J Balvin has removed the music video for his latest single, ‘Perra’ with Tokischa, and apologised after it was condemned as racist and misogynist.
Released last month, the video came under criticism for its portrayal of some Black women as dogs, including a scene where the Colombian rapper appears holding leashes around the necks of two women. Tokischa, who is Dominican, performs one scene while on all fours inside a literal doghouse.
Earlier this month, Colombian Vice President and chancellor Marta Lucía Ramírez condemned the video as racist and sexist in an open letter, as reported by Billboard.
“In his video, the artist uses images of women and people of Afro-descendants — population groups with special constitutional protection — whom he presents with dog ears,” she wrote.
“In addition, while walking, the singer carries two Afro-descendant women tied with neck chains and crawling on the floor like animals or slaves. As if this were not enough, the lyrics of the song have direct and openly sexist, racist, machista, and misogynistic expressions that violate the rights of women, comparing them to an animal that must be dominated and mistreated.”
The video was removed from YouTube on October 17, with Balvin – real name José Balvín – addressing the video’s removal and the backlash it caused in a series of videos posted to his Instagram yesterday (October 24).
“I want to say sorry to whomever felt offended, especially to the Black community,” Balvin said. “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,” he continued, “but because the criticism continued, I’m here making a statement.”
He also apologised to his mother, Alba Mery Balvín, who had publicly criticised the song and the video. Speaking to Colombian news station Cosmovisión, Alba said, “When I found out [about ‘Perra’], I called him and asked, ‘Where is the Josésito that I know?'”
“That song is not … I don’t even know what to say. I did not see my José anywhere.”
‘Perra’ appears on Balvin’s latest album, ‘JOSE’, which was released on September 10. Alongside Tokischa, who recently linked up with Rosalía for ‘Linda’, ‘JOSE’ also features contributions from Skrillex, Ozuna, Dua Lipa, Bad Bunny, Karol G and more.