There’s no denying that music transcends language. K-Pop is just one example of this, as many other artists worldwide have seen enormous popularity with fans who do not speak the languages they perform in.
This is also true for BTS‘s Jungkook, who has shown the variety of music he listens to on multiple occasions. In a recent interview, the BTS member even named three Latin artists he enjoys listening to — Rosalia, Becky G, and J. Balvin.
q. you mentioned wanting to do latin music in the future. do you have a favorite latin artist?
jungkook: i like rosalia, and the famous j balvin and becky g. i think that's about it pic.twitter.com/9OdgzFE3fj
— jungkook admirer₇ (@dreamjeons) September 3, 2023
Becky G — who has collaborated with BTS’s J-Hope — showed love back to Jungkook after the shout-out, but fans were surprised when J. Balvin posted a story on Instagram with the caption “Jungkook is the vibe” with “Seven” playing.
Days later, J. Balvin posted a mysterious tweet that many fans did not initially seem to get. ARMY realized the two emojis used, the peace sign and hand, added up to seven and took it as a sign of a possible collaboration or remix featuring J. Balvin being released soon.
— J BALVIN (@JBALVIN) September 6, 2023
However, some fans were not thrilled by these interactions…
— skya🐰 (@andfuckvmin) September 7, 2023
— 444WOO ⁷ ☆ (@UGHHWOO) September 7, 2023
— dominican jungkook (@toticoz) September 7, 2023
…and the reason behind this can be found in J. Balvin’s “problematic” and “racist” past. J. Balvin has been active as an artist for many years and, during that time, has been criticized for what some consider anti-black behavior and comments directed at black women.
In 2018, the artist was criticized for saying he viewed Rihanna as suitable for sex instead of marriage during a YouTube video he appeared in. Though he commented during a game and apologized afterward, many felt his added commentary was unnecessary.
Rihanna isn’t a good woman to marry, just fool around.
— J. Balvin
J Balvin is saying Rihanna is for sex & not for marriage, when he looks like a fucking toe and she makes more than he will ever see in a lifetime. He’s not her equal in any way & yet still trying to enforce/assign old colonial stereotypes & positions.
— 🌳 Shaadi (@TwittaHoney) April 9, 2018
Next, the artist had to apologize for using the hashtags #everylifematters and #latinolivesmatter amid the #BlackLivesMatter protests following George Floyd‘s murder. As those at the front of the moment explain, using other terms like those is a way of hijacking focus from the cause.
His social media post of himself dancing with a black person was found to be in poor taste.
Most recently, the artist was criticized after his music video for “Perra” featured black women depicted as dogs. J. Balvin is seen “walking” two of the women given dog features on a leash and even earned criticism from his mother over the song’s lyrical content.
Though he later apologized for the video and deleted it, these instances and others have left a bad taste in many netizens’ mouths.