After his MTV VMAs performance and a handful of collabs, Maluma’s fame in the English-language music industry continues to rise. But the Colombian pop star, born Juan Luis Lodoño, is facing criticism from some fans for his latest video, “Mala Mia.” A group of women in Spain, where Maluma is now touring, have deemed it machista, and they’re hoping to make enough noise to change Maluma’s point of view.
The campiagn #MejorSolaQueConMaluma went viral last week after a coalition of women used the hashtag to criticize Maluma’s “Mala Mia” lyrics. On Instagram, his detractors are posting selfies giving Maluma the middle finger, captioned with the hashtag #MejorSolaQueConMaluma. The controversial song centers around the Colombian pop star’s ostentatious lifestyle, which includes lots of women. “Me besé a tu novia, mala mía,” he sings in the video, in which he appears naked in bed with women laying around him in their underwear. When the artwork for the single was released, fans took to social media to express their disappointment and criticize the song’s objectification of women.
Maluma told Spanish newspaper El País earlier this week that he values the criticism, but doesn’t agree with the comments he’s received about “Mala Mia.” “I listen, value, and respect everyone’s points of view,” he said in the interview. “I think it’s very important that other people are going against me so I can keep growing.” Maluma added that he understands older people can’t relate to the lyrics because they don’t experience them. “At clubs, there are always dudes with 10 to 15 women around,” he said.
Maluma, whose stage name is partly inspired by his mother and sister, also told El País that he was raised to respect women, a value that he said he shares with his girlfriend Natalia Barulich. “Now that I have a relationship, my girlfriend understands my career. When I’m home, I’m Juan Luis,” he added. Barulich, in turn, defended the 24-year-old singer when he kissed a backup dancer as he closed his performance at the 2018 MTV VMAs (where he was also surrounded by a group of women). “He’s Maluma and he’s also Juan Luis, and my boyfriend is Juan Luis, not Maluma,” she said.
In 2016, the Colombian pop star faced backlash for his single “Cuatro Babys,” when a Change.org petition claimed the song was demeaning to women. It called for the removal of his songs from streaming platforms.
And the #MejorSolaQueConMaluma hashtag is not the first viral trend flipping Maluma’s lyrics and image in favor of feminism. The account Maluma Feminista went viral last September, after its founder Elena began posting photos of Maluma lyrics with a feminist twist.