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Juan Gabriel Left Behind A Legacy Of Sparkling Gender Fluidity

"All art is feminine."

On August 31, 2016, musical icon Juan Gabriel passed away at age 66 of a heart attack. The beloved artist left behind a legacy of challenging cultural prejudices and sparkling gender fluidity.

While Gabriel was admired for his artistic flamboyance, effeminate persona, and aesthetic defiance of machista culture, he never identified as gay in any interviews or records. Throughout his career, rumors swirled about the singer's sexuality—it wasn't until the early 2000s that Gabriel publicly addressed them, according to the Huffington Post.

In a recorded interview, reporter Fernando Del Rincón boldly asked Gabriel if he was gay. The journalist started by quoting a Mexican historian who noted that Gabriel "explored the feminine side" when entertaining onstage.

In response, Gabriel stated, "All art is feminine [...] look, if you're handsome and young and beautiful, well, people are always going to say that you're gay."

When Del Rincón finally questioned Gabriel about his sexuality, the singer gave this answer: "They say that what you can see, you don't ask, son."

Del Rincón then followed up with what he saw: a successful singer. Gabriel response? Sheer brilliance:

That's what's most important because your worth isn't based on the things that other people can hold against you. Because everything that one does is what stays, what matters. Actions are what's most important.  To transcend and be yourself...I have no reason to tell you, and others, something that is not of interest to you. I think I am an artist. I think I am Juan Gabriel, who has given so much with my songs. And I'm going to tell you something, Fernando, I'm not a saint, but I'm also not the little devil that many think I am.

In a memoriam piece, Yezmin Villareal of the Advocate noted that Gabriel was indisputably an icon for queer Latinx folks. "To queer Latinos, El Divo de Juarez symbolized that it is possible to exist outside of the confining expectations of gender and sexuality. Juan Gabriel never tamed his feminine appearance nor his flamboyant dancing, despite the gay rumors throughout his career."

Gustavo Arellano of OC Weekly, agrees. “Gabriel is without comparison—and while the same was true of his recently deceased peer in gender-fucking, Prince, there is simply no parallel to JuanGa (what everyone called him, and how I’ll refer to him here). His songs were the soundtrack to aching hearts, suffering women, and closeted folks for nearly 45 years, and gave them solace and comfort when few others would. He was proudly flamboyant in an era, in a country, synonymous with machismo, and made its power wane through him being him—as I tweeted today, Mexican boys are taught to ridicule Juan Gabriel, while Mexican men learn to respect the legend.”

Before the interview ended, Gabriel commented as to how the industry delved to deeply into matters that shouldn't interest them:

I think, today, television is asking too many loaded questions, pushing further for ratings. I've learned during my life that if I am in hell, I make my own glory. I've also been in glory and perhaps I've made my own hell, but I certainly don't take anyone down with me. And [I've learned] that I'm not a liar. What I say is what I feel, whether anyone likes it or not. But there's something else that I have to say as a human being, and that's that you only get one life and you have to live it, and if we have to eventually pass to a better life then it has to be an honest one. Let others worry about their own lives, and let the rest of us live.

Watch the interview below.

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Popular Celeb Spot 'La Marina' Shut Down After Drug Bust

Adored by celebrities like French Montana, Jay-Z and Leonardo DiCaprio, New York hot spot La Marina might be closing its doors for a good after a drug bust led to a suspension of their liquor license.

A statement released Dec. 6 by the New York Liquor Authority (SLA) broke down the case, which overlapped with an investigation by the NYPD in July. Bar manager Christian Mendez, 33, was arrested in November on felony charges after he was caught selling large amounts of cocaine, oxycodone and other drugs to undercover NYPD detectives. Their investigation into the venue also revealed 72 violations of the state liquor law like selling liquor to minors and impaired customers.

Chairman Vincent Bradley and Commissioner Lily Fan condemned the venue and hope to yank their liquor license for good. “When a bar manager is able to traffic and sell these types and quantities of narcotics from within an establishment it is incredibly alarming," Counsel to the Authority Christopher R. Riano said.

“Licensees have a responsibility to ensure their establishments are operating within the law, and the SLA is obligated to take emergency action as it is clear that this licensee has failed to take any meaningful actions to protect the public.”

La Marina was also hit with sixteen violations of the ABC Law, including seven counts of operating disorderly premises for permitting the trafficking of controlled substances, six violations for fire, health and more safety code violations. Their inspection grade in July was something close to an F minus for mishandlings of food, shoddy plumbing and the presence of mice and flies.

The venue has been a staple in the area since its opening in 2012, attracting big celebrities and brands like Red Bull and HBO. The New York Post notes La Marina has a 15-year lease, where they make up to $7 million a year in revenue.

Their social presence hasn't acknowledged their current status, but their calendar for upcoming events has been scrapped from their website.

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Judge Awards Cardi B Release Without Bail After Alleged Bartender Attack

Cardi B reported to court Friday morning (Dec. 7) in efforts to resolve an ongoing court case, which stems from an alleged altercation back in August at a Queens strip club involving two bartenders named Jade and Baddie Gi.

Prior to attending court, the "Money" MC was threatened to face jail time by the judge in charge of the case if she missed today’s court date. She reportedly had a court appearance on Monday (Dec. 3) that she failed to report to.

In October, the Bronx rapper (born Belcalis Almanzar) turned herself in to authorities after being accused of orchestrating a physical attack on the servers at Angels Strip Club. Per TMZ, she was arrested for two misdemeanor charges: assault and reckless endangerment.

One of the bartenders, Jade Gi, was accused of having an affair with Cardi’s (now possibly estranged) husband, Migos member Offset. The “She Bad” rapper was released without bail. Prosecutors reportedly wanted to charge her with a $2,500 bail, but the judge felt she wasn’t a flight risk, meaning she wouldn’t leave the country before the case is over in its totality.

However, the judge did warn Cardi to have “no contact” to Baddie and Jade Gi, after he granted both an order of protection against the 26 year-old. She’s also not allowed to make any threats or comment on the two on social media.

Cardi is reportedly scheduled to head back to court sometime next month.

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Premiere: Fuego And A. Chal Take Over The Strip Club In "Dancin" Music Video

Dominican trap artist Fuego has created an ode to the art of stripping with his new single “Dancin,” featuring producer and R&B extraordinaire A. Chal. The visuals for the track are laced with bright blue club lights and brief salacious interludes of voluptuous young ladies dancing provocatively.

The two are seemingly in a never-ending party in efforts to promote strip club etiquette through their tantalizing lyrics. There's no denying that Fuego's sound is reminiscent of today's prominent trap artists like Migos and Future, but he packs in a Latino flair, like his contemporaries Bad Bunny and El Alfa. The Washington D.C. native's sound is similar, but it's worth noting he's been on the scene for a while, steadily etching his mark as his musical prowess rises within hip-hop and Latin audiences.

“For some reason, I've always wanted to do a sound that American hip-hop has, and then break that my way,” he tells VIBE. “When it comes to putting stuff together and making fusions of music, I've done it all my life. When I first started out, I did reggae beats, but I was rapping over them. There’s a little more urban, hip-hop sound in the Latin community. Before, it was mad reggae. It either had to be a tropical type song or reggaeton song. I've always wanted to come out with hip-hop music."

Watch the video for "Dancin" below.

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