Entertainment

If You’re Struggling With Mental Health Problems, J Balvin Wants You To Know You’re Not Alone

J Balvin is known for the brightness of his style and mentality. His ‘Arcoiris’ tour, which holds a partnership with arts collective “Friends With You,” stayed true to its name, bringing light, color, and positivity to every city it stopped in. The tour of the US started in September and ended just a few weeks ago in LA’s Staples Center. The Colombian reggaeton icon kept up his signature high energy and used the tour as a platform to shine a light on a very taboo subject in the Latino community; mental health.

J Balvin used his tour as a platform to talk about mental health issues.

Credit: jbalvin / Instagram

The Colombian singer’s “Arcoiris Tour” officially launched Sept. 11 in Atlanta and then headed off to Miami, Toronto, Boston, New York, and Tulsa. The itinerary also included visits to Phoenix, El Paso, San Jose, and Las Vegas before wrapping up in Los Angeles on Oct. 26 and in all of those stops Balvin took a moment to talk about immigration, mental health issues, love, and compassion. 

Arcoiris was a bright and energetic show that shone a light on issues close to the singer’s heart.

Credit: jbalvin / Instagram

The Arcoiris Tour, or “rainbow” tour in English, stayed true to its name as every night, a venue was covered with neon lights, dancers dressed in elaborate costumes that ranged from walking clouds to mushrooms. All the while, the performers were accompanied by a huge cloud-shaped screen and two smaller screens that displayed colorful graphics throughout the night.   

J Balvin performed his big hits and paid tribute to other icons of the genre.

Credit: jbalvin / Instagram

Balvin performed some of his biggest hit songs like “Bonita” and “Ginza,” as well as iconic songs by fellow reggaeton singers, such as Wisin y Yandel’s “Rakata” and Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina.” He would later move on to perform “La Canción,” which is part of Balvin’s collaborative album with Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny, titled “Oasis.” 

The singer then came to a halt to share his important message.   

During ‘La Cancion’ Balvin took a moment during the interlude to first speak on the importance of addressing one’s own mental health, encouraging people to not be ashamed of seeking professional help, and letting the audience know they are not alone.   

“Las enfermedades de salud mental son una realidad. Yo he sufrido de depresión y he sufrido de ansiedad, así que tengo que aceptarlo. Y eso me hace más humano, me hace entender que la vida tiene pruebas,” Balvin said. “Pero si alguien está pasando una situación difícil, no están solos, siempre llega la luz. Tarde o temprano llega la luz.”  

“Mental health illnesses are a reality. I have suffered from depression and anxiety, so I have to accept it. And this makes me more human. It makes me understand that life has challenges,” Balvin said in Spanish. “But if someone is going through a difficult time, they are not alone, light always comes. Sooner or later, the light comes.”  

The singer also addressed immigration issues, by sharing his own story. 

J Balvin explained that eight years ago he came illegally into the U.S. where he painted houses and fixed roofs for a living. “Vine con ese sueño de echar para adelante y seguí soñando. Después de pintar casas, pasé a pintar mis sueños.”  

“I came with a dream to move forward,” Balvin said in Spanish. “I followed that dream and after painting houses, I started painting my dreams.”   

The fact of the matter is that Latino culture tends to disregard mental health.

Credit: jbalvin / Instagram

Balvin highlighted this by reminding the audience that as much as we can trust God to pull us through difficult situations, we must be more willing to seek out professional help when we need it.

In fact, only 20 percent of Latinos with symptoms of a psychological disorder talk to a doctor about their concerns, and only 10 percent contact a mental health specialist, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. J Balvin took the opportunity to raise awareness about how both depression and anxiety affect Latinos and emphasized on the need to address it. 

In social media, Balvin highlights the fact that even artists who seemingly are on top of the world, struggle with mental health issues. 

Balvin has been very transparent with fans about his mental health struggles in recent months. While the hugely successful reggaetonero is having a major moment in his career, he hasn’t remained immune to depression or anxiety. This is why Balvin has used his platform as an urbano superstar to normalize experiences of mental illness for his fans. 

In recent social media posts, the reggaetonero has shared his own experiences as an example of how help and recovery are possible. 

In a video posted on Instagram, J Balvin revealed that he is feeling better now, only after receiving professional help.“I want to thank you all for the good vibes. After two months, I’ve left this chapter of anxiety and depression. Thanks to God, thanks to the professionals, to the medication, and thanks to you for the support. Definitely, sometimes we don’t prioritize these things, but we can always learn to,” he said in the video.

He’s also taken to Twitter to share his evolution with mental illness.

Credit: @JBALVIN / Twitter

In a recent tweet, the singer expressed that these two months have been “hell,” but he is now feeling on top of the world. “Seek professional help,” he wrote, “Anxiety and depression are real.” If you struggle with depression and/or anxiety, seek help by reaching out to a trusted friend, relative, teacher, or counselor. You can also reach out for help by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contacting the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.

READ: Everyone Is Talking About Who J Balvin Partied With Before His LA Concert And We Get Why

After A Nearly 3 Decade-Long Career, Shakira Is Giving Us A Well Deserved Documentary And We’re LIVING

Entertainment

After A Nearly 3 Decade-Long Career, Shakira Is Giving Us A Well Deserved Documentary And We’re LIVING

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Shakira first gained fame in her native Colombia in the mid 1990s. And as a young millennial who grew up to her music, it’s hard to believe that the singer’s been such an iconic presence in Latinx music for almost three decades now. Shakira has built a name for herself as an entertainment powerhouse, this Latina has changed pop culture and reigns supreme as the hip-shaking queen. This year, she’s back from a vocal injury with a whole documentary —which will be premiering in theaters this month. 

In November 2017, Shakira suffered a vocal cord hemorrhage.

After a vocal injury which forced the singer to postpone her first tour in seven years — and her first since becoming a mother to two sons— Shak is ready to bounce back with a documentary that brushes on her vocal-cord hemorrhage injury, but mainly follows her in her 2017 tour ‘El Dorado’.

El Dorado, in 2017, marked her first U.S. trek in seven years. The run, however, was delayed for several months until Shakira recovered from her injury. 

We’ll get to see the Colombiana perform all of her classics. 

The 30-second trailer for the documentary, opens with shots that capture Shakira’s difficult recovery. But the rest of the trailer is packed with shots teasing the singer’s iconic return as she dances across the stage, plays guitar, beats the drums and sings to her classics “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Whenever, Wherever.”

Shakira took control of 100% of what went down during her ‘El Dorado’ tour.

instagram @shakira

Much like Beyonce did in her Homecoming show and ‘documentary’, this Latina diva took absolute control of every aspect of her live show: from the lighting to the musical arrangements to the choreography. “I want to look sexy as hell, or I cancel this!” yells Shakira with zeal to her crew during rehearsal in a scene of the film —and we can relate on a deep spiritual level.

In contrast to Beyonce though, and other superstars of her level, on this tour Shakira had no backup dancers, “I wanted the freedom to improvise,” she says to the camera during the film. The set design was purposefully minimalistic —inspired, she says, by Anton Corbijn, one of her favorite visual artists, who has directed music videos for U2, Metallica, and Depeche Mode.

The documentary was co-directed by the singer and will feature a lot of clips from her 2018 show in LA.

Shakira co-directed Shakira in Concert with James Merryman, and much of the movie was filmed at the pop star’s August 2018 concert in Los Angeles. The film will also feature behind-the-scenes clips and narration from Shakira.

Latinx music fans will also get to see other singers who have collaborated with Shakira.

instagram @nickyjampr

Fans of reggaeton are in for a treat! The documentary also features a few behind-the-scenes moments of Shakira in the studio with Maluma and Nicky Jam, writing and recording their songs ‘Perro Fiel’ and ‘Chantaje’ together. We’ll get to catch glimpses of her interacting with her family —aka her hottie of a husband, Gerrard Pique— and her band during rehearsals and between concerts. Viewers will even get to see her dancing and singing aboard her private plane, still brimming with adrenaline after performing the nightly two-hour-long show.

El Dorado won’t be available on streaming platforms just yet —the singer has something much bigger planned.

Instagram @shakira

Unlike other pop-star documentaries, El Dorado won’t be immediately available on streaming services or DVD. Shakira wanted her fans to have a communal fan experience by screening it in theaters. Shakira in Concert: El Dorado World Tour will be shown in more than 2,000 theaters in more than 60 countries on the same day. Alongside the film, there will be a live album of the tour coming out this week as well. 

Shakira dedicated ‘El Dorado’ to her fans.

instagram @shakira

The entire project, the film and album, is a gift to fans who have been with her through thick and thin and who, Shakira says, are the true protagonists of El Dorado. “When an artist decides to go on tour, in a way, he or she needs reaffirmation,”  she said. “We need to confirm that there’s people out there loving us, worshipping what you do. . . . [There’s] a very narcissistic motivation behind all of that.”  “When I came out on tour this time, there was none of that. I just wanted to do it for them, because they were there for me.”

Tickets for Shakira in concert are available on the film’s website. Shakira in Concert: El Dorado World Tour will premiere internationally on November 13th 

This Is What Cardi B Thinks Of Instagram Taking Away ‘Likes’ And Here’s Why She’s Right

Entertainment

This Is What Cardi B Thinks Of Instagram Taking Away ‘Likes’ And Here’s Why She’s Right

Iamcardib / Instagram

Earlier this year, Instagram began trialling the removal of likes in Canada. In a bid to reduce stress and anxiety surrounding the user experience with the platform, Instagram has announced that the social media will be test hiding likes in the US, too —And Cardi B had some thoughts. 

Instagram announced that the platform will be hiding ‘likes’ in the US this week.

Instagram’s CEO Adam Mosseri, announced last Friday that the platform will be hiding the number of ‘likes’ on posts this week. The new feature is being met with strong backlash, especially many influencers and celebrities —among them, the opinionated rapper, Cardi B.

Cardi B took to Instagram to protest the feature, arguing that removing likes wouldn’t make Instagram any less toxic because “the comments affect more than the likes.”

The rapper posted a video on Instagram, explaining how she believes that the comments section is more toxic to users than seeing likes or not. She said: “If anything is affecting Instagram right now, I really feel it’s the way the comments have been done or have been changing these past few years.” 

Cardi voiced her concerns of the comments section, pointing out how many trolls will post triggering comments just to get reactions.“That’s when I feel like when people started sayin’ nasty things … somebody would just say something so vile because … they want comments back,” she explained.“Because I feel people been saying the most weirdest shit, been starting the craziest arguments, been starting to race bait, all because of comments, because they want to get to the top, they want to get the most reactions.”

The feature was already been tested in other countries, and now that it’s coming to the US, celebrities are sharing their take.

Credit: nickiminaj / Instagram

The feature has already been tried out in seven countries including Australia, Ireland, and Canada in recent months. When it was rolled out there, influencers complained that hiding likes would give them less leverage over brand deals and sponsored content now, celebrities are calling out the app for experimenting with removing likes, with some threatening to stop posting to Instagram.

Nicki Minaj says she won’t be posting on IG anymore.

Another rapper known for not holding back on sharing her opinions, threatened to stop posting on Instagram if the feature were to take effect. What indeed would we do with all the time we’d have without Instagram?

Nicki has a sort of conspiracy theory to explain what’s behind Instagram’s new move.

Minaj went on to tweet about her speculation that Instagram is hiding likes to manipulate what posts users get to see in their feed, regardless of how much engagement posts are getting. Nicki’s speculations might have some grounds. She referred to the well-documented phenomenon of YouTube view counts fluctuating after videos are posted, which can happen when YouTube determines views come from bots or other fraudulent sources.

Juicy J also had something to say about the new IG feature.

The rapper predicts backlash against the change, tweeting that he expected people to leave Instagram and go “back to real life.”

Others however, think that the decision to hide likes is a good thing.

Credit: kimkardashian / Instagram

Despite having more than 151 million Instagram followers and the platform being crucial to making some of her $350 million personal net worth, Kim Kardashian West seems to agree with Instagram’s decision to hide ‘likes’. “As far as mental health, I mean it’s something that taking the likes away and taking that aspect away from it would be really beneficial for people,” Kardashian West said during The New York Times’ DealBook conference last week.

Tracee Ellis Ross also voiced her support for the change.

Credit: traceellisross/ Instagram

Everyone’s favorite person on IG right now, Tracee Ellis Ross, is also in support of removing likes. She said that the like count had “adverse effects.” “It creates a culture that isn’t helpful for well-being and isn’t fruitful for creative energy,” during a panel discussion with Instagram’s CEO Adam Mosseri.

The popularity-contest-style pressure associated with Instagram likes will probably just shift to another one of the many metrics measured on the platform —or who knows, maybe the move will actually make everyone happy? Either way, the social media platform will be rolling out the new feature on a small group of users this week, whether we like it or not. And we’ll be keeping our eyes open to see what the change brings.