Oh man, Spotify messed up. For some inexplicable reason, the streaming service decided to run a now-deleted ad on Instagram featuring an image of Justin Bieber with the text “Justin. Now Latin King.” This means that presumably more than one person looked at this ad and thought, ‘Yep looks great, no problems here, blast it!”
I am sure I don’t have to explain why labeling a white, Canadian pop singer, who is not a Latinx artist, but one that rules over the rest of the Latinx artists, just because he sings a few words in Spanish on the biggest Spanish-language track since “Macarena,” is a terrible idea. (Also are they calling Justin a member of the notorious Latin Kings gang? What is happening???)
But as a refresher, first, Bieber did mock the lyrics of “Despacito” in public because he didn’t remember them and second—and this one is pretty important—Justin Bieber is not Latinx! Luckily the internet got right on it.
Spotify took down the ad and released a statement that read:
We made a creative decision to feature Justin Bieber in our ad because we wanted to celebrate ‘Despacito’ as a key cultural moment when music genres cross over. We realized that this could be seen as culturally insensitive so we have pulled those ads.
This comes at a particularly bad patch for Spotify. Not only did the service’s playlist to commemorate the Pulse nightclub shooting not include any Latinx artists at first, but news surfaced that they’re testing a “Sponsored Song” function, which lets labels pay to insert songs on playlists you follow “or potentially elsewhere on the service,” according to TechCrunch.
If collaborating with an actual Latinx artist and/or maybe singing some Spanish lyrics renders someone Latinx, then I’ve got some news for Beyoncé, Rihanna, Nelly Furtado, Joss Stone, Kendrick Lamar, Azealia Banks, Ludacris, and definitely *NSYNC.