Kevin Fret dead: Puerto Rican rapper billed as the first openly gay Latin.
Kevin Fret, a Puerto Rican rapper billed as the first openly gay Latin trap artist, has been shot dead.
The 24-year-old, an outspoken advocate for the LBGT+ community, was gunned down on Thursday morning as he rode a motorbike in the capital San Juan.
Police said he was shot eight times and was taken to Rio Piedras Medical Centre, where he was pronounced dead.
His murder is the 24th in Puerto Rico in the first 10 days of the year, according to El Vocero, one of the largest newspapers in the US Caribbean territory.
In a statement, Fret’s manager said: “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 was seen as a trailblazer in Latin trap, a Spanish-language subgenre of the hip-hop style in which homophobia and machismo are commonplace.
In an article in April last year, New York fashion and culture magazine Paper described him as “Latin trap’s first openly gay pioneer”.
“I’m a person that doesn’t care what anybody has to say,” he told the publication. “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.”
The video for Fret’s debut single, “Soy Asi”, features him wearing a glittery crop top and matching skin-tight pants. It been viewed more than 640,000 times on YouTube since the song’s release last year.
Samy Nemir Olivares, a Puerto Rican writer and LGBT+ activist who lives in New York, said Fret had faced stigmatisation and harassment for his sexuality.
“Kevin recorded several videos responding to this and calling singers to stop mocking him or being gay in their lyrics,” he tweeted, urging authorities to investigate whether the rapper’s murder was a hate crime.
Fret had more than 124,000 followers on Instagram, where his last post was a “story” with a message reading: “Pray, relax, wait my time, and God will do the rest.”