Most of America Doesn't Know Who J. Balvin Is???

in politics •  last year 

Part 1: Philosophical/Political Things

A recent morning I woke up and Omar was watching an Anderson Paak interview. In the interview, Anderson Paak made a comment about how he didn’t know who J. Balvin was. Maybe you don’t know who either of those people are, and in that case, that’s another kind of bubble, a self-imposed one that is probably pretty cool.

However, the fact that Anderson Paak, a hugely famous US famous rapper, songwriter, drummer, singer and record producer who has been nominated for Grammys didn’t know who J. Balvin was, that’s another story. He is not in a self-imposed bubble, but the American bubble, the egocentric country that does not pay attention to things happening in the rest of the world. For reference, J. Balvin is a Columbian reggeton singer (though he moved to the US a long time ago) who has more followers on YouTube than Drake. So not knowing who he is, especially when you are in the music business, the pop music business, is indicative of something big.

Had you heard of J. Balvin? Especially if you are reading this and from the US, I’m particularly curious. Had you heard of Drake? Again, if the answer is no to both, you live in a bubble of your own making. If you know Drake (as you likely do) and not J. Balvin, you might want to consider how to break out of that destructive (American?) bubble that is scarily reminiscent of what I imagine North Korea to be like. While I know there is a difference between a country that forcefully controls what media enters and a country that doesn’t, what does it matter if the results are the same? This is a question I am posing because it is running through my mind like its trying to break a marathon record. Is this bubble that the US creates ok? Is it safe? What does it mean?

I wonder, if I had not been living in Mexico/Spain since 2013, would I know who J. Balvin is? It is impossible not to know him in Latin America if you haven’t self-imposed a bubble, if you are an active part of the culture, youth or otherwise, because his songs are playing everywhere. He is HUGE.

Anyway, this small tidbit of a morning blew my mind. It isn’t news to me that Americans live in an American bubble (an accurate generalization). Mind-blowing was the fact of how expansive that bubble is. All the way to Anderson Paak.

Part 2: Personal Things

Moving on, Omar and I went to Home Depot not long ago to make some home improvements. One thing we did was buy some table legs (the kind that form an upside down V) and a finished piece of wood to replace our plastic folding table we’ve had for a year and make our apartment more our home, more our style. Our style is not plastic, so that feng shui (does that apply to materials and not spacing?) has been changing my life.

There were two pieces of that wooden board left over after we had them saw off the correct size of the table from the original board. Omar wanted to just leave them at Home Depot, because he didn’t think of anything they could be used for, but I decided we needed to keep them. I didn’t know what for yet, but then it came to me. Our apartment is mostly not filled with art (yet), and so that needed to change.

At first I tried to solicit an artist to paint them, but I guess I don’t know many artists in Mexico City because I only got one response from someone here, and she didn’t seem to have more than a fraction of interest. That got me to thinking what I could do with my own skills to make something cool for my apartment, to give it the vibe I want (think that there needs to be a mix of hip hop home studio, because Omar is has his hip hop home studio here, and free spirit semi-hippie). Obviously (!) the answer was painting some word/words onto my blank wooden canvases, but that didn’t seem so obvious to me at first. It was my first time ever using spray paint, and I might be in love. Spray painting brings me a kind of childish joy. I can see why graffiti artists get addicted to their craft

I am proud of myself for the results.

hustle.jpg
for the living room.

cry if you want to.jpg
for the bathroom.

xoxo,
Jess

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Most of us probably live in some sort of self imposed bubble and can’t conceive of others, in their bubbles, not knowing the stuff that’s near and dear to us in our own.

I know and love J Balvin. He’s everywhere in Puerto Rican reggeton music. This is my very favorite dance song:

D0DD017C-1FA9-4981-964D-871B90D3C99A.png

When my husband hears it come on he looks at me and say, “oh no...” because He knows I am about to hit the dance floor hard 😂 💃

Great art board you created!

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Haha I love that song. I think Americans tend to be in more of a bubble than other places, and that it is less self-imposed than culturally imposed by the country. Anything but English just isn't acceptable for so many, and the only people that really learn other languages are the very wealthy, those with parents from another country (and not always then either), or adults who move to other countries and force themselves to learn because they want to. I'm not saying that adults should necessarily feel compelled to do this, because it's hard to learn a language as an adult (I know this firsthand). What I'm saying is that the bubble that would cause people to not know who J Balvin is is likely not self-imposed, but culturally imposed. Music in Spanish (or any other language) just isn't popular. The same is not true in most other countries, however. Why is that the case for Americans? That's something to think about...

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Also, thanks! Those pieces are adding lots of home-iness to my apartment.