Should the revelation that Ricky Martin is homosexual make the news headlines in 2010? I’m not sure I subscribe to the notion that only when such stories fail to make the news can we conclude that there is genuine acceptance of gay men and women as equals. This is simply celebrity tittle-tattle and the market for that is seemingly unsatiable.
What may be problematic is the advice given to Martin that coming out would hurt his career. But is that ‘hurt’ in the sense that he would have been shunned by the industry and been unable to earn a crust as a singer who happened to be gay, or ‘hurt’ as in his status as a sex symbol for millions of adoring female fans would inevitably degrade and record sales would reflect that? Couldn’t you argue that Martin and his management team have conspired to defraud the record-buying public? All that hip-shaking and smouldering into the camera was a charade, wasn’t it?
Well, you could make this case, but you’d probably be a nutter if you did. What this issue demonstrates is that success in the music industry depends on more than just the ability of the artists to perform. Just because it was ever thus, it doesn’t mean we should stop being pissed off that this remains the case.