J Balvin has apologized following the removal of his music video ‘Perra’ from YouTube.
The music video was released in September and showed the Colombian musician walking two black women on leashes. Other black actors in the video were made up to look like dogs. Dominican rapper Tokischa features in the song and performed in the video inside a doghouse.
“I want to say sorry to whomever felt offended, especially to the black community,” Balvin says in a video posted 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,” Balvin says.
J Balvin is one of the biggest names in Latin music, with more than 35 million record sales worldwide. The song “Perra” is taken from his sixth studio album, José. The sexually-charged song features Balvin trading rhymes with Tokischa, who describes herself as a “dog in heat” and says “let’s fall in love like strays” in the video.
Colombia’s Vice President and Chancellor Martia Lucia Ramirez sharply rebuked ‘Perra’, calling it “sexist, racist, chauvinist, and misogynistic.”
“In his video, the artist uses images of women and people of Afro-descendants, population groups with special constitutional protection – whom he represents with dog ears,” Ramirez writes in an open letter dated October 11. “In addition, while walking, the singer carries two Afro-descendant women tied with neck chains and crawling on the floor like animals or slaves.”
The video was deleted from YouTube on October 17, but the apology came this week. “As a form of respect, I removed the video eight days ago,” the artist admits in the apology video. “But because the criticism continued, I’m here making a statement.”
Dominican rapper Tokischa has also apologized for her role in creating the song. In an interview with Rolling Stone, she says the video was trying to be creative. “If you, as a creative, have a song that’s talking about dogs, you’re going to create that world.”
“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.” Tokischa’s manager says the group’s creative process never aimed to promote racism or misogyny.