The genre has become about views and numbers but we have to bring different things to the table.”

Nella won Best New Artist. 

Venezuelan artist Nella, a Berkeley College of Music alumni, won Best New Artist. She snagged the tile from Paulo Londra, Greeicy, Aitina, and Cami. 

“This is for everyone who, like me, comes from another country looking for new opportunities,” she said.

Juanes win Person of the Year and gets a surprise from Metallica.

Colombian rock musician Juanes won Person of the Year after performing a medley of songs including “A Dios Le Pido” and “La Camisa Negra.” He was surprised by Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich who presented him the award. 

 “You guys changed my life,” Juanes told Ulrich. The drummer says he met Juanes ago while performing in Mexico. 

“Tonight we come full circle. I proclaim myself a Juanes fan, my friend, my parcero, I’m proud to recognize you as Person of the Year for the Latin Recording Academy,” Ulrich said.