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J Balvin winner of the Afro Latin Artist of the year award. Photo: Instagram AEAUSA
J Balvin was the winner of the 'Afro-Latin Artist of the Year award.' Photo: Instagram- AEAUSA

Controversy arises over Afro-Latino award given to J Balvin

J Balvin's year has been full of controversy for his songs, nominations, and now his awards.

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On Sunday, Dec. 26, J Balvin won the award for the 'Afro-Latino Artist of the Year' during the annual AEAUSA African Entertainment Awards ceremony. The recognition generated controversy among other Afro-descendant artists and Internet users. 
 
Balvin was competing in the category with other artists such as Dubosky, The Ganez, Iza, Nacho, Sami Boy, and Bad Bunny, but it caused upheaval among some on social media who have expressed discomfort for the distinction, and because the singer accepted the award.
Why shouldn't he have been the winner? 
Throughout the year, the Colombian artist has been involved in different problems, such as his argument with René of Calle 13 for his criticism of the Grammy Latin Awards, the scandal over the video for his song "Perra," and the request for the cancellation of his concert at the Cali Fair. 
 
J Balvin is not considered by many to be an Afro-descendant artist, but instead a "white Latin man," as described by Colombian composer and rapper Mabiland, who also called Balvin "misplaced and appropriator."

The artist Goyo, vocalist and leader of ChocQuibTown, a group recognized for being a precursor of Black culture and Pacific rhythms, was one of the most critical and showed her dissatisfaction with the awards on Twitter. 

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"If you want to know my opinion: I believe more in the Grammys than in this sh.... And I'm going to sleep because they start calling me resentful. How scary," Goyo wrote.

Faced with the criticism, AEAUSA spoke out through a video on its official Instagram account, in which they explain that the category J Balvin won is aimed at any artist based in Latin America, who is contributing to African culture, especially the Afro-beat sound.

"It is not based on race but, more importantly, on pushing African culture on the world stage," the organization tried to clarify.

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