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Remembering The Horror Of Gerardo’s ‘Rico Suave’

What’s the worst thing that ever happened to Latinos? Hernan Cortez’s destruction of the Aztec empire? Centuries of Spanish brutality? The wars between right wing juntas and Communist guerillas in the 70s and 80s? Not even close. All that pales in comparison to the pain and destruction caused by 90s Latin singer Gerardo.

You remember Gerardo, right? As much as you’ve tried to forget this douche, his image is emblazoned in your memory. He had that hit song in 1991 called “Rico Suave.” Thankfully, his presence in popular music didn’t extend beyond one craptastic ditty because really, wasn’t one song enough? ”

Rico Suave” means rich and smooth in Spanish. You know, like peanut butter but full of vitamin sexy. It tells the tale of a shirtless, long haired, greased up sex monkey who loves to “eat women raw like sushi”. The song is single minded in its desperate desire to relate to you the totality of Gerardo’s sexiness. He is so caliente that we are told women cannot resist him. He does warn us of the hazards of being sexy as hell, however. After all, once in a while “you have to deal with a woman that won’t let go/That’s the price you pay for being a gigolo”.

The song’s climax is Gerardo spinning the tale of the time he went to pick up a white chick at her house. It seems that her parents were unhappy with their teenage daughter going out with a guy wearing a pirate bandana, leather jacket, and no shirt (ed. note: in their defense, who wouldn’t?). The mother is told to get him food while the father stands gaping at Gerardo’s raw Latin sexuality. He tells the father “Y Usted Señor, why is your chin on the floor/cierra la boca por favor” Ooooh no he didn’t! He then tells the mom that the meal she has spent so much time preparing will make him vomit. After being just about the biggest douchebag in the world, he proceeds to tell them that he will bring the daughter back at dawn, presumably after giving the poor girl plenty of reasons to never trust men again.

It’s not that we think Gerardo is a genuinely bad person. We’re sure it’s all a schtick. However, the persona he adopted has set back Latinos in America by approximately 50 years. When people in this country look at Gerardo, they think all Latinos are sex-crazed, would-be statutory rapists trolling around in their ripped-up jeans just waiting to ravish their daughters. Is it a coincidence that in the years since the song came out conservative lawmakers have tried to curb immigration from Latin American countries? No. It is not. Thanks Gerardo.

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