Charice Pempengco, the talented Filipino singer and former Glee star who rose to fame after appearing on a 2008 Oprah Winfrey Show episode fearing the “World’s Smartest Kids,” has made his debut as Jake Zyrus. The singer formerly known as Charice debuted the masculine moniker on social media nearly three years after revealing to Winfrey that “my soul is male.”
While most of the reaction to Charice’s transition to Jake Zyrus has been positive, there has also been some nasty response from Internet trolls. In addition, Zyrus’ grandmother is reportedly furious over the news of her grandchild’s new name.
According to Filipino news site Star Media, Jake Zyrus’ grandmother, Thess Pineda, ranted about her grandchild’s new identity in a lengthy Facebook post. Pineda allegedly slammed Jake and the greedy handlers she claims stole his money and “encouraged” him to drop his identity as Charice Pempengco. Thess also threatened to “find” the people behind Charice’s new identity and went on to claim the 25-year-old singer, who recently ended a four-year relationship with girlfriend Alyssa Quijano, was not a lesbian.
While Jake Zyrus’ angry grandmother doesn’t approve of the name change, it’s even more surprising that a popular Filipino magazine poked fun at the singer’s choice to come out with the name Jake Zyrus.
Esquire Philippines posted a controversial article titled Jake Zyrus and The Challenges of Personal Reinvention, in which an attempt to make light of the singer’s male name choice came across as a total diss against the star. The magazine later removed the article and issued a heartfelt apology to Jake.
In an apologetic post to Zyrus, the magazine’s editors revealed the decision to pull the story and explained the poor decision to publish the original copy.
“We thought that making fun of ‘Jake Zyrus’ would be the same as, say, calling out Ron Artest for his decision to change his name to Metta World Peace and then to The Panda’s Friend. It’s not the same thing, of course—and in retrospect, that should’ve been pretty damn obvious. When Caitlyn Jenner stepped out into the world via a groundbreaking Vanity Fair cover, the words on that cover proclaimed simply: ‘I am Caitlyn.’ Jake Zyrus’ first tweet as Jake should have been received with the same gravity, but we did not recognize it for what it is: a strong statement about identity.”
No two ways about it. We were wrong. https://t.co/aiqPX73G1G
— Esquire Philippines (@EsquirePH) June 21, 2017
Music fans had mixed opinions on Charice’s name change to Jake Zyrus. While many were supportive, acknowledging that it was the singer’s personal decision, others questioned the name choice.
Charice changed his name to Jake Zyrus. Then why are these people so mad? As if it were your names he changed. It's his.
— Lara Land (@lara_ruzol) June 21, 2017
Mad respect for Charice and all but Jake Zyrus name funny as hell ????
— Carl (@FakeCJGarcia) June 20, 2017
Jake Zyrus sounds like a name from a Wattpad story.
— DAN. (@dancabangon) June 20, 2017
Charice just changed her name to Jake Zyrus, people are bashing her for it. But honestly I can't get over on how edgy that name sounds.
— Henry (@TheHenryverse) June 19, 2017
Did Jake Zyrus know how people will now think his name is a tribute to Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus?
— Love So Bittertweet (@BwitterOcampo) June 21, 2017
According to People, Jake Zyrus came out as a lesbian during a 2013 interview with Filipino talk show host Boy Abunda on The Buzz,saying he didn’t want to hide anything anymore. The following year, Zyrus appeared on the OWN update show, Oprah: Where Are They Now, to address rumors of gender transition, saying he had no plans for gender reassignment surgery but that he planned to cut his hair and wear male clothing. Zyrus revealed he knew at age five that he didn’t feel like a female.
[Featured Image by Mike Coppola/Getty Images]