Raymix, Esteman, Erika Vidro and Grupo Firme’s Jhonny Caz came together at Latin Music Week on Tuesday (Sept. 21) for a revealing conversation on their experiences as LGBTQ+ Latin acts.
Moderated by Eder Díaz of podcast De Pueblo, Católico y Gay, the group spoke on the process of coming out, respectively, and the impact that’s had on their careers. Over the past few years, a landmark number of Latin artists have come out, including Colombian singer-songwriter Esteman and electro-cumbia singer Raymix, who opened up about being gay in a five-minute YouTube video last year
“It was important to be the light for new generations,” Esteman said about his decision to come out. “And, at the end of the day, something so personal became activism.”
Below, a few standout quotes from the panel:
On coming out:
Esteman: “It was something that happened spontaneously but at the same time, I wasn’t seeing anyone in Colombia who was coming out and a lot of people from my team would say, ‘Keep that to yourself, it’s not necessary to tell anyone.’ But I felt the need to be transparent with my audience. It was important to be the light for new generations. And, at the end of the day, something so personal became activism.”
Jhonny Caz: “I’ve always been an openly gay person, and when Grupo Firme approached asking me to join the band, I told them from the very beginning ‘I’m gay and I don’t go inside a closet.’ And my manager responded with ‘so what you’re gay … and no one is asking you to go into a closet.’ And you know, no journalist had asked me if I was gay and if they would have, I would have given them the exclusive.”
The impact coming out had on his career:
Raymix: “It’s like if I had taken a ton off my shoulders. I can now sing how I really feel and change the lyrics to make my love interest male instead of female. Also, I’m not the only one in the planet that’s living this and that’s the beautiful part about this all. If I was able to do it, you can too. Be free and enjoy life because we’re not here forever.”
On no longer censoring herself:
Erika Vidrio: “There’s no going back to that headspace where I would censor myself. I’ve already revealed something so personal and honest that you can’t even doubt yourself anymore.”
The star-studded 2021 Latin Music Week lineup — headlined by Daddy Yankee, Karol G and Nicky Jam — also includes participation by Anitta, Elena Rose, Natti Natasha, Jhay Cortez, Kany García and Tainy, with more to be announced.
Under the slogan “The Beat of Latin Music,” making its mark as the longest running and biggest Latin music industry gathering in the world, this year’s event will continue through the end of the week as Billboard launches its En Vivo concert series in partnership with Samsung, Amazon Music and Bacardí.
The 2021 Latin Music Week will take place from Sept. 20 to 25 at the Faena Forum in Miami and coincides with the 2021 Billboard Latin Music Awards broadcasting live via Telemundo on Sept. 23. See the list of finalists here.