J Balvin’s Video Featuring Tokischa Is Removed From YouTube and Sparks Debate About Racism, Sexism, and Censorship

J Balvin Perra Video BELatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of Vimeo

The networks have once again been the arena of debate after fans of J Balvin denounced through the platforms the removal of “Perra,” the latest song by the Colombian singer featuring Tokischa, from the official YouTube channels.

With no official statement from Balvin or YouTube, the video was replaced by an audio track, although fans quickly uploaded copies of the official video.

In one way or another, “Perra” has become one of the most controversial Latin urban music songs in recent years, even provoking reactions in Latin American political circles.

From the Vice President and Chancellor of the Republic of Colombia, Marta Lucía Ramírez, to the iconic Colombian-French feminist, Florence Thomas, it seems that the consensus is to reject the video, although not necessarily the song.

In an open letter, Ramirez branded the piece as “macho racist and misogynist,” referring to the frame in which Balvin leads two Afro-Latino women on a dog-like leash. The Presidential Advisor for Women’s Equity, Gheidy Gallo Santos, joined the statement, highlighting that “the artist uses images of women and Afro-descendants — population groups of special constitutional protection — whom he presents with dog ears. In addition, while walking, the singer carries two Afro-descendant women tied with chains around their necks and crawling on the floor like animals or slaves”.

“To objectify women is to fail as a society,” reiterated Ramírez, who publicly invited JBalvin and the music and record industry to sign a pact that includes commitments “for the promotion of women’s rights in music, and the prevention of violence against them.”

For her part, Florence Thomas told Semana magazine that the video was “very difficult” and criticized the meaning that the singer gave to the lyrics because, for her, it is clear that he does not speak “of the female dog,” but of “bitches and whores.”

“It’s not just a macho thing; it’s much more than that; for me, that guy deserves jail, for all the fibers of what we have fought for years, decades, women, and not only feminists, to have a minimum of dignity and respect,” she asserted.

However, the song has highlighted the intersection of feminism: is Tokischa a silent agent in the production? The Dominican rapper, who in fact wrote the lyrics for “Perra,” has made her mark in the industry for her controversial and liberating style, especially after she decided to open an OnlyFans account to share her content often censored by platforms like Instagram.

Harvard professor and Ph.D. in Feminist Jurisprudence Isabel Cristina Jaramillo considered the vice president’s statements to be out of context and leave out “women who like perreo, sex” and who openly feel they are “sexual beings.”

“Of course, they are controversial and shocking statements, but I don’t think it’s a white, establishment woman who can lead that debate,” she added.

For her part, Nuria Net, journalist and co-founder of La Coctelera Music, affirmed that the song’s lyrics are not “sexist at all” since, according to her, “it is one of the few songs in which a man and a woman sing to each other about their desire.”