El Divo De Juarez, also known as Juan Gabriel left many heartbroken this past weekend. Just days after he began touring, he died at the age of 66. Jaunga broke through barriers, stereotypes, and challenged heteronormativity until his last breath. He was a flamboyant soul, and a legend in the eyes of communities of people of color.
I didn’t actively or avidly listen to Juan Gabriel growing up or at this age, nevertheless I grew up with his voice. His music brings back so much nostalgia. I remember some of the best novelas featured one of his songs in the opening credits. I remember my aunt in particular always sang along to vamos al noa, noa, noa/ noa vamos a bailar –swaying her hips side to side.
I remember sitting passenger side in the car with my mom, with her Juan Gabriel CD’s playing. I remember sitting there at a very young age, simultaneously listening to her sing along and begging her to change the station because god forbid I actually enjoyed the music she liked! But I also remember thinking about the lyrics –tu ponte en my lugar, a ver que harias, la diferencia, entre tu y yo, seria corazon, que yo en tu lugar, si te amaria– and what it all meant. I remember feeling curious about how my mom felt listening to his music, and why she loved it so much.
Growing up with my mom listening to Juanga, I felt that was the only way I knew how she felt about life, love, and loss. So today, as I listen to El Divo de Juarez writing this, I think of the heartache, the joy, and the life lessons that his music must have helped my mom overcome.
Tu estas siempre en mi mente. RIP, Jaun Gabriel.