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  • “Con Altura” is the most listened to by the Catalan artist on Spotify, where it has accumulated more than 230 million listeners, with more than 760 million views on YouTube.

    “Con Altura” is the most listened to by the Catalan artist on Spotify, where it has accumulated more than 230 million listeners, with more than 760 million views on YouTube. | Photo: EFE

Published 29 August 2019

Rosalia was nominated in three other categories: Best New Artist, Summer Song and Best Collaboration – the last two categories also thanks to “Con Altura.”

Spanish singer Rosalia sparked controversy after her collaboration with Colombian J Balvin "Con Altura" won the Latin category at the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards Monday.

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Dressed in a tight black suit with crystals of the same color, the Spanish singer said she’s “incredibly honored” to be at the gala. “Thank you for letting me perform tonight and sing in Spanish,” said the visibly excited singer.

But many people who identify as Latinx took to social media in the following days to recall that Rosalia was Spanish, and therefore had no legitimacy to receive a Latin music award.

 

The 25-year-old did not explicitely clarified that she was not Latina when she received the award, just saying “I come from Barcelona. I’m so happy to be here representing where I come from, and representing my culture.” 

Rosalia was nominated in three other categories: Best New Artist, Summer Song and Best Collaboration – the last two categories also thanks to “Con Altura.”

Others blamed the mainstream - i.e. U.S. centered - music industry for encompassing any Spanish-speaking music as one unique "Latin" genre, like Enrique Iglesias before her and many others.

“Yes, she’s not ‘Latin’ in the sense that she’s not from a Latin American country, but her music falls under that big umbrella of what we call ‘Latin music,” Leila Cobo, director of Latin content and programming at Billboard, told NBC News.

But beyond the Latin/Hispanic/Spanish debate, as some Twitter users pointed out, the core issue raised by the academy's choice also revolved around the lack of representation of Afro-Latinx.

 

As for J Balvin, he  said he was “super proud to be Latino right now,” and dedicated his speech to asking for help to fight the fires sweeping the Amazon.

“We need help for the Amazon because it is burning,” he said when he accepted his award.

"Con Altura" has become one of the most listened-to of the summer and, in addition to appearing in the top of the charts, it also features on the personal playlist of former U.S. president Barack Obama.

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