The Latino singer Larry Hernandez became famous performing “narcocorridos,” the vivid ballads that chronicle the drug trade with bravado. Now his arrest in a South Carolina criminal case has shocked and riveted his fans.
The singer Larry Hernandez became famous performing “narcocorridos,” the vivid ballads that chronicle the drug trade with bravado.
But on his reality show, “Larrymania,” he is a goofy if foul-mouthed star whose family adventures make for the type of low-key drama that resonates with a young, bilingual fan base that has also grown up with the Kardashians: He shops for baby clothes, vacations in London and lightheartedly argues with Kenia, the mother of his daughters.
The singer, whose show airs on youth-oriented NBC Universo, has won loyal fans by making his life accessible.
Now that life is even more exposed as Hernandez stands accused of kidnapping and assault in South Carolina in a case that has shocked fans and riveted Latino media since his arrest last month at Ontario Airport in Southern California.
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Clips of the singer appearing in San Bernardino County Superior Court for an extradition hearing, shackled and in green prison scrubs, have aired again and again on Spanish-language media along with daily updates on the case. As a deadline approached for his transfer to South Carolina, reporters have kept vigil in the small town of Newberry, where he was wanted.
Peter Dobrow, a spokesman for NBC Universo, said “Larrymania” is Latino cable TV’s top-rated reality series.
Born in Los Angeles, Hernandez moved to Mexico with his mother when he was a child. When he returned to the U.S., he told Univision reporter Jorge Ramos in 2012, he worked in factories and packing plants. Later, he began to eke out a career in music that was helped by posting on YouTube. His breakout album was “16 Narco Corridos” (2009), which contains colorful tales of drug dealers and users.
The incident for which Hernandez stands accused happened after he played a concert Aug. 16 at a skating rink in Newberry, population just over 10,000.
A man who was in charge of cleaning up after the concert told police Hernandez was enraged about being paid only $14,000 and demanded more. When another man left to get money, Hernandez and two others allegedly wrapped the first man in plastic wrap, then beat him in a parking lot and inside a tour van.
Later, Hernandez and the others removed the plastic and forced the man to “put his arms around them and act like they were friends” so they could take him to a hotel room where the beatings and threats continued, according to an incident report released by Newberry police.
Police were shown video of the victim being threatened and recovered a box of plastic wrap near the scene, according to the report.
Anthony Lopez, an attorney for Hernandez, declined to comment on the allegations, saying only he hoped once Hernandez arrived in South Carolina he would appear for a bail hearing within 24 hours.
Tanya Charry, of Univision’s entertainment-news show “El Gordo y la Flaca,” has been in Newberry since Oct. 1, awaiting Hernandez’s extradition.
Last week, when word went out that Hernandez had finally was en route to South Carolina, her crew headed to the local jail to try to capture his arrival.
“We haven’t gone to the hotel. We haven’t slept. He could arrive any moment,” Charry said.