J Balvin has removed a new music video from YouTube following complaints that the imagery was racist and sexist. Balvin’s single, “Perra,” a collaboration with Dominican artist Tokischa, is about dogs in heat; the music video portrays Balvin walking Black women styled like dogs on leashes and depicts them in cages. According to Billboard, the vice-president of Colombia, Marta Lucía Ramírez, issued a letter on October 11 that “called the visual ‘sexist, racist, machista, and misogynistic.’” The video was taken down from YouTube over a week ago.
On Sunday, Balvin issued an apology via his Instagram Story, saying, “I want to say sorry to whomever felt offended, especially to the Black community. 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 continued, “As a form of respect, I removed the video eight days ago. But because the criticism continued, I’m here making a statement. Mom, I’m sorry too. Life gets better each day. Thank you for listening to me.”
Tokischa, who is Black, apologized to Rolling Stone, saying, “I’m truly sorry that people felt offended,” while also defending her creative process: “It was very conceptual. If you, as a creative, have a song that’s talking about dogs, you’re going to create that world.”