Is Karol G and Young Miko’s “Contigo” Music Video Queer Baiting?

On Valentine’s Day, Karol G dropped her latest single “Contigo” with Tiësto, a love song sampling Leona Lewis' 2007 hit “Bleeding Love.” The accompanying music video features the Colombian singer in a tender (and angsty) relationship with another woman, Puerto Rican rapper Young Miko. And, of course, everyone’s freaking out. 
As expected, a lot of people have something to say about it. Somewhere in between the homophobic comments from tías on Facebook and the screams of joy from young queer women on TikTok, there are users labeling it (and by extension, Karol G) as queer bait. Their alleged evidence: Karol G, who has historically publicly dated cis men, hasn’t come out as queer, and she doesn’t kiss her love interest Young Miko in the music video. But for many queer Latines like myself, those arguments are flawed.  
At its core, queer baiting refers to a marketing tactic in which a piece of media (mostly TV shows) tease their audience about a possible queer storyline without actually committing to it. Them explains it as “the practice of subtly portraying queerness while still maintaining plausible deniability.” The argument about whether this or that is queer baiting cycles through online spaces every few months or so, from Taylor Swift to Bad Bunny.
After I first watched the “Contigo” music video, I was confused by people’s comments on it being queer baiting. While Karol G had never come out as bisexual, for years she has been sprinkling queer hints in her songs, most famously in the music video for “El Makinon” featuring Mariah Angeliq, where she and the Puerto Rican-Cuban singer kiss.
“I think we should be really cautious about using that word. We're always saying as a community that nobody owes us a coming out story, but then we accuse people of queer baiting when they're artists,” Diosa Femme, co-founder and producer of Locatora Radio, tells Refinery29 Somos. 
Celebrities don't need to come out to their queer fans, and coming out doesn’t make a queer person any more queer. Even more, demanding a formal “coming out” might be old-fashioned in the queer-friendly society we aim to create. It assumes that everyone is straight by default. 

"We're always saying as a community that nobody owes us a coming out story, but then we accuse people of queer baiting when they're artists."

diosa femme
Queer filmmaker and photographer Connie Chavez, for instance, is less interested in Karol G publicly disclosing her sexuality as she is in the queer art she creates. 
“We really don’t know if Karol is queer or not, but that almost doesn’t matter in this music video,” she tells Somos. “What we can say with 100% confidence is that the music video did not cater to the cis straight male gaze. This video felt more like a love letter to the queer and trans community, a moment to have our love stories front and center, unapologetically.” 
Both queer women and Latinas are both hypersexualized in mainstream media and culture, and yet this music video, with two Latinas cast as the romantic leads, isn’t inherently sexual; it doesn’t feed the cis het male fantasy.
Photo: Medios y Media/Getty Images.
But it doesn’t shy away from queerness, either. Regardless of Karol G's sexual orientation label, or lack thereof, the music video features an out and open lesbian Young Miko who has always taken pride in her sapphic identity. Having the rising Boricua artist in the video, and not in the song, makes the casting choice a lot more intentional. And the pairing, in a youthful setting, attempts to make the story feel authentic and reach the hearts of not just young queer Latinas but their traditional families who may only view lesbians as sexual objects made for male consumption.  
“I think this was for the young queer women, baby queers,” Diosa says. “It made me think about your first love, the first time you fall in love with a girl. ... And in high school in particular, the bathroom is kind of your little safe haven.”

"This video felt more like a love letter to the queer and trans community, a moment to have our love stories front and center, unapologetically."

It’s tender, sad, and loving. For me, “Contigo” feels like this generation’s Latina version of “Girls Like Girls” by Hailey Kiyoko. That music video was defining for a lot of people like me, older Gen Z and young millennials. It made us realize that there’s nothing wrong with us or who we love. Karol G, Young Miko, and everyone else who worked in the “Contigo” music video did that for the queer teens of today. 
And while there’s a lot to be worried about in this day and age, and rightly so, we can choose to be joyful about these little things, especially when it’s something as sweet as this for our community. 
“In a time of humanitarian crisis and colonial violence unfolding globally, talking about such trivial things can feel inappropriate, but trust that our liberation movements cannot be sustained without joy. Take this small piece of joy that Young Miko and Karol G created for us and embrace it however your heart needs it today,” Chavez says. 

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