J Balvin and Tokischa have finally made statements about the controversy surrounding the music video they made for “Perra,” a track written by Tokischa for Balvin’s latest album José.
“I want to say sorry to whomever felt offended, especially to the Black community,” Balvin said on his Instagram Story on Sunday (October 24). “That’s not who I am. I’m about 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.”
It didn’t take long for the “Perra” music video to start receiving negative responses when it was released on September 7. The video features Balvin walking two Black women dressed as dogs on leashes. Critics, including the vice-president of Colombia, Marta Lucía Ramírez, called the video racist and misogynistic.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Tokischa, who was apparently inspired to write the song while having sex, said she was “truly sorry that people felt offended,” but also defended the choices made in the video. “Art is expression,” she said. “It’s creating a world.”
“Perra” music video director and Tokischa’s manager Raymi Paulus also responded to the backlash during an interview with Rolling Stone. He said the video was “taken out of context” and, like Tokischa, defended the artistic choices made.
“I understand that there will never be a unanimous opinion about what constitutes art, but, for me, art not only communicates beauty and positivity – it also communicates the shortcomings of society, taboo subjects, and other ways of seeing reality that do not always align with the pop vision that dominates the current market,” he said.
Although it was unclear who took down the music video from YouTube a week ago, Balvin, during his Instagram apology, said he was the one who removed it “as a form of respect.” He decided to make a statement when he saw that criticism online was not letting up after its removal.
Balvin also apologized to his mother, who told a Colombian news station last week that she was at a loss for words about “Perra” and didn’t recognize her son for making a video like that. “Mom, I’m sorry, too,” Balvin said. “Life gets better each day. Thank you for listening to me.”