Reggaeton star J. Balvin is facing a massive wave of backlash after the artist was awarded Afro-Latino Artist of the Year at the African Entertainment Awards Sunday night. The singer, who does not identify as Afro-Latino, received some choice words from those on Twitter who took offense that he would accept the award or that it would be given to someone not within the Afro-Latin community.

J Balvin after winning the Afro-Latino artist of the year award

— Taya✨ (@Taythegem) December 27, 2021

"Not only is he not Black but he’s winning this the same year that he had a video with Black women on leashes being fed fried chicken. right right," another person wrote, referencing Balvin's music video for his song "Perra."

The video for "Perra" was previously called out for its portrayal of Black women as dogs on leashes and prompted responses from the singer's mother, fans and even the Colombian vice president. Balvin took the video down about a week after its release. 

Following the uproar, the African Entertainment Awards released a video PSA on their Instagram account, explaining that the awards show maintains its decision to award Balvin, and is changing the category name from Afro-Latin to simply "Best Latin Artist of the Year."

"The Best Latin Artist category is for any artist based in Latin America that is contributing to the African culture especially the Afro-beats sound globally. It is not based on race but more importantly based on pushing the African culture forward on the world stage. This is the first year that we introduced this category to include our Latin brothers and sisters who have embraced Afrobeats music within their platforms. The winner of this category has demonstrated that and is deserving of this award based on the fans votes," the account wrote in the video's caption. 

"Please remember the nominees in this category had no say in their nomination or influence on the award show. Instead of voicing dissatisfaction, let us encourage these artists to continue bridging the gap between Africa and Latin America. We are asking for your continued support, assistance and guidance in the nomination process for 2022. We thank you for your understanding and looking forward to an open dialogue. We apologize to the people who where offended by this category," the statement continued. 

Balvin also commented on the controversy after accepting the award but emphasized that he's not Afro-Latino and thanked the Afrobeats community for embracing his music. He reposted the African Entertainment Awards' video to his Instagram story, writing "no soy Afro-Latino, pero gracias por darme un lugar en la contribucion de la musica afrobeat y su muvimiento." The caption translates to "I am not Afro-Latino but thank you for giving me a place in the contribution of Afrobeat music and its movement.”