By Jeremy Kinser
Originally published on Advocate.com September 18 2011 7:15 PM ET
Singer Gloria Estefan says she made a deal with chain store Target only after they apologized for controversial past donations that benefited antigay politicians and set up a committee to prevent it from happening again, according to an interview with PrideSource.
Estefan's Little Miss Havana, her first English-language album since 2003, will be released September 27 via an exclusive partnership with Target.
Asked if she has a message for LGBT fans who might question her decision, Estefan tells her gay fans to do what they need to do. "I think that every human being needs to stand on principle," she says. "But I've got to tell you: I would never work with someone who is antigay."
Estefan explains she was aware of the controversy that has prevented other artists, including Lady Gaga, from partnering with the retail giant. "I know that they donated to a third party who then donated to this candidate and - I did my homework - since then they donated $150,000 to that candidate," she says. "They apologized profusely for having done so, and they have established an actual committee that oversees all political donations to make sure that this doesn't happen again. They've also donated a half-million dollars to LGBT organizations. They're part of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. They give domestic partner benefits. They have 300,000 employees that are from all walks of life, and it's very important for them to be supportive. They've extended family medical leave benefits and adoption benefits to their gay employees. They've really supported very much their gay peeps."
Estefan says she's familiar with making controversial decisions. "Believe me, in my own life I've gone through a lot of these things," she says. "When I had Obama at my house, I got nailed by the Cuban community - even though I'm not affiliated politically. Sometimes the information you want to get out there doesn't, because the first thing that blows up is what people hear."
The Miami-based singer says she will understand if her LGBT fans don't want to purchase the album at Target. "I will always respect what (my gay fans) want to do, but I have a long history with Target," Estefan says. "I've put out my children's book, we've done programs for the troops - they really have been very supportive, so I would say: Do some more research, check out what Target has done to make up for its gaffe - and they know it was a gaffe. It was lack of information, not knowing everything about everybody that your money goes to. I was actually very surprised when that whole Target thing happened, but I know how these things happen. I've been on other side of that. So give them another shot and if not, I respect very much whatever they may want to do or need to do to stand up for whatever principles they're upholding. I just want them to know that I'm so supportive of the LGBT community. They've been a big part of my success and they've always been there for me. I would not want to do anything that hurts them."