Three very important things happened during Bad Bunny’s appearance on Fallon Thursday night. First, he revealed the cover for his next album Yo Hago Lo Que Me Da La Gana, which drops at midnight. Second, he single-handedly made Crocs great again, wearing a neon green pair during his interview. Most importantly, during his performance of “Ignorantes,” Bad Bunny paid tribute to Alexa, a transgender woman murdered in Puerto Rico this week, by wearing a shirt that read, “mataron a Alexa, no a un hombre con falda”—which translates to “they killed Alexa, not a man in a skirt,” and refers to how news reports framed the murder of a trans woman in Puerto Rico. He also wore a long black skirt to emphasize his point.
Alexa Negrón Luciano was a homeless transgender woman in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, who was often mocked on social media when locals posted photos or videos of her wandering the streets, referring to her as a “crazy bag lady.” According to the New York Times, on February 23rd, photos were posted on social media of Alexa being questioned by police for allegedly “peeping” at a customer in a women’s bathroom at McDonald’s. A few hours later, she was shot to death by unknown assailants—and the murder was posted on social media. The following morning, news outlets in Toa Baja announced Alexa’s death but referred to her using male pronouns. “Police described the deceased as a ‘man wearing women’s clothing,’” reported Latino Rebels, “which is exactly what most major and minor news organizations in the island decided to publish.”
Alexa’s murder has revived the conversation around the rampant transphobia and homophobia in Puerto Rico, and Puerto Ricans on the island and on the mainland have started a Twitter hashtag denouncing these conservative attitudes, using #SeLlamabaAlexa or #HerNameWasAlexa. Puerto Rico’s governor, Wanda Vasquez Garced, has said the murder will be investigated as a hate crime. While the public clamors for justice, it’s hard to imagine considering the police force’s attitude towards Alexa’s gender identity and the lack of sensitivity training for officers. “The problem in Puerto Rico comes from a group of fundamentalist religious leaders who are against any progressive idea to resolve this kind of situation,” Lawyer Thomas J. Bryan told the New York Times. “This is what brings this intolerance out to the open, this kind of homophobia.” Bad Bunny is one of the biggest stars speaking out on Alexa’s behalf and bringing it to the forefront of the mainland American news cycle—and, having been called slurs and mocked for painting his nails and wearing “feminine” clothing, he’s seen that kind of intolerance firsthand.