Slightthe youth band that changed music in Spanish in the 70s, 80s and 90s, has two stories: the resounding success that generated the idea of forming a group with young people, as well as the dark part that overshadowed the musical legend.
The first was told as fiction with the series Get on my motorcycle (2020), from Amazon Prime. Now, the other side of the coin will be exposed in the documentary Often Forever Young, of the HBO Max platform, which opens this Thursday, June 23 on the service of streaming.
Menudo Forever Young It goes beyond the hysteria that surrounded all the generations of artists that were part of the Puerto Rican band. On this occasion, according to statements by some of the members of the group and people close to the artists, the darkest secrets behind the group will be told: sex, drugs, abuse and mistreatment.
The documentary, which has four chapters, aims to uncover the alleged harassment that the members of the group endured by Edgardo Díaz, manager and creator of the band, as explained The Mercury From Chile.
The directors of the production, Ángel Manuel Soto and Kristofer Ríos, managed to interview several of the 30 members who passed through the band in its first 17 years (the group worked between 1977 and 1996, and then a new version emerged in 2007).
The production reviews the successful formula devised by Díaz, which consisted of changing the members of the group when they turned 16 with the goal that Menudo would never age. It will also tell how, step by step, the band became a very important space in the Latin American music industry.
The information of The Mercury claims that many of the members of Menudo were exploited and even sexually abused. Among the interviewees, Ángelo García, Johnny Lozada, Ricky Meléndez, Ralphy Rodríguez, Ash Ruiz and Andy Blázquez stand out; however, Ricky Martin, the most famous member of Menudo, is not part of the documentary.
“It was difficult for me to talk about the abuse I suffered in the group, because I felt like I was reliving it. But it is important to talk about it, so that people realize that it was true,” Garcia said.
Another of the former members, Johnny Lozada, criticized that no one had apologized to them. “The people who worked with Menudo have not had the courage to do it,” accused the singer, as published The Mercury.
The singer Ralphy Rodríguez, during his intervention in the interviews for the documentary, stated: “There were many good things that came out of Menudo, but there was a price to pay for that magic. Neither of us was truly prepared for what it would really be. There was no interest in protecting us. We felt vulnerable.”
Ángelo García added that during a situation (not specified in the documentary trailer) that: “(…) I started to vomit blood. I could have died. If it was going to cost me my life, I’d rather not be famous and live.”
For his part, Andy Blázquez said that Menudo was something beautiful that arose from a not-so-beautiful situation.
“I remember, being in Brazil, finding myself in a room with older men who asked me if I liked sex anymore,” Ash Ruiz is heard declaring in the interview.
It must be remembered that in recent times (and after the premiere of Get on my motorcycle), singer Roy Rosello claimed that he and René Farrait were victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by manager Díaz.
Ángel Manuel Soto and Kristofer Ríos are the directors of Menudo Forever Young which had a preview at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York last week.
The review that was published on the documentary summarizes the production as follows: “It narrates the rise and fall of the boy band iconic Latin American movie in history, taking viewers into the world of popular teen idols’ world tours, magazine covers, ’80s outfits and screaming fangirls.
But the four-part documentary reveals that behind the glitz and glamor was a web of abuse and exploitation at the hands of the band’s manager. Through revealing interviews with former Menudo members, the film examines how this flamboyant facade was concealing serious misdeeds on Diaz’s part.”
“Thousands of hours of archive footage of their presentations in various languages, interviews with fourteen former minions – it was a group with great mobility, since they had to leave the group in their teens – and intense editing work precede this series,” he explained. The universal, from Mexico.
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Menudo: HBO Max series exposes that within the band there was sex, drugs and strong abuse