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J Balvin apologizes for controversial 'Perra' music video

The video, which showed the Colombian artist tugging at two Black women on leashes, has generated backlash.
J Balvin performs during the Uforia Mix Live 2021 at FTX Arena on Oct. 1, 2021 in Miami.
J Balvin, pictured at Uforia Mix Live in Miami on Oct. 1, apologized for his music video "Perra."John Parra / Getty Images file

The singer J Balvin apologized Sunday after he was criticized over the controversial music video for his song "Perra," which showed him tugging at two Black women on leashes.

The video for "Perra," which features the Dominican rapper Tokischa and was directed by Raymi Paulus, was taken down from YouTube on Oct. 17, Billboard reported. In addition to images of Balvin walking two Black women on leashes, Tokischa was also seen posing inside a doghouse on all fours.

In a series of Instagram stories, Balvin, whose full name is José Alvaro Osorio Balvin, said: “I want to say sorry to whomever felt offended, especially to the Black women community.”

The Colombian star continued: "That’s not who I am. I have always expressed tolerance, love and inclusivity. I also like to support new artists, in this case Tokischa, a woman who supports her people, her community and also empowers women.”

Balvin said that he removed the video "as a form of respect" and that he was apologizing because of the criticism.

Balvin, Tokischa and Paulus did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.

Tokischa told Rolling Stone in an interview published Sunday that the video was "conceptual" and that it meant to emphasize the wordplay in the track.

"If you, as a creative, have a song that’s talking about dogs, you’re going to create that world,” she said. “I understand the interpretation people had and I’m truly sorry that people felt offended. But at the same time, art is expression. It’s creating a world.”

Paulus told Rolling Stone that the video was "never aimed to promote racism or misogyny."

He added: “The Dominican Republic is a country where most of the population is Black and our Blackness is predominant in underground scenes, where the filming took place, and which was the subject of the video’s inspiration. ‘Perra’ was a video filmed in the neighborhood, with people from the neighborhood, and the use of people of color in ‘Perra’ was nothing more than the participation of our people in it.”

Colombian Vice President Marta Lucía Ramírez said the video's visuals were "sexist, racist, machista, and misogynistic" in an open letter published Oct. 11.

“Perra” premiered Sept. 10 and was featured on Balvin's album “José,” which earned him his fourth No. 1 on the Billboard Top Latin Albums chart.

CORRECTION (Oct. 26, 2021, 10 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated when J Balvin’s video was removed from YouTube. It was removed Oct. 17, not Sunday. The article also misspelled the name of a performer in the video. She is Tokischa, not Tokishca.