Hold onto your seats for this one. J Balvin, referred to as a “white Latino” by some of his critics, won the Afro-Latino Artist Of the Year Award on December 26, during The African Entertainment Awards. He took to Instagram a bit later to thank fans and clarify he is not “Afro-Latino”.
“I am not Afro Latino, but thank you for giving me a place in the contribution of the afrobeat music and movement,” he stated in Spanish.
Balvin has been taking a social media beating since accepting his award from AEA, reported YAHOO. Back in 2018, VIBE highlighted an interview, where the Colombian singer came for Rihanna’s reputation playing a round of F*ck, Marry or Kill! He placed her in the F*ck category but felt the need to answer “Rihanna isn’t a good woman to marry, just fool around,” adding he wouldn’t kiss her because of her alleged past relationship with Drake.
j balvin, a white latino, shouldn't have accepted this award over actual afro-latine artists https://t.co/hTuMnCnFGr
— Lucas Villa (@myprerogative15) December 27, 2021
Popular YouTuber Murad Merali slammed the AEA’s decision to award the native of Medellín, Colombia at all. Much less in the very same year, Balvin released a music video “Perra” where he walks black women, who have been physically altered to look like dogs on leashes. He even fed fried chicken in a bowl to one of the women, twerking in an actual dog house. Many of the darker individuals were also transformed to look like dogs, one even closer to a pig.
J Balvin really won an award on afro latinidad like if Tego Calderon and Don Omar passed away.
reason #2727282882 why latinidad erases actual Black spanish speaking folk
— su 👩🏽⚕️🇵🇷 (@moisturizednerd) December 27, 2021
Balvin implied Tego Calderon, one of the most respected darker-skinned Puerto Rican rappers/singers, was not Latino when trying to explain how he got inspired to get into the industry. The Reggaeton emcee stated white artist Daddy Yankee was a Latino like him. Furthermore, during the growing outrage by supporters of Black Lives Matter over police brutality and killings, the 36-year-old entertainer opted to use the hashtags #EveryLivesMatters and #LatinoLivesMatterToo.
Rather than withdraw the award from Balvin, due to his past and recent troubling attitude towards the Afro-Latino/black community; that he regularly appropriates his brand from. The AEA USA insisted on his win, by simply renaming the award category “Best Latin Artist” as noted by YAHOO.
Here’s where mestizaje discourse got us. J Balvin has said publicly that he couldn’t see himself in reggaeton until Daddy Yankee because he thought the genre was too Black and yet here we are. Disgusting. https://t.co/SQpd5gPmc7
— Marisol LeBrón (@marisollebron) December 27, 2021
The organization stated on Instagram, “The Best Latin Artist category is for any artist based in Latin America that is contributing to the African culture, especially the Afro-beats sound globally. It is not based on race but more importantly based on pushing the African culture forward on the world stage.”
Balvin was selected over fellow nominees: Japanese, Dubosky, Italian Somal, David L, Nacho, Sami Boy, Bad Bunny, The Ganez, and Iza. There are those that maintain their anger over what they feel is a “messy attempt at a clean-up.”
One such individual voiced their outrage stating: “Afrolatino means Black. You can’t decide that that word doesn’t relate to race. This explanation makes absolutely zero sense and it’s not the place of people who are Afrolatine to change the meaning or give Afrolatino awards to non-Black people. This is erasure and is incredibly violent. It’s okay to mess up and make amends but you’re breaking bridges with the Black diaspora by protecting J Balvin and non-African /non-Black people here.”
Dominic Tamin, a black President of AEA US, stands by their decision. Cousins, should the AEA USA take into account an artist’s behavior, statements, etc before nominating or selecting them as winners? Or should it strictly be about the music? Sound off below