Juan Gabriel, who died on Sunday, was an unapologetically flamboyant and effeminate musical icon who transcended traditional, deeply embedded Mexican norms, especially machismo.
Machismo has long been associated with numerous Latin American cultures, so it’s reasonable to wonder about the acceptance of musical performers such as Gabriel, who redefined what it means to be macho. Macho men are said to have been seen crying at Gabriel’s concerts alongside women without any regard to his effeminate portrayal.
What will you remember most about Juan Gabriel? Was he the only performer who could captivate a Latino audience, even while his persona ran contradictory to the culture’s widely held beliefs about manhood?
Rafael Fernandez, Consultant and reporter covering Mexico, Latin America and U.S. immigration for Fusion; Rafa recently wrote about how Juan Gabriel redefined manhood in Mexican culture; he tweets from @rafafc91