Costa Rican-born, Mexican singing sensation Chavela Vargas’ story is finally being told in a full-length documentary titled simply “Chavela.” Vargas, who still has a Twitter presence, was one of Mexico’s most celebrated ranchera singers. Not only was she famous for her singing, she also broke free from societal norms that said she shouldn’t “act like a man.” The lesbian singer wore men’s clothing in the ’50s and ’60s, bucking the norms that she was raised with, much like Frida Kahlo. Vargas, who died in 2012 at the age of 93, speaks to that topic directly in the documentary through found footage.
“If you’re lesbian, you’re marginalized,” Vargas says. “But I put on pants and the public stayed quiet.”
According to those close to her who were interviewed in the documentary, Vargas was very secretive with her lovers, never revealing who they were. But some say she “slept with all of Mexico.” The singer had a close friendship with Kahlo, the Mexican artist who was known to take female lovers. It wasn’t until 2000 that Vargas publicly came out in an interview with Spain’s newspaper “El País.” She was 81 years old. Not only did the famed ranchera singer say she was a lesbian during the interview, she challenged the Catholic church and its views on homosexuality, arguing that she couldn’t be damned by God for living the way she was born.
“One’s truth always prevails,” Vargas says in the documentary. “It costs a lot. You suffer a lot, but you make it through.”
Jennifer Lopez arguably became a household name after she portrayed Selena in the biopic about the iconic Mexican-American singer. Since then, J.Lo has become a musical, acting, and producing force in the entertainment industry. Now, at 50, the Puerto Rican superstar is on a new tour and fans in San Antonio were treated to a special cover when she belted out “Si Una Vez” by Texas legend Selena Quintanilla.
J.Lo really showed up for her San Antonio audience with her “Si Una Vez” song after admitting it was her favorite.
At the beginning of the video, J.Lo asks the audience if they want to hear a little Selena. Like, what kind of question is that to ask a Texas audience? Of course, they want to hear some Selena. After asking the crowd which song would be best she told them that “Si Una Vez” is her favorite and that sent the crowd into a frenzy.
Fans were so excited to learn J.Lo’s favorite Selena song because we all have one.
Finding someone with the same favorite Selena song as you is so amazing. Legit, one of the most telling signs of how long your friendship and relationship will last is the Selena test. Do they know who Selena is? Do they like her music? Do you have the same favorite Selena song? This is crucial
Seeing the woman who brought Selena to the big screen was one of the most touching moments for so many people.
Hearts fluttered. Angels got wings. Moods were lifted. It was a physical moment for so many people who could feel the love from the stage. It was as if Selena was on stage in J.Lo’s body giving us the concert we have been craving.
While all of the concertgoers were melting down, social media people also lost their minds over the cover.
It’s like Thalía taking time during her concert to give the fans a taste of Jenni Rivera. Who wouldn’t want to be there for that moment? It feels like a special connection between the singer and the audience as they give praise and attention to a shared icon.
This is one way to ring in your 50th birthday, J.Lo.
There is one thing everyone knows for sure, J.Lo is a force that cannot be overlooked. She is a strong and powerful singer. A recognizable actor. A successful producer. But, most importantly, she is a Selena fan who gives the Tejano singer the respect and love she deserves.
Watch the full performance below.
Thank you, J.Lo. You know how to make your shows something to remember.
Governors in the U.S. have tried and failed multiple times to enshrine discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community by passing “religious freedom” bills. At the heart of these bills is the idea that someone’s religion is enough to discriminate against those of different faiths, sexual orientations, and gender identities. Puerto Rico tried to follow the same failed path as Indiana and the backlash was swift and victorious after Ricky Martin and Bad Bunny (Benito Martinez) spoke out against the bill forcing Governor Ricardo Rosselló to backtrack on his bill to discriminate.
In April, Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rosselló presented the Puerto Rican House of Representatives a “religious freedom” bill.
The bill was months in the making and Gov. Rosselló showed his full support for the bill, House Bill 2069. The bill would have allowed for government employees to openly discriminate against people who went against their religious beliefs.
Ricky Martin spoke up against the measure and called out the Puerto Rican government and their willingness to legalize discrimination against LGBTQ+ people.
“While the world calls for equality, respect for diversity and the defense of human rights, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives and the Governor of Puerto Rico are pushing for a measure that goes against all of the above and it encourages division, prejudice, hatred and the lack of respect for individuality,” Martin wrote on his fan website. “It does so under a premise that undermines the constitutional protections against discrimination on the basis of race, sex or belief, and in its place, justifies an irrational protection of the religious convictions of government employees.”
“As a member of the LGBTT community, I join the constituency that affirms that there has never been a willingness among our LGBTT people to allow for the validation or legalization of discrimination against us.”
“House Bill 2069, filed at the request of Governor Ricardo Rosselló and promoted by Representative Charbonier, achieve nothing more than opening the doors to hatred towards anyone who doesn’t share the same ideology, who simply belong to the LGBTT community, or who don’t have the same color skin, amidst many other discriminatory measures.”
“Authentic religious freedom calls for respecting everyone equally.”
Bad Bunny also used his platform to stand up for the LGBTQ+ community in Puerto Rico.
“While we ‘bad guys’ do out to unite people and try to send a message of respect and tolerance, the leaders of my country work to do the opposite,” he wrote on Instagram. “We cannot take steps backwards, NEVER! @ricardorossello you make excellent coffee, I know that you can also make an excellent decision.”
Calle 13’s Residente joined his Puerto Rican peers to call out the Puerto Rican government’s wishes to strip LGBTQ+ people of their humanity with the law.
These calls against the action came during Pride month when the U.S. is supposed to be celebrating and uplifting the LGBTQ+ community, which still faces discrimination and violence.
After the outcry, Gov. Rosselló reversed his support for the bill and ordered the Puerto Rican House of Representatives to shelf the bill.
“WE WON! The recent years, Western countries have made significant advances in guaranteeing equal right for the LGBTT community,” Martin tweeted.
Martin celebrated the decision by educating his followers about what the measure would mean for the LGBTQ+ community.
“These advances were threatened recently in Puerto Rico, where the House fo Representatives passed legislation that endangered the progress won in the last decade and risked feeding the division, prejudice, and tensions between the communities.”
He did not sugar coat the true meaning behind the legislation.
“By granting government employees the power to act in accordance with their religious convictions, personal values, and principles, this regressive legislation would have sanctioned the practice of institutional discrimination on the part of those who committed themselves to a life in public service.”
It just goes to show that enough public outcry can make politicians listen to the majority instead of the vocal minority.