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

Korean Dark Comedy ‘Parasite’ Becomes The First Non-English Language Movie To Win The Oscar For Best Picture

Entertainment

Korean Dark Comedy ‘Parasite’ Becomes The First Non-English Language Movie To Win The Oscar For Best Picture

parasitemovie / Instagram

The Academy Awards last night brought many surprise wins and losses. “Parasite,” a Korean dark comedy about the class struggle in South Korea, swept with four major awards. The movie took home the Oscar for Best Director, Best International Film, Best Original Screenplay, and the most sought after Best Picture. The night was history-making as “Parasite” is the first non-English language movie to win Best Picture.

Director Bong Joon-ho made history last night with his film “Parasite.”

“Parasite” was competing for the award against “1917,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “The Irishman,” “Little Women,” “Marriage Story,” “Ford v Ferrari,” “Joker,” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”

Director Bong Joon-ho made history with his film. “Parasite” is the first-ever non-English language film to win the award for Best Picture. There have only been 11 non-English movies nominated for Best Picture out of the 563 that have been nominated in the Academy’s history. The award is the only one where all Academy members are allowed to cast a vote for and is presented to the producers of the film. Last year’s winner was “Green Book.”

The unexpected and welcomed victory is an important moment in Oscar’s history and people are taking notice.

In a time when certain voices are being oppressed, the elevation of these kinds of stories and communities is important. Representation matters and film is one way we can show other cultures and participate in major cultural conversations.

Compared to the rest of the movies nominated for Best Picture, “Parasite” had the lowest production budget.

Credit: @NorbertElekes / Twitter

The film, which cost about $11 million to produce, became Bong Joon-ho’s first film to gross over $100 million worldwide. The movie earned $167.6 million worldwide with $35.5 million made in the U.S.

“I feel like a very opportune moment in history is happening right now,” producer Kwak Sin Ae said through a translator.

The historic moment has angered some people who wish the award went to an American film.

Credit: @jakeh91283 / Twitter

Earlier during the award season, Bong Joon-ho stated that the Best Picture award was a local award. The statement, which caught everyone’s attention, was an unintentional drag of the Academy while also painting an honest picture of the award’s history.

The U.S. is how to the largest Korean diaspora community in the world. Around 2.2 million people in the U.S. identify as being of Korean descent. The Korean community makes up about 0.7 percent of the U.S. population. South Koreans make up 99 percent of those with Korean heritage living in the U.S.

Yet, a larger chorus of voices are praising the film and celebrating the historic win.

Credit: @allouttacain / Twitter

What do you think about “Parasite” winning the Oscar for Best Picture?

READ: Awkwafina Became The First Asian-American Woman To Win A ‘Best Actress’ Award, But People Are Still Mad At The Golden Globes—Here’s Why

The Nominations For The Billboard Latin Music Awards Are Out And Here’s Who Made The List

Entertainment

The Nominations For The Billboard Latin Music Awards Are Out And Here’s Who Made The List

badbunnypr / ozuna / Instagram

The nominees for the 2020 Billboard Latin Music Awards are out and some of your faves are claiming several spots on the list. Bad Bunny and Ozuna are leading the pack with 14 nominations each. The two reggaetoneros claimed nominations for the coveted Artists of the Year award. All four nominees for Artist of the Year are male. Here the artists nominated for this year’s Billboard Latin Music Awards.

First, let’s breakdown the nominees for Artist of the Year.

Bad Bunny

Bad Bunny had an exceptional 2019. The Puerto Rican artist teamed up with Colombian superstar J Balvin on the collaborative album “Oasis.” The album brought us hits like “Que Pretendes” and “La Canción.” The reggae star also become politically active this year joining other Puerto Rican celebrities to travel to the Caribbean island to participate in protests against former Governor Ricardo Rosselló and Rosselló’s proposed anti-LGBTQ legislation.

J Balvin

The Colombian music star has been everywhere this year. Balvin not only partnered with Bad Bunny for collaborative album “Oasis,” he released a slew of new songs in 2019. The singer teamed up with Maluma to create “Qué Pena” and we spent most of last year jamming out to that single. Balvin is in tied in second place with Daddy Yankee with 12 nominations.

Ozuna

Despite a longterm scandal involving extortion and a sex tape, Ozuna kept things going and delivered high power music last year. The Puerto Rican singer joined Karol G, Anuel AA, Daddy Yankee, and J Balvin on “China,” which has garnered more than 1 billion views on YouTube.

Romeo Santos

Romeo Santos spent 2019 collabing with so many different artists. His year of collaborations includes “Me Quedo” with Zacarias Ferreira and “ileso” with Teodoro Reyes. Santos has been nominated for five other awards including Canción del Año, Streaming for “Ella Quiere Beber” with Anuel AA, Top Latin Album, Artista del Año, Masculino, Categoria Tropical, Canción Tropical del Año for “Aullando” with Wisin and Yandel, and Álbum Tropical del Año for “Utopia.”

Here is a full list of nominees in the top categories for the 2020 Billboard Latin Music Awards.

Artista del Año / Artist of the Year:

Bad Bunny
J Balvin
Ozuna
Romeo Santos

Artista del Año, Debut / Artist of the Year, New:

Jhay Cortez
Manuel Turizo
Paulo Londra
Sech

Gira del Año / Tour of the Year:

Bad Bunny
Chayanne
Jennifer Lopez
Marc Anthony

Artista del Año, Redes Sociales / Social Artist of the Year

Anuel AA
Becky G
Daddy Yankee
Lali

Artista Crossover del Año / Crossover Artist of the Year

DJ Snake
Drake
Katy Perry
Snow

Check out the full list of nominees by clicking here.

READ: Bad Bunny Released A New Song In Honor Of Kobe Bryant And Fans Are Crying