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

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

Netflix’s ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’ Reboot Is A Millennial Fan Girl’s Dream

Entertainment

Netflix’s ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’ Reboot Is A Millennial Fan Girl’s Dream

Netflix

Get ready, mi gente! The Netflix version of “The Baby-Sitters Club” is about to totally shake up your views on reboots.

That’s right, Netflix has given the beloved series, based on the books of the 80s, a new makeover and it has all of the updates you have been begging for. Slightly edgier and loads more diverse, the new series features the same characters written by Ann M. Martin decades ago. This time however the series comes with twists that make the babysitters’ little fictional town of Stony Brook, Connecticut all the more exciting.

From Kristy and Mary Anne to Claudia, Stacey, and even Dawn the gang’s all here!

Check them out below!

Dawn Schafer

“The Baby-Sitters Club”/ Netflix

Played by Xochitl Gomez (“Gentefied,” “You’re the Worst,” and “Raven’s Home”), Dawn is featured in the new series as Mary Anne’s new Latina friend who recently moved to Stoneybrook from Los Angeles. Dawn is the club’s alternate officer and an eco-conscious Latina who joins in a few episodes into the season. Speaking about her role as a character who had initially been blonde and blue-eyed in the books, Gomez told The Los Angeles Times that “it’s really important that there is representation for girls that look like me. When I was younger, I didn’t see many characters on TV shows that I could see myself in. And it really matters that TV reflects the world.”

Claudia Kishi

“The Baby-Sitters Club”/ Netflix

Momona Tamada plays the series’ beloved character, Claudia. As one of the only characters of color in the OG series, Claudia became a fan favorite for readers due to her many talents, beauty and smarts. In this series, not much has changed. She’s still the style-conscious vice president with a passion for art who loves her Japanese-American roots despite never having learned to speak Japanese.

Stacey McGill

“The Baby-Sitters Club”/ Netflix

Stacey is still the treasurer of club. She comes from the Upper West Side of Manhattan and has quite the thumb for style. In the Netflix series she is played by Shay Rudolph. One of the most exciting changes in this new series is that Stacey (who in the books struggled with hiding her diagnosis with Type 1 Diabetes) is open and proud of her disorder. “I knew I had a lot of responsibility playing Stacey,” Rudolph told LA Times in an interview before explaining that she herself interviewed teens with diabetes to prepare for her role. “I asked the people I talked to what it feels like when blood sugar is dropping and what they can and can’t do without an insulin pump. I want it to be empowering to younger kids when they see Stacey is still so loved and accepted by her friends even though she has this thing she is self-conscious about.”

Mary Anne Spier

“The Baby-Sitters Club”/ Netflix

For her role as Mary Anne, Malia Baker does a pretty spot-on job as the shy club secretary of the OG series who is also Kristy’s best friend. “I haven’t read a lot of books about shy girls,” Baker told the LA Times. “I know that’s kind of weird to say, but I connected with Mary Anne the most because deep down I am a shy person. But I also connected with all of the characters in different ways. And that’s one of the great things about ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’; you can connect with at least one of the characters.”

In this new series, Mary Anne’s character eventually proves to be just one example of the show’s effort to push for diversity. In one of her most defining moments in the new series, Mary Anne babysits for and stands up for a young transgender kid when they’re misgendered.

Kristy Thomas

“The Baby-Sitters Club”/ Netflix

And finally, there’s the club’s leader: Kristy. Played by Sophie Grace, Kristy in this series remains the president of the club. In this series, she’s quick to call out social injustices and loves her gals more than ever. “I’m so honored to be a part of a series like this that gives kids someone to relate to,” Sophie Grace explained. “Kristy has her family struggles. Her parents are divorced. That’s really hard for kids, and we see how she’s finding her way through that.”

Check out the show’s trailer below!

Naya Rivera’s Most Powerful Performances On Glee Will Make You Llorar

Entertainment

Naya Rivera’s Most Powerful Performances On Glee Will Make You Llorar

FOX

As Naya Rivera fans mourn her death, we wanted to pay tribute to the beautiful singer whose voice made such a difference to girls and boys watching her on “Glee.” For all of her performances, Rivera manages to give her full heart and often made her fans cry.

Here’s to the Afro-Latina beauty and her legacy.

“Landslide”

For her performance of the Fleetwood Mac version of “Landslide,” Rivera delivered another emotional performance alongside her co-stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Heather Morris. In the episode, Santana chooses the song to tell Brittany how she feels about her. Despite her performance, Santana tells her classmate Rachel Berry that just because she sang a song with Brittany, it doesn’t mean that anyone, can put a label on her.

“If I Die Young”

In the episode honoring the death of her former co-star Cory Monteith, Rivera as Santana reveals how hurt she is by his character Finn’s death.

”River Deep, Mountain

High” 

Originally performed by Ike & Tina Turner, Santana sings this song alongside her peer Mercedes for the Glee Club’s the duet competition to win a free meal Breadstix. Which we all know Santana loved.

“Valerie”

In the Season Two and ninth episode of Glee, Santana gave a soulful performance of Valerie by The Zutons (Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse version

“Girl On Fire”

In Season Four, Santana sang “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys while making the decision to move on from her life and to New York.

“Don’t Rain On My Parade”

In season 5 of “Glee” Santana’s performance of “Don’t Rain on My Parade” quite literally stunned everyone.

“Rumor Has It / Someone Like You”

In the final song of the season 3, Santana sings “Rumour Has It/Someone Like You” by Adele as a mash-up.

“Survivor/ I Will Survive”

For her big performance, Santana sang the Destiny’s Child/Gloria Gaynor mashup in the eighth episode of Season Three.

“Mine”

Santana broke just about every heart, including Brittany’s when she breaks up with her while singing “Mine” by Taylor Swift.