The Music Video For ‘Perra’, J Balvin’s Collab With Tokischa, Is Taken Down From YouTube Amid Accusations of Misogyny and Racism
Screenshot via YouTube
J Balvin is no stranger to controversy. The Colombian reggaetón artist defiantly marches to the beat of his own drum despite what his critics have to say (and they have a lot to say). But this time, people are saying the reggaetonero may have gone too far.
The controversial music video for “Perra”, J Balvin’s collab with Dominican rapper Tokischa, has been taken down from YouTube after a massive backlash.
In the music video, J Balvin (who is white and Colombian), holds the leashes of two Black women—who are made-up to look like dogs—while they walk on all-fours in front of him. Tokischa, who is Black and Dominican, eats from a dog bowl in a dog house surrounded by literal dogs. Many other Black and/or dark-skinned people are also made up to look like dogs throughout the video.
The lyrics are meant to nod to the rowdy sex lives of dogs with Tokischa at one point referring to herself as a “bitch in heat looking for a dog to hit it,” in Spanish. One could also argue that the collar and chain-leash is a nod to BDSM and kink culture (a culture that Tokischa enthusiastically participates in). But the optics of a white Latino man “walking” two Black women dressed as dogs on a leash reeks of misogynoir.
Viewers called out J Balvin the tone deaf “machista, racista y misogina” imagery he used in “Perra”.
The song is the type of stuff you expect from Tokischa and I was so happy for her and the type of exposure she will get from it but that video left me feeling so icky. It was so racist and it prayed on some of the poorest people in the island. We’re they even payed?— oh no, my extended car warranty has expired (@AISA_Sayz) October 18, 2021
As Colombian Vice President Marta Lucía Ramírez and Presidential Counselor for Women’s Equality Gheidy Gallo Santos so eloquently wrote in a joint statement: “The artist uses images of women and people of African descent – a population group with special constitutional protection – to whom he presents with dog ears. In addition, while walking, the singer carries two Afro-descendant women tied with neck chains and crawling on the floor like animals or slaves.”
As one commenter on a still-streaming YouTube video of “Perra” wrote: “I had to watch the full video to realize that what they say about this song is true. The song is disgusting and the models who let themselves be used like that do not even respect themselves. Where are we going with all this garbage?”
Another commenter was just as infuriated. “The truth is that it is disgusting how they disrespect women,” they wrote. “And the same ‘artist’, who is also a woman, degrading herself. See how both girls and boys participate in this. They have some nerve!”
Now, people are even more frustrated that the “Perra” music video was quietly taken down without any acknowledgement on J Balvin’s part of the hurt it caused.
Lo que sí es totalmente deleznable y racista es el video. Pero tumbarlo de YouTube sin hacer ningún tipo de comunicado ni mea culpa es muy cobarde y no resuelve nada— Núria Net (@nuriapuntonet) October 18, 2021
Although Latin music journalist Nuria Net defended the song itself for its frank depiction of female desire, she condemned the music video and J Balvin’s response to the backlash. “What is totally despicable and racist is the video,” Net wrote on Twitter. “But taking it down from YouTube without making any kind of statement or mea culpa is very cowardly and does not solve anything
As of now, it is unclear whether YouTube or J Balvin’s team took down the video. Neither J Balvin nor Tokischa have made a statement on the matter.