Gay rapper shot dead at 24-years-old
Kevin Fret, Latin trap music's first openly gay artist, has been killed aged 24. Fret was shot eight times at around 5:30 local time while riding a motorbike in Puerto Rico's capital, San Juan. The musician was rushed to the Medical Centre of Río Piedras with wounds to his hip and head but unfortunately died soon after. His murder brings Puerto Rico's homicide rate up to 22 within the first 10 days of 2019 alone.
Fret was known as a prevalent activist for the LGBTQ community, telling Rapetón that his objective as a gay Latin trap artist was to mark the difference in the game and to open the doors to other emerging artists in the LGBTQ community. Fret's manager, Ed Rodriguez, spoke to Billboard to address the incident:
"Kevin was an artistic soul, a big-hearted dreamer. His passion was music, and still had a lot to do. This violence must stop. There are no words that describe the feeling we have and the pain that causes us to know that a person with so many dreams has to go. We must all unite in these difficult times, and ask for much peace for our beloved Puerto Rico."
Fret gained most attention with his single Soy Asi, which has over 600,000 views on Youtube.
Talking to Paper magazine last year, Fret said: "I'm a person who doesn't care what anybody has to say.
"[Now I see] young gay guys or young lesbians that are looking at me now like a role model, like wow, if he did it, and he don't care what anybody else has to say, I can do it."
Fret amassed praise for being an openly gay rapper in a genre that historically mocks and slanders the LGBT community. Fans of the rapper have flooded Twitter with their condolences and words of support. Paying their respects to Fret, one person wrote:
"RIP to the incredibly talented Kevin Fret, the first openly gay Latin Trapero from Puerto Rico.
"His unapologetic presence meant so much for the LGBTQ+ community and the future of Latin Trap...Thank you for always speaking and living your truth Kevin. Te amo para siempre (I love you forever)."
Queer Eye's Jonathan Van Ness paid tribute to the young rapper, tweeting: "Another beautiful artist taken too soon & another reason why being an ally is so important. #RIPKevinFret".
One of Fret's fans simply wrote: "At a loss for words. RIP Kevin Fret."
One user highlighted Fret's importance to the LGBT community, writing:
"Kevin Fret was known not only for his music style but also image- who was breaking gender norms in #PuertoRico and stigma about being gay, gender nonconforming, and expressing gender identity freely - in a country where gay people still get mocked, bullied and killed."
Fret's murder has brought global attention to the high homicide rate in Puerto Rico. As of January 10, Fret is the 22nd homicide victim of 2019. Some Twitter users voiced their concerns about this rapid increase in violence:
"The violence is out of control back in Puerto Rico. I've been calling my parents and checking with my sister everyday to be sure they're safe. The lack of policemen is just frightening."
It is not yet clear if Fret's murder was a hate crime or motivated by something else. Reports claim that Puerto Rican police are working on the case.