J Balvin is responding to the criticism of his Afro-Latino Artist of the Year win at the African Entertainment Awards USA.

The singer was announced as the winner of the award on Dec. 26, beating out competitors like Bad Bunny, Sami Boy, and Italian Somali, despite not being Afro-Latino himself.

The win was met with criticism online which Balvin tried to address in his Instagram Stories.

DailyMail reports he wrote in Spanish, “I am not Afro Latino. But thank you for giving me a place in the contribution of the afrobeat music and movement.”

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J Balvin – Photo: Instagram/@jbalvin
J Balvin – Photo: Instagram/@jbalvin

The awards association took quick notice of the criticism and responded by renaming the category to Latin Artist of the Year.

They addressed the comments in an Instagram post, writing: “After listening to the concerns of the fans, and audience recommendations. We have decided to maintain the purpose of the award but change the name of the category. We appreciate your input. We look forward to continue an open dialogue in their future. Thank You #aeausa #oneafrica.”

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The president of the association, Dominic Tamin, further explained the change in another video.

Dressed in a suit, he addressed the audience saying, “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 or color but more importantly based on pushing the African music culture on the world stage.”

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He continued, “This is the first year that we are introducing the category to include our Latin brothers and sisters who have embraced Afro-beats music within their platforms.”

Tamin also reminded fans not to hound the artists themselves as they have no influence on the nomination.

“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,” said the president.

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He concluded his post with a positive message and asked for support from the public.

“We thank you for your understanding and looking forward to an open dialogue,” Tamin said. “We apologize to the people who where offended by the name of this category. We wish you a happy holiday and a prosperous new year. #aeausa #oneafrica