Does an artist need a certain level of sex appeal in order to achieve success? Are labels asking their artists to be ultra sensual in their appearance and lyrics in order to sell? The role or intersectionality of sexuality and music took centerstage during a heated conversation between artists Dalex, Villano Antillano, Corina Smith and Lenny Tavárez for the newest episode of Billboard‘s Cultura Clash.
“People like to consume through their eyes, they like what looks nice, what’s aesthetic,” says Puerto Rican trans rapper Villano Antillano. “Sex sells.” Smith adds, “I think physical appearance does have influence over any product but the power we have as artists, when one of our songs can make someone feel sexy or sensual, that’s where it’s at. To be able get someone in that mindset, that’s really powerful.”
The group also got candid about the advice given to them from their respective teams (managers, labels) and if its at all impacted their career path. “Everyone wants to have an opinion and it starts at home with your family,” says Tavárez. “And you take all of it into consideration but, as an artist, you have to know yourself, what you feel comfortable doing and how you’re going to project yourself. Sometimes my team wants me to automatically go onstage shirtless but sometimes I don’t want to do that.”
Now in its second season, Cultura Clash — hosted by Latin executive AJ Ramos — spotlights Latin artists and influencers who discuss trending topics within Latin culture and music. A new episode airs every Wednesday on Billboard.com, social media and Billboard‘s YouTube channel. Watch this week’s episode above.