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J Balvin apologizes after music video sparks backlash over portrayal of Black women

J Balvin reflects on global stardom
Music giant J Balvin reflects on global stardom and crossover to mainstream 10:03

J Balvin has apologized to fans after viewers complained his new music video was racist for its portrayal of Black women. The video for his song "Perra" has also been pulled from YouTube.

"I want to say sorry to whomever felt offended, especially to the Black community," the Colombian artist said Sunday on Instagram. "That's not who I am. I'm about tolerance, love and inclusivity. I also like to support new artists, in this case, Tokischa, a woman who supports her people, her community and also empowers women."

"As a form of respect, I removed the video eight days ago. But because the criticism continued, I'm here making a statement," he added. "Mom, I'm sorry, too. Life gets better each day. Thank you for listening to me."

The video, which was removed from YouTube on October 17, showed several Black women being walked on leashes and other Black actors wearing prosthetics to make them look like dogs. 

J Balvin
J Balvin in New York City on August 27, 2021. Michael Loccisano / Getty

Tokischa, who is featured in the song, was also shown in a cage as she sang about feeling like a "b**** in heat." In an interview with Rolling Stone, Tokischa apologized to anyone offended by the video.

"If you, as a creative, have a song that's talking about dogs, you're going to create that world," told the publication. "I understand the interpretation people had and I'm truly sorry that people felt offended. But at the same time, art is expression. It's creating a world."

The video's director and Tokischa's manager, Raymi Paulus, said he felt the video was taken "out of context" by its critics. 

"I understand that there will never be a unanimous opinion about what constitutes art, but, for me, art not only communicates beauty and positivity—it also communicates the shortcomings of society, taboo subjects, and other ways of seeing reality that do not always align with the pop vision that dominates the current market," Paulus told Rolling Stone. 

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