At the time Ricky Martin performed his hit single “La Copa del la Vida” on the Grammy Awards stage and ignited the Latin pop craze in the US he had already been in the music business for a decade and a half, with sixteen albums to his name, four of them solo; appeared in several TV shows and films, including a major role in General Hospital and the Spanish translation of Disney’s Hercules; and acted on Broadway as Marius in a production of Les Misérables. “Livin’ la Vida Loca” – a song famous enough to boast a full-length Wikipedia article – soon followed, along with new albums, new screen time, and a new philanthropic organization dedicated to improving the lives of children with a focus on tackling human trafficking.
Although he has only been widely out as gay since 2010, speculation on his sexuality had been rampant ever since he began gaining popularity in the US. In an early interview with Barbara Walters she pressured him to come up, which she now says she regrets because his silence was taken as an admission; fortunately for Martin, his career does not appear to have suffered, and he is still actively touring.
Martin’s well-decorated Twitter is available for viewing here.
Abd-ar-Rahman, also known as “al-Nasir li-Din Allah” (“the Defender of God’s Faith”), was the founder of a short-lived caliphate line in the then-Muslim-controlled Iberian peninsula. He inherited the lesser title of emir in his early twenties from his grandfather, who selected him as a successor instead of his father or uncles. At the time, his family’s emirate was collapsing under the triple pressures of a nearby Christian kingdom that was part of the early reconquista, a rival Muslim caliphate, and a rebellion within its own borders. Through a combination of firm military leadership and political wiles Abd-ar-Rahman was able to suppress his rival parties and solidify his rule over al-Andalus (the Muslim-held territory in North Africa and Iberia); declaring himself caliph, a title traditionally held only by the rulers of Mecca and Medina, brought him new respect as both a political and religious leader.
Although the caliphate he founded lasted only a short while after his death, Abd-ar-Rahman’s patronage of the arts and sciences shaped his domain into a cultural capitol that boasted expansive libraries and religious tolerance. His legacy was somewhat marred by a story of him executing a Christian slave boy he allegedly attempted to seduce; though the tale may be fictitious – or an exaggeration of a true event in which the boy refused to convert to Islam -, Abd-ar-Rahman did have a male harem as well as a female, which was not unusual for upper-class Andalusians.