Entertainment

Maluma, Daddy Yankee And J Balvin Slam The Latin Recording Academy For Lack of Representation at 2019 Latin Grammys

The Latin Grammy award nominees are in, and reggaetoneros are not happy. 

The Latin Recording Academy revealed the nominees for their 2019 award show. The lack of reggaeton and urban artists nominated in the show’s main categories such as; Song of the Year, Album of the Year and Record of the Year, stirred controversy. 

Some of the biggest Latin artists of the likes of J Balvin, Daddy Yankee and Maluma, have publicly spoken out. They’ve taken to social media to call out the Latin Grammy Awards for excluding reggaeton and trap musicians from top categories and for a lack of representation. 

The omission of artists like Maluma, Ozuna, Bad Bunny, Daddy Yankee or Nicky jam is surprising to say the least.

Credit: Maluma / Instagram

Maluma was one of the first to take to Instagram to express his discomfort after not receiving any nominations for his album 11:11:

“A huge disappointment to not even get one nomination to a Latin Grammy, so much effort, the best album of my LIFE”, “I’m definitely confused and don’t know what to think. The only thing that’s clear is that the biggest prize of all is to see concerts packed and an audience that loves you and identifies with you. I love you people, but I can’t hide this fucking feeling that hurts inside”.

Other reggaetoneros took to social media with a unified message: “Sin Reggaetón no hay Latin Grammy”, ‘without Reggaeton there’s no Latin Grammys’.

Credit: nickyjampr / Instagram

Daddy Yankee who did receive a nomination for Best Urban Fusion/Performance for “Con Calma”, also expressed his disapproval of the way the genre was treated:

“Despite being nominated, I don’t agree with the way the genre and many of my colleagues were treated.” he wrote in Spanish, “Remember one very important thing, your platform wasn’t what created this movement; this goes beyond a prize, this is culture, credibility, relevance, and RESPECT. #sinreggaetonnohaylatingrammy”.

J Balvin, who racked up eight nominations last year and was the most nominated artist at the 2018 Latin Grammys, posted the photo of the crossed out Grammy logo too. He captioned the image “For the culture and the movement,” Nicky Jam, Karol G, and other artists posted the image to Instagram too.

J Balvin also took to his Instagram to explain why many artists were so upset about the nominations.

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Frente a los Latin Grammy

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Balvin was a double nominee this year, with nominations for Best Urban Song with songs “Con Altura”, a collaboration with Rosalía, and “Caliente” with De La Ghetto, but was shut out of Record of the Year. His album with Bad Bunny “Oasis”, was not eligible for the 2019 Latin Grammys but will qualify in 2020. He followed up his initial “Without Reggaeton there’s no Grammys” post with a video to explain what the hashtag was all about:

In a statement to The Associated Press, the Latin Recording Academy said that they have “followed a strict voting process for the past twenty years” when it comes to considering nominees. 

“The members, through their votes, select what they believe merits a nomination. The Academy has never influenced their decisions, have always honored, and respected their elections, even if there are people who do not agree with the results,” the statement continued. “Nevertheless, we hear the frustration and discontent. We invite the leaders of the urban community to get involved with the Academy, to get involved with the process, and to get involved with discussions that improve the Academy.”

Nicky Jam y and Karol G, who earned last year’s award for best new artist, earned zero nominations on this occasion while other artists like Bad Bunny and Ozuna were restricted to categories such as Best Urban Song, Best Urban Music Album and Best Urban Fusion/Performance. 

The Latin Grammys controversy isn’t too different to hip-hop’s longstanding issues at the Grammys, where rap and R&B stars rarely win in the top four categories, such as ‘Best Artist’.

The Latin Grammy Awards are set to take place on November 14 in Las Vegas. Rosalía is nominated for five awards, including Album of the Year for El Mal Querer, and Camila Cabello‘s Spanish-language Alejandro Sanz collab, “Mi Persona Favorita,” is up for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Song.

J.Balvin’s Spongebob Collaboration With Louis De Guzman And Nickelodeon Was The Most Iconic Collab Of The Decade

Entertainment

J.Balvin’s Spongebob Collaboration With Louis De Guzman And Nickelodeon Was The Most Iconic Collab Of The Decade

Amy Tran / louisdeguzman / Instagram

What exactly does a SpongeBob gallery pop-up installation look like? Especially when it includes the reggaeton megastar J. Balvin, an iconic children’s brand most millennials grew up on, and a hometown artist. Pictures on Instagram gave curious parties a hint through a series of snapshots featuring sculptures, paintings, and merchandise. But on Tuesday, Nov. 13, a number of people braved the low temperatures to find out for themselves. Let’s take a look back at the most impactful collab in 2019.Credit: Amy Tran

While visitors like Melanie Lopez were expecting to satiate their curiosity around the project, most were not prepared to have the “Mi Gente” cantante greet them in the space. The global superstar surprised guests and helped kick-off a five-day experience exclusive to Chicago. But how did this all come to be and why the Midwest of all places?

It all started at Complexcon last year where visual artist Louis De Guzman, a Chicago native who is the first from his Filipino family to be born in the United States, had a chance encounter with a Nickelodeon executive who took an interest in his work. The two discussed partnering on a project and parted ways. A short while later at the same event, the Filipino pop artist connected with J.Balvin. De Guzman says there was a mutual admiration for each other’s work and upon Balvin’s request, he slid into the singer’s DMs. The two built a friendship. Then the opportunity for them to fuse their creativity together to celebrate SpongeBob’s 20th anniversary presented itself. A partnership between Nickelodeon, J. Balvin and De Guzman happened organically.Credit: louisdeguzman / Instagram

“I was a big fan of [De Guzman] before I met him,” says Balvin. “We started talking and were like ‘why don’t we do a collab and do something with SpongeBob. [The cartoon character is] something people already know but [due to our diverse cultural background] we can add something to it. [De Guzman] is Filipino, I’m from Colombia. Exchanging cultures is beautiful.”

And so the work began with the support of arguably one of the biggest brands in children’s entertainment. 

“We’ve done many SpongeBob collaborations in many different ways with high-end designers but this was really the first time it was reimagined in this way, in this art style,” says Marielle Donahue, Director, Retail Marketing and Social Media Strategy for Nickelodeon. “SpongeBob fans love to share their fandom and I think from Louis and J. Balvin’s perspective, they wanted to share the feeling of being inspired to do whatever you can.”

Donahue says the partnership felt natural because both artists had already shown a public love and admiration for the Bikini Beach character. She also pointed out Balvin and De Guzman’s popularity among different audiences—both of which incorporate distinct cultural upbringings into their work—but they both shared a message for hope, love and positivity that aligned perfectly with the kooky sea creature. 

Credit: Amy Tran

“All three embrace positivity and good vibes,” echoes Jose Castro, Senior Vice President, Softlines and Global Fashion Collaborations at Nickelodeon 

And it’s perhaps this sentiment that will have people rooting for the project and the people behind it. 

De Guzman teared up when looking around the room and talking about the significance of the project and his motivation—his family. He hints at their struggle navigating an unfamiliar country and the difficulties that arose from their immigrant experience. Overcoming the false starts and failures are ultimately why he chooses to focus on the positive. He says time has shown him that by focusing on the work, good things will come.

Balvin shared a similar story when given the opportunity to talk about whatever he wanted. He says he wishes people would ask him why he decided to pursue a career in  music.

“It started because of my family. We went bankrupt and I was like ‘I love music’ but I didn’t know it was going to be the way to find a solution to help my family,” says Balvin. “If it wasn’t for my family and dad going bankrupt, I wouldn’t be able to be like ‘oh I have this talent and music to help them.’”

And while it might be easy to write off this corporate art partnership as nothing more than a money grab, the players behind it tell a different story.Credit: Amy Tran

“This is for the culture and God bless the Latino Gang,” said Balvin in a press release. 

And as for why Chicago got the plug it’s because “Chicago is known by so many artists, there’s so many talented people here. This is [De Guzman’s] place, it’s where he was born. He’s from the US. I was here in the U.S. you know let’s do this together. I’ll come to your place and let’s exchange vibes.”

Additional reporting contributed by Ermina Veljacic.

READ: To Celebrate Its 20th Anniversary, Spongebob Is Working With J Balvin On A Clothing Line

Maluma Spills The Tea On His Relationship With J Balvin, Starring In A Movie With J Lo And What His Future Holds

Entertainment

Maluma Spills The Tea On His Relationship With J Balvin, Starring In A Movie With J Lo And What His Future Holds

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It’s safe to say that Colombian music artist Maluma has got this success thing covered. If we’re looking at his online following, the Latin pop star has over 47 million followers on Instagram and his YouTube channel has a combined total of 13 billion views. His ticket sales are another huge win. Maluma has been selling out arenas around the world for years. This includes New York’s famous Madison Square Garden where the star just played a sold-out show in October of 2019. If these marks of professional achievement weren’t enough, the Latin star also recently added the accolade of “Pop Sensation of the Year” to his resume after it was awarded to him by “GQ Magazine.”

In his interview with the respected publication, Maluma talked about his surprising global fan base, his upcoming move to the big screen and his determination to stay true to HIS kind of music.

In the interview by Julyssa Lopez (photographed by William Ukoh), Maluma’s beginnings in the music business were explored. While he first had ambitions to be a professional soccer player, the Colombian decided at 17 years-old to use his natural charisma to pursue music instead. Using the first two letters of his mother’s, father’s and sister’s names, he took on the stage name Maluma to honor his family and began performing at local quinces.  

He started off using lighter reggaeton beats and blended in hip-hop and Latin trap. During this time, other music professionals pressured Maluma into exploring genres and styles he wasn’t comfortable with. However, the pop star was very confident in who he was as an artist — even while he is exploring his own sound — so he didn’t give into this pressure. 

“I think people at the beginning were confused because they thought I was strictly a reggaeton artist,” Maluma explains in the “GQ” interview. “My genre is the genre I do—it’s salsa, it’s reggaeton, it’s hip hop, it’s R&B, my genre is the genre of Maluma.”  

Staying true to his own sound has been a smart strategy because it has helped the pop star reach fans in unexpected places around the world. 

During his “GQ” interview, he recalled a large group of fans waiting for him outside the Madison Square Garden performance back in October. According to the interview, this group of fans was memorable because they had flown to New York all the way from China — a country that Maluma didn’t even realize already had access to his music.

In the interview, Maluma explained that the Chinese fans shared news of his huge fan base in the People’s Republic. However, he had never visited the communist country so they had to make the trip all the way to the US in order to see him. In the interview, Maluma says he promised to make it a priority to visit China in the future to meet these new fans; showing just how far-reaching his popularity already is.

Maluma’s ability to blend his style with different artists has also allowed him to collaborate with some of the biggest names in music.

As the “GQ” interview points out, Maluma’s absurdly popular music has featured a number of musicians from Ricky Martin, Ty Dolla $ign and Madonna to Steve Aoki, Jason Derulo, and Shakira. However, his more widely talked about collab came about this past year and the attention surrounding it was mainly caused by a supposed rivalry. In September, Maluma and J Balvin released the song for “Qué Pena” and made harmless fun of each other in the accompanying music video. 

Still, according to the “GQ Magazine” interview, there is a perceived rivalry between the two. 

“I never felt anything bad toward him, but all the attention on the genre and people created this tension between us,” Maluma says of Balvin. “I said to him, ‘Yo, bro, come on, I used to listen to your music when I was 14 years old. I used to go to quinceañeras, if you were performing there. I used to see you performing, I was your fan, cabrón.”

While 2019 was an phenomenal year for Maluma, 2020 will only be better thanks to his big move to the big screen. 

For his first shot at the movies, the Pop Sensation of the Year was hand picked by a fellow Latinx superstar. According to his interview with “GQ Magazine,” JLo chose Maluma to star in the film, “Marry Me,” opposite the superstar. Due out next year, the movie features JLo as a jilted pop star who marries a random person (Maluma) after being stood up by her fiance. Of course, shenanigans ensue. We can’t wait to see the chemistry and humor this duo brings to the big screen.