Entertainment

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

@absoto / Instagram

Abraham “AB” Soto is here, queer and unapologetically Mexican. Having grown up in East L.A., Soto has channeled his experiences, culture and love of fashion to make bold, in-your-face statements. He really gives no f*cks what you think about him or his fusion of Mexican and gay culture because that’s who he is. PREACH!

First, AB Soto wants you to know that he is his own person and has no time for your machismo, Latin-men-should-do-this BS mentality.

Credit: absoto / Instagram

“I think there’s a lot of homophobia within the Latin community, and I think that there’s a specific ideal of what a man should be,” Soto told mitú. “There’s a specific role of what a Latin man should be, should look like, should act like, should dance like, and I’m not really interested in that. I’m my own person. If I want to wear a cowboy hat, and I want it to be pink, and I want the quebradita outfit to be sparkly sequins, get into it.”

And, yes, he does have a pink cowboy hat with a matching, sequined quebradita outfit, and it slays, honey.

Credit: absoto / Instagram

“I can be masculine, and I can be feminine, and I’m comfortable in my own skin, and if you have a problem with that, that’s kind of your problem with it,” Soto said. “If you want to leave a comment [laughs] in the comment section, go right ahead [laughs harder ?]. But, like what RuPaul said, ‘What other people think of me is none of my business.'”

Soto is addressing those who are offended by him wearing mariachi outfits – and he’s not biting his tongue. He wants the world to know he’s embracing what it means to be LGBTQ and Latino.

Credit: absoto / Instagram

“They’re [haters are] like, ‘Oh, well, you’re making fun of our culture.’ And I’m like, ‘How so? I’m proud of my culture so I’m wearing it, but this is about homophobia,” Soto said. “Just because I’m gay, you don’t like me wearing it and, in your own words, I’m not a man because I’m wearing the mariachi outfit? But if I was straight, there would be no problem with it.”

But his social commentary goes much deeper than just his outfits.

Credit: absoto / Instagram

Soto, who studied fashion at Brooks College, can definitely put a jaw-dropping outfit together with no problem, but he also uses music to push his message. It isn’t just about embracing his Mexican background. His music and artistry also offers him a platform to get his culture out to the world.

He is using his name and his fame to let everyone know that you can be as Chicano and queer as you want, hunny.

There is nothing wrong with opening up and accepting all of your identity. Whether or not other people accept you is none of your concern. Just follow the energy and words of AB Soto and own your identity. By being a beacon of queer Latinos in the U.S., AB Soto is opening a pathway for so many other queen Latinos to follow him. That is a legacy worth fighting for and something we know will make life easier for so many people.

He stands up for and is a fighter for all of his communities.

Credit: absoto / Instagram

AB Soto navigates the same identity as so many queer U.S. Latinos. One where people have to determine what it means for them to be American, yet Latino. From a culture that is hyper-masculine, yet being a part of a community that is all about sexual freedom, liberation, and fluid identity. The constant pull between all of the different identities is something that so many people relate to and can see themselves represented in the performer.

“I was listening to a melting pot of music,” Soto recalled of his childhood in East L.A.

Credit: absoto / Instagram

“Whether it was house music; whether it was Selena; whether it was my dad playing Vicente Fernández, corridos, charros, cumbia, like, everything, I was watching MTV and listening to pop,” he added. It was this melting pot experience that would later encourage and guide Soto to become the entertainer he is today. He has connected his two cultures and identities into one unapologetic, badass persona.

Soto, inspired by his life in East L.A., and decided it was time to try his hand in music, still tearing down machismo-enforced walls.

After trying rap and banjee ballroom music, Soto decided to go back to his roots.

“Making music, for me, isn’t really like a vain endeavor. It’s another paint brush for people to listen to my message,” Soto said. “So I said, ‘What area of music really needs a make over, really needs a voice?’And I, literally, was just like, ‘Well, I want to embrace where I come from and my Latin roots. So, I think that I need to, like, jolt this area of music that needs, like, a makeover.’ That, and also I wanted people to know that I’m [dramatic pause] Mexican!”

And it isn’t just the Latino community’s mind Soto is trying to open. This fierce Mexicano is also challenging the LGBTQ community’s thoughts on masculinity and beauty.

Yaasssss!!!! For too long, men within the queer community have tried to control what is and is not sexy for the community. There has been a toxic focus on masc for masc and an overwhelmingly accepted idea that “no fats, no blacks, no fems, no Asians” is just a preference. However, that is unacceptable in a tolerant and accepting society. Calling someone too fem shows a deep-seeded issues with gender norms and constructs, Soto argues.

He is constantly flirting with the line between masculinity and femininity through his dancing and clothing.

Credit: absoto / Instagram

“I want people to think. It’s like, I’m the same person, these are just articles of clothing, and if an article of clothing turns you off, there’s something there,” Soto said. “It might be homophobia, it might be your own fear of a drag queen. I want to jolt people into feeling these uncomfortable feelings.”

“Anything can look hot,” Soto said. “It’s just more of, like, the energy.”

“We’ve been trained that if you have the right outfit that you’ll have confidence,” Soto said. “If you have the right amount of muscles, you’ll have confidence, but it’s the other way around. Everything else is just drag for lack of a better word.”

AB Soto’s authentic and unapologetic sense of self and music has taken him far and wide, like to Tokyo, Japan.

Who would have guessed that there would be a bigger audience for queer, Latino music outside of the U.S.? Honestly, AB Soto is deserving of the global recognition and love he has received for his music. He keeps things real and never shies away from defending his sexuality and his background. He is the strong queer Latino lead so many younger queer Latinos can look up to.

Watch AB Soto’s hit music video “Cha Cha Bitch” below!

READ: 9 Things Only #Gaytinos (Gay+Latino) Understand

Pepe Aguilar Is Spreading Norteña Culture Across The US In Sold Out Venues And We Stan Hard

Entertainment

Pepe Aguilar Is Spreading Norteña Culture Across The US In Sold Out Venues And We Stan Hard

Pop music is far more complex and deeper than Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift (no offence, ladies). In a multicultural society like the United States, we have to rethink what we consider as mainstream. This term is generally used for artists whose work is consumed by Anglo audiences. Think about it, an African-American rapper “breaks into the mainstream” when white folk start paying attention, right? Otherwise, the artist is just “niche”. That is why we gotta reconsider what “mainstream” means when it comes to Latino artists and shows. 

Which brings us to Pepe Aguilar, perhaps one of the most popular singers in the planet and who is taking Mexico and the United States by storm with his Mexican rodeo extravaganza “Jaripeo Sin Fronteras”. The show brings together charreria, songs and a good doses of good old Mexican pride. 

So who is Pepe Aguilar? (as if you didn’t know, right?) 

Credit: Instagram. @pepeaguilar_oficial

His full name is José Antonio Aguilar Jiménez and he is Mexican-American as it comes. He was born in San Antonio, Texas, while his parents were on tour. He was raised in Zacatecas, where he first became a rock musician and had a band called Equs, which was influenced by the likes of Pink Floyd and The Who! Can you imagine that? Well, one thing led to another and he ended up going back to his Mexican roots and becoming one of the best-selling ranchera acts of all time. 

He is, of course, the son of the late great Tony Aguilar.

Credit: Instagram. @pepeaguilar_oficial

Pepe Aguilar has ranchera en la sangre. He is the son of Antonio Aguilar and Flor Silvestre, two legendary musicians in their own right. Tony Aguilar was also a strong presence in the Mexican film industry. Aguilar senior recorded over 150 albums, which sold over 25 million copies. Can you get more mainstream than that? Well, Pepe is making sure that the family legacy lives on. 

Introducing Jaripeo Sin Fronteras!

Credit: Instagram. @pepeaguilar_oficial

This amazing show has Pepe Aguilar as the lead, but includes acts by his kids Angela (what a voice on this lady!), Leonardo and Antonio Aguilar Jr. Marichis and rodeo acts are also included of course! The show is touring non-stop in 2019 in both sides of the border, bringing a message of unity. Just look at what they did in Mexico City.

Let’s not forget that for the Aguilar family showbiz is like second nature.

Credit: Instagram. @pepeaguilar_oficial

The show just flows like the musical blood that runs through those Aguilar veins. This is Pepe with his brother, perhaps the only Aguilar not deep into showbiz! In an interview for CE Noticias Financieras, Guadalupe Pineda, the famous Mexican singer and Pepe’s cousin, says of him: “Pepe is a great dad, he’s doing the best for every one of his kids. As an aunt, you simply know and feel that we can all be wrong and that the boy is very young and has every right in the world to get ahead”. 

So, of course, the show includes the next generation of Aguilar talent!

Credit: Instagram. @angelicaguilar_mxfan

Angela Aguilar followed the family tradition of being born while on tour. She came into the world in Los Angeles while her mother was accompanying Pepe Aguilar on tour. And you can tell that musical talent is there. Her version of “Shallow” is enough to make anyone cry! And she had Lady Gaga’s blessing, as Angela said in the Mexican TV show Ventaneando: “Suddenly I’m playing the piano trying to practice and concentrate. Lady Gaga said yes, practice, you’re going to sing it. Oh, my God, I’m going to die! I mean, Lady Gaga knows who I am is like. wow!”.

The show includes all sorts of equine acts, and the horses are quite unique.

Credit: Instagram. @pepeaguilar_oficial

Some of the amazing horses in the show are shaved by the amazing Rob Ferrell, a barber who is so dexterous with the blade he is able to imprint a Mexican aguila y serpiente on the equine’s skin. You can look at his work (on human and horse surfaces!) here: https://www.instagram.com/robtheoriginal/  

The show has been a sold-out in localities North and South of the Border.

Credit: Instagram. @pepeaguilar_oficial

Look at the Honda Center in Anaheim: un lleno total, carajo! Pepe Aguilar is a consummate businessman and he knows that every city is slightly different. He explained the concept to Billboard: “It’s basically a modular concept, where you can change the pieces. The fundamental parts are the horse shows and the Mexican traditions. In some cities we’ll have special guests, in others, only the family is going to perform”. There are still some dates available this year: 

September 20 — Atlanta, Georgia @ Infinite Energy Center

September 22 — Chicago, Illinois @ Allstate Arena

September 27 — Tacoma, Washington @Tacoma Dome

Even if you are not a fan of ranchera culture, you have to admit the show is quite spectacular: the whole Aguilar family makes an appearance, look at Leonardo riding that horse.

Credit: YouTube. @STO

Leonardo is the latest success story in “La Dinastía Aguilar”. He has been nominated for two Latin Grammys despite his tender age: only 20 and he is already a great act. He released his first record when he was only 12-years-old, Nueva Tradición, a collaboration with his sister Angela.

And of course Pepe Aguilar has been super amazing with fans, because that is just who he is.

Credit: YouTube / Los Angeles Times

You don’t get to be on top and stay on top without being an approachable and kind celebrity. Pepe Aguilar knows well who pays his wages: the millions of fans that love him and his multi talented family. 

And of course Mexican cities are embracing the show with sold out venues.

Credit: Instagram. @pepeaguilar_oficial

Jaripeo sin Fronteras has had a huge appeal in Mexico, which tells us that being “Mexican” goes beyond national borders. No one cares Pepe Aguilar was born in the United States: we share one identity and one heart. 

So can haters admit Mexican culture is mainstream now?

Credit: YouTube / Los Angeles Times

Jaripeo sin Fronteras has performed in the main arenas of almost every major city in the United States. See what we meant with rethinking what mainstream means?

And yeah, those are some of the most beautiful caballitos we have ever seen.

Credit: YouTube / Los Angeles Times

Just look at those ojitos pispiretos, beautiful beasts. And as Billboard reports, no animals are harmed, so worry not: “Pepe, who rides several of his Andalusian horses in his own equestrian performance, also specifies that no animals are hurt during this tour”. 

Tejano Music Icon Selena’s Murderer Is Asking For A New Trial After Accusing Prosecutor Of Hiding Evidence

Things That Matter

Tejano Music Icon Selena’s Murderer Is Asking For A New Trial After Accusing Prosecutor Of Hiding Evidence

Yolanda Saldívar, the woman convicted of killing the iconic singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, is demanding a new trial. In an exclusive interview with Radar Online, the late “reina de Tejano music’s” former fan club president alleges there is evidence that could free her from her lifetime sentence for the 1995 murder.

Saldívar claims that the prosecutor in her case, Carlos Valdez, has been holding exculpatory material evidence.

According to Saldívar, it is proof that is favorable to the defendant and shows that Valdez did not disclose to the defense or the jury in the trial for Selena’s 1995 murder more than two decades ago. She says that Valdez discussed the alleged evidence, a pair of high top white Reebok sneakers and a black baseball cap, during an interview with Spanish-language media.

“The Petitioner paraphrases Mr. Valdez’s media interview where he stated that he and the defense counsel, the late Mr. Douglas Tinker, discussed what [evidence] would or would not be introduced to the jury,” reads court paperwork of a Second Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by Saldívar on March 28, 2019.

“How could this be? It is the jury, no less, that would decide the fate of the Petitioner, between [life] in prison and [freedom]. The jury, NOT the defense or the prosecutor is the trier of fact of all relevant material evidence and they alone should and DID determine between conviction and acquittal,” she writes.

In layman terms, Saldívar contends that allegedly relevant evidence in her case wasn’t presented to the jury.

This information is obligatory, and suggests that leaving out the information was “a nefarious attempt to obscure a verdict against the Petitioner.” According to her, including the hat and shoes in the evidence could impact the case against her.

In the interview, Valdez passively says that Saldívar was wearing the bloody hat and sneakers. He attests that Saldívar stepped in Selena’s trail of blood as she followed the late singer running for her life. However, Saldívar, who claimed the shooting was accidental, asked that if the shoes and bloodstains on them could prove she committed the crime, then why did the prosecution exclude them as evidence.

“The prosecutor, Mr. Valdez, presented evidence of the trail of blood he states the victim left behind as she ran 130 yards (390 feet) from the room to the front lobby of the motel,” the court papers read. “The ‘withholding’ of the victim’s shoes (i.e. White Reebok Tennis Shoes) are of a great consequence because if it is as Mr. Valdez claimed in his March 16, 2018 interview that the Petitioner ‘stepped’ on victim’s blood as she followed the victim, then ‘intent’ would have been proven or disproven. For 23 years, the jury nor the defense knew that such shoes existed.” 

She continued, saying she had “no doubt” the prosecutor “impaired the verity of the evidence by not only withholding the evidence but claiming that those tennis shoes belonged to the defendant, inciting and infecting the public’s sediment even more against the Petitioner before, during and now with his recent media interview.”

Saldívar went as far as accusing Valdez of knowing “those tennis shoes belonged to the victim” and said “withholding them helped get the conviction of the Petitioner practicing a travesty of justice to the rule of law and violating the constitutional rights of the Petitioner.”

Despite her demands, however, Saldívar’s case was dismissed without prejudice because the Petitioner filed the petition in district court and must seek permission from the Fifth Circuit.

Saldívar, a former nurse, founded Selena’s fan club in San Antonio. She became the club’s president and was later also promoted to manager of the late artist’s clothing boutiques, Selena, Etc. 

In 1995, six years after Saldívar had started the club, Selena’s father, Abraham Quintanilla, was receiving complaints from fans that they weren’t receiving their paid items and heard rumors from fellow employees that Saldívar had been embezzling money from both the fan club and the boutiques. As a result, Saldívar was fired. 

On March 31 of the same year, Selena met with Saldívar at a Days Inn motel in Corpus Christi to retrieve financial records Saldívar had been refusing to give to the Quintanilla family. While the “Como La Flor” singer was leaving the motel room, Saldívar shot her in the back, severing an artery. Selena, in critical condition, ran toward the motel lobby. Before collapsing, an employee claims the songstress named Saldívar as her shooter.

Selena was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital. 

At the time, she was 23 years old. Soon after, at the Days Inn, Saldívar was in a nine-hour-long standoff with the police, calling the shooting an accident and threatening to kill herself before she was arrested.

On October 23, 1995, jurors found Saldívar guilty of first-degree murder. Three days later, she was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility for parole in 30 years — the maximum prison term in Texas at the time. She is currently serving her time at the Mountain View Unit in Gatesville, Texas. She will become eligible for parole on March 30, 2025.

Read: Netflix Officially Cast The Role Of Selena Quintanilla And ‘Twilight’ Fans Will Be Thrilled