Why Did YouTube Censor "Perra" By J Balvin?

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"Perra" by J Balvin, the controversial video of the Colombian singer, was removed from YouTube. We look at the possible reasons below.

Still from the video clip

The most critical moment came when the video of the subject was removed from YouTube, which was considered by some as censorship. Photo: YT-J Balvin

Perra de J Balvin

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Leer en español: ¿Por qué YouTube censuró "Perra" de J Balvin?

Days after his discussion with Residente, J Balvin is still in the eye of the hurricane, this time due to the controversy over his new song, "Perra", belonging to his new album JOSE. The issue generated a wave of criticism for its content, considered sexist, misogynistic, racist, and more. The most critical moment came when the video was removed from YouTube, which was seen by some as censorship since just as there are voices against the song, there are some others in its favor.


The song is a collaboration between J Balvin and the Dominican rapper Tokischa and the lyrics literally refer to a sexual encounter between dogs. However, the lyrics can be related to the sexual act between human beings. The video for the song shows Afro-descendant women tied and chained, muzzled and crawling, even being held by the Colombian. The lyrics have been linked to submission and humiliation due to the way in which women are presented and compared to animals.

The reactions

The controversy was immediate, especially in Colombia. The song reached the highest spheres of Colombian politics and activism. The most prominent voices were those of the vice president and the presidential advisor for Women's Equity, Marta Lucía Ramírez, and Gheidy Gallo Santos, respectively, who through a letter expressed their concern about the objectification of women, which they qualified as a failure of society. His letter was joined by activists, academics, intellectuals, and citizens who even ask that a legal process be opened against J Balvin for the content of his song and the effects that these can have against women, in the midst of an environment of struggle. for combating machismo, objectification, and other behaviors that affect women.

You can also read: J Balvin vs. Resident: Who Represents The True "Urban Genre"?

Algorithm, controversy, politics? How does YouTube filter its content?

Well, they say there is no such thing as "bad" advertising. For J Balvin, the elimination of his video and the controversy that accompanies it have served to make people talk about him. The reasons for the elimination are still not entirely clear since neither Balvin nor his team has commented on the matter. It is possible that the video was removed by the platform or that it was done by the artist's team. However, the complaints of various YouTubers about the criteria that YouTube has to decide whether the content is kept or removed from its platform are well known. It would be worth putting it in perspective, surely there are more controversial things than "Bitch" on YouTube, however, it is also important to reflect on whether the fact that there are "worse" things justifies that J Balvin's video has a space on this network.

In its community rules, YouTube defines the type of content that is not allowed, this is material with sexual content, whether artistic or not, fetishes and humiliation towards people. In the case of Balvin's video, he could have incurred some of these contents, for example, they could be considered BDSM (Bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism) because of the images where the women appear chained and subjected. YouTube has algorithms that are responsible for reviewing and eliminating content that violates its rules, but direct reports from users of the network also have weight, the scandal that caused the video of "Perra" could well have generated a wave of reports or the algorithm of the platform detected it, we will not know this until J Balvin pronounces and comments on the case with precision.

It could also violate the rules on incitement to hatred and violence, something of which the musical genre and this specific song have also been accused. YouTube policy indicates that content that incites hatred to people based on their ethnicity, gender or identity should not be uploaded. In "Perra" we see Afro-descendant women in some kind of humiliation, the Afro-descendant population continues in an intense struggle in Latin America for their recognition as an integral part of this region, where women have had an important role. Hence, J Balvin is accused of being a racist, although it should be noted that there are also people who had a different reading of the issue and who defend the work of the Colombian. Despite the fact that the video was withdrawn, by the platform or by J Balvin's team, there was enough time to download it, so there are numerous copies on the same platform, in addition to the audio being also available.