Entertainment

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

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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?

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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

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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

Eva Mendes Said She Hasn’t Acted In Years Because She Isn’t Settling For Roles She’s Not Proud Of

Entertainment

Eva Mendes Said She Hasn’t Acted In Years Because She Isn’t Settling For Roles She’s Not Proud Of

evamendes / Instagram

This year’s Golden Globes awards were a complete letdown for a variety of reasons. Aside from the typical #SoWhite nonsense and long speeches, people were astonished at the lack of Latinas on the red carpet. We counted four: Jennifer Lopez, Ana de Armas, Sofia Vergara, and Salma Hayek. Depressing right? We know there are more Latinas in Hollywood, but where are they? At least one of the most recognized Latina actresses is explaining why she hasn’t acted in years. 

A fan recently asked Eva Mendes on Instagram when she’ll be in a new movie. Mendes responded by saying she won’t settle for any project partly because of her daughters. 

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On Jan. 7, Mendes responded to a fan on Instagram when she asked her,  “When the fans going to see u in some new movies?” Mendes told her kindly that she isn’t offered roles that are good enough for her. 

“Hi! When there’s something worthwhile to be a part of,” she wrote on Instagram. “As a mother now, there are many roles I won’t do. There are many subject matters that I don’t want to be involved with, so it limits my choices, and I’m fine with that. I have to set an example for my girls now. But no worry, I got some side hustles. Ha! Thanks for asking. All the best for 2020.”

Mendes’s most recent role was the 2014 film Lost River directed and written by her baby daddy, Ryan Gosling. Things certainly changed for Mendes when she met Gosling in 2011.

The two first met while filming the 2012 movie, “The Place Beyond the Pines.” There was no denying the chemistry between the two in “The Place Beyond the Pines.” It was an extraordinary film about a Luke (Gosling) who doubles as a bank robber and motorcyclist. He meets Romina (Mendes), the two fall in love, and have a baby. Domestic life isn’t for Luke, and he cannot escape his crime-ridden life. We won’t give any spoilers, but it truly felt like we were witnessing a real-life love story.

Mendes is now the mother of two girls and has gone on to launch her fashion collection with New York & Company and has been busy with that for several years now.

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While Mendes continues to lead a pretty private life with Gosling and her daughters, her fashion collection has been successful. She has also said that her partner has been very encouraging and proud of her work as a designer. 

“Ryan is incredibly supportive, and he’s always in awe,” Mendes told People magazine last year. “He makes me realize that [making the collection] is actually a lot of work. I have so much fun doing it that I don’t really realize.”

She also added that her in-laws and her family are extremely helpful to her as she develops each collection. 

“Ryan’s mom, Ryan’s sister, my mom, my sisters, my grandma are all my fashion guinea pigs,” Mendes told the magazine. “Nobody is going to be more honest than family, and our family is very honest. It’s something I really appreciate because when designing something, you need real feedback.”

Yet, still, with her success as a fashion designer, we cannot help miss Mendes as an actor. Remember her in “Training Day”?

Her role as Sara opposite Denzel Washington was so intense and incredibly raw. We can see why she would hesitate to be in certain kinds of characters, especially if the part calls for nudity or vulgar language. The role of Sara is also one that we have seen often, which is the stereotypical Latina as a single mother, living in the projects. That has been played out. That movie, however, was how we first learned of Mendes. 

She stretched her comedy chops in “The Other Guys” in 2010 alongside Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell. 

That movie was hilarious, and she was amusing as the wife of Will Ferrell. Then again, that role was of a sexy (but smart) Latina who could whip of a home-cooked meal and be stunning all at the same time. Mendes can play the ultimate woman because she is a lot of ways. However, we understand she wants to break away from that notion that all Latinas are curvy, sexy, and feisty. 

Her Instagram is always active, so it makes us feel like Mendes hasn’t gone anywhere.

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But we still miss you on the big screen, Eva. Come back!!

READ: Here Are 9 Latinos Who Have Become Triple Threats In The Entertainment Industry

Diego Luna And Gael Garcia Bernal Signed A Major Deal With Amazon Studios

Entertainment

Diego Luna And Gael Garcia Bernal Signed A Major Deal With Amazon Studios

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Celebrity BFFs share a special place in the collective consciousness of fans and admirers alike. Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal are no exception. While the pair once shared the “child actor” title, the two broke free of that category in their breakthrough roles in “Y Tu Mamá También.” Ever since then, the Diego Luna-and-Gael Garcia Bernal radar has remained on alert. We are happy to alert that this cute duo is working together once again.

Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal signed a deal Amazon Studios to create and produce content that will premiere on Amazon Prime Video.

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The incredible deal means their Mexico-based production company La Corriente del Golfo, will initiate projects in Latin America. 

“We are incredibly excited to expand Amazon Studios’ relationship with the multitalented team of Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna,” said Vernon Sanders, Co-Head of Television, Amazon Studios, according to Deadline. “Their talent, creativity, and global perspective will undoubtedly result in even more compelling content for our Amazon Prime Video customers.”

The guys are equally excited about their new venture with the high-profile company.

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“We are delighted and grateful at La Corriente del Golfo for our first-look deal with Amazon Studios,” Garcia Bernal said, according to Deadline. “This provides an opportunity for us and for talent in Latin America to create ambitious and interesting projects.”

Luna added: “This is an important moment for everyone at La Corriente del Golfo. We are very excited to work hand in hand with Amazon, as this will allow us to reach new audiences and to tell stories that represent us and reflect our realities.”

This is not the first time Garcia Bernal and Luna have worked together producing projects. In 2005, they launched Canana Films but left it in 2018. 

Credit: @CANANApresenta / Twitter

The Mexican production company produced at least 20 projects both for film and TV, including their 2008 film “Rudo y Cursi” and “César Chávez” starring Michael Peña in 2014. In 2019, they released Netlfix’s “Luis Miguel La Serie” and their last film “Miss Bala” starring Gina Rodriguez. 

In 2018, Luna and Garcia Bernal said they would stop producing under Canana Films to work on other projects. At the time of the announcement, we could not help but wonder if there was a rift between the two. Why would they stop working together? Did they break up! Now we know it was to start a new venture — together!

“Canana arose out of the strength that fraternity gives us when we express ourselves freely,” Garcia Bernal said in 2018, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “That will continue to be the slogan for every project we embark on. As in every cycle that ends, now another begins.”

Soon after they split with Canana Films, the guys announced they would launch their own production company called La Corriente del Golfo, which translates to Gulfstream in English. Here’s how Garcia Bernal explained the name of his new company, “La Corriente del Golfo is an ocean current that originates in the Gulf of Mexico and travels all the way to the North Atlantic, allowing for a temperate climate – and, without which, there’d be Arctic tundra,” Garcia Bernal said according to Variety, adding: “We take up the symbol of this global current to emphasize that liberty – in all its meanings –should flow as freely as an ocean current.” He is so poetic!

We love seeing working together in this kind of capacity, which will undoubtedly give more opportunity to Latinx actors. But these two have garnered success separately in their right. 

Credit: @el_universal_mx / Twitter

Ever since their critical acclaim in 2001 with “Y Tu Mamá También,” these talented actors have been working nonstop in both film and TV. Most recently, Garcia Bernal was nominated for Best Actor Golden Globe in 2017 for his role in Amazon’s “Mozart in the Jungle,” and in 2016, he won.

Luna has also had a lot of success with roles in the 2016 film “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and Netflix’s “Narcos: Mexico.” The new second season of “Narcos: Mexico” will soon be on Netflix, and we cannot wait. 

With so much growth between these two (sorry, pun intended), we cannot help but look back at how far these two have come. Let’s take a look.

Cheers to these Mexican cuties, and congrats on the new deal! We’re excited to see their latest projects. 

READ: Everyone On The Internet Is Going Crazy About Diego Luna And Gael García Bernal