Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Un Chin Magazine
via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Ms. Rodriguez,
Let me first congratulate you on the sixth issue of Un Chin magazine and your openness in covering issues related to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community as we are definitely part of the vibrant Latino community in the United States.
Unfortunately I must take issue with "Club Kids: A take on the bizarre" (Un Chin, Issue 4). The article takes a look at Manhattan's infamous "club kid" culture and does acknowledge the scene's underbelly by mentioning that club kid Michael Alig is "serving time for the murder of a drug dealer." But then the article stops short of mentioning that the crime for which Alig is serving in prison remains one of the most heinous murders committed against a Latino gay man in the city of New York (an unfortunate oversight considering that the piece then launches into a 9-page 'club kid' fashion spread).
If you had walked down Christopher Street in the summer of 1996, it would have been impossible to miss the flyers taped to lamp-posts and walls with a black-and-white image of a stocky dark-haired young man smiling at the camera. What was striking were the big white angel wings spreading from his shoulders, kept in place by a harness that hugged his chest. It was a "missing" poster asking for people to give information as to the whereabouts of Colombian-born Andre Melendez (whose nickname was "Angel").
Point blank: When Melendez tried to get some money owed to him by Alig, Alig tried to choke him while a friend of Alig's, Robert "Freeze" Riggs, hit Melendez in the head several times with a hammer [NOTE: CORRECTION POSTED IN COMMENTS BELOW]. According to Riggs' confession, they proceeded inject Melendez with Drano to finish him off before sawing-off Melendez' body in pieces, stuffing the body parts into a box, and throwing the box into the Hudson River.
Michael Musto of The Village Voice summarized the sordidness here and has been one of the few reporters who seems to never get tired of reminding others that, while club kid culture should not be blamed for the murder, it does not mean that Melendez deserved to die in such a horrible way.
Andre "Angel" Melendez was someone's son, he was someone's brother, he was someone's boyfriend. He might have been a drug dealer, but he certainly did not deserve his death. By avoiding mention of the details of his murder while trumping up the fabulousness of the scene in a fashion spread, it only helps to glorify certain aspects of 'club kid' culture while dismissing things that should never be forgotten.
SIDE-NOTE: Club legend Jackie Beat gets it.
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