Things That Matter

Joe Lopez Is Launching A Career Comeback After Serving Time For Raping Teenage Niece

Do you believe people deserve redemption? In today’s society, cancel culture is real and it has ended the career of many in entertainment, politics, and sports. Some have committed such egregious crimes that their cancelation is in line with societal values and norms. That is a discussion happening now with Joe Lopez’s return to the music world after 12 years in prison for raping his niece when she was 13 years old.

A Tejano musician who was in prison for 12 years after he was convicted of raping his own niece is making a return to the music world.

Credit: El Rodeo Disco / Facebook

Joe Lopez, a 69-year-old singer of the Tejano group called Banda Mazz, was released from prison in 2018 after the parole board deemed it was okay for him to be let go. He was supposed to be in jail for 20 years but was released early, as the Daily Mail reports, after the “Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles decided last week to allow Lopez to enter the county ‘solely for employment purposes.'”

Raymond Estrada, a spokesperson for the parole board, said they encourage offenders to be able to get jobs after their release from prison. 

“The board recognizes the importance of employment as being a critical component to successful reentry for offenders,” Estrada, told the San Antonio Current. “If public safety is not compromised, we support such initiatives.”

That statement is a bit unsettling, considering that Lopez, who is a sex offender, will be singing to women of all ages at concerts. 

In 2004, Lopez was convicted of raping his niece. She was only 13-years-old at the time.

The crime occurred in Rancho Viejo, a small town outside Brownsville, Texas. He has since returned to that same neighborhood, which is where his niece still lives. While he is registered as a sex offender, he has always maintained that he never committed the crime. 

Lopez’s niece has yet to comment on the release of her convicted uncle. However, Andy Kahan of Crime Stoppers Houston and an advocate of the rape victim said the parole’s decision to release Lopez early is a “slap in the face.”  He added, “I can’t fathom their rationale for allowing this to happen. How can I in good conscience now tell victims we can get that in the conditions of their release when it’s subject to being easily removed and changed?”

If you’re thinking that there’s no way people would be interested in hearing Lopez sing again with his band, think again. At least one of his shows is sold out.

Lopez will be performing with his old group Banda Mazz on a comeback tour, and at least one show was sold out as soon as it announced. Oh, and the show is called the “Freedom Tour.” 

El Rodeo Disco uploaded one of Banda Mazz’s videos, and most people on social media were thrilled about the band’s return. 

Pablo Hernandez wrote on Facebook, “Been waiting long enough. Alli voy a estar.” Sylvia Ortiz also chimed in saying, “Whom am I to judge. Love ur music.” Others said, “is this show sold out?” Another said, “can’t wait!” One person, however, did not approve. Juan N Esme Reynoso wrote on Facebook, “This was when he wasn’t a child molester. Rodeo Disco is wrong for letting him perform.”

Lopez definitely has a following. On the band’s Facebook page, fans were thrilled that the band would be headed on a comeback tour.

Sandra Vallejo who serves as Lopez’s manager told the Daily Mail they are seeking to exonerate him of the rape charges. She adds, “For every one person against him, there are three more who support him.” She is right about that. From our research of the band on social media, people are praising their return. 

We think it’s mostly due to the band’s older audience. It’s interesting to note that the biggest Tejano music star — Selena Quintanilla, of course — has some of the most socially conscious fans, especially her new fans. So perhaps some of them will organize a rally at some of Banda Mazz’s shows. Because you know Selena would never stand for a convicted sex offender perform in Texas, or anywhere for that matter, knowing full well that there is a dangerous element involved. 

READ: A Woman Has Come Forward To Accuse An ICE Agent Of Rape And Threatening Her With Deportation

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Bad Bunny Talks Depression And Says Sometimes He Still Feels Like The Boy Who Bagged Groceries Back Home

Entertainment

Bad Bunny Talks Depression And Says Sometimes He Still Feels Like The Boy Who Bagged Groceries Back Home

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Bad Bunny is on top of the world. Or, at least, that’s how it appears to all of us on the outside enjoying his record-breaking year. Not only did he release three albums in 2020 but he also landed his debut acting role in the Netflix series Narcos: Mexico and from his Instagram stories, he seems to be in a happy, contentful relationship.

But like so many others, Bad Bunny has his experience with mental health issues, of which he recently opened up about in an interview with El País.

Bad Bunny recently spoke up about his struggle with depression.

Despite his immense success that’s catapulted him to, arguably, the world’s biggest superstar, Bad Bunny admits that sometimes he still feels like the young man who bagged groceries in a supermarket.

The reggaetonero revealed in an interview with El País that right as his career really started to take off, he was not happy. “You asked me before how I hadn’t gone crazy. Well, I think that was the moment that was going to determine if I was going to go crazy or not. From 2016 to 2018 I disappeared, I was stuck in a capsule, without knowing anything. The world saw me, but I was missing,” he said.

Although no doctor diagnosed him, he is sure of what was happening. it only did he feel lost and empty but he had stopped doing many of the things that brought him joy, like watching movies and boxing. Without realizing it, he had also fallen out of contact with much of his family, with whom he was typically very close.

“And that’s when I said: who am I? What’s going on?” he told El País. When he returned home to Puerto Rico from spending time in Argentina, he was able to get back into the right state of mind and remember who he was.

Despite his success, Bad Bunny still worries he’s in financial trouble.

Although today, he is the number one Latin artist on Spotify and the awards for his music keep coming, there are times when Bad Bunny still thinks that he has financial problems.

“Not long ago, I was 100% clear in my head what I have achieved, maybe a year or six months ago; but until then, many times I forgot, I felt that I was the kid from the supermarket. He would happen something and say: “Hell!” And then: “Ah, no, wait, if I have here,” he said, touching his pocket.

Much like Bad Bunny, J Balvin has also been candid about his own mental health struggles.

Bad Bunny is just the most recent to speak to the emotional havoc he experiences despite being a global superstar. And, thankfully, like many other celebrities, he’s been able to find refuge in a reality that allows him to keep his feet on the ground so that he too can enjoy the achievements of his career.

Much like El Conejo, J Balvin is known for the brightness of his style and mentality. But he’s long addressed the importance of caring for one’s mental health. During his Arcoíris Tour, he encouraged people to not be ashamed of seeking professional help, and let the audience know they are not alone.   

“Las enfermedades de salud mental son una realidad. Yo he sufrido de depresión y he sufrido de ansiedad, así que tengo que aceptarlo. Y eso me hace más humano, me hace entender que la vida tiene pruebas,” Balvin said. “Pero si alguien está pasando una situación difícil, no están solos, siempre llega la luz. Tarde o temprano llega la luz.”  

“Mental health illnesses are a reality. I have suffered from depression and anxiety, so I have to accept it. And this makes me more human. It makes me understand that life has challenges,” Balvin said in Spanish. “But if someone is going through a difficult time, they are not alone, light always comes. Sooner or later, the light comes.”  

We need more men like Benito and J Balvin to speak up about their mental health struggles, to help destroy the stigma that exists within our community.

And in the same interview, he also spoke about why he works to elevate the Spanish language.

As for the possibility of singing in English, the answer remains the same: a resounding no.

“You have to break this view that the gringos are Gods…No, papi,” he told El País. And, although he’s collaborated with artists like Drake, Cardi B and Jennifer Lopez, he has always sang in Spanish and with his famous accent.

“I am very proud to reach the level where we are speaking in Spanish, and not only in Spanish, but in the Spanish that we speak in Puerto Rico. Without changing the accent,” he said.

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Bilingual Collaborations Are Taking The Music World By Storm, These Are The Dream Collabs For 2021

Entertainment

Bilingual Collaborations Are Taking The Music World By Storm, These Are The Dream Collabs For 2021

Can’t Remember to Forget You / Sony Music Worldwide

One doesn’t have to look far back to know that Spanglish duets are a growing trend – and one that seems to be growing in popularity and Latino artists are making Spanish-language music go mainstream.

Just last year, we saw unprecedented collaborations between artists such as Maluma and The Weeknd, Banda MS and Snoop Dogg, David Bisbal and Carrie Underwood and Rosalía and Travis Scott. You can go back a little further in time to the chart-topping collab between and Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, and Justin Bieber from 2017.

Despite all the movement in Spanglish collabs, there are still so many dream mashups to look forward to. Here’s a roundup of some of the dream team ups that need to happen in 2021.

Bad Bunny & Harry Styles

Bad Bunny had an incredible 2020. And although many rumors exist that he may be leaving the music industry to focus on acting, the music world anxiously awaits his every move.

With his latest album, El Último Tour del Mundo, Benito gave us a look into alternative pop-rock Bad Bunny and we liked what we heard and saw. Meanwhile, Harry Styles is also an innovative, fashion-forward artist who – like Bad Bunny – makes music on his own terms.

If this collaboration were to happen, it would be a major milestone for the music industry and would easily be a major highlight of 2021.

Rosalia & Billie Eilish

Ok, so this one isn’t exactly a “dream” collab since we already know it is happening. We just don’t know when. It was back in April 2020 when the Spanish singer said she was trying to finish the song, telling Billboard, “I have been trying to finish the Billie Eilish collab. I think it’s getting quite close.”

And the world has been patiently waiting ever since. Both artists are experimental and strong songwriters, so we’re all waiting with baited breath to see what this duo comes up with.

J Balvin & The Weeknd

J Balvin is no stranger to bilingual collaborations, including hits with Justin Bieber, Beyoncé, Selena Gomez, and Dua Lipa, to name a few. Balvin shines in his place as a reggaetón star – just look at his credits from 2020 – and he’s made sure to bring his Latino essence into all the work he does.

Together with The Weeknd – who recently collaborated with Maluma – the duo would mesh their experimental sounds perfectly, making this one of the top dream collabs of 2021.

Daddy Yankee & Missy Elliot

This one might be a long shot but can you imagine?! The mashup of old-school reggaeton with old-school hip-hop and both Daddy and Missy Viking on their shared witty lyrics would bring us the ultimate ‘90s collab of our dreams.

Camilo & Sam Smith

This collab would work because these two pop crooners aren’t afraid to show vulnerability and emotion in their lyrics. Sam Smith’s powerhouse vocals would compliment Camilo’s delicate vocals. Like Taylor Swift, Sam Smith has yet to collaborate with a Latin artist. It’s never too late.

Karol G & Rihanna

Like many of us, Karol G is a major Rihanna fan. She even has a tattoo of the “Umbrella” singer on her arm. She previously told Billboard that Rihanna “presents herself as a real woman, she doesn’t care about the negative comments. I love her lyrics because she sings about love, heartbreak, woman empowerment, and I feel that we have similar personalities.”

And it wouldn’t be the first Spanglish collaboration for Rihanna, who previously worked with Shakira on “Can’t Remember to Forget You” in 2014.

Natti Natasha & Cardi B

Both Natti and Cardi are Dominican powerhouses: one is a reggaeton all-star and the other is hip-hop’s darling. Many have long said that a duet between the two is long overdue, especially since they both seem to be major fans of each other’s work.

And any collaboration between the powerhouse duo would be an important milestone in Latin music, regardless the route that they went.

What dream collaboration do you hope to see in 2021? Did we miss anyone on this roundup?

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