Nineteen year old blogger Jhoncito Arango has caught the eye of the local media in his native Colombia, with an online project centering on a very delicate issue in Latin America: homosexuality. The name of the project is Yonkis: Arango’s gay teen web series, which fans and youtubers have embraced quite warmly.
Arango had been meditating on the project for a year before its launch. His aim was to use his passion for videoblogging to create the first LGBT webshow in Columbia. “This will help us establish a new image about us, about the LGBT community, we will take down some stereotypes and maybe we will confirm others, but we will always try to give the best of us and show that as young people we can be part of the change and become peaceful and positive activists for the collective we belong to and which makes us proud,” he writes in his blog.
Remarkably, Arango writes, directs, produces and edits the series. He also launched a strong promotional campaign in anticipation of the webshow’s premiere, on 11 April 2011, which included teasers, trailers and character profiles, all made public through blogs and social media. With more than 6,700 views on the first video only eight days after release and significant mention in the mainstream media, Arago can boast of a job well done.
Comments and ratings tend to be positive, but of course there has been some criticism, alleging mainly that the show’s characters are shallow and effeminate. Jhoncito explains that the characters are faithful reflections of the actors portraying them. He goes on to add that in order to fight homophobia, members of LGBT communities have to accept diversity within their own ranks. He further challenges members of any gay group who do not feel adequately represented by Yonkis, to produce their own show documenting their way of life in the gay community, and pledges to give them his full support.