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Ash Ruiz, one of the former members of the most famous Latin boy band of all time, offers testimony in the documentary 'Menudo: Forever Young'. Photo Courtesy: HBO Max.
Ash Ruiz, one of the former members of the most famous Latin boy band of all time, offers testimony in the documentary 'Menudo: Forever Young'. Photo Courtesy: HBO Max.

The secrets behind the glamor of Menudo

A documentary about the most iconic Latin American boy band in history, Menudo, premiered at the Tribeca Festival and will soon be available on HBO Max.

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The documentary Menudo: Forever Young “will chronicle the rise and fall of the most iconic Latin American boy band in history, bringing viewers into the world of the popular teen idols’ global tours, magazine covers, ‘80s outfits, and screaming fangirls,” according to its synopsis.

This Puerto Rican band was formed in 1977 under the guidance producer and manager Edgardo Díaz. The group was always made up of teenagers, who were immediately replaced once they turned 16. Among them was once renowned singer Ricky Martin. Throughout its history, Menudo has had a total of 30 members.

The Latin musical group experienced a rapid ascent because it arrived at a time when the Latin community could not find representation or spaces for Latin talent on American television.

By breaking stereotypes and singing in Spanish, the band created a sense of pride and belonging, especially among Puerto Ricans in New York.

The popularity was such that the band filled Madison Square Garden on multiple occasions and sold 20 million records worldwide. However, not all that glittered was gold. That's at least what Menudo: Forever Young tries to reveal.

The four-part documentary aims to expose the network of abuse and exploitation that existed behind the glitz and glamor of the Puerto Rican boy band.

Through interviews with more than a dozen former Menudo members — among them, Johnny Lozada, Ash Ruiz, Angelo García, Andy Blázquez and Ralphy Rodríguez — the production seeks to expose how the extravagant facade hid serious harm to the physical and mental health of its young members.

“There were a lot of good things that came out of Menudo, but there was a price to pay for that magic,” Rodriguez said.

"I remember being in Brazil and finding myself in a room with some older men, asking myself if I liked sex anymore," Ruiz said. 

Both testimonies have been included in the trailer that was recently released.

Menudo: Forever Young is directed by Puerto Rican producer and screenwriter Ángel Manuel Soto and New York journalist Kristofer Ríos.

Not without controversy and controversy, the documentary premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and will be available on HBO Max starting June 23.

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