Opinion | J Balvin is the new face of an old tradition: Black erasure in music

Genres such as reggaeton, champeta, samba, zamacueca, son and rumba were mocked, marginalized and criminalized by the White ruling classes throughout Latin America. But then came the White performers, record executives and producers that whitewashed, repackaged and sold them for profit. Balvin chooses to actively ignore this history and the contemporary ramifications for his own enrichment. When he is not receiving undeserved awards, he is boycotting them — as he did earlier this year when he attacked the Latin Grammys. “The Grammys don’t value us, but they need us,” he posted. Ironic considering he uses and profits from Blackness while devaluing it, erasing it and placing himself in it.


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