The Ricky Martin Effect
A man with many, many talents.
Actor. Musician. Pop Star. Author. Father. Husband. Humanitarian. Frosted Tips. Leather Pants. There is an endless number of adjectives/nouns come to mind when you say the name Ricky Martin.
My first memory of hearing the name & vibe was way past his Menudo Boy Band Days. It was actually in 1995 on the song Maria. Basic song, but it got me moving so it qualified as a bonafide hit in my book, as it did in other parts of the world such as France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Turkey, and ALL of South America. The latter, a feat within itself since all the countries in South America can’t agree one single thing. Then I heard his voice on the Spanish language version of Disney’s Hercules. Don’t judge me, my mom and I were hell-bent on not losing my Spanish so we balanced my little windows of entertainment with many things in Spanish and some in English.
In any case, these two occurrences were enough to declare myself a fan! And to this day I stand firmly on that belief – even through some questionable album releases. Releases, even he acknowledges, in his Autobiographical book Yo. #sameRickysame
Other than my mom’s and my own, Martin up to this point, had solely won the hearts of Latin America but in 1998 he won over the rest of the world. He won the rest of the world by performing on its grandest stage, the World Cup with the catchy tune La Copa de La Vida. The official song of the 1998 World Cup! Then won middle-america over with the epically electrifying performance on music’s biggest night: 1999 Grammy’s stage. This performance further got the ball rolling on the Latin Pop Boom, at a time where boy bands & pop teen queens ruled the airwaves. Other than Gloria Estefan, these Latin beats and musical nuances weren’t exactly the norm on English radio.
Throughout his career and projects, whether it be an album or character he is portraying, he has been someone who has waved that “I am Latino” flag high and proud. (even before the current political climate). But, why was this even important? He was a “hot latin sensation, shaking his bombom.” Along with the Estefan’s, Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, he became a staple in and out of the hispanic community. As a Latino immigrant balancing both my hispanic heritage & adjusting to the “American Dream” seeing that represented at such an international level and completely unapologetically became important and an indirect guiding light.
With Martin, it has gone beyond being the “Face” of a community, that at the beginning was a minority. Even when he stepped out the flashing lights, he found a way to represent another sector of the community that had no voice. It started with children’s advocacy in areas such as education, health & social justice and later, after coming out, more openly assistance with the LGQTIA community. And most recently advocating for his native Puerto Rico in the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Maria & lack of US Government/FEMA Relief.
While Ricky Martin is far from the only one representing the latin@ community, in entertainment, advocacy or what have you, nowadays at least, he was a pioneer. I think there is still a lack of representation but in the meantime I will root for those pave the way loud and proud. Plus, he can get me to get up and dance…so #TeamRickyMartin.
So why are we (err – Me) on this Ricky Martin Wave? 1. Because he can pull off an entire leather outfit (sleeveless & Tight)! (Name anyone else who can… I’ll wait…) 2. It is the 10th Year Anniversary of the release of Vuelve, but lastly, to celebrate his outstanding performance on The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. Check it out on Wednesdays on FX.