Last month, Colombian reggaeton star J Balvin appeared on a Portuguese YouTube show starring vlogger SirKazzio. During the appearance, Balvin was asked to play a game of Kiss, Marry, Kill, where he had to weigh the options between Rihanna and his “Machika” collaborators Anitta and Jeon. When asked to make a decision, Balvin explained he wouldn’t marry the Barbadian pop star. “Rihanna isn’t the type of woman to marry, just have a good time with.” Peep the moment at 4:20:
The response is drawing the ire of Rihanna fans and the Latinternet, who are questioning the subtext of Balvin’s commentary, and unpacking the questions of gender, race, and respectability politics it raises.
I knew J Balvin had imperfections.
He implied that Rihanna wasn't marriage material in a game of marry, fuck and kill. What you doing, homie?
— SHOOKIRA (@SonyBackThenCBS) April 9, 2018
@JBALVIN I’m so disappointed in your choice of words against @rihanna. I’ve been your fan since 2013, I even saw you live in Santa Ana CA (October). But I will no longer support your music, if you continue to put down women. #RIHANNANAVY #rihanna #jbalvin
— Supreme (@nonamesupreme) April 9, 2018
what's upsetting about the j balvin thing isn't even that he came for rihanna its the plain misogyny of it all jfc
— PRIMAL HEART 4/20 (@fvnaticbychoice) April 9, 2018
J Balvin‘s comments on Riri are very representative of NB Latinos’ views on BW both Latina & not. Good for fetishizing, for fooling around with, for fantasizing about, never for settling down with. That’s why the ranas viejas that are their moms get mad when they do marry us.
— B (@esta_barbara) April 9, 2018
IDGAF about context. There is literally no reason to say some shit like that ever, pero especially when your livelihood is built off of a genre created by AfroLatinx ppl. Get it together Balvin. https://t.co/0iPBQAWGQY
— Verónica Bayetti Flores (@veroconplatanos) April 9, 2018
So J Balvin said Rihanna isn’t the type of woman to marry. She’s a one night only. THE FUCKING NERVE. Sexist and ignorant. pic.twitter.com/64uS80E2z8
— lu (@lufentyb) April 9, 2018
J Balvin was in Rihanna comments begging her to marry him now she is not the marrying type lol pic.twitter.com/a6Wf3EqCpw
— KAY⚓️ (@Ririweready) April 9, 2018
God damn it J Balvin! I was fucking rooting for you no Rihanna slander here https://t.co/vujZLU3bOL
— Melissa Coronado (@Meeeelic) April 9, 2018
This is such a collossal metía de pata. And also what makes him think Rihanna wants to get married let alone marry him. Also, is marriageability (as it relates to respectability stereotypes) really even still the standard at which we hold women’s worth? https://t.co/6ZRylvva3b
— Amanda Alcantara (@YoSoy_Amanda) April 9, 2018
In a statement to The FADER, Balvin’s camp wrote, “J Balvin has the utmost respect for Rihanna, which he has stated multiple times in interviews – repeatedly naming her as one of the artists he would most like to work with one day. In this particular case, which is being taken out of context by some, a Brazilian video Blog interview requested he answer two rounds of Kiss, Marry, Kill. J Balvin lightheartedly choose his two recent ‘Machika’ collaborators Anitta and Jeon as his ‘Marry’ responses because he knows each of them well – leaving only the ‘kiss’ or ‘kill responses remaining. He would no more wish to show any type of disrespect to Rihanna, as he would wish harm on the other names presented.”
[H/T The FADER]