July 10, 2013 at 12:34 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Protest threat as Fillmore books anti-gay act
Molotov, music, Gay News, Washington Blade

The group Molotov has a large following among young people in Mexico and other Latin American countries. Activists are threatening to protest their show next month in Silver Spring, Md. (Promotional photo courtesy Molotov)

The scheduled appearance next month in Silver Spring, Md., of a controversial hip-hop act from Mexico that uses the phrase “kill the faggot” in one of its songs has prompted LGBT activists to consider holding a protest outside the theater where the band is set to perform on Aug. 26.

LGBT Latino activists familiar with the popular Mexico City band Molotov say the Spanish language lyrics in several of its songs include the words “puto” and “maricon,” which sometimes are used in different ways but are widely interpreted as a slur against gay men.

Gay Latino activist and blogger Andres Duque of New York City, who’s a native Spanish speaker from Colombia, told the Blade that one of Molotov’s most controversial and popular songs is entitled “Puto” and repeats that word more than a dozen times.

Duque said that while the word is sometimes used to describe a male prostitute and a coward it is most often interpreted as “fag” or “faggot.”

A spokesperson for the Fillmore Silver Spring Theater, where Molotov is scheduled to appear for a one-time performance on Aug. 26, did not return calls from the Blade seeking comment as of late Tuesday.

“We are considering a protest at the theater,” said Alex McNeill, a spokesperson for the statewide LGBT group Equality Maryland. “We want people to know that most Latino people don’t agree with the lyrics that use ‘puto.’ We want to make sure people know the word is hurtful.”

Anthony Varona, an associate dean and professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, and D.C. attorney Gabriel Rodriguez-Rico – both native Spanish speakers – joined Duque in rejecting the assertion by some fans and supporters of Molotov who say the lyrics in question are not meant to target gays.

Duque told the Blade Molotov’s four musician members, one of whom is American, have long insisted that their use of the words “puto” and “Maricon” are meant to target corrupt politicians in Mexico as part of the band’s advocacy for social justice.

“The band says that in no way whatsoever are they talking about someone who is gay,” Duque said. “They are only singing about [people] who go along with the corrupt government and never raise a voice against injustice.”

Rodriguez-Rico, who is a native of Mexico, said he’s especially concerned that Molotov has a large following among young people in Mexico and other Latin American countries. He said the song “Puto” is often played at soccer stadiums, with fans attending soccer games singing the song as if it were an “anthem.”

According to Rodriquez-Rico, he found at least six other songs by Molotov that include at least one homophobic slur.

“LGBTQ Hispanics face challenges and discrimination from within their own social circles and other groups, increasing the risks of homelessness, unemployment, suicide, among others,” he said in an email to activists weighing how to respond to Molotov’s upcoming appearance in Silver Spring.

“I believe the last thing the Hispanic culture needs is a music band that hurts it so badly by stereotyping us and turning the phrase ‘death to the faggot’ into a social anthem,” he said.

Varona, who has served on the boards of the Human Rights Campaign and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said Molotov uses the Spanish words for “faggot” repeatedly in the song “Puto” without making a distinction that the word isn’t targeting gays.

“It’s part of the refrain and is used not in a way that suggests it’s meant to educate but in a way that’s meant to be cutting and to be very, very negative and a slur.”

It couldn’t immediately be determined at press time who arranged for the booking of Molotov at the Fillmore Silver Spring Theater. The theater’s website says the theater is owned by Live Nation Entertainment, Inc., a multi-national corporation based in Hollywood, Calif., that describes itself as the world’s largest producer of live entertainment concerts.

Janice Levi, general manager for the Fillmore Silver Spring, and Jacqueline Peterson, public relations spokesperson for Live Nation Entertainment in Hollywood didn’t immediately respond to calls from the Blade.

Following is a translation by gay Latino activist Andres Duque of excerpts of Molotov’s song “Puto,” which was first released in 1997 as part of the band’s album “Donde Jugarán Las Niñas,” in which the band sings in Spanish:

“So you are macho man, no? Ah, so macho, no?

Faggot, girly, you’re rather a little male-whore, no?”

Background chorus: “Fag, Fag, Fag, Fag, Fag. Fag, Fag, Fag

He who doesn’t jump up and down
FAG!! He who doesn’t shout and swear

The guy who remained in conformity

He who believed the official reports

He who takes away our food
FAG!! Also he who covers it up

He who doesn’t do whatever he wants

Born a fag, dies a fag

Love the killer,
Kill the faggot
And what does that son of a bitch want?
He wants to cry, he wants to cry.”

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • I will be there to protest. I live in Silver Spring and have enjoyed shows at the Filmore but with this booking I will never support them again. You’re either a part of the solution or a part of the problem, I know what side I’m on.

  • This is a ridiculous misinterpretation of the lyrics and it's similar to protests against that song in Spain more than a decade ago where the word is used as an insult-slang related to homosexuals. Puto is obviously not a nice word, but the context in which it is used has nothing to do with attacking the BGLT community. A proper translation within context would be "assh*le", as in -'You're being an assh*le for making such a deal out of this'.

    In fact, you shouldn't protect and help identify that word as an insult to homosexuals, I find that very offensive. You should be thanking Molotov instead because thanks to their popularity in Latin America the meaning of the word has been de-sexualized and it's now more commonly used to identify cowards, bigots and assh*les alike.

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