How raunchy is salsa? Should it be cleaned up? Can it be?
My introduction to salsa was a little abrasive, to put it mildly, not surprising as I live in corporate Seattle, which was a city of assholes even before it was yuppified. But as I began researching salsa, I discovered more dirt stretching far beyond Seattle. With a background in political activism, it was only natural for me to become a whistleblower.
I didn't want to focus only on the negative. Latin music, dance and culture are beautiful, and there are so many cool things to discover. So I wanted to finish documenting the bad stuff and move on to the good stuff. Unfortunately, it looks like I've barely scratched the surface regarding the bad stuff.
In fact, some recent revelations have given me enough material for three or four separate articles, maybe more. Since I'm in the middle of a huge multi-site upgrade, I'm going to publish sort of a rough draft here. After I get my upgrade finished - hopefully by about September 1 - I'll polish it and organize it into several articles.
The material on this page focuses on four primary topics:
My salsa arrogance began when salsa fans told me there was no connection between salsa and politics, and I quickly proved them wrong. However, I was wrong in turn when I concluded that salsa politics (and perhaps salsa itself) died in the '70s. In fact, salsa is far more politicized today than I realized - it's just very different; it's very right-wing.
The world's biggest salsa star may be a traitor and war criminal named Obama. That's right, the Drone pResident has taken up salsa, and it isn't hard to guess why, even if we don't know all the details.
But who would dance with a scumbag like Obama? Well, we can start with a Mexican salsa star named Thalia. Watch this sickening video, and you'll understand why Thalia's considered a "total fake" in Puerto Rico.
And here's a video that shows Gloria Estefan, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony whoring it up for Obama.
It's no secret that Gloria Estefan is a right-winger. She's part of the Cuban-American community that hates everything associated with the Cuban Revolution. You know - the rich people who had the most to lose from a revolution and could afford to just move to another country. But Jennifer Lopez?
That's right. Here's a video where she campaigns for St. Obama.
Of course, this video was recorded before the extent of Obama's corruption and sheer evil was fully known. But Jennifer Lopez apparently likes brutal, authoritarian leaders. Check out the article Jennifer Lopez to Perform at Lavish Birthday Party for Brutal Dictator. And for all those people who were ready to dismiss me as an unhinged ranter the minute you began reading this article, please note that I'm not the only one who was a little shocked at JLo's dictator birthday stunt. Her managers had to do a little damage control.
Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony aren't the only NYC salsa stars who have their heads stuck up their derriers. Take Willie Colon - please. As a member of Mayor Bloomberg's administration, it isn't surprising that Colon should be another Obamabot. Nor is it really surprising that he wasn't a big fan of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, one of the world's biggest heroes. But Willie received a lot of justifiable criticism for bashing Hugo Chavez while he was dying of cancer, culminating in an infamous Twitter war. It’s interesting how right-wingers show no mercy for their opponents, yet insist that it’s uncivil to say bad things about their heroes when they’re dying or dead. Take the late Margaret Thatcher – please.
In Colon’s defense, I don’t completely concur with people who claim it’s inappropriate to cast stones at people while they are dying. I think it depends on the person who’s dying; if they’re a right-wing shill, they’ll get no sympathy from me.
In that spirit, let’s hope that Willie Colon dies of colon cancer. You have to admit, that could inspire some humorous headlines – “Colonel Colon KO’d by Colon Cancer,” “Salsa Fuhrer Gets it in the End,” “Willie Colonoscopy Clocks Out.”
And if any of Willie Colon’s friends cry foul, we can just shove his sleazy tweets in their hypocritical faces.
Incidentally, the focus of the rebirth of salsa politics may not be the U.S. as much as Venezuela. Hugo Chavez incorporated salsa in his election campaigns, particularly allying himself with superstar Ruben Blades, who spoke favorably of Chavez. The opposition has fired back with the dark side of salsa, starring Willie Colon.
Sleeping With the Stars
Of course, not all right-wing salser@s are celebrities (even if they think they are). Though not as famous as Obama or his new girlfriend, JLo, Sabrosura is a rising star of the NYC salsa scene. At least she thinks she is.
I don't know her real name, but it probably wouldn't be hard to find out. She never stops bragging and BS'ing and spawning new threads, subthreads and threads that serve as commentaries on other threads @ SalsaForums.com. Sabrosura wants the whole world to know that she's sleeping with a salsa star, but she won't say who it is - though she's probably dropped a thousand hints. Oops, I forgot - she finally confirmed what everyone in the Western Hemisphere already knew. But more about that later, under Players.
In the meantime, Sabrosura is proud of the fact that she's an investment banker. Hey, I'll admit that not all investment bankers are evil any more than all Microsoft employees are evil. After all, I worked for the Seattle School District, which ought to call itself Child Abuse, Inc. Then again, I became a whistle-blower and am still actively fighting those bastards, so give me a little respect.
Sabrosura, on the other hand, appears to be a propagandist on the side. Check out this post. Seriously, the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs and homes to banksters should send "thank you" notes to investment bankers? On another thread, Sabrosura said that America's banks paid off their bailout loans, end of story.
Not so fast; as they say, figures don't lie, but liars do figure. I won't go into the details here, but the official bailout loans are just the tip of the iceberg. They don't call'em banksters for nothing.
This begs the question: How many salser@s are banksters jet-setting around the world at your expense? (Or did you think they just conjured up those bonuses out of thin air?)
Someone dropped a bombshell on SalsaForums in the form of a thread titled Too much INFO. As a political activist, I've become an amateur psychologist, and I LOVE analyzing converstations and trying to understand what people really mean. This one is a gem...
Apparently, a very high profile salsa instructor, presumably from New York City, who happens to be Muslim gave a little "speech" in the middle of a class segment:
"Just want you to all know, I'm a Muslim and that, all muslims are not like the current killers in London."
The poster, a salsa instructor named Terence, wanted to know if other forum members considered the comment appropriate.
Let me begin by saying "DUH." First, one sentence doesn't constitute a "speech." How much valuable time did this statement waste - five seconds?
Moreover, Muslims around the world are being persecuted in a horrible, ferocious war. If a Muslim wants to make an occasional plea for understanding, is that an excuse to stone him?
Scroll down the page, and you'll see where Terence says, "A class setting is, in my mind, hardly the approriate place to give a religous viewpoint."
OK, I'll bite; how is what he said a religious viewpoint? Yes, the word Muslim is associated with the religion we call Islam, but Muslim also doubles as a simple descriptive term, almost a racial term - a word that describes people who live in or originated in the Middle East, North Africa, southwestern Asia, Indonesia, etc.
When Manteca says the instructor was right to speak out and expose the "white elephant in the room," Terence shot back "WHAT white elephant ? . . . that only may serve to exacerbate any hidden feelings."
So what "hidden feelings" are we talking about - bigotry?
In the last post on the page, DJ Yuca insults Manteca: "Your opinions are ridiculous."
On page 2, Londongirl asks, "Does every Catholic man need to stand up at random events and say he doesn't molest children just because some priests do?" to which Parédon replied, "Catholics aren't being persecuted. (And how many priests have spoken up against the abuses that are in fact very common in their 'profession'?)"
Enter wildbill20056: "Oh be quiet you ill informed troll." He goes on to say that child abuse by Catholic priests isn't very common at all, and "As for speaking out, the condemnation has been widespread and loud."
It's heartwarming to know there are people like wildbill, a salsa instructor in Scotland, who will passionately defend pedophiles, and it's also good to know that those pedophiles have been roundly condemned. Why bother with prison when you can simply condemn people?
Seriously, wildbill should pull his head out of his ass and read this article: Girl Slaves of Catholic Magdalene Asylums to Receive Compensation, but Not from the Church. Yes, child abuse by Catholic priests is a very widespread, global phenomenon. Kind of reminds me of Bill Gates for some reason.
Farther down, Terence screams, "The thread was NOT about Muslims, it was about RELIGION... period !!!"
On page 3, DJ Yuca comes unhinged, wallowing in sarcasm and slinging insults. He says his family is Christian but he has some Jewish heritage. He then repeats Terence's BS about a salsa instructor expressing "religions beliefs."
Shortly after that the thread was closed.
Since I'm blessed with abundant common sense, allow me to summarize this fascinating thread. First, a single sentence hardly constitutes a "speech." Second, the thread was NOT about religion. In fact, the word "religion" isn't even mentioned in the title or the first post.
To put it in perspective, imagine a salsa instructor who's Native American making the statement, "I want you to know that my ancestors were murdered on this land."
Is that a religious speech? Of course not. It's a brief political statement.
But is it appropriate to make even a brief political statement in the middle of a salsa class?
Obviously, people are going to object or not object depending on both the statement and who's making it. But, generally speaking, I'd say LIGHTEN UP. For crying out loud, salsa isn't a religion, and if you think it is, then maybe you should help clean up some of the sleaze.
Remember Sabrosura, the arrogant twit who has become a symbol of the NYC salsa scene? Well, she dropped another bombshell, something that ought to spawn a new soap opera. Check out the thread What Dancing Is Really About -- Or, My Ideal Lead :).
Oops, too late! The thread has been doctored, with many posts deleted. Fortunately, I made a copy of the original, and it's a real heirloom. However, the title is misleading, to put it mildly. A better title would be "What this thread is REALLY about."
You see, Sabs, as her fellow twits call her, started that thread as an excuse to blow the whistle on the mega-star she was sleeping with. It seems he has a habit of sleeping with other students and performers, and when Sabs found out she wasn't really his girlfriend, she blew the whistle on him - which is cool! But can anyone believe an investment banker who says Americans owe a debt of gratitude to banksters?
In fact, another forum member who actually has a brain related a bad experience she had with this same salsa star.
So what we have here is a delicious piece of irony - sleazy salsa star exploits bimbo investment banker for sex, only to get nailed by bimbo investment banker on a public forum. (So what's more embarrassing - being exposed as a promiscuous scumbag or discovering that the whole world knows you've been sleeping with a bimbo investment banker who's broadcasting your "relationship" on a public forum?) And if that isn't bizarre enough, get a load of this: Sabrosura said she's still taking classes from this creep!
Once again, this illustrates what I mean when I say 1) salsa is one big soap opera, and 2) salsa psychology can be downright weird.
Another irony, is that I kinda sorta support Sabrosura for blowing the whistle on a creep. That makes her a whistle-blower, just like me. The problem is she's blowing the whistle on herself at the same time; like a dog chasing its tail in circles, she's so caught up in her narcissim, she either can't see reality or doesn't have sufficient brain power to deal with it.
So what's the scoop on salsa instructors and performers who might be classified as sex predators? World salsa champion Alex da Silva got nailed for rape, and it looks like one of NYC's biggest salsa stars may be an old-fashioned creep. But surely those aren't the only two. One salsa instructor told me about another instructor here in Seattle who broke a lady's arm. Other people have told me about women literally crying over their experiences with him.
But you don't want to blow the whistle on him, because NO ONE criticizes the salsa priesthood. Blow the whistle on an asshole, and salser@s will rally behind the asshole. I learned that lesson when I was a teacher. Unfortunately, it didn't really sink it, because I still believe in doing the right thing, which means I'll never protect an asshole.
I learned my lesson a second time when I blew the whistle on a Seattle salsa instructor. Many people think I have a vendetta against this guy, but that's not really true. My venedetta is against the community that mindlessly supports him while giving his victims the middle finger. That's the same BS I witnessed in public education.
To make it perfectly clear, you can't be friends with a pedophile Catholic priest, a Seattle School Board member of Bill Gates and me at the same time. If you want to hang out with scum, then you're no friend of mine.
There's a clique of mostly right-wingers on SalsaForums that has given me a lot of crap. One of them is an idiot from Seattle who calls himself "salsa student." Now I haven't verified it, but someone told me that salsa student is an alias for Andre Mintz, the guy behind a salsa school called Mambo U.
I got a little suspicious when I saw a picture of Andre with Bill Gates on his website one time. Then I checked his LinkedIn profile and discovered he was the director of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing program. No wonder "salsa student" says he doesn't believe in conspiracies; that would be like Dick Cheny believing in torture.
This also says a lot about my claim that the North American scene has become yuppified. Of course, one Microsoft whore doesn't equal yuppificiation, but Seattle's salsa scene is infested with Microsofties, along with corporate attorneys, engineers, architests and other "professionals."
Though there's nothing wrong with success, I'm not a big fan of the yuppie mentality. Many Seattle yuppies aren't even from Seattle. They're from New York, Michigan or Texas and have no roots in the community. Even home grown yuppies don't give a shit about the community. I'm stereotyping, of course, but yuppies, in general, aren't what you'd call wholesome. Their theme song could be Ruben Blades' classic, Plastico.
Incidentally, I recall a post where Salsa Student whined about one of Seattle's best known salseras refusing to dance with him. Gee, I wonder why.
I met a lot of cool people on SalsaForms. I also met a lot of jerks, and I became especially conscious of a clique of dumbasses who appear to be mostly right-wingers. One was a forum administrator, El Cabao. A Chicago salsa DJ, he launched a bizarre tirade when he decided to campaign for Obama's re-election. More than bizarre, it was a little disgusting, as he called everyone who disagreed with him racist. I pointed out the irony in campaigning for a man who's torturing and murdering Muslims. El Cabao shot back, "I'M Muslim!"
Sabrosura's specialty is promoting Sabrosura, creating ever more bizarre threads, and spreading the word that investment bankers are super cool.
I'm not sure if DJ Yuca, a salsa DJ in Liecester, UK, is a Zionist or just a run of the mill asshole. Wildbill may be even more bizarre than Sabrosura. He claims he has a background in science, and he and his wife are both members of Mensa - a club for people who think they're geniuses. Yet wildbill can be amazingly stupid and irrational when discussing politics, science or even salsa.
Seattle is represented by "salsa student." Like wildbill, he says he doesn't believe in conspiracies. He doesn't believe in Watergate or 9/11, and he expects people to take him seriously?
Since conspiracies are real, we might ask whether these individuals are themselves part of a conspiracy to politicize salsa, steering it towards the right. Are some of them working for Obama, or are they just a collection of kooks who are unwittingly supporting the dark side through their stupidity?
I'll explore that question and others in more detail in due time.
What's the point of my ranting about a bunch of jerks, anyway? Aren't jerks a part of life and therefore a part of salsa?
It all boils down to what salsa means to you. When you start taking salsa classes, you're flirting with another culture. Some salser@s travel around the world attending salsa congresses, bachata festivals and other events. Salser@s tend to be better off economically than most people; how many people do you know who can afford to fly to Tokyo or London for a night of salsa dancing?
I've also read a number of articles by people who claim social dancing stimulates the brain. Salsa is said to make people a little smarter, or perhaps it simply appeals to smarter people, including computer junkies, doctors and lawyers.
I would expect such people to show a little humlity and be a little more knowledgeable about the world we live in than the average American. So when I discovered that many salser@s are on an intellectual and ethical par with George W. Bush I was both surprised and disgusted. I don't expect every salsa dancer to be a professional historian or political activist, but I do expect them to show a little class and at least pretend like they have a few brains. I also believe certain people manipulate the salsa scene, just as everything else is manipulated these days. These people want salser@s to think right-wing thoughts and to ridicule those of us who speak out for children, Muslims or victims of the economy.
Make of it what you will.
P.S. If you still don't understand what I'm talking about, check out this interview with Muhammad Ali. Born Cassius Clay, Ali became a Muslim, and he had more class than any salser@ I've ever met.