Entertainment

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


READ: Isabella Gomez From ‘One Day At A Time’ Is Humbled To Be An Icon To The Latinx LGBTQ Community

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Latina L.A. County Deputy Was Shot In The Face But Saved Her Partner’s Life After A Gunman Ambushed Them

Things That Matter

Latina L.A. County Deputy Was Shot In The Face But Saved Her Partner’s Life After A Gunman Ambushed Them

David McNew / Getty

A shooting that occurred over the weekend in Compton, California has sparked shock, alarm, and outrage.

The shooting occurred sometime around 7 p.m. on Saturday at MLK Transit Center in Compton. According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the gunman made his way toward the passenger’s side of the deputies’ car and shot two deputies with a pistol without precedent.

One of the victims is a 31-year-old mother.

On Saturday, the sheriff’s department tweeted surveillance footage of the shooting which also captured the gunman fleeing the scene.

According to reports, the gunman fired into the deputies’ car without pretext.

“This is just a somber reminder that this is a dangerous job, and actions and words have consequences. Our job does not get any easier because people do not like law enforcement,” Alex Villanueva, the 33rd Sheriff of Los Angeles County, said in a statement. “It pisses me off. It dismays me at the same time.”

According to Villanueva, both of the deputies (Claudia Apolinar a 31-year-old mother and a 24-year-old man) were sworn in just 14 months ago and are in critical condition at the hospital. According to the sheriff’s department both are “fighting for their lives” but “it looks like they’re going to be able to recover.”

Apolinar and her partner were both shot at close range. Apolinar was shot in the face and torso and her partner sustained multiple gunshot wounds Seeing that he was in need of immediate medical treatment, Apolinar managed to make a tourniquet for him before medics arrived.

According to the New York Post, Apolinar is a former librarian who graduated from the academy last year.

“We’ll see what the long-term impact is. We don’t know that yet, but they survived the worst,” Villanueva explained.

Local officials have announced a $100,000 reward for information on the gunman and his whereabouts.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden spoke out against the attack and condemned it in a statement calling “Acts of lawlessness and violence directed against police officers are unacceptable, outrageous, and entirely counterproductive to the pursuit of greater peace and justice in America — as are the actions of those who cheer such attacks on.”

Speaking about the incident, Democratic US Rep. Adam Schiff called the attack “cowardly.”

“Every day, law enforcement officers put themselves at risk to protect our community,” Schiff stated in a post shared to Twitter. “I hope the perpetrator of this cowardly attack can be quickly brought to justice.”

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Jussie Smollett Speaks Out For The First Time In Months About His Alleged 2019 Attack— ‘They Won’t Let This Go’

Entertainment

Jussie Smollett Speaks Out For The First Time In Months About His Alleged 2019 Attack— ‘They Won’t Let This Go’

Nuccio DiNuzzo / Getty

In early 2019, “Empire “actor Jussie Smollett found himself thrust into the public spotlight of scrutiny after it was reported that he had been the victim of a hate crime. His original claim initially prompted public outrage and a flood of support from fans. Then, nearly three weeks later, the public was shocked to learn that Smollett had been charged with disorderly conduct and the false filing of a police report after it was determined that the attack had been staged. Worse? Officials suspected that Smollett himself had choreographed the entire attack from start to finish. In March of 2019, the actor was charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly filing a false police report that claimed two men attacked him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs at him.

Since then, the charges against Smollett have been dropped but his reputation remains tarnished. The court of public opinion has determined that he is a liar and fabricator. Ultimately he was dropped from his role on his show and he has remained relatively silent about the issue.

Now, a year after the alleged attack Smollett is speaking out about the controversy in a rare interview.

On Wednesday, the actor made an appearance in an Instagram Live conversation with author and activist Marc Lamont Hill. During the interview, Smollett addressed his ongoing trial calling the situation “frustrating, to say the least.”

“It’s been beyond frustrating, and I certainly am not going rogue,” Smollett explained. “I’m still taking the advice of my attorneys and everything like that, but I don’t really see, honestly, what staying quiet has really done, like, where it has gotten me. … It’s so much bigger than me.”

Smollett went onto share what the past year has done to him and shared that his legal team recently filed a motion against his indictment. The motion is set to be reviewed in court on Thursday. “I believe I have to give it up to God,” Smollett explained before adding that he thinks the legal motion will fall in his favor.

“They won’t let this go,” he explained. “It doesn’t matter — there is an example being made. And the sad part is that there’s an example being made of someone who did not do what they are being accused of.”

Addressing accusations that his original claims were all a hoax, Smollett said that “From the very, very beginning, it was set up to seem like I was lying about something or everything.”

Smollett claimed “there would be no reason for me to do this” and called the accusations “bulls—,” before adding that the “last thing” hew would ever want to do is “be portrayed as a victim.”

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