Singer J Balvin has acknowledged that he is not Afro-Latino despite winning the Afro-Latino Artist of the Year award at the 2021 African Entertainment Awards.
Following his controversial win, the so-called Prince of Reggaeton has clarified his race.
"I am not Afro-Latino," the 36-year-old Colombian singer/rapper posted on his Instagram Story in Spanish after winning the award on December 26.
"But thank you for giving me a place in the contribution to Afrobeat music and its movement."
Meanwhile, the AE Awards has put out a statement explaining that the award is not exclusively given based on race, but an artiste's contribution to "pushing the African culture on the world stage."
The statement posted on the organisation's official Instagram account read: "The Afro Latino category (AFRO-BEAT LATINO ARTIST) is for any artiste 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 African culture forward on the world stage."
The African Entertainment Awards react to backlash after J Balvin wins ‘Afro-Latino Artist of the Year’:— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) December 27, 2021
“After listening to the concern of our audience we have decided to maintain the purpose of the award but changed the name to ‘Best Latin Artist of the Year.’” pic.twitter.com/YfrpBgttJh
"Please remember the nominees in this category had no say in their nomination or influence on the awards show," the organisation continued to implore fans.
"Instead of voicing dissatisfaction, let us encourage these artistes 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."
Regardless the clarification from Balvin and the organisation's explanation, many still took issue with the recipient of the award.
"Is this a joke?" wrote one user. Another said in Spanish, "He's not Afro-Latino."
A third claimed: "I'm African. I have heard his music. There is nothing African about that guy." Someone else agreed as saying, "Take it back. Take it back. Take it back. This is so wrong."