Friday, April 2, 2010

Ricky Martin Has a Window Seat

Cross posted from my Media Justice Column

I really can’t continue where I said I would about open relationships when two artists of Color have created media in ways that are producing so many reactions! This weekend, as I moved my life into a new apartment friends on twitter and facebook encouraged others to check out the new video by Erykah Badu for her upcoming album New Amerykah Part II: Return Of The Ankh, which was released on Tuesday March 30, 2010.

I took a 20-minute break from moving boxes and watched the video. Here’s the one I saw:

As you can imagine there have been many responses regarding this video. My homegirl Sylvia shared with me another video that was created for this song here:

What I find is missing from these discussions are the conversations, ideas, thoughts, impressions, and critique from all of YOU. There are a lot of older folks (think over 25) who are talking about this video and it’s representations and meanings. Yet, I want to hear you all talk about what this video may mean and represent for you. So share your thoughts! For those of you who don’t know the video was shot at the same location as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Here’s an article discussing how/why Badu and company did not get arrested.

EDITED: My homegirl SuperHussy has begun to transcribe interviews with her daughter TinyHussy about various pop culture phenomena and this video was one area of discussion among them. Read what a 5 year-old has to say about the video here.

As my Monday afternoon began I had convinced myself to take a well-deserved nap! (Nesting is hard work!) Yet that was not what happened when I read a tweet from many friends that Puerto Rican artist Ricky Martin had “come out” as a gay man on his blog.

It’s kind of a big deal for me, a Puerto Rican woman, because I know that in Puerto Rico people are murdered for being anything besides heterosexual; especially gay Puerto Rican males. There’s also the fact that Ricky Martin is staying on the island to live and raise his children (for the most part). This is HUGE as many of the Puerto Rican narratives we have come from a migratory experience as people who “come out” have chosen to remove themselves from the mainland of Puerto Rico and move to the states because of homophobia, issues of safety, and support systems. You can read more about this in the amazing book by Larry La Fountain-Stokes Queer Ricans: Cultures and Sexualities In The Diaspora.

Here's a video of Larry La Fountain-Stokes talking about his book (Spanish video first English after)

Queer Culture Puerto Ricans in the Diaspora from Universidad de Michigan on Vimeo.

Queer Culture Puerto Ricans in the Diaspora from Universidad de Michigan on Vimeo.

What are your thoughts? There’s a lot going on for the week just beginning!


  1. Ricky is already in the Diaspora even before his coming out. His principal home being in Miami which is more than gay-friendly. I don't think any possible dangers on his home island ever were part of his decision though. It's just that Miami is the hub of Latin music.

  2. hi karin, thanks for your comments. to think that issues of safety or "possible dangers on his home island were ever part of his decision" may be one of the reasons he identified himself as "fortunate." not many puerto ricans who are gay (and out or even those who are not) living on the mainland or in the US have the "fortune" of assuming safety. they are not safe in this country or in their homeland. i think this issue does have a HUGE thing to do with his decision to make this statement at this time in his life: when he knows he will not be harmed as Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado was murdered. i also believe he has more than one home and there is a home in PR and the fact that he is maintaining that residence is something out gay Puerto Ricans have not had the "fortune" to do before.