In this week’s Latin Issue ofBillboard, J Balvin and Nicky Jam sit down together for a rare interview. The superstars open up about conquering the globe in the Trump era, the importance of being friends in a competitive market, and how their brand of reggaetónis respectful of women.
Balvin on canceling his Miss Universe performance after Trump spoke disparagingly about Latins:
Canceling Miss Universe was not based on a political opinion, but on the opinion of a human being who thinks Latins must be respected. It’s my vision as José, a Latino who once worked painting houses in the U.S. I felt offended. But it was never, “Let’s start a political movement.” Politics doesn’t interest me in the least.
On avoiding objectifying women in lyrics and videos, which is common in reggaetón:
Nicky Jam: Our audience is so broad that we have to make videos where women look beautiful and conservative and are treated with respect, because the videos are seen by kids and adults. Other reggaetóneros who do what they do are targeting one audience. They don’t have the same responsibility we do.
Balvin: Plus, we both have mothers, sisters, relatives. Part of what we did is change that misconception that reggaetón is machista and misogynist. On the contrary, women are our biggest fans, and they inspire us.
On being competitors, not rivals:
Nicky Jam: It’s important to see two artists in their prime, with no ego. We’re competitors, not rivals. We’re simply enjoying our mutual success and showing the world you can do that without harboring negative feelings. I think we’re setting a good example for youth. And it’s real.