Sunday, 14 November 2010

Feels So Good That It Can’t Be Wrong

Ricky Martin Ricky Martin, "Me" book signing, November 2010

There is something beautiful in witnessing a major celebrity in the throes of profound and real transformation. A week before we meet, Ricky Martin had made a surprise appearance at the annual Human Rights Campaign national dinner to pledge his support. “Something as simple as standing at that dinner and saying, ‘I’m gay,’ creates so may emotions I’ve never felt before,” he admits. “I didn’t do it earlier because of fear, and, bottom line, it was all in my head. I was seduced by fear, and I was sabotaging most of my life -- my music, my relationships with my friends, with my family, with everybody. That’s something I need to share because I know that a lot of people are going through what I went through, no matter what their age, and fear cannot control us.”

Ricky Martin is about to share big time -- with his new memoir, Me, a remarkably heartfelt account of his journey from teen group Menudo to fatherhood, delivered in a frank, conversational style that doesn’t economize on the truth. It includes accounts of his first passionate affairs -- with men and with women -- as well as his struggle to reconcile his conflicted yearnings with his rapid ascent in America. The pivotal year is 1999, at which Martin performed his World Cup anthem, “La Copa de la Vida,” at the Grammys. Largely unknown in the United States beyond Hispanic audiences, he left the stage as a breathless Rosie O’Donnell (the evening’s host) exclaimed, “Who was that cutie patootie?”

It was connecting the dots that led directly to Martin’s tweet last March. In his memoir, he recounts how friends and colleagues remonstrated with him to hold off: “I ignored all their recommendations, and by the end, when they came to me with the argument that I shouldn’t do it during Easter because it might offend my Christian fans, I said: ‘What part of ‘I can’t take it any more’ do you not understand? What about me?’”

Above all, he says he worried about Matteo and Valentino having to answer for their father’s untruths. How would they respond as they grew older? Would they have to lie on his behalf? “How could I teach my kids to lie?” he asks. “How could I teach them not to be themselves?” And, as simple as that, he realized he couldn’t and wouldn’t. “My children will grow up with no prejudice,” he says. “As parents, we need to create a new way of thinking for our kids, in which we accept, and we love, and we can vibe with everybody.”

Source: Out Magazine, Out 100: Ricky Martin