The Death Of Latin Trap Artist Kevin Fret Is Putting A Spotlight On Heightened Violence In Puerto Rico
Latin trap singer Kevin Fret, known for being the genre’s first openly gay artist, was shot and killed on Jan. 10 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The 24-year-old rising star was riding a motorcycle when gunshots to the head and hip sent him to the hospital. He was later pronounced dead, according to local newspaper El Vocero. The tragic news comes as Fret’s death is one of 24 homicides recorded on the island in less than two weeks.
Fret was more than just an artist on the rise but an advocate for many in the LGBTQ+ community.
Homophobia needs to end. We cannot afford losing so many lives because EVERY person in the LGBTQ+ community, OUR community is loved and valued. These people have risked everything to be themselves and that's so so admirable.
Justice for #KevinFret!
— Marcblign (@MajorGayVibes) January 11, 2019
Fret was notably one of the first Latin trap artists to publicly embrace his homosexuality and incorporate it into his image. His music showcased the vibrant and fierce personality that made fans adore the musician. Few in the genre have used their massive platforms to condemn violence against LGBTQ+ people like Fret did.
“Kevin was an artistic soul, a big-hearted dreamer. His passion was music, and [he] still had a lot to do. This violence must stop. There are no words that describe the feeling we have and the pain that causes us to know that a person with so many dreams has to go,” Eduardo Rodriguez, Fret’s manager said in a public statement. “We must all unite in these difficult times, and ask for much peace for our beloved Puerto Rico.”
Fret was most recognized for his creative makeup skills that shattered barriers in the Latin trap genre.
People are mourning the death of singer Kevin Fret following news that the openly gay musician was reportedly shot 8 times while riding a motorcycle in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
His murder marks the 22nd homicide in Puerto Rico in 2019, according to officials. pic.twitter.com/7MR4bn6TGO
— AJ+ (@ajplus) January 11, 2019
In a genre where masculinity and misogyny are prevalent, Fret was an anomaly that used his superior makeup skills to shake up the music scene. In music videos like “Diferente” (“Different”) and “Soy Así” (“I’m Like This”), he showed his flamboyancy and unique personality that’s truly one of a kind.
The attention wasn’t always positive for Fret as he was the subject of a diss track from a fellow trap artist, Anuel AA. In 2018, Anuel released a song that featured homophobic slurs and inflammatory verses about Fret. Anuel has since apologized for the track but it was an example of the homophobia that followed Fret in his career.
Violence has plagued Puerto Rico in recent months outlining the tragedy of Fret’s death.
RIP to the incredibly talented Kevin Fret, the first openly gay Latin Trapero from Puerto Rico. His unapologetic presence meant so much for the LGBTQ+ community and the future of Latin Trap… Thank you for always speaking and living your truth Kevin. Te amo para siempre ♥️ pic.twitter.com/RO2n2Dq2KC
— BRI (@BrianaMMendez) January 10, 2019
With 24 murders so far this year, the island of Puerto Rico has witnessed a noticeable uptick in violence that officials are trying to control. The Puerto Rico Trans Youth Coalition said on Facebook that Fret’s murder “could be described as a hate crime.” Police so far have not ruled out the possibility of a hate crime. Gang activity, along with drug and human trafficking, is being blamed for the high levels of violent crime in Puerto Rico.
Fellow Latin trap stars, Bad Bunny and Residente, visited the Puerto Rico Governor to discuss the recent violence on the island.
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A post shared by BAD | BUNNY (@badbunnypr) on
Both artists visited Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló at his residence following the death of Fret. According to Billboard, they discussed recent violence and the education system in Puerto Rico. Before their meeting, the artists went on Instagram Live where they took to the streets to document themselves trying to get themselves inside Rosselló’s office.
Shortly after the meeting, Rosselló tweeted “Crime is everyone’s business. I appreciate @Residente and @sanbenito took time to talk about what we are already doing and expand the initiatives to address security.”
Fans have taken to social media to pay their respects and remember the fallen star.
Ive never even heard of #KevinFret and I’m so so so saddened to hear the news of his murder, LGBTQ+ LIVES ARE NOT DISPOSABLE!!!!!! </3 que Dios le bendiga );
— discoqueen✨ (@elizabitch_t) January 10, 2019
Fans who hadn’t even heard of Fret paid their condolences online and highlighted what he meant not only to the Latin trap scene but to LGBTQ+ representation. People on Twitter wrote about what his music meant to them and the impact he had on their lives. Fret will be remembered for many reasons most notably his sheer presence and recognizable look. His contributions to pushing towards a more inclusive community in music won’t be forgotten anytime soon.