It has been an up-and-down 2021 for José Álvaro Osorio Balvín. The Colombian singer/rapper, better known as J Balvin, garnered both praise and condemnation over the last twelve months.
J Balvin’s latest award show victory also sparked positive and negative reactions. This weekend, the African Entertainment Awards named the José album creator as the Afro-Latino Artist of the Year for 2021.
In response, J Balvin began trending on Twitter as some social media users took issue with him receiving the honor. Many of the complaints centered around the question of Balvin’s race and ethnicity.
“Gonna need the African Entertainment Awards to gatekeep blackness a lil more coz how [the f###] they gave J Balvin white as s### ass [an Afro-Latino] Artist Of The Year award. Sech and Ozuna are right there??? And are actually Black????” tweeted Zahira Kelly-Cabrera.
Lucas Villa posted, “J Balvin, a white Latino, shouldn’t have accepted this award over actual [Afro-Latino] artists. Nina Vázquez added, “J Balvin won an award on Blackness by using Black Caribbean music, dialect, rhythms, and wardrobe. While actual Black folx who have higher streaming numbers, better lyricism, better everything, and who are actually BLACK lost.”
Some people also pointed out J Balvin faced backlash earlier this year for his controversial “Perra” music video. Critics accused the Reggaeton recording artist of racism and misogyny because the visuals depicted Black women as dogs on leashes.
J Balvin removed the “Perra” video from YouTube. The “I Like It” hitmaker also apologized by stating, “I want to say sorry to whomever felt offended, especially to the Black community. That’s not who I am. I’m about tolerance, love, and inclusivity.”