J Balvin Has Made History Out Of Lollapalooza And Becomes The First Latino Headliner In The Festival’s 28 Years
I don’t care how tired you are, what language you speak, where you have to go next, if the DJ decides to pop on some reggaeton at the club, your plans just changed. The genre has been hitting big with U.S. audiences, especially with pop superstars like Cardi B giving it a wider audience to enjoy those thumping bass lines. It’s the perfect music to roll your hips and run your fingers through your hair to while you work off that double shot you took earlier. Some might say it’s also the perfect music to play at the carne asada or to clean the house or to write an essay or…
If you need an introduction to the genre, look no further than J Balvin.
His songs continually perform well in Latin Music charts and his videos are known to grab millions of views within hours of posting. Whether he’s singing about not remembering what happened last night in “6 AM” or the joys of dirty dancing in “Ginza”, or writing a love song to all of us in “Mi Gente“, the smooth sound of his voice mixed with the beat and latin rhythms hits a certain pleasure center in the brain that is absolutely infectious.
Also, I think we would make really beautiful babies. Just sayin…
Over the weekend, J Balvin became the first Latinx headliner at Lallapalooza, a festival that has been in existence for 28 years.
Yep. I said first. Because in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Nineteen, Latinos still have firsts to break through.
And the fans were here for it.
Across social media and in reviews from Rolling Stones to Billboard, many are saying that this was the most intense headline event ever. Way to represent J Balvin!
Seriously, y’all, the show was lit.
I mean…absolutely hyped up.
J Balvin also brought out Wisin y Yandel.
LOST THEIR MINDS.
Lollapalooza, as a festival, started in 1991 as a project of Perry Farrell, the frontman of a popular 90s alt rock band Jane’s Addiction.
The festival was mostly known for its alternative rock and grunge offerings that were indicative of the times. Bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soundgarden, and Nine Inch Nails would travel the country with the festival. While rock music was the main focus, the lineups were eclectic and featured rap acts like Cypress Hill, Ice Cube, and A Tribe Called Quest as well as electronic music and, yes, Latinx music. Mexican rock band, Café Tacvba were the first to play the festival in 1992.
Since then, Latinx acts have been part of the North American Lollapalozza festival lineup, which is now rooted in Chicago, but not a huge part. What makes the fact that J Balvin is the first Latinx headliner even more baffling is that the first satellite Lollapalooza festival was in Chile starting in 2011. The next two were in Brazil and Argentina. You would think the North American branch would play nicer with its sister cities.
American audiences have been slow to come around to Latinx entertainment though. Probably the first representation we had in the mainstream consciousness was Desi Arnaz in I Love Lucy. It’s the first example I can think of where a large chunk of the American population loved a Latinx singer whether she was singing in English or Spanish. Since then, Latinx acts have typically had to develop English albums to make an impact in the U.S. market – Gloria Estefan, Selena, and Ricky Martin come to mind.
So when bands like Los Tucanes de Tijuana find themselves on a major summer fest lineup and then are given the key to the city, it’s kind of a big deal. It means that promoters are taking Latinos seriously as a demographic to market to. It also means promoters are ready to support the entertainers Latinos love with real money.
It’s apparent that J Balvin understands the importance of this legacy.
In this instagram post he says, “”This is dedicated to dreamers to Latinos and those who know that in life everything is cause and effect, and that we deserve to be here.”
J Balvin deserves to be here and we can only hope it’s the start of the beginning for more Latinx artists to break through.