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21 Things You Didn’t Know About Reggaeton Star J Balvin

Reggaeton is here to stay, and has been so for some years now. Latino musicians either start a career in this genre, or collaborate with the main voices of the industry. Among contemporary reggaeton artists, J Balvin has built a name for himself. This Colombian powerhouse mixes Latino grooves with sometimes incendiary lyrics that verge on the erotic and sometimes the political.

A true representative of youth urban cultures.

1. His full name is José Álvaro Osorio Balvin

Credit: Instagram. @Jbalvin

Quite a telenovela name is you ask us! We can totally picture a cute Latina actress saying: “José Álvaro te amo

2. He was born in 1985 (and he has a tattoo to make that clear)

Credit: www.levi-walton.com

See that tat just bellow his bellybutton: that is the year he was born. On May 7 to be precise.

3. He was born in Medellín smack in the middle of the drug wars. And he continues to live there.

Credit: 180315153021-colombia-medellin-houses. Digital image. CNN

Like many Colombians, particularly artists, born in the peak of the drug trade and the violence that engulfed the country during the 1980s, J Balvin has tried to escape the stereotypes while sublimating his past through music. He has refused to move to the United States, which would probably make more financial sense and help his career. He has said that he want to keep it real, be close to his loved ones and have daily reminders of where he comes from.

4. He grew up listening to grunge

Credit: nirvana-logo. Digital image. Legendary Merch.

Like many Latin American Youth of the 1990s, he grew up listening to bands like Nirvana. He also loved Metallica. He has incorporated sounds from both in his songs, as best he can. And we can’t blame him! The 1990s were amazing for moody bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots and Pearl Jam. We sure miss those lumberjack jackets and Doc Martens boots!

5. Look at that tattoo on his knee!

Credit: Instagram. @Jbalvin

Looks familiar? Yes, it is the Nirvana dopey smiley face. He stays true to his first influences.

6. He has even covered “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in live performances

Credit: Instagram. @Jbalvin

Those who have been lucky enough to catch J Balvin in his grunge mood have seen him perform the 1990s anthem, channeling his inner Latino Kurt Cobain. The song is testament of the hardships of growing up feeling like no one understands you, which is a constant adolescent source of angst.

7. He fell in love with reggaeton when he became a fan of Daddy Yankee

Credit: Untitled-design-20. Digital image. Nonefit.

Daddy Yankee gave legitimacy to reggaeton as a pop music genre that could also achieve musical quality. As an all-around performer Daddy Yankee inspired youth like J Balvin, who has said: ““I was such a fan that I was copying his style, the way he moved onstage, his flows, his raps”. Reggaeton is much harder than it looks, and setting yourself apart from the bunch is a feat that only the likes of Daddy Yankee and J Balvin have achieved.

READ: Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About The One And Only Daddy Yankee

8. He has also singled-out Snoop Dog as an influence

Credit: 160420-haglage-snoop-dogg-tease_cvidkl. Digital Image. The Daily Beast.

Critics have highlighted the way that J Balvin sings over the bears, instead of always rapping like most reggaeton artists. He owes this to Snoop Dog, whose mellow rap style combines aggressive melodies with more R&B inspired sounds. Snoop Dog is an unacknowledged influence in urban Latin music today, so it is great to see stars like J Balvin recognize this.

9. He collaborates with other stars like Cardi B and Bad Bunny

Credit: 67a6c0. Digital image. The Artist Union.

One of the reasons the genre has become so popular is the willingness of the most famous artists to collaborate. Putting their egos to the side, Cardi B, Bad Bunny and J Balvin collaborated in “I Like It”, total perreo material. Plenty of genres should learn from the reggaetoneros business smarts when it comes to joining forces.

10. He once worked as a house painter

Credit: exterior-painting. Digital image. Joy 94.9.

He is not shy in admitting that he learnt the hardships of manual labor when he did roofing and house painting while working illegally in the United States while pursuing his dream of rich and fame in the Land of the Free. He is a testament of hard migrant labor. He grew up in a middle-class family that lost everything, so he understand and appreciates the value or earning what is yours.

11. He has been part of ComplexCon

Credit:  Instagram. @Jbalvin

This awesome convention is curated by the equally amazing Pharrell Williams and brings together the top minds in pop culture and art, as well as the renegades. J Balvin has been a proud participant. Colombia, represent! 

12. He won the Latin Grammy for “Ay, Vamos”

Credit: Instagram. @Jbalvin

His breakthrough into the mainstream came courtesy of the Best Urban Song Latin Grammy he won for “Ay Vamos”. Like a modern day Cinderella, he quickly went from obscurity to fame.

13. What does that “Familia” tat mean?

Credit: 51nyez9V0CL._SS500. Digital image. Amazon.

Very simple: it stands for his album La Familia, which spent 122 weeks on the Billboard chart. Not bad at all! But where does the title of the album come from? It honors J Balvin’s mother, who has severe health issues.

14. The meaning behind “6 AM”

Credit: The Hangover. Warner Bros.

One of the singer’s top hits is “6 AM”, with boricua singer Farruko. J Balvin has describes the tune as a Latino version of the movie The Hangover. Una cruda terrible! 

15. He stood up to Donald Trump

Credit: Instagram. @Jbalvin

He was slotted to sing in Miss USA 2015, but cancelled his participation due to Donald Trump’s insulting and racist comments against Latino immigrants. He sacrificed fame and exposure but stood up for his dignity and self-respect. Bien hecho, mijo! 

16. He topped the Billboard Top Latin chart with Energia

Credit: Instagram. @Jbalvin

His fourth studio album saw is career skyrocket as it ruled over the charts as soon as it was released. El que persevera alcanza. 

17. The video for “Ginza” was watched 2 million times in 24 hours

Credit: YouTube. @JBalvin

On January 16, 2016, J Balvin released his single “Ginza”, premiering the awesome, sci-fi music video on Vevo. The video broke records and was watches two million times during its first day. This Colombian dynamo had truly broken into the mainstream.

18. And by now it has been watched almost a billion times!

Credit: YouTube. @JBalvin

783,398,497 times to be exact (at the time of writing). #DUHWINNING! The J Balvin phenomenon is only comparable to other global cases like the Korean Star PSY.

19. He started #LatinosSomosFamilia, a movement to help Venezuelan migrants in Colombia

Credit: CN6U4DoWoAAchEE. Digital image. Scoopnest.

The economic situation in Venezuela is dire. Thousands of Venezuelans are feeling the Maduro regime in search of a better life in Colombia. The situation in the border is terrible and J Balvin created the campaign #LatinosSomosFamilia to gather support for these refugees. Talented and caring, he is the whole package.

20. He survived a plane crash in 2016

Credit: Snapchat. @JBalvin

In what the singer called “a miracle”, he came unscratched after the plane he was in with his family crashed right after liftoff in an The Bahamas. He shared the moment on Snapchat. August 2016 will always be ingrained in his memory!

21. He suffers from mental health issues

Credit: 1_eF6_d-PuuKaBb9GOd2ldmA. Digital image. Medium.

One of the reasons we love J Balvin is how outspoken he is about the tribulations of people that, like him, suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. He deals with these through meditation.

READ: 20 Latina Celebrities And Icons You Didn’t Know Had Disabilities

21 Times Latina Celebrities Gave Some Serious Life Advice

Entertainment

21 Times Latina Celebrities Gave Some Serious Life Advice

No matter who you are, we all need life advice sometimes. And no matter who you are, we all need to hear more from Latina celebrities. These women have worked hard and overcome a lot to get to the top of their field — whether that’s music, film, or running the country. They have life experience and they know what they’re doing, so of course, they have some serious life advice. Here are 21 pieces of advice from Latina celebrities about everything from following your dreams to believing in yourself, to knowing when to ask for help, to knowing when to have fun!

Sonia Sotomayor

Source: Politico Magazine


As the first Latinx person to ever sit on the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor has had to overcome a lot of obstacles. She did this by not letting others get her down: “I do know one thing about me: I don’t measure myself by others’ expectations or let others define my worth.”

Selena Gomez

Instagram @SelenaGomez


The actor and singer was actually named after the first person on this list. She has this to say about mental health and when things get tough: “If you are broken, you do not have to stay broken”

Selena

YouTube @Selena Quintanilla


The Queen of Tejano music died tragically young, but she still achieved a ton and had a lot of advice to give, like this: “If you have a dream, don’t let anybody take it away.”

Gina Rodriguez

Instagram @hereisgina


Gina Rodriguez was catapulted into stardom by her role in Jane the Virgin. She has this advice: “Enjoy [life], appreciate it, and be grateful throughout it all. It’s not a race, it’s a marathon.”

America Ferrara

Instagram @AmericaFerrera


Actor and activist America Ferrera wants young girls to know this: “To me, the tragedy about this whole image-obsessed society is that young girls get so caught up in just achieving that they forget to realize that they have so much more to offer the world.”

Salma Hayek

Instagram @SalmaHayek


Actress Salma Hayek wants you to know why you’re doing the things you do. “Before you do anything, think. If you do something to try and impress someone, to be loved, accepted or even to get someone’s attention, stop and think. So many people are busy trying to create an image, they die in the process.”

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto

Source: Wall Street Journal


Catherine Cortez Masto was the first Latina senator in U.S. history, so she knows a thing or two about fighting to get your voice heard. “I say this to women all the time: If you’ve got the passion, you believe in making change, and you’ve got an issue or policy or something that you want to do, believe in it. Have confidence in yourself. You can do it.”

Rita Moreno

Instagram @theritamoreno


Legendary Latina actress Rita Moreno has this wonderful life advice: “Smell the roses. Smell the coffee. Whatever it is that makes you happy.”

 Jennifer Lopez

Instagram @jlo


J-Lo needs no introduction. Is it any wonder she has some great life advice? “It’s the messy parts that make us human, so we should embrace them too — pat ourselves on the back for getting through them rather than being angry for having gotten into them in the first place.”

Selena

Source: Biography.com


Selena was an active philanthropist and often visited schools in Latino areas to talk about the importance of education: “Music is not a very stable business. You know it comes and it goes, and so does money. But your education stays with you for the rest of your life.”

 Sofia Vergara

Instagram @SofiaVergara

Despite her acting abilities and her comedy chops, actress and model Sofia Vergara is often known for her beauty, but she says that people often get the wrong idea about beauty: “To me, beauty is really all about confidence. If you feel beautiful, then you are beautiful. Of course, I love to wear makeup and nice clothes, but at the end of the day, you have to feel good on the inside.”

Demi Lovato

Instagram @ddlovato


Singer, songwriter, and actress Demi Lovato says this about recovery: “The best advice I can give to anyone going through a rough patch is to never be afraid to ask for help.” 

Salma Hayek

Instagram @SalmaHayek


Salma Hayek has more to say about figuring out your path: “This the one thing I learned: How do you recognize what’s your true dream and what is the dream that you are dreaming for other people to love you? … The difference is very easy to understand. If you enjoy the process, it’s your dream. … If you are enduring the process, just desperate for the result, it’s somebody else’s dream.”

Rosie Perez

Instagram @rosieperezbrooklyn

Actress Rosie Perez has said this about self-reflection:”If we can’t look at the good, bad and ugly of who we are, we are never going to progress as people–ever.”

Soledad O’Brien

Source: The Wrap


Broadcast journalist Soledad O’Brien says this about fear and believing in yourself: “I’ve learned that fear limits you and your vision. It serves as blinders to what may be just a few steps down the road for you. The journey is valuable, but believing in your talents, your abilities, and your self-worth can empower you to walk down an even brighter path. Transforming fear into freedom – how great is that?”

Gloria Estefan

Instagram @GloriaEstefan

Gloria Estefan started as a singer but has become so much more than that. So her advice isn’t exactly surprising: “Whatever it is your heart desires, please go for it, it’s yours to have.”

Zoe Saldana

Instagram @ZoeSaldana


Currently best known for her role in Guardians of the Galaxy, Zoe Saldana wants people to know they shouldn’t be ashamed of who they are: “When somebody throws in a big word [that I don’t know] I just say, “I’m so sorry I don’t know what that means, can you please explain that?” I don’t care if I’m sitting at the President’s table having dinner, I have to be myself. I want to practice every day being myself. It’s not natural to me, it’s not natural to anybody – we’re human, we’re meant to worry about what the other person thinks, but you have to exercise it. So, I just practice it because I like this peace that comes from forcing yourself to not be anything else other than what comes with being yourself.”

Julia Alvarez

Source: NY Times


Latina writer Julia Alvarez says this about being true to yourself: “Each of us will have to make the choices that allow us to be the largest versions of ourselves.”

Jessica Alba

Instagram @JessicaAlba


Actor and businesswoman Jessica Alba has advice for all women: “No matter how different women are, we all seem to share the guilt that we’re not doing enough. If anything, I would say that as long as you’re doing your best, it’s more than enough.” –

Isabel Allende

Source: Modern Literature

Novelist Isabel Allende has been called the world’s most widely read Spanish-language author, but even she deals with doubts and fears: “Fear is inevitable, I have to accept that, but I cannot allow it to paralyze me.” 

Michelle Rodriguez

Instagram @mrodofficial

Michelle Rodriguez has made an acting career out of defying expected roles: “I do what I want, when I want, how I want.”

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