After his history of leaning into Black stereotypes and actively dismissing Black heritage in the Latino Community, J Balvin won the African Entertainment Music Awards award for Afro Latino Artist of the Year on December 26th. He’s not only exploited the Black culture, but also recently demonstrated misogynoir through a hideous representation of Black women in his music video Perra. You’d think at this point he’d learned the lesson.
We don’t know what’s more unsettling, the fact that he’s a white Latino being recognized as an Afro-Latino artist, or the constant denial of his leverage of Black culture that he built his successful career on. Mabiland, a Black Colombian musician, expressed her disapproval in watching white Latino men take up space where they don’t belong.
Of course, we’ve got to recognize that the committee that chose Balvin shares just as much blame as Balvin does in accepting it. Even though they’ve stated that nominations aren’t based on color, awarding a white Latino with a history of disparaging the Black community shouldn’t be an award candidate. Their explanation:
J Balvin, however, should’ve recognized that as grateful as he probably was for being nominated for his contributions to the reggaeton genre, he’s not the best candidate. Several people are pointing out there were better ways to redirect that much-needed attention to Black Latinos representing the genre.
Many aren’t okay with this, understandably so. They’ve stated that he has the power to decline the award and instead redirect attention on talented Latino artists.
Even though Balvin continues to apologize after every single terrible choice he makes, those apologies always come after facing severe backlash and they obviously don’t stop him from making even more terrible choices.
Reggaeton continues to be whitewashed and artists like Balvin continue to exploit Black culture without acknowledging the influence actual Black Latinos have had on the genre. Will he ever learn the lesson? Will this go on? At what point does the community stop supporting him as an artist? Let us know your thoughts on our twitter @luzcollective.
We're changing the face of digital media one article at a time. Feel seen and celebrated? Help us publish more stories that matter to you by joining the Luz Collective Writers' Room. You'll receive Luz Collective swag, exclusive weekly emails and more! Join Today!