Better Late Than Never: Bebe

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Bebe won a Grammy in 2005, and then promptly retired. These days, when there are pitifully few female Latin artists on the charts, this revolutionary gypsy songstress is sorely missed. In case you missed her flash in the pan, here’s a link to the video for “Malo,” the song that won her a golden phonograph.

This quirky, Spanish-language artist and actress eschewed the traditional marketing trajectory for a woman in la musica latina. (Notice how Shakira bleached her hair remarkably fast once she started catching attention in North America.) Usually buxom, sexy-fied women in chaps or low-cut blouses croon or hip-shake their way through marketing an album, or, worse yet, mimic the recycled, Hot Topic-laden advertising attempts that American pop-tarts endure. Bebe instead opted to play her guitar and curse so furiously on camera that the Grammy committee needed to mute sections of her performance on awards’ night.

On top of her musical pursuits, Bebe (aka, Nieves Bebe Rebolledo) tried her hand at acting, with a fair amount of success. Among the Spanish-language films she starred in was Caotica Ana, a 2007 Julio Medem drama. You can see a clip of the film, and Bebe’s contributions to it, here. Although she did fairly well lending her voice and her talents to a handful of films and their soundtracks, she never broke free from the Spanish pop-star tethers that her image was tied to.

The pressure to record follow-up discs to Pafuera Telarañas led her to declare in 2006, “I am not thinking of making another CD for quite some time.” That’s a shame for those of us who couldn’t masturbate to

Jenny from the block, and much preferred a bilingual Ani DiFranco.
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Ainsley Drew is a native New Yorker, freelance writer, and euphemism enthusiast. Her work has been featured in The New York Press, McSweeney’s, The Morning News, and Curve Magazine, among other totally sweet publications. An avid fan of all sports, but especially the NBA, when she's not stalking 6'10" centers she eats way too much Japanese food, plays word games, and hits on anything that moves. Aiming high, she hopes to one day be a notorious literary celebrity with her name in tabloids. She also has eleven fingers, so she can type faster than you. You can find her jerkethic.com and ainsleydrew. Be her Internet friend. More from this author →