Actress Dascha Polanco, best known for playing Daya Diaz on the award-winning Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black, praised Mercado as an “icon” of the Latino community and said she wished she could have met him.
Rigoberto González, a Chicano poet and novelist, said that Mercado’s segment was played so frequently, it was as if no household in the Chicano community denied him access.
Amanda Alcántara, an activist and writer, said Mercado’s message of peace and love should “resonate with us always.”
Francheska Medina, a health and wellness advocate based in New York, related the reverence her grandmother had for Mercado, to the extent that she shushed everyone in the house when his segment came on television. To show that her respect for Mercado was authentic, Medina also shared a photo of a shirt she owns that bears a picture of Mercado with the words, “Walter Mercado is my spiritual adviser” on it.
Joel Martinez, better known as the Kid Mero, a comedian, writer and TV host, called Mercado a “Latinx legend.”
And Gabe Gonzalez, a Puerto Rican professional comedian, producer and writer, tweeted of Mercado: “He never identified as queer, but it felt like he refused to be constrained by gender norms and antiquated ideas of masculinity.”
Mercado himself acknowledged his reputation as gender non-conforming in an interview for a piece published in Remezcla three months ago.
“I’m so connected to people and to the divine for that,” Mercado he said. “That I look feminine with a cape? Everyone knows we have two energies – yin and yang – and I know how to balance them. If I have to be a warrior, then I’ll be that. If I have to be soft and subtle, I can be that, too. I broke the barriers.”
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