Ai, Papi!

Boyz of All Nationz (also known as BOAN), the group featured in my play Boyz of All Nationz: The Rise and Fall of a Multi-Ethnic Boy Band, predated 'N Sync, Backstreet Boys, O-Town, and all those other boy bands that made a big splash in the mid- to late-90s. In Act One, Ray-Ray, the African-American member, explains to his girlfriend why BOAN's diversity is innovative and important:

RAY-RAY: The white man been appropriating black art since forever now. We created jazz, they stole jazz. We created rock 'n' roll, they stole rock 'n' roll. We created rap, they stole rap. That's why this boy band important, you see. I mean, look what happened in the eighties. Who started the boy bands, the real boy bands, in the eighties? It was Menudo, it was New Edition. They started it all. They weren't white. They were Puerto Rican, they were black. Then what happened? Five white boys from Boston come along, and the New Kids on the Block become one of the biggest acts in music history. They stole everything from us. Well, I say, not anymore. It's the nineties now. Boyz of All Nationz gonna redefine what boy bands can be in this day and age. We gonna set the standard for the music, the dancing, the look, the attitude. Ain't nobody gonna steal it from us, because we gonna be big.

MIEKA: What makes you think a bunch of white boys ain't gonna come along, steal your shit, and become bigger than all-a you? What about those auditions they holdin' in Florida for new bands all the time?

RAY-RAY: We don't gotta worry about them.

The irony, of course, is that BOAN fails—and a bunch of white boys did come along and become the bands I mentioned earlier.

So although this is incredibly cheesy, I am rather amused by the fact that Menudo—the Latino boy band in which Ricky Martin got his start—is back in action. The group, which has been through many incarnations and member changes, is celebrating—can you believe this?!—it's 30th anniversary.

The new members of Menudo earned their spot after battling it out on a reality show called Making Menudo. And here they are with the English-language version of a ridiculous pop confection called "More Than Words (AEIOU)" (followed by a chat with Regis and Kelly). Adore them, please, so that I don't feel all alone. And, yes, pervs, at least two of them are 18 (and in true Menudo fashion, members get kicked out when they turn 20):

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