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J Balvin Won An ‘Afro-Latino Artist Of The Year’ Award, Prompting Backlash And A Statement From Balvin

The 2021 African Entertainment Awards USA were held this weekend and the proceeds generated some attention this year thanks to J Balvin picking up the award for Afro-Latino Artist Of The Year. The situation quickly gained some traction online and became a trending topic on Twitter as may wondered why Balvin was chosen to receive the honor, given that the Medellín, Colombia native is not Afro-Latino.

Even Balvin himself had some uncertainty at least with the award’s name, as in an Instagram Story today, he wrote in Spanish (translated to English via Google), “I’m not Afro Latino, but thanks for giving me a place in the contribution of the Afrobeat music and its movement.”

J Balvin instagram

The video linked to in Balvin’s Story is a PSA from African Entertainment Awards USA, who offers an explanation about Balvin’s win and note that they’ve changed the name of the award to Best Latin Artist Of The Year. The caption reads:

After listening to the concern of our audience we have decided to maintain the purpose of the award but changed the name to Best Latin Artist Of the year.

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. This is the first year that we introduced this category to include our Latin brothers and sisters who have embraced Afrobeats music within their platforms. The winner of this category has demonstrated that and is deserving of this award based on the fans votes.

Please remember the nominees in this category had no say in their nomination or influence on the award show. Instead of voicing dissatisfaction, let us encourage these artists to continue bridging the gap between Africa and Latin America. We are asking for your continued support, assistance and guidance in the nomination process for 2022. We thank you for your understanding and looking forward to an open dialogue. We apologize to the people who where offended by this category.”

Some have pointed out that this award follows Balvin’s recent video for “Perra,” in which he walks dog-eared Black women around on leashes. Balvin issued an apology at the time, saying, “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.”