Well, it may not matter to a lot of us, but the sad truth is that in the innately machista reggaeton and hip-hop it does still matter. As art forms created by African American and Latino males, to be rough and rugged was always the motto; showing your emotions was weak. After all, hip-hop is the voice of the streets — Jay-Z dealing crack on a Brooklyn corner, Rakim doing stickups, Cypress Hill shooting “putos.” Reggaeton had similarly grimy origins. There’s never been room for anything less than your stereotypical testosterone-addled brown or black hombre from the ‘hood.
So it’s no wonder that though the odds are probably high that some of your favorite urban artists are in the closet, the genre has yet to produce an openly gay superstar (Frank Ocean is R&B). Almost makes you wish that the Twit pic, which Yankee said was false, had been real. It would’ve sent a huge message to the status quo.
Of course, in the Latin community, that status quo extends beyond music. Even though stats show that Latinos are heavily in favor of gay marriage and despite the fact that some Latin American countries have legalized it, Jose & Juan as a couple is still taboo in a lot of circles.
Some Latino males have been raised to ridicule homosexuality or even regard it as a disease. My father, a blue collar Ecuadorian immigrant, along with his friends would mock our barrio’s resident gay guy, Franklin. As the ringleader, my dad would mockingly throw piropos at Franklin while his friends would join in on the fun. It was all in good fun, or so I thought. Because Franklin was seemingly OK with it, he would laugh, swing his hips and throw kisses back. It was only much later that I realized it was wrong. Franklin surely wouldn’t confront any of the neighborhood guys by himself. Who would defend him? It was easier just to play along.