As música urbana continues to surge in the mainstream pop sphere, the movement is facing scrutiny from newfound audiences. “Amarte Duro,” a recent collaboration between salsa singer Victor Manuelle and urbano artist Farruko, is fielding criticism from fans for its questionable lyrics.

The salsa collaboration was released on March 15, and features a few verses sung by Farruko. At the 3:20 mark, Farruko sings, “A diario, te juro que no aguanto las ganas/Y te voy a dar bien duro como Chris le daba a Rihanna.” The controversial lyric, which references the abuse Rihanna suffered at the hands of Chris Brown over the course of their relationship, has drawn the ire of many fans, who point out that it normalizes sexual assault and violence against women.

On Monday, Manuelle took to Instagram to apologize, writing that he would never intentionally promote sexual assault. “Those who know me know that I would be unable to promote or promote any act of violence, much less gender violence. My principles, my values and my education would not allow me to support such acts conscientiously,” he wrote in Spanish.

However, Manuelle bizarrely claims to have neglected the fact that the line could be read as a literal reference to violence. In the post, he suggested the lyric is a metaphor for the former couple’s intense and passionate relationship. “Everyone should know that they were a couple who had an intense love and was referring to the love lived before the incident between them. Seeing the negative reactions that several people have had, it has made me reconsider that the sentence carried a double meaning,” he said.

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Reacción a controversia “Amarte duro” Debo confesar que en mis 25 años de carrera es la primera vez que enfrento una situación como esta. Aquellos que me conocen saben que sería incapaz de fomentar o promover cualquier acto de violencia, mucho menos el de violencia de género. Mis principios, mis valores y mi educación no me permitirían apoyar tales actos a conciencia. En cuánto a la controversia que ha generado la canción “Amarte duro” lo que a mi me atrajo de la letra era lo contradictorio a su título. Si escuchan la letra donde dice “es un amor violento, pero sin violencia, que no sabe de tiempo ni de inteligencia, que crece cuando no debe crecer y que quiere más de lo que debe tener. Es un amor brutal lleno de ternura que se vuelve eterno el tiempo que dura y que quita menos de lo que da”, o sea describiendo ese amor que pienso que toda persona se merece. Referente a la parte que dice “te voy a dar bien duro como Chris le daba a Rihanna” todo el mundo debe saber que ellos fueron una pareja que tuvo una relación amorosa intensa y se estaba haciendo referencia al amor vivido antes del incidente entre ellos. Al ver las reacciones negativas que han tenido varias personas, sí me ha hecho recapacitar de que la frase llevaba un doble sentido que no analicé probablemente porque en mi mente siempre hubo un solo sentido. A esas personas que entendieron la frase con mala intención quiero pedirle disculpas con la caballerosidad y el sentido de responsabilidad que me ha caracterizado. Somos humanos y todos nos equivocamos. Asumo toda culpa. Poniendo en práctica una frase que me enseñó mi héroe, mi papá: “Aunque en tu corazón sepas que no hiciste las cosas con ninguna mala intención, si sientes que alguien se ha ofendido, pídele perdón”. Víctor Manuelle

A post shared by Víctor Manuelle (@victormanuelleonline) on

Farruko recently performed the collaboration with Victor Manuelle at the Latin Billboard Awards, but he has yet to respond to the criticism publicly. According to Billboard, all of Farruko’s Instagram posts were deleted following the social media backlash; his profile on the platform is currently blank. Over the past few years, Farruko has found success topping the charts since his 2010 debut album Talento del Bloque. More recently, he collaborated with Bad Bunny on “Krippy Kush,” the lead single from his 2017 album TrapXficante.

One thing’s for sure: at a time when women are being vocal about all kinds of gender-based violence – from harassment in the workplace to emotional abuse – these lyrics feel especially tone deaf.

[H/T Billboard]

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