Breakout music star Rosalía highlights Latin artist vs. Latinx debate

The MTV Video Music Awards on Monday night will feature more Latin artists than ever, with performances by Camila Cabello, J Balvin, Ozuna and Bad Bunny. But breakout artist Rosalía is garnering a lot of buzz.

The ‘Con Altura’ singer, who’s nominated for Best Latin Video, Best Choreography and Best New Artist, is undoubtedly one of this year’s standout artists. Rosalía’s 2018 album ‘El Mal Querer’ was praised by critics for its blend of flamenco and pop, earning the Spanish singer two Latin Grammys and support from artists across the music industry, including Billie Eilish and Pharrell.

But beyond her music, Rosalía has sparked online conversation among music fans on the difference between being a Latin music star and being Latinx.

“Vogue Mexico” featured Rosalía on its August 2019 cover, naming the singer among 25 other “Latino” artists. The cover drew criticism from fans about marketing a European singer — Rosalía is from Spain — as “Latinx.”

Latinx is a gender-neutral term used increasingly by young U.S. Latinos to describe someone who is from or has ancestry in Latin America, such as Mexico, Colombia, Puerto Rico and even Brazil (whose national language is Portuguese). Hispanic, however, describes someone of Spanish-speaking descent, which includes people from Spain.

Rosalía, a Barcelona native, can be considered Hispanic because of her Spanish language (although the language in her region is technically Catalan). And though Spain and Latin America share many similarities in culture and language, the singer is not Latinx by definition.

Since the album’s release, Rosalía has collaborated with Latin musicians such as J Balvin and Ozuna, releasing reggaeton inspired songs “Con Altura” and “Yo x Ti, Tu x Mi”. The songs have cemented her presence in Latin music and even earned her a spot on President Barack Obama’s summer playlist. But the singer’s popularity has also sparked debate among music fans

In the Billboard series “Growing Up Latino,” Rosalía explained she does “feel Latina’ because of Latin America’s influence in flamenco music, a genre she studied heavily in school. But the interview’s reception online ranged from fandom to criticism of the artist’s inclusion in the series.

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